Bing and Hotmail

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Bing is shooting itself in the foot.  Their webmaster section cuts them off from the vast majority of the visitors who could contribute the most to the site.
How so?  Webmasters seeking to sign up for a Bing account are assumed to be using Microsoft web tools such as IIS.  Since IIS is only used on Windows web servers, all others are excluded.  Most websites are on Linux servers.
Bing could expand their market share by being inclusive, yet offer still more to those who use IIS for their sites.
Microsoft will remain an also-ran in email for the same reason as bing will remain an aslo-ran as a search engine.  Their staff can’t see out their own Windows.  This isn’t to take anything from the operating system, but to point out that not all Windows users wish to use ONLY Microsoft software.
Why should that matter?  Microsoft makes the assumption that anyone wanting Hotmail  will already have a Microsoft Passport, MSN account, Windows Live whatever, etc. or quickly sign up for one.  The same is true at bing.  Anyone can submit a website sitemap, but the webmaster tools are reserved for the privileged few and with the expectation that your website is on a Windows server utilizing IIS.  While Microsoft could certainly endear bing to webmasters using IIS with a special suite of tools, the fact on the net is that far more sites are on Linux servers.
In short, Hotmail and bing could garner more market share by being inclusive than insisting on Microsoft loyalty.
Update 12/27/12
I’ve reconciled with Bing for several reasons.

  • I had an account at Yahoo I maintained for the purpose of notifying them of updates to my sites, but the last couple of years I did this, Yahoo was sending all updates to Bing. Eventually, Yahoo took down their Site Explorer and deferred directly to Bing.
  • Once I set up the required email account to be able to use the webmaster tools at Bing, I found they had tools available for sites served on linux servers also.
  • Finally, it came to my attention that the Chinese search engine Baidu has partnered with Bing for searches and other services in English.