On the heels of canceling its Bing Search Cashback program, Microsoft is trying its hand at another attempt to increase search share using rewards.
The newest program, Bing Rewards, is similar to credit card or airline loyalty programs that offer users points that can be redeemed for products, gift cards or charitable donations, Search Engine Land explained.
Points don't come cheap, however. To participate, users need to be running Windows; to sign up for a Windows Live ID; use Internet Explorer and have the Bing Bar toolbar. No other browsers or operating systems are allowed.
Bing Search Cashback was hardly Microsoft's first attempt to incent users with cash, points and prizes to use its search engine. There was Live SearchPerks, the Live Search Club, Live Search CashBack and an even earlier program, known as “Service Credits for Web Search,” via which Microsoft signed up businesses to require and/or encourage their employees to use Live Search in exchange for lower software prices.
Microsoft execs are playing up the new Bing Search Cashback as being more about increasing Bing user engagement than about making any major search gains.
I'm not sure why Microsoft's being so restrictive on the requirements front with Bing Rewards. I'd think the Softies would welcome any operating system and any browser, as long as users were willing to "Bing it." But it seems that's not the case... at least for now.