Microsoft gained remarkable market share in search last month, up from 8.4% to 13.2%. At last, competition for Google and Yahoo. Or is it? It turns out that most (not quite all) of the search gain was thanks to the Live Search Club, an online word game which links to Live Search. Remove its 3 million hits, and the gain is just 0.3%.
It gets worse. The Live Search Club lets you win points by completing games, and then exchange your points for prizes such as a Zune or Windows Vista. Very nice. But some dastardly individuals devised bots that complete the games for you. Result: product to sell on eBay. A low trick.
Personally I’m not chuffed with Live Search Club. I completed a game of Chicktionary without using a bot, won 20 points, but when I tried to register the site had gone offline. Drat. Still, perhaps Microsoft is coming up with some anti-bot measures.
It strikes me that Microsoft is being a little naive here. On the other hand, here I am writing about Live Search. So as a PR effort, I guess its working.