Space Ramblings

Microsoft’s Big Cashback Plan

There’s one word for Microsoft’s big Cashback plan. Desperate. And if you really need a second word, how about clueless?

The whole point of web advertising is that it works with publishers and advertisers while being generally inconspicuous to web browsers. And while that may sound a little counterintuitive it has paid off for Google whose AdSense ads are ubiquitous and yet minimal impact. That’s because people don’t think about ads when they browse. When they do think about ads, they download Firefox and AdBlocker.

Microsoft’s cashback proposal reminds me of CBS’s iWon, a clueless attempt to jump into the search game at an early stage. I suppose some of the more desperate bargain hunters, the type of people who exchange coupon codes and return items just to buy them when they’re tossed into the used bin might use Livesearch’s Cashback to save a little money on their purchase, but that’s really not normal user browsing habits and normal and steady is what Microsoft needs.

Cashback sounds good to advertisers but it doesn’t work. Just as Google Checkout’s 10 dollars off hasn’t made it a viable competitor to Paypal.

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