Tuesday, October 16, 2007


Microsoft search engine does charity fundraising

In my junk mail this morning was an email from the "Live Search Club." The subject was "Benefit your favorite nonprofit with Search & Give." Since most of my junk mail comes from Nigeria and begins "Dear Sir, the $5 million is ready for transfer to your account," I thought I'd see what this was about.

It turns out that the Live Search Club (LSC) is a Microsoft operation intended to bring traffic to its search engine "Live Search." The engine was launched in 2004 and is running third behind Google and Yahoo.

What to do when your competitor's trademark has become a verb? You turn to the pros. You set up a charity operation—a technique discovered and refined by the nation's top TV evangelists.

Here's how it works. After you, the searcher, sign up (and presumably designate your favorite charity), you can "earn money" for your beneficiary by conducting your searches through the LSC. They pay a penny per search up to a dime a day. At 10 cents a day that works out to a maximum of $36.50—or $36.60 in leap years. Microsoft makes the payout to the charities once a year.

Since I've never used Live Search, I thought I'd run the Simply Appalling© Search Engine Test. I typed in "Simply Appalling" and up popped—

Simply Appalling
Quite frankly, when you spend £150 [$300] on shoes and only £10 [$20] on your vagina, it doesn't match in terms of sense of importance in your life. —Sam Roddick, owner of ...

Well, that should draw traffic, I thought.

So I decided to give Google and Yahoo a whirl. Google produced—

Simply Appalling
Here's a staid translation of it—. No man of any kind, lover of husband, shall approach me with a hard-on. At home in celibacy shall I pass my life wearing ...

Am I running a porn shop? I began to wonder.

And Yahoo—

Simply Appalling
[a Simply Appalling translation] Previous post ... Simply Appalling detritus. Political censorship of the news now official. Liar of the Day

How incoherent and boring can you be?!

Though none of the search engines was truly up to date on the latest Simply Appalling effulgence, Google was the winner for the most recent "crawl." But Live Search won in the "Most Titillating" category. And believe me, titillation counts.

Still, I can't shake the feeling of something sleazy and underhanded in Microsoft's latest effort against its competitors. Maybe it's the TV evangelists. Yet if enough of my readers were to join the club and designate Simply Appalling as their favorite charity, I might come to view it in an entirely new light.

Related post
The wonderful world of Google (9/22/07)


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