Posted in: Technology

Why Bing is a stupid ass name for a search engine


Rumors are flying leading up to Microsoft revealing their next attempt at trying to restart their search platform at the upcoming D: All Things Digital conference next week. For the last little while they have been apparently testing the engine in-house using the Kumo domain but the one other name being floated around as the possible brand for the search engine is – Bing.

Ya… Bing, and I don’t mean the cherries or the character from Friends (thanks AJ for those lost minutes reading about that). the only problem is that Microsoft’s attempts to trademark the name has been tossed by the US Trademark Office

Registration of the applied-for mark is refused because of a likelihood of confusion with the mark in U.S. Registration No. 3562956. Trademark Act Section 2(d), 15 U.S.C. §1052(d);see TMEP §§1207.01 et seq. See the enclosed registration.


While much of the opinion about the Bing name has been pretty mixed from what I have read all I can say is that it is one of the stupidest names that Microsoft could have come up, well maybe not the stupidest but pretty close.

The fact is that Microsoft could have finally developed the killer search engine that leaves Google and all the rest in the dust but it won’t matter one bit with a name like Bing. Ask any serious marketer what they they think – how would they sell it?

Even with a killer search platform Microsoft has forgotten the most important thing – Google owns the culture. It owns the verb. How often have you seen someone write “I googled you last night”, or said “I’ll google that for you and get right back”. Google has become the search language verb. From pretty well primary school right through to the grave Google has become the defacto word for search.

If Microsoft even wants to have a chance regardless of the quality of their search platform, although it would be easier if it has been improved, they are going to have to fight for the verb. they are going to need to replace our usage of google with one of their own and Bing ain’t gonna do it.

Think about it.

Are you gonna tell someone that you binged them to find out who they were?

Are you going to be courageous to even utter the words hang on while I bing for that information with a serious look on your face?

I doubt it.

Silly Microsoft, Bing is for cherries – not serious search engine marketing.

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21 Responses to “Why Bing is a stupid ass name for a search engine”

  1. Gilly

    y – 10 years back how would “hang on till I google this info” sound ? As stupid as “bing” perhaps. So what according to you would be a cool word which could be used – I am asking cause u really look like a serious marketer :)

  2. osdgn

    You say Google own the verb like it's a good thing? The last thing they want is for people to say they “googled” something. Just like how Hoover didn't want everyone to call a vacumn cleaner a hoover and how Sony, back in the day, didn't want everyone to call a personal stereo a Walkman.

  3. john

    I think your rant is mostly off base. No one could have guessed that google would become a verb. It was not that long ago that you could have asked the same rhetorical questions about google…”hang on while I google that”… It doesn't sound silly now because of common usage, but no one would have predicted it either.

    Search is becoming a commodity. In the days of Excite and Alta Vista, Google was revolutionary. But now I can pretty much use the various search engines interchangeably…they are basically the same. Google maintains its lead out of inertia not any intrinsic value.

    To me the better question is why is Microsoft dumping the Live branding after pouring so much cash into it?

  4. armchairtheorist

    I can't agree with your opinion.

    Names like Xerox, Kleenex and Google all sounded ridiculous before they became synonymous with the action or industry they represent today. I don't think Bing as a name is any worse than any of the names above when they were first introduced.

    In fact, Bing has a lot of things going for it, if you think about it.

    1. It's short – which also means a shorter domain name (more useful than you think)
    2. It's super easy to remember and spell
    3. It's easy to pronounce, particularly in non-English speaking countries (many folks are seriously overlooking this aspect in a brand name, particularly for a product with an intended global reach)
    4. It only has a single syllable

    If we can already accept phrases like, “Let me ping you later” for meaning “I will contact you later”, how much of a stretch is it to accept that, “Hold on, let me bing that” can be acceptable and sounds natural in day-to-day speech?

  5. BingBong

    It's amazing just how poor a name “bing” is. Surprising even for MS.

  6. J

    I found ONE person who will absolutely use 'Bing' search engine.
    Chandler Bing!!!

    Bing is a stupid name for a search engine.

    I agree that Google owns the culture.
    Hey MS! try to be a decent company first and then whatever you do, people will follow!

    So the past tense of bing? bing – bang – bung ???
    “I bang you last night” Hell, yeah! right!


  7. jennybrooks7

    Yesterday I went to sleep, awoke feeling great. Turn on my laptop to find that someone, or something had
    hacked into my computer. First of all bing, and the cohert snortr are ridulous names. However, like thieves
    in the night they invaded my territiory, my PC without even asking. Add insult, when attempting to use my
    google search bar, bing just jumpted in every time. I am mad as hell, and “No I'm Not Gonna Take It
    Anymore” (Ref. movie, Network. My home page MSN is usless to me now, because of this treachery. Google
    will now be my new home page. Spread the word, and make Google your homepage. and rid yourself of
    (let me get this right) ummm—BADA-bing. jennybrooks7

  8. Ron

    Sorry, I totally disagree. Bing has potential. It's unique, it stands out, it's got some energy. By itself few people really assocaite it with the cherry. Microsoft invested a lot of time and money and picking that name out – much more than the 15 minutes you may have invested in thinking and posting about it. Whether it is trademarkable or not is irrelevant. Google certainly didn't succeed because of their name and Bing won't fail just because of theirs.

  9. me

    What a dumb article, haha. As everyone else has said, google and other companies with seemingly ridiculous names didn't fail based on having dumb names, nor thrive based on their name. For one thing, no Microsoft CAN'T develop a search engine that leaves google in the dust, but if they magically found a way, it wouldn't fail based on being called Bing…

    This idea that they are trying to pump that it's a decision engine cracks me up though… they really are getting desperate here. That commercial about 'search overload' is particularly funny, since it was always THEIR search tools that produced terrible irrelevant results, while google is almost always on the money within the first 3 results.

  10. me

    Doesn't really have to do much with microsoft being a 'decent' company. People alreaddy are following them and have been forever as far as desktop software goes. They just suck at making a good search engine, and haven't found any other way to compete with google for advertising dollars- so you constantly see these pathetic attempts to compete by throwing money at the problem and coming up with stupid buzzwords for the same old thing like “decision engine”.

  11. christianwantstofindunicorns

    bing is horrible and deserves a rape and pillage.

  12. Just me

    Yeah…but think about it…how much better of verbs are google or yahoo? And both of those are or have been popular. I don’t think I ever heard yahoo used as a verb…but I honestly think the word bing makes more sense as a verb than does a word like google…and I think bing sucks, won’t use it…but it’s not because it has a “stupid” name.

  13. Anonymous

    Bing is getting better all the time and it's usage is going up all the time. Google has had it's day in the limelight and now it just sucks! I do know that Google has people who work for them who get paid to put out false claims about competitors and embelllish on their crappy search engine.

  14. James Gosling

    LOL! Bing is useless and I can't see it ever being a real threat to Google.

  15. Peter Thompson

    I just asked Siri if bing rated as a stupid name and ended up here. It asked me as an option ifI wanted to change my search engine to bing. At least I know that whatever I'm using now isn't bing. I have no sensible reason to dislike it, but it does just irritate me. That word. I can accept that because I'm just a person that isn't always logical. Bing. It even looks daft.

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