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Bing vs. Google: Is the Map a Minefield?

The search engine landscape is a constant tug-of-war between dominance and innovation. Google remains the undisputed king, but challengers like Bing strive to offer alternatives. PartnerCentric, an affiliate marketing agency in the US, recently wrote an article about whether Bing is intentionally monetising organic map listings. We took a closer look at this and have broken down what is taking place and how this might affect you….

The Search Engine Showdown: Google vs. Bing

Google dominates the search engine market with a significantly higher user base. However, Bing strives to carve out its niche by offering:

  • Focus on Visual Search: Bing prioritises image-based search results, potentially appealing to a specific user segment.
  • Rewards Program: Bing offers a rewards program that incentivises users to conduct searches through points redeemable for various rewards.
  • Integration with Microsoft Products: Bing integrates seamlessly with other Microsoft products like Office 365, potentially appealing to users within that ecosystem.

Affiliate Marketing: A Key Player in the Game

Affiliate marketing allows businesses to leverage the reach and audience of websites or individuals (affiliates) to promote their products or services. Affiliates earn commissions for successful referrals generated through their unique tracking links. Here’s where the Bing vs. Google rivalry gets interesting.

  • Google: Google offers a well-established affiliate program with clear guidelines and tools for affiliates and businesses. Their focus remains on user experience and transparency within affiliate marketing practices.
  • Bing: The recent accusations paint a different picture. Bing allegedly injects affiliate links within organic map listings for physical stores. These links, according to PartnerCentric, redirect users through sub-affiliate networks without user knowledge. This lack of transparency raises concerns about:
    • FTC Violations: Potentially violating Federal Trade Commission (FTC) guidelines that mandate clear disclosure of affiliate marketing practices.
    • Commission “Hijacking”: Stealing commission credit from businesses that already have affiliate programs in place.
    • Erosion of Trust: Damaging trust between businesses, affiliates, and consumers due to a lack of transparency.


The Fallout: What Does This Mean for Affiliate Marketing?

If the allegations against Bing hold true, there could be significant ramifications for affiliate marketing:

  • Increased Scrutiny: Increased scrutiny could be placed on all search engines and platforms that utilise affiliate marketing. This could lead to stricter regulations and a more controlled environment.
  • Shift in Strategies: Businesses and affiliates might be wary of relying solely on Bing for affiliate marketing efforts.This could lead to a shift in focus towards platforms with clearer practices, potentially favouring Google or others.
  • Focus on Transparency: Platforms might need to prioritise clear and transparent affiliate practices to maintain trust within the ecosystem.


Navigating the Uncertainty: What Can Affiliates and Businesses Do?

In this climate of uncertainty, here’s what affiliates and businesses can do to navigate the challenges:

  • Diversification: Diversify affiliate marketing efforts across multiple platforms to reduce dependence on any single search engine.
  • Transparency Advocacy: Promote transparency within the industry and advocate for clear disclosure practices from all platforms.
  • Careful Platform Selection: Conduct thorough research before partnering with a platform, prioritising those with established and transparent affiliate marketing programs.
  • Focus on Value: Regardless of the platform, affiliates should prioritise providing valuable content and recommendations to their audience to build trust and organic promotion.


Beyond the Rivalry: The Future of Search and Affiliate Marketing

The Bing vs. Google rivalry extends beyond affiliate marketing. Here’s a glimpse into the potential future:

  • Innovation: Both search engines might focus on further innovation to attract users, potentially leading to new features and functionalities that benefit businesses and affiliates alike.
  • Focus on User Experience: Search engines might prioritise user experience even more, with clear labeling of paid and organic listings, and a commitment to user privacy.
  • Evolving Affiliate Landscape: The affiliate marketing landscape might evolve with stricter regulations and a focus on building trust through transparency and value-driven content.



The rivalry between Bing and Google offers both challenges and opportunities for affiliate marketing. While the recent allegations raise concerns, they also push the industry towards greater transparency and ethical practices. By staying informed, diversifying their strategies, and prioritising value, affiliates and businesses can navigate this evolving landscape and thrive in the future of search.

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