Remember last week’s roundup about the originality argument between Google and Bing?  Well, the plot has thickened.  As reported by Danny Goodwin of Search Engine Watch, a recently released Hitwise/Compete report shows that Bing’s popularity is increasing online.  This is demonstrated in part from a 6% rise in Bing-powered searches (totaling now to 25.77% of the U.S. searches), and partially from Compete’s “success rate” metric, which Bing came out on top with at 81.38%.  Are these metrics plus Google’s accusations a sign that Google feels threatened?  Or is Bing’s success really not its own?  Stay tuned!  This will likely get more complicated in the weeks to come.

Attention all Mozilla Firefox users, your privacy features just got even better! In the release of their fourth version of the browser, Mozilla has included a do-not-track feature that can be applied under the general settings. Although this can be beneficial to the individual, this is bad news for paid search analysts. Under the new privacy feature, people can now opt out of providing the useful tracking data that SEM’s use on a daily basis. Although the feature is still in beta testing, this could lead to significant changes in the way we go about account optimization. What do you think of this shift in user privacy? Jack Marshall of has the full report.

As a follow up to Google’s announcement that they were introducing new reporting metrics on product extension ads, Jason Tabeling of Search Engine Watch wrote a nice article on how you measure free clicks (a new metric) in Adwords.  He also spent time sharing some of the observations he had about how free clicks appear in relation to other factors such as impressions and different browsing platforms.  It’s nice to know how to get stuff for free and as a SEM, clicks are a great thing to get!

Bing searchers in the US, your results are about to change! As Danny Sullivan of Search Engine Land reports, Bing has started delivering personalized listings based on a user’s past search history or their location. Bing is currently only testing this with navigational queries, whereas Google gives personalized results with many classes of searches. However, Bing may expand in the future. So how does personalization change your search results? Sullivan ran his own test, and you can check it out in his post!

You’ll definitely want to check out Jennifer Robertson’s post this week at Search Engine Land on using paid search to unite brands during a merger.  When two companies merge, it can be a confusing and difficult process.  Using paid search to bring the two brands together can help make the transition smoother and alleviate public concerns about the changes.  Jennifer has seven helpful tips to get the new company off to the right start while saving a lot of time and money.