Back in 2005, Bill Gates suggested that search engines would have to offer financial incentives to users and Microsoft, at least, really got into it last June with their Live Search Club promotion featuring search based games. I guess they liked the results because more Live Search goodies are on the way:
As part of an ongoing effort to chip away at Google Inc.’s dominance of the Internet search market, Microsoft Corp. on Wednesday began a new push to lure users to its own service with the promise of prizes such as T-shirts and video games.
Microsoft’s “Live Search Trial Program” promises that after enrolling, “each time you search with Live Search and MSN, you’ll earn tickets you can redeem for cool prizes,” according to promotional material sent to users of the company’s Hotmail email service.
I’m sure there will be a temporary boost in Microsoft search share, but “try it, you’ll like it” promotions only work if the user actually “likes it” and that remains to be seen.