We’ve known for a while that Microsoft is not content being solely a software company. They know the Internet is a place they need to be, but so far they’ve struggled with trying to get people to use their search site. Google comes in first when it comes to search market share with Yahoo in 2nd and Microsoft in a distant 3rd. So what’s a company to do to lure in more users? Pay them cash!

Today Microsoft will be announcing a new program called Cashback in which they will give cash to users who use Live Search to search for products and then purchase them from stores online. They’ve partnered with companies like Barnes & Noble, Home Depot, Office Depot, Sears, and more. According to Todd Bishop over at Seattle P-I, Microsoft will give users anywhere from about 2% to 30% of the purchase price back in cash. Bishop points out how this move by Microsoft really shows they’re struggling. He says, “It’s an unusual move that illustrates the lengths to which the Redmond company is willing to go in its struggle to gain ground on the Internet search king.”

The site that Microsoft has put together for this program is already available for viewing. They explain the process in three steps:

  1. Search – search for cashback deals at search.live.com/cashback – results will clearly show how much cash you’ll get back by purchasing at certain retailers
  2. Shop – compare and sort products by the bottom-line price
  3. Save – once your cashback account reaches at least $5, and you’ve passed the 60 day wait period after your purchase (because of possible returns) you’ll be able to “claim” it – it’ll be deposited via PayPal, direct deposit to your bank account, or through a check in the mail

live search cashback.png

Taking a look at their FAQ page, it was interesting to see their answer of “Why are you paying me cashback?” to which they said, “We want to earn your loyalty and reward it with cashback savings for your everyday online shopping. We are “The Search That Pays You Back!”. I guess that sounds better than saying “We want to take down Google and Yahoo and we’re hoping by paying people to use our search, they’ll come back…”

Thanks for the tip Omar!