Steve Ballmer's ambitious bid to grow Microsoft's nearly 18-month old Bing search engine is coming at the expense of sibling portal business MSN, several executives close to the company tell The Post. AdWeek and the NY are reporting that Microsoft's use of its popular portal MSN as a traffic driver for Bing is compromising some of MSN's partner relationships, angering internal sales staff and even costing the company revenue.
The high number of Bing links is depriving MSN of display ad revenue sold against those content sites, sources tell The Post.
The Post reports that "During the past quarter the mix of MSN headlines on its front page that push readers to Bing has grown from 20% to 50% and is set to grow further." AdWeek wrote, "several high-profile MSN partners are feeling shafted by Bing hogging prime real estate on the MSN home page."
Roughly a year ago Microsoft said that MSN was driving about half of Bing's query volume. In addition Microsoft previously said that, globally, MSN has in excess of 600 million users. Therefore it makes sense that Microsoft would seek to leverage the property to build awareness and usage of Bing.
A Microsoft spokesman said: "We're constantly making different bets to see how things play out. We're doing programs that go from MSN to Bing. We're experimenting with new landing pages."
When asked about people who're unhappy with the changes, he said: "We're triaging those things all the time. We're happy the audience is growing."