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I just wanted to get this out there before it becomes old news. Last week Microsoft made another bold move to gain market share in the search industry. After running some Beta tests last year, Bill Gates announced they will be pushing forward with their Microsoft Live Search Cashback program. In short, advertisers in the e-commerce division of search marketing (e-commerce accounts for 30% of searches, but 80% of search revenue) can now switch to a Pay Per Action model instead of Pay Per Click. Translation: advertisers can set a bid for how much they’re willing to spend when a search query turns into a sale. With 61% of e-commerce purchases originating in the search engines, this is a significant move. In addition to basically guaranteeing the advertiser is getting some business for their click money, Microsoft also created an incentive for the shopper.

To draw people like you in, Microsoft decided they would offer Cashback savings to users who buy using their engine. What does it all mean? Microsoft will basically pay you to shop with them/pay you not to use Google. During the shopping process, in addition to browsing to find the lowest prices, their results page will show which purchases quality for the Cashback program. After the purchase is made, they will deposit the amount listed right into your account, no hassles. While this is a bold move (and one that is highly unlikely to generate much revenue), the beta tests did help them accomplish their goal last year: gain search market share. During the beta-tests, Microsoft’s market share jumped from 10.2% to 13.2%, a near 30% jump. With the new Live Search Cashback system in full swing, and even more straight-forward, we can expect an even larger increase.

For some screen-shots & more information, check out: Live Search Cashback


2 thoughts on “Microsoft Cashback
  1. Jessica Como says:

    I think I’d be willing to pay a little more and use Google. I am not sure a few extra pennies is worth the extra time it takes me to get around MSN. That’s just me.

  2. Amanda Moshier says:

    Agreed. MSN is one big confusing mess. Why waste time digging for what you need when it is easily found in Google? And how do you know MS is offering the best price? By trusting their results? It seems desperate to me. The ship is sinking and they are throwing out a lifeboat.

    At the same time, however, I’m intrigued by the fact their beta tests produced promising results – and I imagine there are consumers out there who love the idea of getting money back when making a purchase. I’m interested to see how this fares long-term.

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