Peter Kafka

Recent Posts by Peter Kafka

Bing Keeps Banging the Drum. Is Anyone Listening?

We are approaching Bing’s one-year anniversary. In that time, Microsoft’s search engine has managed to claw a few share points from Yahoo (YHOO), its new partner. And none from Google (GOOG), its real target.

So perhaps it’s time to rethink ads like this:

True story. Last night I was in a room with a few bright people. Though the TV was on, no one was really paying attention. But when the commercial above came on, we watched it all the way through. Followed by this question from one of my fellow TV-watchers:

“What’s Bing?”

To be fair, it turns out that the person who asked this question is also paying $15 a month for an AOL (AOL) subscription. So we can’t argue that the question-asker is perched atop technology’s bleeding edge.

But if Bing is really going to claim 40 to 50 percent of the search market, it’s going to have to convert a lot of people who pay absolutely no attention to technology whatsoever. Like AOL subscribers.*

Then again, if you can point me to any TV ad campaign that has moved the needle for a search engine, I’d love to see it.

So would Microsoft (MSFT), I’ll bet.

*And yes, I’ve told a similar story before. Different people, though. I swear.

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Just as the atom bomb was the weapon that was supposed to render war obsolete, the Internet seems like capitalism’s ultimate feat of self-destructive genius, an economic doomsday device rendering it impossible for anyone to ever make a profit off anything again. It’s especially hopeless for those whose work is easily digitized and accessed free of charge.

— Author Tim Kreider on not getting paid for one’s work