Microsoft Says Google is for Girls

    June 28, 2006

As a programmer, I do what I can to keep up-to-date with all the hip and happening developments in technology.

That is why I was excited Monday, when news leaked out that Microsoft had released a new tool in its AdCenter Labs. The tool allows marketers to predict visitor demographics using sample data from Microsoft itself.

Excited about the new tool, I started playing around! Searches for ‘perl’, a programming language that we use for most of our development here at Oneupweb, yields a distribution of 72% male and 28% female searchers, with a 36% chance that the searcher is between 25 and 34.

So far, so good; the AdCenter numbers mesh well with my empirical knowledge of other perl users both in and out of house.

I run another test, this time for ‘baby names’ (one of MSN’s recommendations). Once again the results strongly line up with what I’d expect – 76% female, and 71% between 18 and 34 years old.

At this point I’m starting to get that warm fuzzy feeling that a programmer gets when he encounters a project that’s been crossing its T’s and dotting its I’s properly.

So I do some more tests just for the fun of it:

  • ‘Nintendo DS’ 56% Female, 37% 35-49
  • ‘SEO’ 62% Male, 30% 35-49

That’s all pretty interesting, so I goof off just a bit more before putting my nose back to ye old grindstone. I click the little ‘URL’ button, and enter ‘’ and get a bit of a suprise: apparently 100% of the people searching for Google’s URL are female and between the ages of 25-34.

Now, I’d understand it if the percentage was more like 60 or 75%, but 100%? It seems a bit, umm, manufactured.

Granted, Microsoft does have a little disclaimer at the bottom of the page saying that this is still just a proof of concept, and that MSN isn’t sharing the size of its sample data. So it might well be that in MSN’s sample space only one or two people actually searched for its competitor’s search engine, or perhaps the tool isn’t quite ready for prime time yet; I certainly don’t know.

I do know that I will have to check back after Microsoft has had some time to apply some more polish, because this could be a very useful tool, someday.

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Oneupweb is the only two-time winner of the ClickZ award for “Best Search Engine Engine Marketing Firm”. StraightUpSearchs blog authors include experts from Oneupwebs natural SEO, pay-per-click campaign management, research, marketing, design, and sales departments.