Bing To Charge For Search API Calls

Martin Brinkmann
Apr 13, 2012
Updated • Sep 11, 2018
Microsoft, Search

Microsoft's search engine Bing did not charge third party developers for search api calls until now; this allowed developers with large, small and no budget at all to make use of the search results the search engine provided.  A recent blog post on the Bing developer blog indicates that this is going to change in the coming months.

Microsoft will move the Bing Search API to Microsoft's Windows Azure Marketplace, a place where developers can access data sets and apis the company maintains and provides access to.

The biggest change for all developers is that Microsoft will begin to charge for Bing Search API calls.

According to the blog post, pricing starts at approximately $40 for 20,000 queries per month. Additional pricing tiers have not been made available yet, and as it stands, the new pricing will affect both commercial and non-profit organizations, and large and small developers alike.

bing web search api

Update: Pricing details can be looked at on the Azure website. Pricing starts at $4 per 1000 API queries. End

The impact will be quite serious for a lot of developers. Here are some examples on how this may affect developers:

  • Developers who create apps that use Bing's Search API for free can probably not afford to pay for the search queries that users of their app make. A developer whose application makes 10,000 API queries per day would have to pay at least $40 per day to Microsoft. Problematic if the the app is offered for free and not sustainable.
  • Search engines like Duck Duck Go may have a hard time justifying the expenses.
  • Non profit organizations who utilize Bing search through the API as well may not be able to afford paying for api calls.

The biggest issue here is that all developers and organizations have to pay. From the Windows Phone developer who is offering apps for free to multi-billion Dollar organizations.

Microsoft confirmed that developers who use more than 3 or 4 million search queries per month "can expect to transition through a separate process" without going into further details how it will look like but it is likely that these higher end developers may be able to negotiate better deals.

The Bing team in a comment on the site mentioned that Microsoft is currently "thinking about ways to enable smaller scale applications to keep experimenting with the API".

Having to pay for search api calls could force a lot of developers to move away from Bing to a service that is not charging them for search api calls.

The Bing team notes that the transition will being in several weeks and take months to complete. Developers can use the new and old api during the transition. Once the period is over, the original Bing Searhc API 2.0 will no longer be accessible.

What's your take on the development?

Bing To Charge For Search API Calls
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Bing To Charge For Search API Calls
Microsoft announced in 2012 that it would start to charge for API calls made to various Bing services including Bing Web Search.
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  1. Roman ShaRP said on April 13, 2012 at 9:45 pm

    From my user perspective I’m unmoved: I didn’t use Bing, and I can’t name any app using Bing that I depend on. So I’m not concerned because I’m not forced to pay for something. AFAIK Google custom search remains free, and AFAIK that’s maximum what is needed for sites I use.

    1. Gonzo said on April 13, 2012 at 11:20 pm

      If you’re not paying for the product, you are the product. Evidenced by the privacy concerns surrounding most “free” online services.

  2. ilev said on April 13, 2012 at 5:58 pm

    Microsoft to sell Bing to Facebook ?

    Microsoft Swap Bing for Facebook Shares? That’d Be a Good Trade, Says Nomura

    In a brief item on CNBC earlier today, capital markets editor Gary Kaminsky made passing reference to a report that apparently claims Microsoft (MSFT) might be considering giving its “Bing” search operations to Facebook after the latter goes public, in return for additional shares in the social networking outfit.

    Kaminsky said he would make available more details on the report, though I’ve been unable to turn up that information through CNBC representatives….

  3. Morely the IT Guy said on April 13, 2012 at 4:31 pm

    Well, there’s an easy solution to that; just use Google instead.

    1. Anon said on April 13, 2012 at 6:33 pm

      Well, Google search api is also not free. After 100 free queries, $5 per 1000 queries, for up to 10,000 queries per day, which is much more costly.

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