Mashable, PLEASE! Pluck my Eyes Out!

Updated April 11, 2011

Doc Sheldon
Computer and desk

I WISH mine were this tidy!

I spend a lot of time at my computer. From roughly 8am ’til 11pm, seven days a week, with the occasional lunch, dinner or potty break. Now, I’d love to be able to say those are all billable hours, but sadly, they’re not. I have a lot of work, but I also have a lot of peripheral tasks. I read, for instance (when I’m not volleying ideas back and forth in the Dojo, sending off quotations or dipping my oar in some thread on a forum like V7N).

I have a list of about two dozen SEO and Marketing blogs that I keep a daily watch on, several feeds that I like to follow and two or three on-line newspapers that I like to at least scan. I also receive 300-500 emails every day, at least 100 of which bear close reading, and maybe 30 or 40 that require a reply. I keep a close eye on my Twitter stream and Facebook wall, and make it a point to keep tabs on what’s going on in the Dojo chat room.

In my “spare time”, I have a few sites I like to hit, just to see what’s going on in the world at large. Japan, Washington and the Middle East are three areas that interest me greatly lately. But the news from those three aren’t exactly uplifting. In fact, of the three, Japan’s situation is probably the least threatening to the rest of the world..

So I also try to hit a few spots now and then that aren’t necessarily work-related, don’t threaten my family with imminent extermination or are just plain interesting.

Mashable is one of those stops. I enjoy their Tech & Gadgets, Social Media and Startups sections, and give them a quick going-over almost every day.

At least, I did, until today.

Usually, I find Mashable’s write-ups to be fairly even-handed, often comprehensive and well written. Today was an exception.

Christina Warren’s piece, Could Bing Overtake Google in 2012? had me thinking WTF? From the very first paragraph.

Now don’t get me wrong… I like Ms. Warren’s writing. She’s normally very good at what she does. I just think that this time, she must have been in an awful rush to beat a deadline. Had she had time for a more leisurely proofread, she’d probably have realized that her logic held about as much water as an unstrung tennis racket.

The piece deals with data that shows that Bing/Yahoo has increased their collective search market share to slightly over 30%. Bing’s portion alone rose from 10% in Sept. 2010 to 14.32% last month. Fine there.

On the other hand, Google’s share has dropped from 72.15% last Sept. to 64.42% last month. Again, fine with that.

Combining the two firms’ numbers, Christina points out that each month, Bing’s market share has increased by five or six percent, while Google’s has decreased by two or three percent.  To put things in perspective, the Google/Bing ratio of 3:1 last fall is now only 2:1. Still fine.

Magician's HatThen, she goes on to extrapolate and graph when and where Bing will surpass Google’s search market share!

Maybe it’s my curse, but as an engineer, I can’t help but cringe when I see someone make such a leap. To think that either of those performance records would repeat themselves in a linear fashion is ludicrous. To further expound that both would do so…

No, Christina, I cannot say with any certainty that Bing WON’T leave Google eating their dust next January. However, I do feel comfortable saying that it’s highly unlikely, given the volatility of their market, the fickleness of their marketplace, the vast resources they both have to dedicate to such a race and a plethora of other variables.

To be fair, Christina did state that her chart assumed sustained gains and losses of each company, and that such was “extremely unlikely”.

Then I have to wonder, if you recognize that it’s extremely unlikely, why would you even put forth such a projection? Were you suddenly put under an unexpected deadline? Did someone leave Adam (Ostrow) in a lurch, and he had to call upon you to churn something out in an hour, to fill the gap?

It would seem that a couple of your readers also saw flaws in the logic, too:

  • Tien V Nguyen

    Last week I gained 2 pounds. At that rate I should easily gain 100 lb in a it stands to reason that in 10 years I will have gained 1000 pounds.

  • Anonymous

    I found a dollar this morning on the ground it took me 5 seconds to pick it up.
    At this rate in 10 years I will have made $5,256,000.

And to make matters worse, Ben Parr authored a VERY similar piece (but without the nice graphics that Christina put together), entitled Microsoft Bing Controls 30% Of Search Market, Google Slowly Sinking. I wouldn’t call them identical, but, come on!

You guys are better than this. You’re a news outlet, not a blog!

Please, Adam, Chris… pluck my eyes out!


  1. Charles Edmunds says:

    Nothing seems to get by you Doc! Good job on calling them out it was a pretty shitty piece!

    I think the best comparison was from anonymous about finding a dollar and turning it into 5 million over 10 years!

  2. My earlier reply got lost somehow, so I’ll try this again.

    You never know why a piece like that makes it to press, Charles. There could be a dozen things break down in the editorial process. I just hate to see misinformation, FUD and conjecture put out there like it’s valid information, because there’s no shortage of people that’ll believe it just because they “read it on the internet”.

    Thanks for stopping by and checking in… hope you make it back soon.