Kara Swisher

Recent Posts by Kara Swisher

Conduit Dumps Google Search for Microsoft's Bing

In an interesting move in the search space, Conduit–a fast-growing start-up that helps publishers make and distribute apps using Web browser toolbars–has entered a strategic partnership with Microsoft’s Bing search service.

In doing so, it is leaving its existing search deal with Google and will instead offer Bing to its network of 260,000 publishers and 200 million users.

It’s a solid win for Bing, which has more incentive to draw customers of its search products and services away from Google.

And every little bit helps as Microsoft strives to put even a chink in the overwhelming dominance of the search giant.

In a blog post today, Conduit said, in part (the rest is below):

“As of January 1st, 2011, our publishers will provide the full Bing experience to their users. Users in the Conduit Network will get all the features unique to Bing, decision tools that go beyond search, and an excellent browsing experience that is constantly evolving.”

More significantly, under the terms of the deal, Web publishers will be able to distribute apps directly in the organic search results on Bing.

Conduit President Adam Boyden said in an interview yesterday that the deal was struck to offer a better user experience for its customers with search, as well as the “long-term potential for app innovation with Microsoft.”

Conduit, which was founded in 2005 and has 190 employees, is profitable, Boyden said, from customers such as Groupon, eBay, Travelocity and Major League Baseball.

The San Mateo, Calif., company has raised close to $10 million, mostly from Benchmark Capital.

Of the shift to Bing, Boyden added, “There is more strategic potential for us with Bing,” he said. “And the same is true for them.”

Here is a blog post from Conduit today on the changeover, from founder and CEO Ronen Shilo and titled “Bing–It has a nice ring to it”:

Six years ago a small group of us founded Conduit with our own money and a vision of empowering the smaller Web publishers out there by giving them the tools to change the way they interact with their users. Many people were skeptical but we believed that we could truly make a difference.

Conduit redefined the toolbar, not as a search vehicle, but as a powerful engagement tool–the Community Toolbar. With so many publishers understanding this potential, Conduit inadvertently established a footprint for itself within the search market, comparable only to major classic search players.

Six years, 260,000 publishers, and 200 million users later, Conduit has proven to be one of the companies making a difference on the Web. Our product offering has greatly evolved and now includes apps, notifications, analytics and a marketplace. In the near future we will be creating new app distribution opportunities for our network of publishers, hastening the fulfillment of Conduit’s ambition to become an industry standard, to be used by all content publishers and available across all platforms.

Today I’d like to announce the next step in our journey–we have entered into a partnership with Microsoft which we believe will significantly improve our offering to publishers, accelerating the growth of Conduit’s massive network. Both companies are highly driven by improving the user experience, and as such, see a strong alignment in our long-term strategies and are looking forward to a mutually successful partnership.

As of January 1st, 2011, our publishers will provide the full Bing experience to their users. Users in the Conduit Network will get all the features unique to Bing, decision tools that go beyond search, and an excellent browsing experience that is constantly evolving.

I would like to thank Google for four years of partnership, which greatly contributed to the growth of the company. I would also like to express my appreciation to Bing and the Conduit team, both of whom worked hard to bring this partnership about.

If you have questions, ideas, suggestions, we want to hear from you. Write to us at: contact_us@conduit.com.


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Another gadget you don’t really need. Will not work once you get it home. New model out in 4 weeks. Battery life is too short to be of any use.

— From the fact sheet for a fake product entitled Useless Plasticbox 1.2 (an actual empty plastic box) placed in L.A.-area Best Buy stores by an artist called Plastic Jesus