Microsoft To Show Search Engine Users The Money

I was having a telephone chat with the founder of AGLOCO last night and he pointed me to a story in InfowWorld about Microsoft’s plan to share search engine revenue with their users.

Gates said that search engines like Google Inc. get their revenues from advertising because people use these search engines. “Google’s business model is not based on free software,” Gates said. “Their business model is based on advertisements from which they make a lot of money.”

But they don’t share these advertising revenues with the end users who help them get the revenue, Gates said. “Google keeps all of the money with itself,” he added.

(Through its AdSense program, Google does share advertising revenue with Web site publishers who carry ads that Google sells to advertisers.)

In its bid to share revenues with users, Microsoft may give free software or even cash to users, said Gates, who did not discuss further details.

That is definitely interesting news and will be a huge departure from how search is done today. Agloco’s founder, Akshay Mavani, says this is the future of the internet. Companies are discovering just how valuable their user bases are, and offering them free services, like search or video sharing, is no longer enough. Users are starting to see that it was they who built YouTude and when it was sold for $1.65 billion, the users got nothing while the management team got rich.

Microsoft’s move to share search engine revenue with users may have come about because they realize the value of the user base, or maybe it’s just a move to get Google search engine users to switch over. MS has billions sitting in the bank so they can certainly afford to do this.

The question I have for you; would you switch to MS search if Microsoft shared its search revenue with you?

19 thoughts on “Microsoft To Show Search Engine Users The Money”

  1. Very interesting idea as there is a lot of truth to the fact that the people make different sites/companies successful.

    If MS were to pay people, I would probably be more inclined to use them more often than I do right now. That doesn’t mean I would abandon the other search engines completely but I am sure it would change my habits to some degree.

    After all, maybe it would help me reach my goal of early retirement just that little bit sooner. 🙂

  2. Ed Lau says:

    I’m sure John will find some way to take advantage of this…

  3. Brian Chow says:


    This is a very interesting idea from a company as large as Microsoft. This idea isn’t new; there are sites that reward users for searching (e.g., sites like MyPoints and Search Cactus).

    In addition, Search Engine by used to offer a discount of PI/2 if you use its search engine at least once a week or so.

    Personally, I have tried to use at least once a week (in order to get the discount), but after switched its search engine provider from Google to, I stopped using it. I have found that results are not as relevant and useful as the ones by Google. I spent more time looking for what I wanted with, and being impatient, I gradually switched back to Google.

    So, to answer your question, I may use the new “Get Paid to Search” service by Microsoft for a while. Then, I may revert to Google or other search engines if it does not provide useful, relevant results.

  4. anon says:

    You know, if the company is a trojan backed in secret by Microsoft, I will feel like an idiot if I did not join early! I have nothing to lose. Thanks for the pointer!

  5. Rich says:

    There you go again promoting AGLOCO. So, so, so lame.

  6. steve says:

    Sounds like a classic microsoft move to me.. They’re behind in a certain area so they give, give, and give some more until they secure themselves users that they can take advantage of and will do just what google is doing once they get more users.

  7. slashder says:


    Um, that’s a classic business move, period. Do whatever it takes to win the market and customers. I don’t find anything particularly wrong with it. Capitalism at its finest.

  8. They have to be very careful/creative in paying users for searching. They would open themselves up to “search fraud” in the same way that adsense is constantly combatting click fraud.

  9. Rational Beaver says:

    Hate to say it, but that article is a year old now and, well, we still haven’t seen any money from Gates. Personally, I think it was an idle threat based more on envy than any real plans.

    I’ve got nothing against AGLOCO (I joined) but I think in many cases paying users causes more problems than it solves.

  10. David Mackey says:

    Absolutely. I’d switch in a blink. I’d still use the best search for work, but on my own time, I’d use theirs. I already am using Moola’s quite regularly b/c of the opportunity to win money – but its gotta be a good incentive to really catch me. My personal search preference is Wink, but they don’t offer me any returns.

  11. Sunny says:

    I think this is a smart move for MSN. This may enabled MSN to catch up with Google.

  12. Gates is all talk. They *might* one day go through with it, but personally such rewards as fine Microsoft products *ahem*, or a small amount of money, would not convince me to switch to an inferior search engine, which takes longer to locate what I am looking for.

  13. Pedro Pais says:

    Why not? If MS really payed users to search using their engine the steps I’d take:
    1 – Try to find the info I needed using MSN
    2 – Profit
    2 (plan B) – In case I didn’t find what I intended, google it.

  14. It depends…

    If Microsoft was only giving pennies back to me, I probably wouldn’t care. If the profit sharing turned out to be significant, I definitely would use their search.

  15. Robert says:

    It might help Microsoft in the short term, but if they are trying to get people to use their new Live search it won’t work for long, it is just to slow and clunky. The beauty of Google is that it is simple and just damn fast. You will rarely, if ever, see those two words to describe any Microsoft product.

    Besides people really, really like Google and it has been shown that even Microsoft’s own employees use Google more than anything else for searching.

  16. colby says:

    It still comes down to what works and what doesn’t. If time is money than I would go with the tools that don’t burn up my time and cause stress…these would also be the same tools I would recommend to clients/family/friends. Getting paid is a small part of the equation.

    As far as giving away free software, MS is behind the curve and I agree – this sounds like envy speaking; However, MS usually does take awhile to charge back, by version 4.0 :), but when they do it’s in force and the market often changes around them.

    Google’s appears to already include the free software strategy – looking to give more value back to the online world. Just open an account with them and see what is available, at this point in time, I’m using Gmail (they just added POP), Documents/Spreadsheets (better than Word IMO, especially for collaborating), Analytics(which used to cost an arm and a leg with anyone else), etc.

    So I would argue that users are benefitting from the Google model more than the MS model of late, as they still always have the option NOT to click on an advertisement, or NOT to take them up on free software and pay Microsoft instead – which would you choose if the tools were relatively the same?

  17. Matt Bennett says:

    This sounds, well… IMPOSSIBLE!
    You know how many “bots” would take advantage of this? I don’t care how much money M$ has, it would bankrupt any search engine… even if it is mere “pennies”

  18. 看了大家的讨论很兴奋!希望公司的所以朋友新年快乐!

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