As more people continue to use search engines, the competition between the engines continues to grow. Google, has been the dominate force for several years. Its mission is to “organize the world’s information and make it universally accessible and useful”. Its relevant results and simple interface has earned its place as the most popular search tool in the US. Outside of relevant results, what else attracts people to use a particular engine?
A few months ago, MSN introduced Live Search’s cashback program, which allows searchers to earn cash back once they have purchased something on Live.com, from a participating advertiser. The searcher can recognize a cashback offer by seeing the logo below, next to a sponsored result.
In addition to the Cashback program, Microsoft recently launched its latest attempt to try and gain more of the search engine market share. SearchPerks gives users reward points/tickets, when they search on Live.com. In order to participate, users must sign up before December 31st and agree to download a small program called the Perk Counter, which tracks their search activity. Once the user is signed up, they immediately earn 500 tickets. Then, depending on how often a user searches on Live.com, they can earn up to 25 tickets per day. Once the promotion ends on April 15, 2009, the participating user will be able to redeem their tickets for prizes.
Is it time for search engines to try something new? Are users looking for something beyond what Google offers? In my opinion, the best gift an engine can give is a relevant result. Offering free prizes, in order to get me to search, does not appeal to me. However, maybe this promotion will appeal to others. It is still too early to tell if this will help increase Microsoft’s market share, but it should be interesting to keep an eye on.