Sunday, 01 Apr, 2007 Technology
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Microsoft Comes up with New Visitor Attracting Strategies

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Microsoft Windows Vista LogoHalf a year ago Microsoft decided to try another approach in their search engine business, so that they could at least somehow compete with the "big G" - Google.

Microsoft tried to convince the public that the Google's mathematical algorithm gave too many results and actually annoys its users. Microsoft thought it would be better using some other concepts of searching. They said that they'd develop absolutely ground-breaking new ways of filtering and displaying search results. This invention even got a bit of back-up with a statement that the developers are those, who "didn't even pass calculus." "Algorithm. Meet Humanity." - this was the motto of that program.

However, those developers of that ingenious new way of filtering search results would be surprised that Google's algorithm grew stronger and stronger, and earned more and more visitors each day.

So it would not be a problem concluding that the algorithm would win in this competition and the statistics are, as always, the best proof for that: October 2006 registered in the U.S. 50% people doing their researches in Google, 24% - in Yahoo, and 9% - in Microsoft. And then came February, which showed a slight growth of visitors for Microsoft - to 9.6%; yet Google had a bigger boost-up of visitors - to 56% (data provided by Nielsen/NetRatings).

When the executives from Microsoft saw these gigantic steps Google made towards the world dominance, they thought they could try something else... a reward program for example.

Last month a confession took place. The director of global sales and marketing for Windows Live, Adam Sohn, said that Microsoft would pay big companies from $2 to $10 annually per user (payment was to be made in credits for Microsoft's products or training services). So the more searches a company would make via its computers, the more money, or credits, it would earn.

And then Microsoft starts seeking for 30 companies with not less that 5,000 computers at their disposal, which would cooperate with Microsoft by installing a small computer application, called "browser helper object", on the computers of their workers. The program was meant to count the searches made on Microsoft's Live Search site. Was it for mere statistics or another strategy in gaining popularity?

So this way Microsoft became the second in this industry to try some rewarding program. For example, Yahoo was thinking of implementing a reward system last year. It was initially meant for the users of Yahoo Mail. So there was a survey proposed to the users. The research tried to find out, what the users would do, to make Yahoo their main search engine. This was Yahoo's hope to generate some ideas on what their rewarding program should look like. The answers varied: from getting five free music downloads to 250 frequent-flier miles monthly. After the survey was done, Yahoo canceled the idea and never spoke of it again... and probably never will.

MSN has also tried to reward people for using the Live Search, so they have launched a promotional site MSN Search and Win (the name says it all). This action lasted almost 5 months. According to Mr. Sohn, it was rather successful, as it drove many millions of searches and Microsoft didn't pay much for that, relatively much.

Experts think that the major mistake Microsoft makes in trying to attract more visitors to its search engine is that it tries to get all of them at once, rather then waiting for them to come one by one. My personal opinion is that losing the ads, at least half of them, would have a great impact on the traffic.

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