Microsoft [MSFT] seems to be in salvage mode this quarter, first with its controversial Seinfeld ads and “Mojave” project trying to reclaim users for Windows Vista, and now with a new strategy to grow Live Search. Live Search is Redmond’s search engine, and its market share pales in comparison to Yahoo’s [YHOO] and Google’s [GOOG].
The company has announced that it plans to reward users of Live Search with a promotional program called SearchPerks, which allows users to accumulate points every time they use the service. These “virtual tickets” are redeemable through Microsoft for various prizes like airline miles, music downloads and games for XBox.
It’s no wonder that MSFT is looking for a boost. Google’s market share gains are growing every month, bringing it to over 63%, according to Comscore. Yahoo is about 20%, and Microsoft accounts for just 8%.
This isn’t the first time that MSFT has employed such a measure; in the spring, the company announced a program called Live Search Cashback, which gives rebates to customers who use Live Search as a comparison shopping engine and make purchases using Live Search results. According to InternetNews.com, Microsoft is investing a lot of money in the project, but there’s no telling whether dubious incentives (air miles? really?) will do the trick for the lagging search engine.