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Bing battles Google’s credibility with new campaign

BY CSA STAFF

Microsoft has taken offense to the practice of paying to improve one’s ranking in Google search results and has launched a campaign touting its "honest" search results.

Google is the leader in search, but Bing contend the company has begun a "pay-to-rank" practice whereby companies ranking in product searches is determined by how much they pay. Bing derides the practices as being "Scroogled," and said its approach provides consumers with more credible results.

"We don’t let who pays us for ads or other services affect how your search results are ranked," said Mike Nichols, Bing’s chief marketing officer. "Search, as a business, depends on consumer trust, and that requires keeping search results and ads separate. With Google Shopping the wall between search results and ads is gone — and so are several popular shopping sites. At Bing, we’re committed to keeping ads where they belong and will continue to deliver the most relevant search results possible."

With the Don’t Get Scroogled campaign, Bing is talking to holiday shoppers about the importance of getting unbiased, comprehensive search results when they shop online — and how changes at Google Shopping could leave them with fewer choices and higher prices this season.

Beginning today and continuing throughout the holiday shopping season, the Bing-sponsored "Don’t Get Scroogled" activities will appear online and offline, demonstrating why consumers should be concerned and helping them take action. Bing also said it was calling on Google to stop its "pay-to-rank" system for their shopping results and provide shoppers with honest search results.

Bing is urging consumers to visit http://www.scroogled.com to learn more about how to avoid getting "Scroogled," and renewing its commitment to the old rules of search by delivering objective results.

"We won’t let who pays us for ads or other services affect what you see in your shopping search results,’ according to the company. "We won’t switch to pay-to-rank to allow fees to influence the ranking of shopping search results. In short, we think that too many shoppers who use Google for their shopping are getting "Scroogled" when they should be getting fair, honest, open search results."

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NACDS raises $1.8 million at New York dinner

BY CSA STAFF

ALEXANDRIA, Va. — The 14th annual National Association of Chain Drug Stores Foundation dinner raised nearly $1.8 million, which will benefit research, charity and scholarships.

The dinner, which took place in New York Tuesday night, included a keynote address by former secretary of state and chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, retired Gen. Colin Powell, who reflected on its five decades of leadership. NACDS Foundation president Kathleen Jaeger said during her remarks at the dinner, "We could not do the important work of the foundation without guidance and leadership of our supporters and friends. We’re researching ways to help patients manage their medications better. We’re researching new ways to advance patient health in emerging healthcare models. We’re introducing higher education and research opportunities to evaluate innovative practices that offer increased access to millions of patients."

The NACDS Foundation also recognized recipients of the 2012 Excellence and Patient Care Awards, Brigham & Women’s Hospital and Harvard University Medical School clinicians and researchers Michael Fischer and William Shrank. Fischer and Shrank, who researched interventions to improve medication adherence, were selected from among researchers, organizations and advocates for their work to advance patient care, each receiving a $5,000 grant to continue advancing their work.

The dinner also included "Together," a video designed to show the foundation’s mission of advancing patient care through community pharmacy with research, education and charity, highlighting partnerships and collaborative efforts of allies focused on improving patient health and quality of life.

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If you can’t beat them, acquire them

BY CSA STAFF

Branded food supplier ConAgra’s acquisition of private label rival Ralcorp promises to create an interesting new dynamic when it comes to trading partner relationships.

Earlier this week, the companies announced they had reached an agreement valued at $6.8 billion whereby ConAgra will acquire Ralcorp for $90 a share to create one of the nation’s largest food companies with annual sales of roughly $18 billion.

"We are very pleased to have reached an agreement with Ralcorp after a period of collaborative dialogue between the two companies," said ConAgra Foods CEO Gary Rodkin. "Ralcorp is already the largest private label food company in the U.S. and is well positioned for future growth. The acquisition of Ralcorp is a logical and exciting step for ConAgra Foods. Adding Ralcorp provides us with a much larger presence in the attractive and growing private label segment and accelerates our ‘Recipe for Growth’ strategy. The transaction will allow us to apply our scale and combined operational expertise to this important growth area, and will strengthen our position as one of the leading food companies in North America."

The deal also promises to change the nature of conversations ConAgra has with some of its trading partners who, to varying degrees, rely on the prospect of private label competition as a negotiating strategy with brand suppliers. ConAgra was already generating private label sales of $950 million, but the deal makes the company the nation’s largest supplier of private label food with annual sales of $4.5 billion.

"We believe the balanced combination of our very significant branded food business, the largest private label food business in North America, and our important commercial food businesses, will enable ConAgra Foods to deliver even greater value and innovation to our customers and consumers, and sustainable profitable growth to our shareholders," Rodkin said.

"We believe the two companies are a great fit, and our employees will benefit as part of a larger diversified organization with the necessary scale and resources to be a leader in today’s rapidly evolving marketplace," said Kevin Hunt, Ralcorp’s president and CEO.

Ralcorp said the deal aligns with its 18 month old Recipe for Growth strategy which includes expansion in the private label segment, growth in its core business and adjacencies, and expansion internationally.

Ralcorp’s private label offerings include categories such as cereal, pasta, crackers, jellies and jams, syrups, frozen waffles and more. ConAgra is best known for brands such as Banquet, Chef Boyardee, Egg Beaters, Healthy Choice, Hebrew National, Hunt’s, Marie Callender’s, Orville Redenbacher’s, PAM, Peter Pan, Reddi-wip, Slim Jim and Snack Pack.

 

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