Bing is really clinging on to this “Bing It On” thing. The campaign began over a year ago, and is still going strong with Microsoft setting up shop at at NFL games to get people to try the “blind taste test” for search results. Bing’s claim was originally that people prefer Bing 2:1 over Google.
The Bing it On Challenge is drawing some very public criticism this week with Freakonomics giving it a challenge of its own.
Ian Ayres writes, “When I looked into the claim a bit more, I was slightly annoyed to learn that the ‘nearly 2:1’ claim is based on a study of just 1,000 participants. To be sure, I’ve often published studies with similarly small data sets, but it’s a little cheeky for Microsoft to base what might be a multi-million dollar advertising campaign on what I’m guessing is a low-six-figure study. To make matters worse, Microsoft has refused to release the results of its comparison website, BingItOn.com.”
“So together with four Yale Law students, I set up a similar-sized experiment using Microsoft’s own BingItOn.com site to see which search engine users prefer,” he writes. “We found that, to the contrary of Microsoft’s claim, 53 percent of subjects preferred Google and 41 percent Bing (6 percent of results were ‘ties’). This is not even close to the advertised claim that people prefer Bing “nearly two-to-one.” It is misleading to have advertisements that say people prefer Bing 2:1 and also say join the millions of people who’ve taken the Bing-It-On challenge, if, as in our study, the millions of people haven’t preferred Bing at a nearly a 2:1 rate. Microsoft might have realized this and has more recently altered its advertising to back off their original claim to just say that people ‘prefer’ Bing.”
You can read the full study here.
Google’s Matt Cutts posted about the findings on Google+:
The jury’s still out on the Million Short It On challenge.