Bing shows early promise (but is blocked, again, in China)

It hasn’t even been two weeks since Bing was launched, but a number of services are reporting numbers that seem to show an uptick in interest in the rebranded search product from Microsoft.

Compete.com, in a blog post today, points to a 2 point uptick in searcher penetration, but then looks a bit more deeply at the numbers.

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According to Compete, while Bing has gained users, they’re querying less than on other engines, leading Compete to conclude that “these have been dabblers that have not given up on their old engines (yet) and not generated enough queries to move the needle”.

Of course at this early stage, just getting the “dabblers” to try Bing out is a step in the right direction, and an indication that the ad campaigns and buzz created by the launch is having some effect.  Speaking of ads, the latest ads appeared this evening on “The Daily Show”, and featured what looked like ads being fast forwarded, and then showed two Bing kicker slides saying “Getting You What You Want Faster / It’s What We’re All About” before returning to the show 2 minutes early.  Haven’t found them online, yet.

Bing is having a much harder time of it in China, however.  After being blocked by the Chinese government on June 2nd, supposedly in anticipation of the Tiananmen Square anniversary, Bing had a short reprieve of just a few hours but has since been blocked again, and continues to be blocked as of this writing.  Hotmail is apparently working after also being blocked pre June 4th, and Twitter is back again also.

China is seeking to limit access to porn or “vulgar content” and has recently announced the “Green Dam Youth Escort”, a program that blocks access to online pornography (and perhaps much more) and will be required to ship with all new computers sold in China.  Whether Bing’s celebrated “video porn search” features have anything to do with its being blocked is unclear, as the video search feature had long been blocked while it was a part of Live Search in China.