Bing starts rewards for web searchers
Credits based on number of searches
Microsoft has started a loyalty scheme for its Bing internet search engine allowing users to earn redeemable credits the more searches they make.
Members of Bing Rewards can accumulate points through a number of actions, including searches or trying out new features, which can be redeemed for products including DVDs, games, gift cards or charitable donations.
The scheme is currently available only in the US to those who install a Bing toolbar within Internet Explorer on a Windows-based PC.
Microsoft has previously used loyalty schemes to boost use of its search engine with Searchperks and Cashback for Live Search, though neither improved its presence in the internet search market.
Launched last summer, Bing has rapidly acquired users, according to The Nielsen Company, which says it overtook Yahoo as the second most popular search engine in the US in August this year, accounting for 13.9% market share. This compares to 13.1% for Yahoo and 65.1% for the still-dominant Google.
Registering to take part in the Bing scheme will be rewarded with a 250 credit bonus, and there will be regular specials to gain more points, such as by setting Bing as the default search engine or homepage. The current offer awards one credit for every five Bing searches, with a maximum of eight credits a day.
Therefore, running 40 searches a day for 67 days could earn users a US$5 (£3.20) giftcard for Amazon.com. Other rewards include Bing merchandise, DVD players (4,079 credits), cinema tickets (1,506 credits each) and donations to charity.
Bing has also just launched a Twitter feature which recommends people to follow based on search results. For example, searching for a film would bring up results including the Twitter feeds of its stars and director.