When I first perused Bing’s top trending search terms of 2009, I started to scratch my head.
Take a look at the list:
- Michael Jackson
- Swine Flu
- Stock Market
- Farrah Fawcett
- Patrick Swayze
- Cash for Clunkers
- Jon and Kate Gosselin
- Billy Mays
- Jaycee Dugard
Where was “iPhone” “Obama” or “Twilight?” As a nation, do we really have an unhealthy fascination with learning everything we can about deceased personalities?
Then I remembered this:
Around 45% of all searches to Bing originate from MSN.com.
Ahh, that explains it. When the ~600 million monthly visitors hit the MSN.com homepage, they are inevitably presented with the big news story of the day. No news stories where bigger than the deaths of Michael Jackson, Farrah Fawcett, Patrick Swayze, Billy Mays–and you could argue the Cash for Clunkers program. After that, the Bing list includes other news-driven events–with Twitter the lone search term not apparently news driven.
With that in mind, it’s no wonder Microsoft recently gave MSN.com a facelift. It also reveals perhaps a weakness in Bing’s attempts to challenge Google. Google is the place we go to for ALL kinds of information. Bing’s traffic–at least half of it–is the result of some prompting by MSN.com.
The challenge for Bing is to increase its share of non-news-driven searches. Next year’s list will reveal whether Bing has been able to achieve that or not.