Microsoft Expands Program To Bribe Users Into Using Its Search

from the when-in-doubt,-bribe-users dept

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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Filed Under: bribes, search
Companies: microsoft

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  1. identicon
    Reason, 3 Oct 2008 @ 8:40am

    Why do they even bother?

    What I don't get is, why does Microsoft think they have to compete in every possible arena? Doesn't the company have enough money and products and income? Do they really need to compete in the search space (let's ignore the fact that they seem incapable of competing in the search space)? Why are they in the portal space? Does anybody really use MSN? Would you miss it if it disappeared tomorrow? Would you miss Live Search? For that matter, would you miss Microsoft Live anything? I had to use Microsoft Live Meeting for a webinar once (the vendor was a MS partner, and had already drank the Kool-Aid), and guess what? It sucked. Couldn't get it to work. GoToMeeting and Webex are orders of magnitude better.

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