Posted October 3, 2008 12:52 pm by with 23 comments

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As you know, I’m quick on the trigger when it comes to giving Microsoft’s search incentive programs a hard time. Well, I try to be fair and balanced. With that in mind (gulp), Live Search Cashback might actually be working!

You heard me. New data from Hitwise suggests that Microsoft’s master plan is showing signs of success.

Eleven weeks ago, MSN Cashback represented 3.75% of the traffic to and grew to 6.29% last week. This rise in Cashback’s traffic underscores the interest in the program, which is likely to be getting a boost from shoppers looking to save money and stretch their budgets given the current economic climate.

And, while Live Search is not showing any increased market share, it’s audience share is stable–suggesting that perhaps Live Search Cashback is helping!

I’m still not convinced that bribery is solid plan to take on Google, but I’m ready to eat humble pie if Microsoft sees continued success. 🙂

  • “continued success” is the key here. Any program that gives away free goodies is going to be popular in the beginning. The true test is if it will continue, and if that new found traffic will convert. I am willing to bet that anyone that is willing to be bribed to try a product isn’t the type of person that you can easily extract value from.

    I am also willing to bet that the same folks that are taking advantage of these incentives are also using Google and other MS competitors more so.

    Joe Hall’s last blog post..Links are making people go crazy!

  • Its great to see that Microsoft is getting more traffic but how long will this success last?

  • PS3

    They are not exactly what I would call huge bribes. Certainly not enough to sway it for me, good search results is what matters at that level.

  • Adi

    Very early days for this iniative. It’s far from uncommon for new schemes to provide a bounce in traffic. The key will be whether these gains can be sustained over any length of time.

  • I dont think this really proves that cashback is working, only that those who already use Live are converting to cashback… which isn’t really saying much at all. If I already used them, and now they are offering me a chance to sign up for a program in which I would get money to use them… I think I would sign up.

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  • I actually haven’t heard of this initiative until now. People really embrace these kind of reward incentives for obvious reasons… that’s why sites like UPromise are doing great. Good to hear it may be working!

  • Proof that Money talks.

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  • We should not forget that MS still have HUGE capital as compared to google…

  • Incentivized…

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  • I agree that there has been some encouraging movement but I also believe that the timing for the launch could not have been worse. We need to give more time to see how or whether the momentum builds up. I think that it should.

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  • n almost 100% growth in traffic in eleven weeks is impressive indeed!

  • Money has always and will always talk. I’m impressed. Especially considering the shaky economy, yeah, I’m impressed.

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  • well microsoft having gud traffic is something that makes news because a large number of people i know visit microsoft’s websites only when they need some updates……….

  • I’ve found that Microsoft’s search engine isn’t as accurate as Google and I don’t really like the way their algorithm works. It takes them days to even find my website and update my serps. I only use Live Search for the cashbacks, and then go back to Google!

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  • well, if it works, and it’s good for consumers, then most people win.

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  • I guess this was a great idea after all. The cashback incentive is paying off.

  • If you look closely at the point system it is impossible to claim the top prize even if you carry out the maximum number of szearches every day of the competition. This is bogus to me…


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  • They want to share their green notes, why do we need to complain? lol..

  • MSN’s success is great news for incentive programs like and others. Given the hard economic times, incentive programs give the average consumer a way to save a few extra bucks when they shop, play games and fill out surveys. For the last two years, MyPoints has provided a toolbar that gives members points for searching the internet. The MyPoints toolbar installs right on your browser and provides results from Google, Yahoo, MSN Live Search, and Ask so our member is sure to get great results, making it easy to earn points.

    Members are awarded points that they then can redeem for gift certificates or gift cards from over 70 merchants.

    In the interest of full disclosure, I’m a employee and toolbar user but I’m pulling for MSN with the hope that our industry will get a little more publicity.

  • It’s a good idea shame they don’t do it for the UK. But if you search your find cashback sites.