Philanthropy Controversy: Bing Education

bing education
Bing Education
Do you fancy big business doing philanthropy? Bing is doing it right now – Bing donates $3 for each person set it as default browser – and it stirs quite a controversy.

Well, maybe not Internet-wide controversy – but it is in one of Webmaster forums I often tap for trends and opinions. Check out this particular thread on DigitalPoint forums about Bing’s recent philanthropic campaign to help students gain better education through donation.

Here’s how the donation works, according to Bing:

Choose Bing and we’ll send you a $3 donation code to use towards a public school classroom project of your choice on This money can give a new reader a copy of “The Wizard of Oz,” an inkpad to a budding artist, or four new compasses to young urban explorers.

I generally respect those who are trying to do their best to help others, regardless of what motives behind doing it. Unfortunately, I have to agree to the forum members’ opinions: Bing is doing philanthropy as a marketing tool, and it’s a total turn-off.

bing philanthropy controversy
Bad philanthropy
I don’t know about you, but it’s better for me to get this offer, “Buy this product and we’ll donate 10% to a charity of your choice,” than “Choose us and we’ll donate $3 if you do so.” The former lets me know that buying the product I want can have another good impact for others. The latter lets me know that if I choose something I don’t really want, yet, can impact others positively. A slight different in logic, but big difference in my perception regarding the business doing it – of course, I fave the former.

I’ve written an article some time ago that is also raising some opinions: Philanthropy – A Good Business Practice, But Unethical? This article is one of’s top articles because I question the motives of businesses doing philanthropy – and not many really agree to my arguments.

I mean, giving back is a great deed, but what’s so great if you are doing it under heavy press coverage? It’s like you are helping someone in need and tell others, “Everybody, look – I donate big time! Yay!”

Bing is doing what I question in the article: They are doing what I view as using philanthropy as search engine marketing and branding purpose. I’m not alone – here are some comments worth noting from the DigitalPoint forums’ thread I mentioned above (unedited):

“no the point is, are they actually doing it or its just to gain the search engine marketing… Nd how are they tracking this setting of default search engines from browsers =/” – Glock

“I think they are using the Three-Fifths compromise.

So what you can do is: Click SET AS MY DEFAULT BROWSER AND DONATE, then click CANCEL, then type your email, and help charity!

WANT TO GIVE A TON OF MONEY? Make an email address that sends wildcard * to a specified email address. Keep asking for codes. Use them multiple times on the donor website on a single account. = Donate $40,000!! !!!” – Furca

“You mean, of the millions and millions of people on the internet, and the tens of thousands of Microsoft employees, they could only get 13,000 to do this? How lame Bing and Microsoft are that they can’t even get their own employees to do this. LOL!” – drhowarddrfine

“They are desperate for market share.” – DailyCashSaver

“Nice of them to do it but do you actually think they give two damns about charity? They’re just trying to use this as another marketing tool” – YugoSlavac

“Another, this is a desperate move to be done by them. I hope they can find another way of doing this. They can just encourage visitors and tell them why they should be making Bing as their default search engine.” – rob485

Well, it’s better to do something than nothing, indeed. The students get what they deserve, and Bing gets the market share. But it doesn’t seem to be ethical, in my opinion. What’s your opinion?

Ivan Widjaya
Philanthropy controversy