Microsoft's Bing search engine received positive reviews in its first week on the planet, but did that early buzz translate into traffic? A report from StatCounter suggests that Bing's debut was successful enough to eclipse Yahoo Search during its first week, but subsequent analysis from Search Engine Land as well as data from CNET.com's network of sites suggests otherwise.
StatCounter, a Web-traffic-tracking company, reported that, as of 4 June, Bing accounted for 16.28 per cent of the US search market, surpassing Yahoo's 10.22 per cent just days after going live on Monday. Worldwide, Bing's advantage was said to be slimmer (5.62 per cent to Yahoo's 5.13 per cent), but that was enough for StatCounter to proclaim 'Bing overtakes Yahoo'.
But, it's not quite that simple. StatCounter's data is "based on aggregate data collected by StatCounter on a sample exceeding four billion page views per month collected from across the StatCounter network of more than three million Web sites. Stats are updated and made available every four hours, [but] are subject to quality-assurance testing and revision for seven days from publication", according to the company.
It will be interesting, then, to see if those numbers change next week. Search Engine Land checked in with comScore, Nielsen and Hitwise and found that, over the past week in the US, Yahoo Search did about three times more traffic than Bing -- roughly the same level where it was the week before, when Microsoft-branded search consisted of Live Search and MSN Search.
Nielsen figures show that there was indeed a surge in Bing-related interest among US Web surfers on 1 June -- the first day it went live. But that's not very surprising given natural curiosity surrounding something new and shiny, and Bing's surge appeared to neatly replace the corresponding drop-off in traffic to Live Search and MSN Search.
CNET.com data suggests a similar story. For the first four days that Bing was live, the new search engine accounted for 2.2 per cent of all session starts across the various CNET sites. Yahoo searches accounted for a little more than twice as many session starts, or 4.5 per cent. Google was responsible for the rest. Bing did better than Yahoo on some sites, but worse on others.
Measuring Internet market share is notoriously tricky, and five different companies could very well reach five different conclusions. But even Microsoft has said that its basic goal for Bing over the next year is to pick up 2 percentage points of share, which, unless Yahoo goes completely dark, will still leave it solidly in third place, behind Google and Yahoo.