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October 2, 2008

Yet Another Microsoft Pay-To-Search (And More) Attempt

Microsoft has announced yet another pay-to-search Windows Live promotion, called SearchPerks!.  Even though MS didn't purchase Yahoo! they still managed to appropriate the ! for something associated with search, so that gambit wasn't a complete loss.  SearchPerks! stands along side the Live Search Club and Search and Give, though none of the searches in those promotions can be used in SearchPerks!.

The program is simple for the user.  Sign in with a Windows Live or other Microsoft generated ID at the SearchPerks! home page and earn up to 25 tickets per day redeemable for prizes at the end of the promotion.  The promotion started yesterday and ends on April 15, 2009.  The promotion is limited to the first million unique sign-ins, so get in before they are all gone.

The focus of the program (as all of the others) is to get people using Microsoft's search engine, but something else is going on here.  People tally their tickets using the Perk Counter which is a piece of software that does a bit more than tally the number of tickets earned.  From the SearchPerks! FAQ:

The Perk Counter is a piece of software that counts the number of Web searches you do each day on different search engines; the types of searches you complete, such as for news, images or shopping, etc.; and the number of online ads you click on. It also sends which search toolbars, if any, are installed on the computer. The Perk Counter doesn’t record the search terms you use, which websites you visit or the content of the ads you click on. The Perk Counter will send your search data to Microsoft on a daily basis. If the search data doesn’t get sent, the Perk Counter will try to resend. The Perk Counter data will be used for the SearchPerks! promotion and will not be associated with other personal information Microsoft may have collected; and we won’t share any information with third parties.

If this text is accurate, it seems that Microsoft wants to know what other search engines are searched by the same individual, what type of information is sought, exclusive of search terms, and the toolbar configuration.  None of this really has anything to do with promoting a search engine.  Oh,and there's a bit more.  The program only works with XP or Vista and requires Internet Explorer 6 or higher.  No Firefox, Chrome, or Safari allowed.  To get something (tickets and prizes) you have to give up something (other web search information, the freedom to use non-MS products).  At least they tell you up front.

The sign-in page is here (IE and Windows only, please), and the FAQ is here.  [MG]

October 2, 2008 | Permalink

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