MSN Paying Searchers, Redux

    December 12, 2005
    WebProNews Staff

Bill Gates may entice Google searchers to give MSN Search a try by offering the ultimate incentive: cold hard cash from the Microsoft money pile.

The Wall Street Journal and numerous other sources have quoted Microsoft’s chief software architect on his company’s plans to make inroads against dominant online search company Google. Gates commented during a speech to business partners in India that he’s considering options to build search traffic.

In a transcript of his notes, Gates said: “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. 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.”

A Microsoft spokesperson quoted in the report said Microsoft had no current plan to do this but provided no further details about possible initiatives.

Microsoft is on the verge of making its AdCenter advertising service available in the United States; it has already been rolled out in France and Singapore. AdCenter could figure prominently should a deal with AOL take place to combine their ad networks.

Increasing the number of MSN Search users could help bring in advertisers, but some could be wary that a for-pay promotion may just deliver visitors seeking a quick buck and not ones who could convert to customers for a site.

Gates has discussed this topic before, in an interview with UK-based publication Computing that we mentioned back in November. Gates claimed Google makes $50 per user every year based on the searches they perform.

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