Now Yahoo's Trying A Search Engine Bribery Loyalty Program

from the incentives-everywhere dept

A couple months ago, Bill Gates got all sorts of attention for randomly musing that maybe Microsoft would start paying people to use its search engine. It was pretty clear that it wasn't an actual program in place, but just a thought. Later that month, Amazon's struggling A9 search engine began experimenting with a similar program, which few people noticed, because... well... few people notice A9. It would appear that the folks over at Yahoo have been toying with a similar idea, as they're quietly testing the idea of a program to reward users who make Yahoo their primary search engine. It wouldn't be payments in cash, but various rewards -- like standard loyalty programs. Users would have to use a special search page to prove they were regularly using Yahoo -- and the more they used Yahoo, the more they'd get in rewards. So, with all three of these companies talking about bribery as a method to steal users away from Google, it becomes increasingly clear just how "sticky" (argh, buzzword) Google really has become. Getting people to switch is not easy. It can't just be about catching up, or being marginally better -- but about being so overwhelmingly better that people can't afford not to switch. Or, failing that, it's good enough and it has kickbacks. Of course, as we noted when Gates made his suggestion, all of these "we'll pay you" type programs opens themselves up to serious gaming from scammers who will figure out a way to trick the system to their own advantage. In many ways, managing that level of "search fraud" may end up being a lot more costly than these companies expect.

Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1. identicon
    Evan, Feb 8th, 2006 @ 10:31pm

    No Subject Given

    I'd prefer money.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  2. identicon
    Brendan, Feb 8th, 2006 @ 11:21pm

    Re: No Subject Given

    I guarantee whatever yahoo can offer, google will double it.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  3. identicon
    jarhead, Feb 9th, 2006 @ 12:08am

    Iam already ....

    writing my scripts

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  4. identicon
    Jeremiah, Feb 9th, 2006 @ 12:12am


    According to Thomas Hawk, Yahoo!'s looking at using Netflix as bait...i.e., user our search engine and your Netflix gets cheaper.

    Speaking personally, I'd just prefer better search results.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  5. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Feb 9th, 2006 @ 12:24am

    No Subject Given

    Yea it seems that most of these search companies don't get it. We use Google because it has better results. The fact that these other companies can't understand why is just another reason why they'll always be behind.

    Every few months when I'm having a difficult time with a search I will test the waters with other search engines. If I ever started to get better results with other companies I'd switch.

    Even though now that my email is tied to google and easily accessible via custom homepage has made it even more of a difficult choice to switch.

    So basically Google would have to seriously screw me over for me to switch.

    Well played Google... well played indeed...

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  6. identicon
    ShaolinTiger, Feb 9th, 2006 @ 12:52am

    No Subject Given

    I wouldn't say Google has 'better' results, I'd say it has more complete results..

    Or it did, it seems to have been rather slow in the past few months, and has been behaving oddly.

    I have to say the new MSNbot has come along very well.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  7. identicon
    Milan, Feb 9th, 2006 @ 12:56am

    Yahoo lost its customers

    What does Yahoo expect, they dont care about privacy of their users, so let them go to hell. Google is the way.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  8. identicon
    Anarchy_Creator, Feb 9th, 2006 @ 1:30am

    I'd never desert Google

    I don't care if they payed a quarter per click I'd never stray from Google.

    Although I would scam the shit out of whoever was doing the paying with phoney searches. Whilst still using google for my actual searches.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  9. identicon
    CUrob, Feb 9th, 2006 @ 4:41am

    No Subject Given

    ah, someone has already tried a "reward for using"'s called
    It sucks.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  10. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Feb 9th, 2006 @ 12:59pm

    No Subject Given

    I use the paid Yahoo email and I also host my domain there, so if they waive both annual fees I would be happy to switch. Micropayments? Not interested.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  11. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Feb 9th, 2006 @ 8:06pm

    No Subject Given

    just sad .. for microsoft..

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  12. identicon
    kalbzayn, Feb 15th, 2006 @ 11:07am

    Why don't they...

    just buy and save all of their developers a lot of time. Plus, they would already have a built in user base.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

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