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Yahoo to Offer Incentives for Using Yahoo Search?

Yahoo Taking Proactive Steps to Building Loyalty

     
5:16 pm on Feb 9, 2006 (gmt 0)

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Seems Yahoo executives liked Bill G's old idea and decided to test it...Personally i think this kinda customer acquistion strategy will attract a certain kinda cheap bargain hunting users (aka less ROI for advertisers).

BTB this idea would certainly work in a rather small scale and companies like iWon already proved it but will the mainstream users embrace this?

[news.com.com...]

6:39 pm on Feb 9, 2006 (gmt 0)

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Perhaps it's not enough to build something and hope people make the switch? Yahoo's initiative is interesting because they are bringing together the other pieces of their business to support their search.

So some of the ideas they're bouncing is to remove ads from free Yahoo Email accounts for users who stick with Yahoo search, free downloads from their Yahoo Music service, etc.

This is the kind of thing Y may have to do to chip away at the Google mindshare and build their own loyal base of users.

7:07 pm on Feb 9, 2006 (gmt 0)

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From the article.
Yahoo is considering launching a program to reward people who make Yahoo their primary search engine," the survey says. "Yahoo Mail users will be given early access to this program. You will receive a monthly reward if you make Yahoo your primary search engine. This means that most of the searching you do each month must be on Yahoo Search.

An interesting strategy, and one that I'd never thought might be adopted.

7:48 pm on Feb 9, 2006 (gmt 0)

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Oh, this is really a surprise! I have only one comment: The beginning of the end for Y! Search...
7:53 pm on Feb 9, 2006 (gmt 0)

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They would need to give more than a few bucks off a subscription or 250 airline miles to deal with their current results for longer than a few weeks. I think this strategy would work if they had a great product (i.e. great search results) and they wanted to introduce people to it. I don't think their product supports this strategy at the moment.

Concern number two would be that only existing users sign up to use this type of program. Then all you have done is created a cost center associated with your current users. If you can 'limit' the amount of existing users, this type of program is essentially arbitrage since they can monetize those new searches very efficiently on the backend.

Think they would need to record the payments to searchers as a TAC?

8:05 pm on Feb 9, 2006 (gmt 0)

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It would be funny and interesting if yahoo begin to use adword to funnel google users to their search...you know using ebay type ads with dynamic title for a zillion kwds pitching something like "Search {Kwd} in Yahoo and get paid"

>> only existing users sign up to use this type of program. Then all you have done is created a cost center associated with your current users

Very Good point, but i think they would have expected this and priced in the strategy.

8:17 pm on Feb 9, 2006 (gmt 0)

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I believe yes, this customer acquisition strategy would attract bargain hunters and users it already has, but this can be a good thing. How many people have a Yahoo account and set their homepage to Yahoo but use Google for their searches through the Google toolbar? If Yahoo came out with a toolbar that would actually reward me for searching, so long Google toolbar and I would rarely use Google again.

Also, rewards for search would mean that I'd be more open and willing to accept different forms of promotions and advertising shown in the Yahoo searches as opposed to my obvious hate of Google search ads. For example, when I search Google and I see an ad I like, I right click on the ad; copy the URL, strip out all the Google junk and go straight to the page. Would I do that for a Yahoo search where I'm being rewarded? No.

I don't buy into the argument that Google searches are much better as compared with Yahoo. Iíve used Yahoo numerous times as a backup to Google and from my experience, if you know how to use a search engine it really shouldn't matter which one you use.

8:33 pm on Feb 9, 2006 (gmt 0)

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Yahoo confirmed on Wednesday that it's polling some Yahoo Mail users about what they would want in exchange for making Yahoo their primary search engine.

What you want in exchange is to find what youíre looking for. The plan now is to pay people to use it?

8:43 pm on Feb 9, 2006 (gmt 0)

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Looks like they're serious about trying to put a dent into AdWords/AdSense and this is just another piece of the puzzle.
8:54 pm on Feb 9, 2006 (gmt 0)

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The plan now is to pay people to use it?

I see it more as helping people break their habit of using Google and getting into the habit of using Yahoo.

When brands collide one usually marks down their price or offers other incentives for people to try their brand. Obviously you can't drop the price of a search. The challenge here is to figure out how to induce people to get into the habit of using Yahoo.

I still think it's a reasonable strategy for getting people out of their lazy habit of defaulting to Google.

[edited by: martinibuster at 9:00 pm (utc) on Feb. 9, 2006]

8:59 pm on Feb 9, 2006 (gmt 0)

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I think the average Joe surfer might go for it. It's human nature to accept something for free, even if you have to do something to get it.

[edited by: jchampliaud at 9:01 pm (utc) on Feb. 9, 2006]

9:00 pm on Feb 9, 2006 (gmt 0)

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If you look at it from the brand perspective I think this would only 'cheapen' the Yahoo! Search brand by associating it with the more gimmicky 2nd and 3rd tier search engines. I just can't see this being a good move and the fact that they are even discussing a recycled idea like this makes me think they really did give up on search.
9:12 pm on Feb 9, 2006 (gmt 0)

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I've used Yahoo as my primary email for 5 years. I have Yahoo as my browser home page. I have a MyYahoo page that I will look at a number of times every day (it tells me when incrediBILL has updated his blog!).

The only reason I still use Google search is because I have the Google toolbar. That is only because I was very interested in PageRank as a webmaster. With PageRank devalued so much I would gladly change to the Yahoo toolbar and do my searches from there. I find Yahoo a far superior search engine for my main area of interest (music - it doesn't just list big sites like amazon, epinions, rateyourmusic for detailed searches). So bring it on Yahoo.

However, at work I need to do intensive technical queries and Google is still superior for that.

9:31 pm on Feb 9, 2006 (gmt 0)

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...It's human nature to accept something for free, even if you have to do something to get it

So, if you have to do something to get something, well, then it is not for free... The point is you do something (searching through Yahoo) to get paid, not to find what you are searching for! Definitely, this will further degrade Yahoo Search!
10:11 pm on Feb 9, 2006 (gmt 0)

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The beginning of the end for Y! Search...

I guess you've never heard of "air miles".

11:05 pm on Feb 9, 2006 (gmt 0)

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A9 is already doing this (1.7% back on Amazon purchases) if you regularly use their search engine. I think it's a great idea. After all, Yahoo needs all the help they can get to wean users off Google products . . .
11:08 pm on Feb 9, 2006 (gmt 0)

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I guess you've never heard of "air miles".

I guess you'd explain how 'air miles' will help improve Yahoo search?
11:14 pm on Feb 9, 2006 (gmt 0)

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I think Hugh was just pointing out that many companies offer incentives to use their product or service.
11:41 pm on Feb 9, 2006 (gmt 0)

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I still think it's a reasonable strategy for getting people out of their lazy habit of defaulting to Google.

What happens when they realise the SERPs are really, really messy and don't provide the depth or quality they require?

12:20 am on Feb 10, 2006 (gmt 0)

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I think it's interesting to point out that even though users have their email accounts and homepages set to Yahoo!, they will still go to Google for their searches. Instead of paying users to stay on their site, they should first find out why Yahoo users are going to Google for their searches, rather than to just stay on the current page. Obviously their users are taking that extra step to go to Google and they should find out why.
12:20 am on Feb 10, 2006 (gmt 0)

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In terms of "rewards", I don't see much there to excite too many people INMO. Could work for a short while I guess, but I can't see such a gimmick opening the floodgates for more Yahoo searches.
1:56 am on Feb 10, 2006 (gmt 0)

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As a business student, I think this would be a great marketing strategy.

Most users will not see it as 'cheapening' their brand image, since Yahoo! is a distinguished website, that does not fall into the same category of a 3rd tier search engine. Basically, this is the same idea as offering a coupon to entice people to use a product.

Maybe conditioning people to use Yahoo! will make them use it out of habit. I mainly use Google out of habit, and do not notice a HUGE difference in the results (unless I look deeper, but most users do not analyze beyond obvious).

2:48 am on Feb 10, 2006 (gmt 0)

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Desperation that won't make a dent in Google. It's pretty pathetic, if anything it will backfire on them. Google like Krispy Kreme don't spend money on advertising, word of mouth and having a good product. Yahoo and MSN have thrown money around promoting their search and it hasn't done anything. Interesting study that came out not to long ago that asked people why they search where they do. The majority search Google for the results, they search at MSN and Yahoo because they were there doing something else, like checking their mail or something. So there is still part of the pie Google can take a bite of. I always thought they would one day go portal but they did better and have the option there. See them over time slowly push that option a little more and take even more of the search market.
3:37 am on Feb 10, 2006 (gmt 0)

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If Yahoo was really smart, they would reward people for "reviewing" websites while they search....

Click here if you liked these results.
Click here if you did not.
Please select the websites you thought were spam or not relevant for this search.

Each click = points to something earned.

That way they can be rewarded for searching, and get good feedback from real humans too. Mind you some would use this as a tool for spamming... but I'll leave it up to the engineers to figure out what are the fake clicks and which are genuine, I'm sure it can be done to a reasonably high probability.

3:42 am on Feb 10, 2006 (gmt 0)

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I think Hugh was just pointing out that many companies offer incentives to use their product or service.

Everyone gives away air miles and pretty much all the airlines will get you to where you want to go. Would you take one companies airmiles over another if there was a significantly lower chance they would get you to your destination (provide the results you're looking for)?

Something like this might work for students on a limited budget if the gave away free subscriptions for LaunchCast which could in turn begin to lower conversion rates and ROI for advertisers if they have a huge new influx of searchers who are incentivized to search and don't have the cash to buy. If those searchers stick around for several years, then they begin to ad more value and have more purchasing power.

If they gave away domains & renewals, they might have some takers and eventually have some recurring revenue streams when people switched back to Google and kept the domains with Yahoo! :)

11:37 am on Feb 10, 2006 (gmt 0)

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The only incentive for using Yahoo Search is delivering the best Search Results. If I am searching for information I do not find on Yahoo what sense do incentives make? If I cannot find what I am looking for I will have to use another search engine anyway.

And what will this look like:

"Thank you for wasting your time with Yahoo. We have credited 100 Web Miles to your customer account. Only 40,000 more Miles and you will get this Yahoo T-Shirt for free."

12:01 pm on Feb 10, 2006 (gmt 0)

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What if you can find what you're looking for? It's a proper search engine that tries to return relevent results. A little incentive may make you make the switch.

5 weeks before The Arctic Monkeys had a No.1 single with their debut release (having built a reputation through the Internet) I searched for them on Google - couldn't see their site. I used Yahoo and there was their own site at #1.

Maybe the next time I do a search I'll use Yahoo first and if I'm not happy, I'll try Google.

Dayo_UK

12:06 pm on Feb 10, 2006 (gmt 0)

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I personally think that Yahoos results are a lot better than Googles.

However I still use Google more than Yahoo - habit is a hard thing to change even when the SE your are searching with is poor (eg Google IMO at the moment).

Good luck to Yahoo.

10:24 pm on Feb 10, 2006 (gmt 0)

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>> Would you take one companies airmiles over another if there was a significantly lower chance they would get you to your destination

Exactly. If Yahoo wants to think in terms of airline analogies,

* missing sites = missing luggage
* slow indexing = flight delays
* crude spam = heavy turbulence
* cluttered pages = cramped seats
* Google = singing silly little songs after the flight lands

There might be a larger parallel to the airline industry... even after all these years, after all the incentives and all the gimmicks, how many airlines have not figured out how to duplicate the success of Southwest?

 

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