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MSN Live search offering rebates

Posted by Michael Bloch in online world (Thursday May 22, 2008 )

When I first heard about Microsoft again offering cash incentives for people to use Live search; a certain line from the song “Roxanne” by The Police played back in my mind.

As it turns out, online shoppers who sign up for MSN’s program, then buy *selected* items after using Microsoft’s special Live Search rebates site will get 2% to 30% cash back. It looks as though this is limited to US users as I can’t see anything about it on the Australian version.

Bill Gates has referred to the program as “super neat“. (Superfreak now playing back in addled brain). I guess it’s super neat for them as they aren’t paying the rebates – the retailers are :). They do have some big names involved such as eBay, Barnes & Noble and Home Depot.

They’ve got a lot of ground to make up – according to March results from ComScore, Microsoft had only 9.6% of search market share, well behind Google’s 59.2% and Yahoo!’s 21.6%

Rebates and coupons are great, but I think Microsoft are well off the mark if they are thinking this will change things for them in the world of search, even in a small way. They tried paying users before and that didn’t work.

Aside from improving their search technology, if they are going to fork out cash, perhaps they need to do what Google did in the early days; get on the good side of webmasters – for example pay webmasters each time someone performs a search from a MSN Live powered search box embedded on their site. I’m not kidding, Google did that – if memory serves correct, it was a penny per search. They ended the program in 2001 – can you imagine what they’d be paying out now if it was still running; it would be astronomical :).

I don’t bother much with anything MSN search related these days, but I do remember recently looking at their AdCenter affiliate program – well tried to anyway; they ended that too. It just seems to me that they really aren’t looking towards the ones who could help them most.


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