What Would It Take To Get You To Switch?

    February 9, 2006

Elinor Mills posts that Yahoo sent out a survey asking what people would require in order to switch full time to using Yahoo Search.

Its an interesting idea, and might be the one killer way to stem the market share losses to Google. The list of incentives in the survey:

  • No Yahoo Mail ads.
  • Unlimited Yahoo Mail storage, versus the one gigabyte now provided for free.
  • Outlook Access to Yahoo Mail. Users could use Outlook or Outlook Express to manage their Yahoo Mail as well as download and read it while offline. This is not currently offered.
  • Five free music downloads a month for playing on a PC or portable MP3 player.
  • Discounted music subscriptions. Users would pay nothing for the first month of unlimited access to Yahoo Music Unlimited and $3.99 a month thereafter, rather than $6.99 a month for unlimited access.
  • Donations to charity. Yahoo would give a percentage of revenues generated from user searches to nonprofit organizations of the users’ choice.
  • PC-to-phone calling credit. Users could receive $5 in calling credit per month for PC-to-phone calls over Yahoo Messenger with Voice, which costs 15 cents a minute.
  • Netflix discount. Users could receive one month free Netflix DVD rentals and pay $10.99 thereafter, rather than $17.99 a month.
  • Discounted Yahoo Personals subscription. Users could receive the first month free for joining Yahoo Personals and pay $19.95 thereafter, compared to the current cost of $24.95 a month.
  • Frequent flyer miles. Users could earn 250 frequent flyer miles each month that could be transferred to most major airline mileage programs.

Its a tough call. 3,000 miles a year doesn’t add up that great, unless a free trip after a bunch of years is your thing. Saving $7 a month on Netflix seems like the top deal. $5 a month in VOIP credits is useless if you’re charging 15 cents a minute (now, $5 in Skype credits might tempt more).

Ultimately, if Yahoo wants people to switch, they’d have to pay a lot, since having to use a search engine makes it harder to get used to it. They’d probably have to pay more than its worth.

I’ve got an idea: Why not pay bloggers to switch for a year? No requirements, just switch. Given that most bloggers would blog it extensively, reviewing the search engine, learning its eccentricities, and hopefully giving it a fair shake they might not otherwise, now that would be worth the money spent. Hell, forget the money, I would switch for a year if it would get me to important conferences!

(via Thomas Hawk)

Nathan Weinberg writes the popular InsideGoogle blog, offering the latest news and insights about Google and search engines.

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