Is Microsoft lying about ‘Bing-it-on’ results?


Microsoft is going after Google in many ways. One of their more consumer-facing tactics has been the “Bing-it-on” campaign. The premise is simple: put the results from Google and Bing side-by-side and let people choose which is better. Microsoft says people prefer the Bing results by a rate of 2-to-1. Or do they?

Yale Law School professor Ian Ayres (a.k.a. really smart guy) conducted a similar study with his students. He used the same blind test that Microsoft uses on their Bing-it-on website and TV ads. Ayres wrote about his findings over at Freakonomics, and his results were almost the opposite from what Microsoft reports.

Liar Liar Pants On Fire

According to Ayres’ test 53% of people preferred Google, while just 41% chose Bing (the other 6% were ties). Now these results certainly don’t show a landslide victory for Google, but they are nowhere near the “2-to-1” claim by Microsoft. It’s a little crummy of Microsoft to lie about results like this. What do you think? Do you prefer Google or Bing?

[via BGR]

  • robjackson81

    Consider the sample demographic.

    Microsoft is asking random people on the street. This professor is asking Ivy League students. I bet if you performed a similar test asking which browser those students used the vast majority of them would say “Chrome”. But unfortunately, if you polled the general public, there would still be a large percentage who choose Internet Explorer.

  • Good point.

  • KosmoCrisis

    At this stage, I’ve been using Google for so long that I just don’t feel like sharing anymore personal information with another search engine.

  • TheScienceEnthusiast1130

    What is wrong with “Bing” or “Yahoo!”?

  • Donovan Shore

    And considering this is a Windows mobile site and the results are still around that 60/40 in favor of Google. I actually would have guessed that the general public would be more in favor of Google than 60/40. Apparently Bing is being used more than I would have guessed.

  • Donovan Shore

    Actually, last time I checked it was 60/40 exactly and in favor of Google. I see now the tides have changed.

  • Sondrek17

    I struggle with getting the information I want when I use bing. I do swing by and try it from time to time, but Google does what I need it to do right away.

  • Davis Maloy

    And what’s wrong with Internet Explorer Rob?

  • Davis Maloy

    More to Rob’s point — Here is some information on how Bing it On did it’s test —
    “First, a few factual details. So that we could avoid any bias from Microsoft researchers, the study was conducted by an independent research company (Answers Research based in San Diego, CA) using a representative online sample of nearly 1,000 people, ages 18 and older, from across the US. To make sure they represented typical searchers, the participants were chosen from a random survey panel, were required to have used a major search engine in the past month, and had no idea that Bing and Google were specifically being tested, nor were they told Microsoft had commissioned the study. And we used just the web results pane only, so no ads, no Bing Snapshot and Social Search, no Google Knowledge Graph.
    Otherwise, the experiment was much the same as our earlier study, but with one key difference: instead of coming up with their own search queries, participants chose from a list of five possible queries (drawn randomly from a longer list of queries, which we’ll get to in a second). If none of the five appealed to them, they could refresh the set anytime. After selecting a query, it was the same as before: side-by-side results with no branding, pick a winner or declare a tie, repeat ten times, sum for overall preference.
    So where did this long list of queries come from? This was the tricky part. We wanted queries that matched what people typically searched for, so we finally settled on using terms from Google’s Zeitgeist 2012, because while we could have used our own Top Searches of 2012, we figured the right thing to do was to go with our competitor’s terms. After all, you’d think Google would be better at their own top queries, right?”
    The question is, how did the Professor perform his test?

  • Guardian Alpha

    I’ve taken the blind challenge 5 times. I chose google 4 times. They probably think that people just want to do the popular thing. It works for sheep, see iPhone success.