Microsoft Once Again Mulling Payments To Searchers

from the paid-search dept

Just over a year ago there was some discussion that Microsoft might start paying people to use its search engine, as a way of luring users away from Google. The company never implemented the plan and its share of the search market continues to languish. Now it's apparently revisiting the idea of paying people to search, although with a slight twist. John Battelle has obtained internal company documents suggesting that the company will give businesses free deployment and training services if they encourage their workers to use Microsoft Live search. Many companies write a hefty check to Microsoft each year, and the company is clearly hoping that they'll gladly switch search engines if it means getting a discount on Microsoft products. It's not exactly clear how companies will do this; presumably, they'd set up home pages and and search boxes to default to Live. But even if some companies opt to do this, it's hard see this move having a major impact on Microsoft's share of the market. If Live isn't deemed to be on par with Google, then employees will keep using Google, regardless of what the defaults are -- they'll just have to deal with the annoyance of an unnecessary hurdle. Ultimately, Microsoft needs innovation in the search space, not gimmicks and bribes, to make itself competitive in this market.

Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1. identicon
    Ajax 4Hire, Mar 16th, 2007 @ 10:25am

    I hear lawyers saying that Microsoft is using

    their monopoly in the OS market to dominate the search market. Combine this with Yahoo trying to make me feel eco-net-freakishly-friendly if I don't use Google.

    Success breeds contempt.

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

  2. identicon
    Andy, Mar 16th, 2007 @ 11:19am


    If users find the default search engine doesn't work for them (as well as some other does) and actually go to some other search engine, that could end up creating more brand recognition and strengthening the brand of the non-default.

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

  3. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Mar 16th, 2007 @ 12:02pm

    Re: branding

    users of the "default" search engine are very brand-loyal, using the "default" on whichever PC they're on--whatever that default may be!

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

  4. identicon
    TheDock22, Mar 16th, 2007 @ 12:13pm

    Re: Re: branding

    Huh? I've never heard of a person who likes using Google use another search engine just because it pops up as the default. I think you are completely wrong.

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

  5. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Mar 16th, 2007 @ 12:16pm

    Re: Re: Re: branding

    Maybe you just didnt understand. The user I hypothesized doesnt like using Google. They like using Default because all the understand is

    1. type information in box
    2. click something

    these people get phished when they get emails inviting them to do 1. and 2. because they dont understand where or when to do it.

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

  6. identicon
    billy, Mar 16th, 2007 @ 12:27pm


    The companies can just block Google!!!!!


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

  7. identicon
    Jason Galanis, Mar 16th, 2007 @ 12:28pm

    Another Futile Attempt

    Microsoft missed the boat on search and they continue to futilely make attempts at staking a claim, this will be just another unsuccessful try. Consider the New Age Work At Home Revolution, where the employee thrives off the freedom of working and producing, when and where they want. There won't be many companies willing to factor in a "one search engine default rule" into their freedom based work philosophy; if the employee makes their own work enviroment choices, they produce more.

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

  8. icon
    felix (profile), Mar 16th, 2007 @ 12:29pm


    Yeah, that sounds like it will really work! Amazon tried something similar, I'd say less harebrained, by offering that pi discount if you used A9, but there the search was right on the page and you got a personal (if minor) benefit for using it. That didn't work and this scheme seems even less credible.

    Sadly, techdirt hit the nail on the head - making an actually good sesarch is the solution not tricks to get people to use your existing one.

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

  9. identicon
    Tellme, Mar 16th, 2007 @ 12:30pm

    Microsoft just bought Tellme in hopes to improve their searching, but not over the net, over the phone.

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

  10. identicon
    Bob Sadler, Mar 16th, 2007 @ 12:59pm

    Here we go again....

    Once more the point I made just a few days back, is proven, and this time by Microsoft!

    Instead of coming out with a product that has features and uses that actually DRAW customers from their competitors, now Microsoft wants to BRIBE you away.

    This isn't really all that shocking, considering that MICROSOFT is the one doing it, but it just goes to prove my point, that companies, will do EVERYTHING short of coming out with a BETTER PRODUCT, to steal away customers from their competitors.

    What is so upsetting about this is that it seems this type of thought process has infiltrated just about every single company's decision making process. Whether they SUE, CALL NAMES, or now BRIBE, companies are spending their energies to convince customers that their product, and usually INFERIOR, is better then the one they are using. This is really a slippery slope, as companies seem to have lost the ability to innovate to win customers, and now just put out crap and then revert to name-calling, bribing, or suing, to win customers. Think of what this will give us, the consumers, 10 years down the road! Instead of innovation, we'll get crappy products with companies yelling at each other about who's is less crappier then the others.

    I really pity the generation coming after me, with all the technology and intelligence we are investing in our children, intead of teaching them to use those things to make a better product or be a better person, they will instead be told that, "it's useless to innovate. Instead, just yell real loud about how our competitor's product sucks".


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

  11. identicon
    Neurothustra, Mar 16th, 2007 @ 2:08pm

    I switched from Google to Live

    the search results are comparable, and I really like the way MS Live has built thier images search, as well as Live Local (Maps) - definitely better than Google in that respect. I wonder if google wouldn't be as popular if people weren't desperately finding a "good" corporation to love just so that they could give MS the finger.

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

  12. identicon
    TheDock22, Mar 16th, 2007 @ 2:22pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: branding

    Oh okay, I guess I was a little confused when you said brand-loyal. That usually means you dedicate yourself to one brand, so Google as an example.

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

  13. identicon
    TheDock22, Mar 16th, 2007 @ 2:24pm

    Re: Here we go again....

    Instead of coming out with a product that has features and uses that actually DRAW customers from their competitors, now Microsoft wants to BRIBE you away.

    Hey Microsoft! As long as you give me free OS upgrades to your Ultimate packages (like Vista Ultimate) I will not only use your search engine, but recommend it AND wear promotional advertising in the form of clothing. :)

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

  14. identicon
    red eyed vomit eater, Mar 16th, 2007 @ 4:29pm

    google v. microsoft

    Its my theory that people like Google, not so much because it works, but because it has a catchy name. You can "google" anything... but you can't "MS live" anything at all... it just doesn't make any sense.

    Let's face it... If it really all boiled down to using the best product available, nobody would be using Windows.

    Maybe Microsoft could call their search engine "Suck"... then if we wanted to search for something, no longer would we have to "google it"... we could all just "Suck it".

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

  15. identicon
    ., Mar 16th, 2007 @ 8:45pm

    All I got to say is.....

    DAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAMN! Great idea Red Eyed Vomit Eater.....(great name by the way>...)...

    Maybe they can tie it in with WWE and Degeneration X. You could have Triple H and Shawn Michaels on your TV saying, "We got just 2 words for ya... SUCK IT!" Then cut to your mom hunched over....a computer screen, then she looks up and says, "I sucked it!". . .

    I think I'll go Google NCAA basketball scores now...

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

  16. identicon
    Ben Yahuda, Mr, Mar 18th, 2007 @ 6:40am

    Live vs. Google

    I primarily use Google but on occasion give Live a try. At present there is really no comparison regarding the results. Google consistantly outperforms live in every way that I need. Number of results, quality of results and speed.

    Microsoft still has a long way to go in its' quest for search engine relevancy.

    This comes from a bit of a Microsoft fanboy. So my experience should be biased towards M$. As my perseption is that Google is better, it probaly is.

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

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