In early April of this year I bought a pair of Rollerblade in line skates to zoom around the park on while running Rain, the immutable malapuppy. Learning to stay upright at least most of the time wasn't very hard - but just about the time that I was ready to declare success, I hit a snag - specifically a sharp left turn during which the boot sheared off the right skate.
The local sports store (Bert and Mac's) I got the skates from was very nice about it: when Rollerblade couldn't repair the damage or replace the skates because they had no other size 13+ units in stock, they contacted all of their Canadian dealers only to find one size 13 skate, an older model, that turned out to be seriously too tight - so I got a full refund instead.
Since waiting for next spring's container from Thailand really isn't my thing, I fired up google - where the search Rollerblade Crossfire 8.0 2008 produced a claimed 32,600 hits. The first page offered four side bar ads of no interest, three specific outlet ads none of which had the product in my size, and five hits on directory services like nextag that never seem to connect you to anything of the remotest value.
In general, about two thirds of what google sends you in response to product or service searches is worse than useless in that it wastes your time even in rejecting it for consideration. Try, for example, finding carriage bolts or granite paving stones in your neighborhood.
In contrast, the same search carried out on Microsoft's bing site produced only a claimed 843 hits, but nine of the first ten had real value in terms of chasing down the product.
Microsoft actually had one more ad (5 vs 4) on the right than google, but overall its search results were significantly less polluted by useless and misleading hits.
So here's the shocker: I'm about to say something nice about Microsoft - okay maybe it's that 4th of July effect, (and congratulations to those of you attending tea parties!), but the bottom line has been that in a half dozen recent searches bing has worked better for me than google.
Counter-intuitive isn't it? and maybe it's simply because the parasite directory operators haven't focused in on bing yet - but if Microsoft can keep them out of the hit lists, they'll get my business every time.