The Small Internet · These are questions for wise men with skinny arms

The Small Internet

tl;dr Use Bing

I’ve been using Bing as my default search engine at work for 6 months, and in that time I’ve gotten about $30 of Amazon gift cards and other rewards with no downside.

I don’t understand everyone’s obsession or devotion to Google search. The search results aren’t that different between major search engines for specific queries. Most of the time I’m using a search engine because I don’t want to type in the exact url, or dig through a long tail of bookmarks. 70% of the time I use a search engine I know exactly the page or site I’m going to end up on. The other 30% of the time I’m looking for an answer to a question on sites that are easily indexed. If I can’t find something I’m looking for, adjusting my query is going to help more than switching search engines.

It’s very rare when I’ll feel unsatisfied with the quality or quantity of search engine results and try a different engine for comparison. In fact, most of the features I find most convenient that aren’t search related are just as accessible on Bing as they are on Google search. Things like:

  • Calculation and unit conversion
  • Spell checking
  • Auto-completion

There’s no ‘power’ or noticeable speed difference, it’s not like I’m compromising my experience just to be compensated for it. I would use Bing and Google interchangeably if neither rewarded me. I once found it odd that people didn’t switch their default search provider when there was a stark difference between the results, but now I don’t see any discriminating factors between them.

The reason that I’m able to use a search engine that started much later than the most popular one is because the useful internet is now relatively small. I’m not searching for new websites, I’m searching through existing websites. There are much fewer sites that control very specific niches of information. I visit a handful of websites on a daily basis, which have an inordinate amount of knowledge. It’s now very rare that I’ll land on some useful, but out of the way blog through searching. It used to be very common for most pertinent information to be spread across forums and personal blog posts. Those types have largely given way to aggregator sites, where I’ll follow tips from comments or featured articles for more clues instead of paging through search results.

The only related drawback is that Bing Maps doesn’t have Street view or biking directions. Google Maps is a far more useful product that Google Search, as the internet is now very well organized to find particular things, the physical world can be tricky to navigate.

I highly recommend that everyone use Bing for searching so they can earn easy to redeem rewards, and in the spirit of a true endorsement post I’ll include my personal referral link.

The Math

If you do 30 searches a day, you earn at least 15 points per day. There are also additional suggested searches that will give you 2-5 bonus points per day for searching things like National Parks, dinner recipes, or Oscar award nominees. It’s not hard to get even more bonus points in the first few months with other special promotions. If you have a mobile phone you can earn an additional 10 points a day, but I can’t recommend Bing for mobile search as that’s generally considered a different product category (one that’s more dependent on maps, which I mentioned above).

Although there are some rewards that technically provide a higher dollar value like flowers and picture books, the most flexible conversion from points is into $5 Amazon gift cards for 475 points. If you consider dollars on Amazon as good as cash, a Bing rewards point is worth about 1 cent.

If you average 17.5 points a day for 5 days, assuming you only use it at work = 87.5 pts/week.

Assuming 3 weeks of vacation, that comes out to 4,287.5 pts/year.

That’s at least enough for 9 gift cards = $45/year!

Just for switching your normal searches to Bing! It’s as obvious to me as getting cash back on credit card purchases. I honestly hope they keep the rewards program around even if Bing surges in popularity. The idea is that we’re getting a cut of the ads displayed on each search just like credit card companies get a cut of the transaction. It seems like a healthy business model, so I hope more companies adopt it if the competition in search heats up!