by Mike Masnick
Thu, Oct 2nd 2008 5:09pm
A few years ago, Bill Gates had indicated that if all else failed in winning over users from Google, Microsoft was prepared to resort to bribing users to use its search engine, rather than the competitors'. Back in May, this plan kicked off for certain product searches, where actual buyers would end up getting cash back. But, that's rather limited to a very specific type of search and very limited results. So, it shouldn't come as much of a surprise that Microsoft has now opened up a new program, called SearchPerks, which is an attempt to bribe users to use Microsoft's regular search. Of course, the incentive isn't very strong. It only works in Internet Explorer, and you get a tiny number of "points" each time you search, and you need a lot of points to redeem prizes. It's kind of like those silly carnival games, where the amount of effort you need to actually win enough tickets to get anything makes the whole prospect of participating worthless. Unless, of course, you figure out how to game the system, as many users did on Microsoft's earlier attempt. Still, it's rather telling that Microsoft is still resorting to trying to bribe users to use its search engine. Where are all those people who insisted that Microsoft could beat any competitor at will because it was so big, and all it needed to do was copy them? That doesn't seem to be happening in search.
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