Microsoft wants to "buy" your searches - but are they for sale?

The blogosphere is frantically hyperventilating today over speculation that Microsoft will try to attract search users to its services by offering cashback to users who search and then make a purchase. No one seems to be asking the most obvious question of all - Microsoft wants to buy your searches, but are they for sale?

The blogosphere is frantically hyperventilating today over speculation that Microsoft will try to attract search users to its services by offering cashback to users who search and then make a purchase. No one seems to be asking the most obvious question of all - Microsoft wants to buy your searches, but are they for sale?

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My take away on this is two-fold:

  • First, I like a level of neutrality in my search. From what I've read this proposed cashback scheme involved cooperation between Microsoft and the vendor, and that hints to me that I'll be seeing search results that could be distorted in the favor of some vendors.
  • Secondly, Google makes searching so easy. When I'm setting up a system the Google Toolbar is one of the first applications that I install. If Microsoft wants me to shift then it's going to have to make my search experience as good as (if not better than) what Google is offering me now.

But that said, is there's a serious amount of cash up for grabs, I might change how I feel ...

Thoughts?

Disclosure: I run Google AdSense on several of my websites, but I was an avid Google user long before using AdSense.