Thursday, November 23, 2017
Business

Microsoft ads deride Google as bad place to shop

RECOMMENDED READING


SAN FRANCISCO — Microsoft is trying to skewer Google as a lousy holiday shopping guide in its latest attempt to divert more traffic to its Bing search engine.

The attack started Wednesday with a marketing campaign focused on a recent change in the way Google operates the part of its search engine devoted to shopping results. The revisions require merchants to pay Google to have their products listed in the shopping section.

In its new ads, Microsoft contends the new approach betrays Google's long-standing commitment to provide the most trustworthy results on the Web, even if it means forgoing revenue. To punctuate its point, Microsoft is warning consumers that they risk getting "scroogled" if they rely on Google's shopping search service.

The message will be highlighted in TV commercials scheduled to run on NBC and CNN and in newspaper ads in the New York Times, Wall Street Journal and Washington Post. The blitz also will appear on billboards and online, anchored by a new website, Scroogled.com.

The barbs are injecting more antagonism into an already bitter rivalry between two of the world's best-known and most powerful technology companies.

Google's search engine is dominant on the Internet, while Bing runs a distant second. Microsoft's Office and Windows software remains an integral part of personal computers, but Google has been reducing the importance of those programs and PCs with the success of Web-based services and its Android operating system for smartphones and tablet computers.

Google doesn't require websites to pay to be listed in its main database, the index that provides results for requests entered into its all-purpose search box. A query made there for a particular product, such as a computer, will still include results from merchants who haven't paid for the privilege of being included.

But that's not the case for someone who clicks on a tab to enter Google's shopping-only section, which is designed to compare prices and offer other insights, such as identifying sites that offer free shipping. Searches there are confined to paying merchants. That means results from sites, including Web retailing giant Amazon.com, aren't displayed unless they pay.

Google defends the fee-based approach as a way to encourage merchants to provide more comprehensive and accurate information about what they're selling.

Google, like Microsoft, accepts payments for ads that are triggered by specific search terms and appear to the right or on top of regular search results. Those are labeled in colored letters as ads. The same distinctions aren't made in Google's shopping section.

The financially driven system for determining the results in a major part of Google's search engine breaks new ground for a company whose idealistic founders, Larry Page and Sergey Brin, once railed against the perils of allowing money to influence which Web links to show.

Microsoft contends that Google is doing a disservice to its users with the new approach, as many users may not even realize that the results in shopping searches are being swayed by money.

"We want consumers to know, in contrast to the route that Google has pursued, we are staying true to the DNA of what a good search engine is really about," said Mike Nichols, Bing's chief marketing officer. "We will rank results on what's relevant to you and not based on how much someone might pay us."

Comments
Black Friday still a brick-and-mortar experience for some

Black Friday still a brick-and-mortar experience for some

TAMPA — Standing in a frantic line at Best Buy on Thanksgiving, one young woman beat the system when she showed off the receipt for her new TV, which she had just purchased on her phone. She was waiting to pick it up."I didn’t know you could do that,...
Updated: 18 minutes ago
As Tampa Bay economy matures, more key people bear watching. Let’s get started.

As Tampa Bay economy matures, more key people bear watching. Let’s get started.

What’s coming down the economic pike for Tampa Bay? Who’s driving this metro economy into 2018 and beyond? Change — people, issues, business focus — can be a good thing. It keeps places like geographically challenged Tampa Bay nimble with fresh blood...
Updated: 15 minutes ago
Inkwood Books among retailers banking on ‘Small Business Saturday’

Inkwood Books among retailers banking on ‘Small Business Saturday’

TAMPA — By Tuesday evening, at least 50 cardboard boxes were still stacked against the shop’s wall, each labeled clearly with a black sharpie."Biographies""Pets""Fiction""Music"While the front of the store and new children’s section was mostly in pla...
Updated: 25 minutes ago
Across country, small retailers aim for emotional ties big chains may lack

Across country, small retailers aim for emotional ties big chains may lack

Associated PressSome smaller retailers will tug at shoppers’ heartstrings during the holidays, trying to create an emotional experience or connection that a big national chain might not provide.Store owners are going well beyond the usual holiday dec...
Published: 11/22/17
Six years and counting: Allegiant Air reaches agreement with flight attendants

Six years and counting: Allegiant Air reaches agreement with flight attendants

ST. PETERSBURG — After six years of negotiations, Las Vegas-based Allegiant Air and its flight attendants union reached a tentative contract to improve worker pay and benefits and solidify airline policies."We feel like it’s an agreement that is cert...
Published: 11/22/17
Workers at luxury St. Pete condo tower say they are owed thousands

Workers at luxury St. Pete condo tower say they are owed thousands

ST. PETERSBURG — Nearly three dozen workers at ONE St. Petersburg, a luxury condo tower under construction in the heart of downtown, haven’t been paid in weeks and are owed thousands of dollars.With the holidays nearing, some of the men say they are ...
Published: 11/22/17
Some cities faced with all-or-nothing medical marijuana rules are playing it safe

Some cities faced with all-or-nothing medical marijuana rules are playing it safe

When it comes to weighing the options for regulating medical marijuana through the law passed this year, Dunedin city commissioners declared local governments face a "conundrum" and "a false dilemma."They said they would welcome a dispensary in the c...
Published: 11/22/17
More guns being detected at Tampa Bay area airports — and everywhere else

More guns being detected at Tampa Bay area airports — and everywhere else

TAMPA — Here’s some travel math for this traditionally heavy day for long trips: More people carrying guns plus more people flying equals more guns going to the airport.The numbers bear this out. The federal Transportation Security Administration has...
Published: 11/22/17
A year after impasse, Pasco school contract talks run more smoothly

A year after impasse, Pasco school contract talks run more smoothly

LAND O’LAKES — Representatives from the Pasco County school district and the United School Employees of Pasco sat together several times in the weeks leading to Thanksgiving break, trading contract proposals amid (mostly) amicable conversation.They c...
Published: 11/22/17

Florida Supreme Court suspends two Hillsborough lawyers

Times Staff WriterTwo Hillsborough County lawyers have been suspended from practice because of professional misconduct.The Florida Supreme Court ordered a 91-day suspension for Richard Luther Bradford of Brandon after he was found in contempt for fai...
Published: 11/22/17