It might sound like a clever portmanteau that shows we’re all being “screwed by Google” – but Scroogle was originally a service that let you perform Google searches anonymously. Until this week, when Bing re-launched the site to show that, you guessed it, we’re all being screwed by Google.
Visitors to Scroogled.com are treated to a festive attack advert penned by Bing, which highlights a move by the search industry’s market leaders to replace their “relevant” Google shopping results with “hidden” paid adverts.
Currently, certain Google UK searches bring up shopping results – usually cribbed from large ecommerce sites – that the search algorithm deems to be relevant to the search term. But as of next year, we’ll be treated to the same method that Google uses in the USA – using Google shopping results to sell unlabeled sponsored listings, which are presented in a way that Bing claims will deceive users.
The site also exposes Google’s hypocrisy when it comes to relevant search, using quotes from Google founders Sergey Brin and Larry Page which claim paid advertising is bad for users:
“This type of bias is much more insidious than advertising, because it is not clear who “deserves” to be there, and who is willing to pay money to be listed.”
Google Founders Sergey Brin and Larry Page
But while Bing’s PR department are keen for visitors to Scroogle to try Bing search and sneer at Google’s insistence on abandoning all of their principles, they’re tight-lipped when it comes to Bing’s own hypocrisy on the subject.
During the busy festive season, Bing has disabled the function that allows retailers to sign up for inclusion in their search’s shopping results. Instead, businesses are directed to a different Microsoft-run website where they’re made to pay for search listings.
Fortunately for the UK’s second largest search provider, the name Bing doesn’t lend itself to portmanteau-based attacks. So don’t expect to see Scringed or Bingpocricy any time soon.
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