Microsoft announced in August it would be shutting down Bing Shopping over the coming months, and online merchants began noticing recently that their products were no longer appearing there.
“We send our feed to Bing daily,” one seller told EcommerceBytes. “All our products would be listed in Bing Shopping in a few days. Now, I have not been able to even see any products on Bing. It is similar to what Google has, except that at least for now, it’s free.”
Bing Shopping now redirects to the Bing homepage – a Microsoft spokesperson would not provide comment on when that change was implemented, but it appears to have been made in October.
Bing competitor Google changed its shopping feature, making it a paid-only model, but keeping it at Google.com/shopping.
While Bing removed its shopping portal, it still offers merchants free exposure for their listings.
In August, a Microsoft spokesperson explained that it found that with the introduction of Snapshot last year into the main search results page, it could give shoppers the information they needed about the product they were looking for without directing them out to another page. “That innovation, along with a new Carousel gives users the ability find the product they want faster.”
And at the time, Microsoft also said merchants would have a free option called Rich Captions, explaining, “After opting in, when Bing finds price and availability information for a merchant’s product that matches a search result, that information will be displayed in a caption under the item’s information.”
We asked the company spokesperson last week how many merchants have activated Rich Captions. “This is a new feature and we continue to be encouraged by adoption. We believe these numbers will only continue to grow,” she said. “That said, at this time, they are not public.”
When asked if merchants would get the same exposure in Bing search results under the new Rich Captions method as with Bing Shopping, she said:
“The new Bing shopping experience will offer both free and paid solutions to help merchants and advertisers promote their products on the Yahoo Bing Network search result pages. We’ll do this in several ways: via Rich Captions which are a free new service and Products Ads which are paid. Additionally, for certain categories, Bing will show you products directly in Snapshot on the main results page, when appropriate.
“Bing Product Search is not a function of Rich Captions or Product Ads. Neither Rich Captions nor Product Ads are a replacement for Bing Shopping, rather they are a new, transformative user experience that seeks to make the search experience better.
“For Rich Captions before serving the search results page, Bing will compare the algorithmic search result URLs to the URLs submitted by a merchant in their free Bing Merchant Center feeds. If there is a match, the price and availability information will be added below the blue links. This information will help consumers make informed decisions before ever clicking through to the page.
“We believe this new experience offers the right mix of solutions for our merchants to help consumers discover their products and services.”
The original announcement about Bing Shopping changes was made in this August Bing blog post.