Attempting to shake Google’s leading position in the Search Engine market, Microsoft has unveiled plans for a new cashback program for Live Search users. Products bought from internet retailers found through Microsoft’s Live Search could earn as much as a 30% rebate.
Here’s how it should work: a user will search for a product on Windows Live Search. The engine will then find links to online retailers for the product. When the user then buys that product from the retailer’s site, they will get 2 percent to 30 percent of the purchase price back as a rebate.
It isn’t clear how the rebate will be paid, but it is clearly targeting the core of search engine advertising business.
“This is giving you a reason why you should use a particular search engine,” Microsoft Chairman Bill Gates told attendees at the Advance 08 advertising conference. Unfortunately for Bill, there already are reasons why people choose ‘a particular search engine’. It’s just that that search engine isn’t Live Search.
At the moment, Live Search is a distant third behind Google and Yahoo in the search engine business and this isn’t the first time the software giant has waved money under users’ noses to try and get more traffic. Microsoft once offered large companies software and service credits as an incentive to get employees using Live Search in the workplace.
Will it work? Obviously the idea that you might be able to save some extra cash simply by having a go at Live Search is one that’ll make a lot of people consider trying it out. Then it all depends on how well the scheme is implemented as to whether they keep going back.
But Live Search’s biggest problem is really that we’ve all become so comfortable with Google over the years and we know what to expect from it. Live Search is just different but doesn’t actually do anything different.
I’d also love to know the number of Live Search users who use it to search for Google. The fact that Google has now transcended mere brand name status to become a verb meaning ‘search on the internet’ is probably an insurmountable obstacle for rival engines. Although out right bribery will probably help, it’s not going to cause a mass defection from the other search engines.