Bing Chat, the chatbot from Microsoft powered by OpenAI GPT-4, is currently experimenting with incorporating ads in its responses. While these responses are clearly labeled as sponsored, this move has led to debates about the advancement of search engine advertising and whether it’s a step forward.
Microsoft has acknowledged this experiment in a recent blog post, stating that they are exploring other opportunities for publishers, including over 7,500 partner brands of Microsoft Start. The company conducts meetings with partners to gain feedback on how to distribute content meaningfully and generates traffic and revenue for their partners.
Though, understandably, search engines require a certain level of monetization, it isn’t very pleasant to see sponsored responses rather than organic ones. It’s unclear to the user which responses are sponsored and for what reason. Additionally, if these responses contain political propaganda, they can have negative consequences.
Another concerning factor is that existing tools cannot block these ads. We may need a bot that replaces sponsored chatbot responses with alternative responses soon.
In general, it would be beneficial to have more consideration given to how ads are integrated, particularly given the evolving search engine model and the use of AI chatbots.