Bing tries rewarding search engine users

A switch incentive

Microsoft search engine Bing has launched a loyalty system, in an attempt to narrow the 50 per cent market share gap between Bing and Google. The preview is currently limited to the US, and only works on Internet Explorer on a Windows computer. Signing up also requires adding the Bing bar to the user's browser, which incorporates a Rewards Counter and Bing search box.

Registering to take part will be rewarded with a 250 credit bonus, and there will be regular specials to gain more points, such as by setting Bing as the default search engine or homepage. The current offer awards one credit for every five Bing searches, with a maximum of eight credits a day.

Therefore, running 40 searches a day for 67 days could earn users a $5 (£3.20) giftcard for Amazon.com. Other rewards include Bing merchandise, DVD players (4,079 credits), cinema tickets (1,506 credits each) and donations to charity.

Tracking success

According to the Bing FAQ, the Reward Counter will also monitor "interaction with Bing and different search engines including the number of web searches you do each day, the types of searches you complete (such as for news or images), and the number of search ads you click on". The results, which could be stored for up to 15 months, could have very useful implications for Microsoft's PPC sales.

Microsoft's original reward scheme was Bing Cashback, which was cancelled in June due to lack of users. A year earlier, the SearchPerks promotion ran for just six months. Neither promotion noticeably improved search engine traffic, but Bing Rewards is officially just a preview: user feedback will apparently shape the finished product.

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