Population Statistic: Read. React. Repeat.
Wednesday, May 21, 2021

Unable to bolster its moribund position in Web search now that its attempted Yahoo! purchase has died, Microsoft has rolled out Plan B: Live Search Cashback. It’s an incentive designed to encourage user loyalty for all e-shopping comparison-pricing research.

Basically, Microsoft is so desperate to make up ground versus Google in this space that it’s willing to pay people to use its search services.

It’s not a bad idea, especially since consumers are so familiar with the concept via credit-card cashback/points schemes. But I wonder if it’s not targeting a relatively dead spot in the search spectrum.

Pure product-search engines aren’t all that popular compared to general search portals. Even Google stumbled in this arena: Its former Froogle dedicated-search portal underperformed so badly that it was quietly shunted to secondary status and rebranded to the bland “Google Product Search”. People seem to prefer starting out at their usual one-size-fits-all search portal, and then refining from there when comparison shopping. Given that, it’s iffy that they’ll be drawn to a specialty search interface.

But maybe that’s the opportunity Microsoft identified: A relatively unoccupied territory, and a potentially lucrative one since real ecommerce was involved. Juicing it with token amounts back to the e-shopper (I’m guessing pennies per purchase) might be enough to prime the pump.

by Costa Tsiokos, Wed 05/21/2008 10:30:46 PM
Category: Business, Internet
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