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Affiliate Marketing With Bing

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If you're into affiliate marketing, don't underestimate Bing, Microsoft's new search engine. Touting itself as a "decision engine" rather than a pure search engine, Bing is positioning itself in extremely close proximity to the online sales process.

If you use Bing, you may notice this subtle yet undeniable slant towards commercial-oriented search results, as opposed to Google's search results, which often skew academic. This difference is especially noticeable if you search Bing using obviously commercial terms, such as "concert tickets." Clearly, Bing wants to be a part of the online buying experience.

From an affiliate marketing point of view, Bing's emphasis on selling stuff is exciting. However, Google has earned the affection of affiliate marketing types over many years.

Bing Not Ready to Monetize?

Google has the affiliate marketing game down to a science. Google communicates with top affiliate marketers, informs the affiliate marketing community (somewhat) of goings-ons at Google, and sells millions of dollars worth of pay-per-click ads to affiliate marketers.

Bing, by contrast, doesn't even have the word "advertise" on its front search page. Blogger Stephen Kersey dropped a funny post to that effect, describing how the only way he could figure out how to advertise on Bing was to use Google to search "advertise on Bing."

But don't be fooled. Bing may not be fully monetized yet, but it will be soon. And taking a bold approach towards that end game, too, by trying new things and seeing what works.

For instance, look at Bing's cashback program, which gives e-commerce players an opportunity to offer cashback to their customers on products purchased through Bing with no extra money out of pocket for the e-commerce player. Interesting concept, and Google doesn’t do it.

A complete overview of the tools available to webmasters who advertise through Bing can be found here. These tools will be changing, no doubt, as Microsoft gains its bearings.

Bing Consciously Attacking Google's Weaknesses

The clever Bing TV commercials mock Google as a scatterbrained genius who can't answer a straight question. This strategy of directly attacking Google's weakness can be seen in the sales pitch Bing is throwing out, albeit not that loudly, to the affiliate marketing community.

Keyword-bidding on Google, for instance, can become expensive in a hurry, since so many people know about keyword-bidding on Google. Bing can do cheaper deals on keywords (it's not like Microsoft is hurting for cash) at least until Bing is established in the market.

Moreover, Bing appears to be actively seeking to eliminate click fraud and even click arbitrage, two other major costs that go with Google PPC advertising. Many affiliate marketers are frustrated with these "hidden costs" of Google PPC, and Microsoft is stoking that flame.

In addition to competing on cost, Bing is competing with Google on service. New per-click advertisers on Bing can get individualized attention and advice from a "Search Expert"--for free.

Google's not going away anytime soon. But neither is Bing.

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