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Bing Fails to Top Google Shopping, And Neither Includes Amazon in Results

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By , dealnews Media Editor

As you may have heard, Bing Product Search is trying to coin a new word: Scroogled. It's a portmanteau of "screwed" and "Google," and it's supposedly what happens to you when you use Google Shopping to compare prices amongst retailers.

Since Google Shopping has transitioned into a tool that solely lists merchants that have paid to have their items included, Bing argues that a vendor with a lower price that has not paid for advertising space won't show up in the results, and that shoppers won't be able to find the true lowest price via the Google search engine. Hence, "Scroogled." While Bing also offers stores the option to pay for a listing, it continues to include free merchant price listings as well. Bing thus claims that it yields results with a wider variety of vendors and potentially better prices.

As professional deal hunters, we at dealnews have noticed a couple of obvious exclusions with Google Shopping, most importantly the always suspiciously absent Amazon. Around Black Friday, we found this to also be the case with Walmart. With such aggressive pricing from both retailers, that's a pretty big omission for the consumer.

Google Shopping vs. Bing

So, we wanted to see for ourselves if Bing really is better. Does it return better searches than Google Shopping, or does the fact that it's open to anyone result in a slew of undesirable merchants that you shouldn't buy from anyway? We put the search engines to the test with a handful of popular products and found that, despite all its griping, Bing still trails Google to a significant degree.

We ran 10 separate searches for a variety of items, and found that 70% of the time, Google still returned the actual lowest price available from a respectable merchant. Conversely, Bing only found the lowest price 20% of the time (and even that is a bit of a stretch). For two of the searches, neither engine was able to find the lowest price, but they were tricky tests; for one, the best price could only be obtained after an in-cart discount, and the engines only reported the starting price. For another, the best price was a daily deal from OfficeMax. Neither Bing nor Google were able to pick up on these specialized price drops, which isn't entirely surprising.

Noticeably Absent Merchants

However, despite the fact that Google was able to outshine Bing, both services still struggled to correctly integrate Amazon. Google doesn't include it at all, likely because Amazon doesn't feel compelled to pay for listings. Bing then only selectively included Amazon. When it did, Bing reported the incorrect price. Since Amazon is known for continuously altering prices, sometimes incrementally several times throughout the course of a day, this might indicate once again that Bing is unable to sense live price drops.

It may seem curious that Google managed to still find the lowest price 70% of the time, even though it never once included Amazon in its results. However, we postulate that this is the case because, in the deals we tested, Amazon was frequently matching the price of another vendor. Price-matching is a common impetus for Amazon to adjust what it charges, so if Google lists these competitors, it can still return the best price for a consumer without mentioning the Seattle mega store. If you prefer to buy from Amazon though, perhaps to take advantage of a Prime membership, this is still a significant omission.

With seven out of 10 searches yielding the "right answers" on Google Shopping, it looks like it's still your best bet, even if it's supposedly trying to "scroogle" consumers. But the lack of Amazon — and sometimes Walmart — reportage spoils Google as a one-stop shop for price comparison. Our suggestion? Use Google Shopping, then double check Amazon and Walmart "by hand." It's not elegant, but it'll give you the best picture of the marketplace, in terms of pricing.

Readers, have you tried Bing Product Search? Have you had any issues with Google Shopping, since it switched to the paid platform? Do you use a different site entirely to price check items while shopping? Sound off in the comment section below.



Jeff Somogyi is the dealnews Media Editor. He prefers his engines to be V-6 and fuel-injected. See more of his comparisons of comparisons on Google+, Twitter, or on his blog.

Follow @dealnews on Twitter for the latest roundups, price trend info, and stories. You can also sign up for an email alert for all dealnews features.

Please note that, although prices sometimes fluctuate or expire unexpectedly, all products and deals mentioned in this feature were available at the lowest total price we could find at the time of publication (unless otherwise specified).
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6 comments
einstein999
ever tried to find the cheapest coffee per pound on amazon, google, bing or whatever???
or the cheapest laundry detergent per load?
or soft soap per gallon or 64oz?
or try to sort those by price?
exactly!!! you can't!
because manufacturers try to obfuscated any real price comparison by using non-standard quantities or completely manipulatible units like "rolls" or sheets with toilet paper.
& the dealers/vendors are complicit, because, let's face it, they don't want consumers to be able to price compare either.
so, unless there is some "real" consumer protection or at least fair and easy price information using the same standardized, quantifiable units, we are all suckers for the industry & we won't be able to compute the 4 above easy tasks. btw, the only objective way to measure paper (toilet or any) is by weight!
where are our lawmakers when you need them? (or even a class action lawsuit lawyer?;-)
a frustrated resident alien, metric all the way!
(475kent)
CWMidas
While I usually start with DealNews (and always check for site DealCoupons) there are times when I need to buy something specific not covered here. Google Shopping always _used_ to be my go-to location to turn up great prices on esoteric items. When they changed the algorithm, I immediately noticed the drop in results quality. Now, not only are results poor, but they routinely let sellers game the system by listing shipping as free when it isn't (until a deal-breaker $99 minimum purchase). I haven't found a consistently better replacement yet, but will welcome new entrants. Until then, I'm manually checking several sites.

Paranoid humor - chrome wouldn't let me type this reply, even after a reboot; I had to switch to IE.
fedexecutioner
I agree with everyone else, why google or bing when you can DEALNEWS!!!!!!
jcauthorn
Rule #1: ALWAYS check Dealnews First! Professional deal shoppers who know a thing or thousands about shopping right!
Thanks for analyzing these issues and pointing them out to us so we can be aware of how to shop correctly and what to watch out for!
As always, caveat emptor!
wendifer5
"Our suggestion? Use Google Shopping, then double check Amazon and Walmart "by hand."
But I always start with dealnews.com! Thanks for explaining how it works!
Big_Jay
I haven't used Bing to search any prices, but there idea of "Scroogled" has put me off of Google a little bit. I'm glad that you all have confirmed my suspicions though: Bing isn't any better!
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