Incentive To Grab For Google’s Share

    February 20, 2006
    WebProNews Staff

Speculation abounds about the future of search and the dominance of Google, as rivals Microsoft and Yahoo ramp up their search engines and consider incentives for people to use their search.

Incentive To Grab For Google's Share
Convincing People To Leave Google

Amazon’s A9 search usage has been the key to a 1.57 percent discount off items sold on the retailer’s website. To get that “piece of pi,” users have to install the A9 toolbar and use it for an unspecified number of searches to trigger the discount.

In recent weeks, Yahoo sought feedback on a potential promotion that would provide various incentives to users of a special Yahoo search toolbar. Frequent flier miles and Netflix discounts were listed among the suggested incentives.

Bill Gates suggested last year search engines may have to start paying their users. He said Google makes $50 per user every year based on the searches the user makes.

But Microsoft isn’t quite ready to pay search users yet. Its recently announced contest invites users to take a chance at winning prizes while using MSN Search. That three-month promotion offers the three big cash prizes of ten-, twenty-five- and fifty thousand dollars as charitable contributions on behalf of the searcher who finds them.

UK publication The Observer noted the biggest challenge to MSN and Yahoo, search relevance, would be one they address better this year:

Yahoo! says its new system will present advertising relevant to the search in hand and therefore more likely to be clicked. Microsoft will launch Windows Live Search, which will simultaneously search across the internet, desktops and mobile devices, to get ‘fast access to real answers, rather than hundreds of pages with thousands of links’.

The problem for Yahoo! and Microsoft is that the public can associate searching just with Google; both companies need attractive incentives to win customers and, in turn, advertising revenue.

That advertising revenue in play comprises billions of dollars, and will continue to grow year over year. It’s no surprise that Yahoo and MSN want to get a larger slice of the revenue. And Amazon recently confirmed it has been trying out ad advertising network that delivers ads on third-party sites like Google’s AdSense does.

MSN launches its adCenter service in July, after its existing contract with Yahoo’s Overture search marketing unit ends. Google has to hope its relevance can keep searchers coming to it for search, and maintain its market share and its lead in the search advertising field.

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David Utter is a staff writer for WebProNews covering technology and business.