Could Microsoft Pay Search Engine Users? Maybe Search Marketing Firms?

The WSJ latches-on to a comment by Microsoft Chairman Bill Gates where he suggests the company is considering paying searchers to use MSN Search.

“We’ll actually go to users and say instead of us keeping all that ad revenue, we’ll actually share some of it back with the user,” said Mr. Gates, according to a transcript supplied by Microsoft. “The user essentially will get paid, either money or free content or software things that they wouldn’t get if they didn’t use that search engine.”

Might we also see Microsoft paying commission to SEM firms? Having discussed Microsoft’s potential agency relations with senior execs, I highly expect Microsoft to offer a revenue-share/agency discount to search marketing firms.