Tuesday, March 22, 2011

How Google and Bing brands fared on Twitter after Japan quake

The Twitter backlash against Bing for using an earthquake fundraising campaign to promote itself has stung Bing and Microsoft's brand on Twitter.

Webtrends, a social media consulting firm based in Portland, analyzed 500,000 mentions of Bing, Microsoft and Google related to the 9.0 earthquake and tsunami in Japan last week.

Google created a person locator application within hours of the earthquake Friday. On Saturday, Bing launched a fundraising campaign on Twitter, offering to give $1 to quake relief for each retweet. That campaign drew heavy criticism from Twitter users, who accused Bing of using the earthquake to promote itself. Bing apologized and donated $100,000 to earthquake relief. Bing also said it was working on getting satellite imagery to help disaster-response teams, which it was still working on securing as of Tuesday morning.

Webtrends found that of the vast majority of tweets that mentioned Bing and the earthquake, 95 percent were neutral. But of the mentions that expressed a sentiment, 68 percent of the quake-related tweets that mentioned Bing were negative and 32 percent were positive.

"Generally, mentions about Bing were retweets and neutral reporting of their efforts to raise money for the victims. which is great. Of the voices that had an opinion, and again, the volume was minuscule comparatively, they were mostly negative," Marko Muellner, director of marketing for Webtrends, wrote in his analysis.

The Bing campaign has also affected Microsoft's brand on Twitter. Tweets that mentioned Microsoft were 57 percent negative and 43 percent positive. This does not include neutral mentions, which made up 83 percent of tweets that mentioned Microsoft.

Tweets that mentioned Google were 12 percent negative and 88 percent positive. The results do not include neutral mentions, which made up 83 percent of the tweets that mentioned Google.

"Google has established itself as an online leader in disaster support by not only donating and allowing people to donate to victims, but incredibly quickly leveraging their tools to make a difference in the actual support efforts," Muellner wrote.

Muellner cautioned in his analysis that determining sentiment can be difficult: "Sentiment analysis like this is really tricky. In this case it's particularly hard because the subject is negative."

Here is our earlier story on the Bing backlash.

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