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It seems like everyone and his dog has some sort of loyalty scheme nowadays. You can collect points when you shop in your local supermarket, when you take a trip in a plane and now, even when you Microsoft‘s Live Search. It’s a scheme called SearchPerks and is designed to allow web surfers to collect tickets (“points”) that they can redeem for various prizes. This technique worked for Tesco, so why shouldn’t it work for Microsoft?
Well, the bottom line is that Microsoft’s search engines consistently returns worse results than Google. Don’t believe me? Try it for a few days. You’ll find yourself switching back to Google when you REALLY need to find something. The problem that Microsoft faces is not one of getting people to try their product, the problem is that their search technology is inferior to Google, and at the end of the day, that’s all punters care around. You may attract a small segment of bargain hunters with this strategy, but as soon as you remove the incentive, you will lose them to other schemes like Homepage Friends, who pay hard cash if you search through them (using Yahoo! incidentally)
What do others think? Well, nobody really seems really convinced, with some parties actually finding the attempt hilarious. Begging people to use your products is no way to increase their confidence and it’s practically impossible to “earn” anything of value.
Once again, the search engine war is all about relevance, and until Microsoft get that into their head, they’re just going to keep pumping money into it for nothing. What a waste!