Microsoft recently launched its Live Search Cashback service in the United States. The basic concept is that you have a free Cashback account and when you search Microsoft Live, you will earn a percentage of your online purchases. Once you’ve accrued over $5, you can get this rebate sent to you using the more common payment methods, e.g. direct deposit to bank account, Paypal or cheque.
Whilst very early days, and only available in the US, this at least offers a new twist on the business of search. Will it be enough to erode Google’s market share? Probably not. Do searchers really want to earn pennies per purchase or know that their search results provide them with the most accurate results and wide ranging choice?
Hats off to Microsoft for demonstrating that innovation within Internet search is still possible but I fear this will be no more than a minor inconvenience to Google in terms of the ‘search engine wars’.
What’s really needed is a fresh, innovative, dynamic company to enter the fray, take on the ‘big boys’, not do evil, not take over the Internet and not buy up every company that’s doing something good online. Any suggestions?