Microsoft Offers 'Cool Prizes' to Search Users

In quest for traffic, will give away t-shirts and games for using its site
By Asta Hostetter,  Newser User
Posted Nov 8, 2007 9:54 PM CST
Microsoft Corp. Chief Executive Officer Steve Ballmer, reacts during Tech.Ed, a technology conference at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing, China, Wednesday, Nov. 7, 2007. (AP Photo/Ng Han Guan)   (Associated Press)
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(Newser) – Google this or Google that, the website that’s also a verb dominates the search engine market, but Microsoft is trying to increase its foothold in the search market with its “Live Search Trial Program”—which rewards users every time they use the MS engine. MarketWatch reports 4,000 participants will earn tickets each time they search, which can then be turned in for t-shirts or video games.

A similar promotion in early summer increased Microsoft’s share of the Internet search market by 77%. By September, however, their 12% share of this profitable market lagged behind Yahoo’s (19.5%) and Google’s (54%).  Microsoft desperately wants to expand its presence: search is the most valuable Internet service because of the profitability of associated ads.