Attention! Bing Search API pricing skyrockets by up to 1000%

Martin Brinkmann
Feb 17, 2023
Updated • Feb 20, 2023

Microsoft announced a pricing update for the companies Bing Search API recently that increases the price by up to 1000% for some transactions.

Organizations and developers may use the Bing Search API in their products to pull data from Bing Search. Search engines like DuckDuckgo use data provided by Bing, among other sources, when users search.

Microsoft notes that Bing Search APIs will increase in price from May 1, 2023 on in all markets. Customers who use the API will be charged the new price from that day going forward. The company explains that the "new pricing model reflects more accurately the technology investments Bing continues to make to improve Search".

Microsoft invested US$10 billion in OpenAI recently, and has started to integrate AI products created by the company, such as ChatGPT, into Microsoft products. Microsoft Bing Search is one of the first, but Microsoft Edge and Microsoft Office will follow later this year.

Bing Search API Price explodes

Microsoft lists various instances, transactions, features, and the current and new price. The only instance without a price change is the free instance. It is limited to 1000 transactions per month, and that remains across all major Bing features. These features include Bing News and Image search, Web search, but also autosuggest and spell check.

A transaction is a successful Bing Search API call.

The price of all other API instances increases significantly from May 2023 onward. Instance S1's price, for example, increases from $7 per 1000 transactions to $25 per 1000 transactions. This is not the largest increase, however. Instance S2's price jumps from $3 for 1000 transactions to $15, and the price for Bing Statistics Add-in transactions jumps from $1 per 1000 transactions to $10 per 1000 transactions.

Bing API pricing with large language models, which ChatGPT falls under, starts at $28 per 1000 transactions for less than 1 million requests per day, and jumps to $200 per 1000 transactions for over 1 million requests per day.

Are search engines like DuckDuckGo impacted?

It is unclear right now if third-party search engines like DuckDuckGo are impacted directly by the change. Large organizations may have custom agreements with Microsoft to utilize search APIs.

The change impacts all developers and organizations who query Microsoft Bing Search APIs in their products and do not have custom agreements with the company. It remains to be seen how these will react to the pricing changes.

Since the change is significant, some may not be able to support the change. Having to pay three, four or even five times for API calls in May 2023 may certainly be a dealbreaker for many.  One option that these companies and developers have is to switch to another search API. It is far from ideal, considering that search results may change when a different search API is used.

Closing Words

Only a few search engines rely on their own databases and crawlers. Brave Search, as an example, uses its own search technology, which makes it independent of Bing or Google, the major API providers. Other search engines, including DuckDuckgo, Startpage, Neeva and others rely on these APIs.

Now You: what is your take on this?

Microsoft increases Bing Search API pricing by up to 1000%
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Microsoft increases Bing Search API pricing by up to 1000%
Microsoft announced a pricing update for the companies Bing Search API recently that increases the price by up to 1000% for some transactions.
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  1. Anonymous said on February 20, 2023 at 1:07 am

    This entire AI nonsense has only served as a marketing ploy by Microsoft to promote the terrible Bing product.

  2. Gordon F. said on February 17, 2023 at 4:09 pm

    Doesn’t a price increase of 1000% indicate that M$ is getting out of the business? Unlike drug companies, they don’t (to my knowledge) have a monopoly to rely on. They aren’t going to beat Google, much less establish a monopoly as they did with Windows. So future efforts in that direction seem like a waste of time, especially since M$ is strongly profit-oriented and has not handled competition well unless they can overpower and destroy it.

  3. Colin Hayhurst said on February 17, 2023 at 2:37 pm

    Self-disclosure: CEO of Mojeek fully independent search engine here. Search users globally, no-tracking, We have a search API that is used by businesses (for search and ML), and as an alternative to Bing.

    1. Honorius said on February 22, 2023 at 11:26 am

      It’s great that Mojeek is independent of others and has its own indexes, but, I tried your search engine and the results are terrible. And on non-English queries the result is even worse.

      I understand that this is not your fault and you just do not have the means to make it noticeably better, but my attempt to switch to Mojeek, with all the desire, was not successful.

      But I’m still glad that someone is trying to make a real independent search engine.

      1. Chen said on February 27, 2023 at 6:50 pm

        Did you tried Usearch?

        They also have an independent search engine that has indexed 8 billion webpages so far. Additionally, they have their own technology for understanding users’ intent by simulating real user behaviors. They charge 0.5$ dollar per 1000 requests.

  4. ECJ said on February 17, 2023 at 11:58 am

    “…Other search engines, including DuckDuckgo, Startpage, Neeva and others rely on these APIs.”

    While the majority of search engines are just using Bing behind the scenes, Startpage does not – it uses Google.

    “…Brave Search, as an example, uses its own search technology, which makes it independent of Bing or Google”

    It’s expensive to index the entire web and keep it current, which is why the space is mainly dominated by Google and Bing behind the scenes. Given that Brave don’t appear to have any major infrastructure in that space, then their “search technology” is more likely just a Metasearch engine. However, that data still needs to come from somewhere. Has anyone asked Brave specifically where the main bulk of their search results come from behind the scenes?

    1. Jim Scott said on February 17, 2023 at 2:26 pm

      Correct. Brave use Bing results as backfill. Also a lot of their index is based on historical click data on Google results. They have an index but it’s heavily reliant on others.

    2. Martin Brinkmann said on February 17, 2023 at 12:32 pm

      Right, I meant that they do rely on APIs, not specifically on Bing Search APIs.

  5. yanta said on February 17, 2023 at 9:47 am

    You’re right about search results being different for each search engine, but probably not for the reason you think. Cencsoship is out of control everywhere. Google has massive black lists. Personally if Bing failed and shut downI’d be happy. Not going to happen unfortunately. It’s never been a decent search engine, and certainly not an unbiased, truthful search engine. Nothing Microsoft or Google is trustworthy.

    1. Anonymous said on February 20, 2023 at 3:47 am

      I tried the ChatGPT and i find that the answers are robotic and not accurate. Eg i search for a famous leader’s height, the answer is 10 cm off the record. There is no more links to websites. Anyway since i get to use google i dump all other search engine. I tried bing once and i never use again. I love google. It knows 98% of the time what i wish to find though i input limited information. One thing bad about google is that it returns too much results. Personally only first 2 pages are most meaningful. In short these AI is overrated. I prefer human answers instead although i must admit they may not be wholesome. Nevertheless google has helped me to filter the most relevant answers aming million.

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