17 Jul 2009 Microsoft Bing Bungled?
So there I am, wondering what would be a nutritious meal to provide for my family, when I decide upon some Chinese food because you know that stuff is healthy because it has vegetables inside. As with most Chinese meals it came with some fortune cookies. Each of us took one cookie. I opened mine, unraveled the little piece of paper, and was greeted with this little nugget of usefulness:
I spit out my boneless spare rib in what can only be described as the best ever spit-take in the history of our household. Congress still talks about it to this day although I am starting to get the sense that she doesn’t think it was all that awesome but it was definitely memorable. And yes, that is a speck of boneless spare rib above the ‘N’ in Lucky Numbers. Anyway, I had to read this more than once to really understand what it was saying to me.
The Chinese word for “disease” is…Bing?
Someone at Microsoft must have been aware of this, right? Or did they just assume that no one in China would be allowed to use Bing so it wouldn’t matter what it was called? And how does this affect me when I talk about Bing? If I am in a Chinese restaurant and using my Blackberry (I know, what are the odds on that?) and I turn to Congress and happen to say “Bing” are the people there going to think I have the Swine Flu or something?
And what about the whole Bing-Bang-Bung thing I trademarked last month? Is that now worthless because about 20% of the world’s population will think I am talking about some disease?
This reminds me of many other marketing oversights, but only time will tell if Microsoft gets added to that list. By the way, those numbers were not all that lucky. I mean, they didn’t put me on an island in the middle of nowhere, but they didn’t exactly do all that much for me either, though I suppose they could have prevented me from being marooned somewhere so maybe they were incredibly lucky and I just don’t realize it yet. I suppose I could Bing the numbers to find out more about them, but I don’t want to contract some virus or disease.
Maybe I could use Bing to Google the numbers, which would be similar to wearing a surgical mask in order to prevent getting the Swine Flu because when you are wearing the mask it is that much harder to eat bacon or other pork products. I really liked using Bing, but I really don’t want to risk getting a disease.