Microsoft launched a rewards promotion today called SearchPerks to lure Internet users away from Google.
SearchPerks, which runs through April 15, is similar to airlines’ frequent flyer programs. Every time you use Live Search you earn points that can be redeemed for prizes like ringtones, Xbox games, and t-shirts.
Rewarding consumers to search is one way Microsoft hopes it can increase search traffic. The company ran tests on SearchPerks and found that people were three times more likely to use Live Search when they were offered redeemable points than when they weren’t. “People like to engage with us a lot more when they use SearchPerks,” says Frederick Savoye, a senior director on Microsoft’s search team.
SearchPerks is limited to the first 250,000 users in the United States that download a web application that records how many searches they do daily on Google, Yahoo or Microsoft.
Savoye says to maintain privacy the widget only tracks the number of searches and not the type of searches people do.
SearchPerk users get one “ticket” for every search done on Microsoft, and can receive up to 25 tickets a day.
On April 15, SearchPerk users can cash their tickets for prizes. Microsoft has not yet determined how many points you need to claim the freebies.
The program is currently available on Internet Explorer 6 or higher.
Savoye says engineers are also developing a version for the Firefox browser.
SearchPerks follows Microsoft’s launch in May of the cashback program that pays consumers when they buy products through Live Search. Savoye says SearchPerks is another piece of Microsoft’s plan to “innovate the search]business model.”
However, Microsoft Live Search’s share has dropped 1.5% since the start of the year.