Microsoft Unwraps Live Search Cash Back

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Microsoft has just launched a cash back comparison shopping service on its Live Search engine.

The service will give consumers a rebate on purchases made through the site and stands to lure shoppers away from rivals Google and Yahoo.

Jellyfish, a web site Microsoft acquired last year was the inspiration behind the move.

Live Search Cash Back will operate in a very similar way to how traditional internet Cash Back sites operate, providing advertisers with an advertising model free of click fraud and providing customers with the chance to earn a rebate out of the advertisers’ ad budget. One difference with Microsoft’s version is that their pay out minimum is only $5 – much lower than many other cash back operations.

This form of advertising is also known as Incentivised Affiliate Marketing and works on a system called either “Pay Per Action” (PPA) or “Cost Per Action (CPA). Under this system, advertisers get fast results as they only pay when a sale is made.

Microsoft’s service will only be available in the US initially. Shoppers must set up a cash back account with Microsoft where personal rebate funds are held and there is a waiting period of 60 days before you can claim your rewards in case the item is returned.

It will be interesting to see if this latest tactic will help with Microsoft’s desire to improve the popularity of its search. According to December 2007 data from search engine activity tracker, Comscore, Microsoft only held 9.8 percent market share, with competitors Google at 58.4 and Yahoo at 22.9.

Photo credit: Flickr’s dannysullivan

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