back to article Microsoft's cunning plan to make Bing the leading search engine: Bribery

The uptake for Microsoft's long-suffering search engine, Bing, continues to be so dismal that Redmond has resorted to paying people to use it. The "loyalty scheme" offers points that can be exchanged for charity donations or music, games, devices and other stuff on the Microsoft Store. Users are awarded three points per search …

  1. Your alien overlord - fear me

    Tried signing up for their rewards scheme and it says only available in the US.

    Also, as a funny, it popped up a window saying Bing predicts Arsenal won't get into the Championship League. Duh !!!

    1. TheVogon Silver badge

      Works for me in the UK.

  2. Number6

    This is just crying out for a small app that hits the search engine on your behalf while not actually bothering you with the results. A smart one would scan the news for trending keywords and then go look them up. Paying people for traffic is going to end up like the click fraud for advertising or the Facebook like farms.

    1. druck Silver badge
      Go

      Bing Bots

      I'll make a wager that Bing will be groaning under the strain of millions of Bing Bots reaping reward points by next week. No doubt Microsoft will call that a success, regardless of the cost.

    2. Rob D.

      TrackMeNot - do a few Google and Bing searches on topical news-related subjects every hour without breaking a sweat. http://www.cs.nyu.edu/trackmenot/. Might need a bit of work to sign-in for the rewards.

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Screw that ..!

    duckduckgo is my search engine of choice and also my homepage. I want as little as possible to do with Microsoft along with their data gathering and advertising.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      'duckduckgo is my search engine of choice'

      Startpage is safer. Its EU based and safer than DuckDuckGo, whose Yahoo partnership is unacceptable considering they let hackers in and bypassed their own security teams just to please US Govt Inc!

      1. Neil Barnes Silver badge

        Re: 'duckduckgo is my search engine of choice'

        My concern with duckduckgo is that I haven't been able to find out where the money comes from. Searches don't produce a lot of useful information - indeed your comment about Yahoo partnership is the first time I saw it.

        1. Anthropornis
          Big Brother

          Re: 'duckduckgo is my search engine of choice'

          *My* concern with duckduckgo is that it has almost-never produced any useful results. For programming / admin google is still mostly useful. OTOH, for "other things" bing is ok (nudge, nudge, wink wink).

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            'duckduckgo: has almost-never produced any useful results.'

            Startpage is far better / Qwant too ... DuckDuckGo chose to hide their links to Yahoo after the news broke. Very deceptive!

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: 'duckduckgo is my search engine of choice'

          "My concern with duckduckgo is that I haven't been able to find out where the money comes from."

          They come from search-relevant advertising, so Key-word Ads. Ex: you search for "car rental", you get stuff like "Avis Rentals Car" for Ads.

          https://techboomers.com/t/how-does-duckduckgo-make-money

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Meh

      Re: Screw that ..!

      I've found DuckDuckGo far to US orientated.

      Search for say an international company and despite my settings in DuckDuckGo being set to UK, it will always return the US sites.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Screw that ..!

      >>duckduckgo is my search engine of choice

      Which seems to return largely the same results as Bing.

  4. johnnyblaze

    So Microsoft's great idea is to pay users to do fake Bing searches just to get rewards, because that's exactly what they'll do, or some bright spark will write a script to do it automatically. Just random rubbish fed into Bing to try and make a few quid (so yes, that will be rubbish in, rubbish out).

    Look Microsoft, Google have search tied up and locked away. Win10 may feed Bing, but that's only because you gave away 300m copies. Win10S will force users to Edge/Bing even more, unless they all end up in landfill like RT did (I know where my bets lay...)

    1. VinceH Silver badge

      Being cynical, it's about more than just getting people to use Bing - given what's on offer, it's also about getting more people to use the Microsoft Store. And about getting more traffic to slurp on.

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I'd prefer real money ...

    or are we being softened up for a return to Trucking ....

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Truck_system

  6. hplasm Silver badge
    Meh

    Three points per search

    And spend them all in the MS Store. On all the apps in there...

    That's five minutes done - now what?

    1. Michel

      Re: Three points per search

      Actually they have gift cards for Amazon and Starbucks and other fast food places. It can add up.

  7. Norman Nescio Silver badge

    Subeditor asleep at the wheel

    Why doesn't the headline read:

    "News at Ten (BONG!) Microsoft's Big Bang of an idea for Bing: Bungs."?

    At this rate, I'll have to cancel my subscription.

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Bing or Bling!

    As fas as I'm concerned, Bing is all glitz and nothing of substence, like Bling, Shiny, shiny and totally useless.

    Are MS getting this desparate?

    Oh well, Bling will get lots and lots of users when Windows 10S rolls out to the unsuspecting user base. IT only allows Edge and Bing.

  9. Anonymous Coward
    WTF?

    I just assumed bing was an xslt script on top of google. I now find out it's a real search engine. Who else knew this?

  10. Haku

    Bing is still a thing?

    I literally cannot remember the last time I used that search engine.

    1. Geoffrey W Silver badge

      Re: Bing is still a thing?

      I Literally cannot remember the last time someone said that.

  11. stephanh

    At last!

    A better use for my botfarm than mining bitcoins.

  12. Terry 6 Silver badge

    To be fair Bing is much less worse than it used to be. So if people do ever want to use it it will probably get the same result as Google. And the outcome will be carefully collected by either to sell off to advertisers. Maybe using a selection, to at least obfuscate our lives, is the best way forward. DuckDuckGo for sensitive things, Bing for things you want to buy and Google for technical stuff, maybe. Or just select randomly.

    1. Geoffrey W Silver badge

      Ummm. For Microsoft related technical stuff I generally find Bing is better. Bitly, not bigly.

    2. Pascal Monett Silver badge

      Re: "DuckDuckGo for sensitive things"

      DuckDuckGo and "sensitive" in the same sentence.

      The mind boggles.

  13. Geoffrey W Silver badge

    Andrew Silver must have pricked a thumb and fallen asleep for a very long time; this scheme has been active for at least a year, probably longer, likely much longer. I tried it out. I got an Amazon voucher. I signed in with another email address and amassed two sets of points. Then did the same for a third email address. I got three Amazon vouchers. Then I was banned for being naughty. Oh well. It was just a giggle to see how far I could push it without robotizing and I felt like an outlaw. They also banned my wife. I got mega frowny points for that.

  14. Geoffrey W Silver badge

    I'm starting to think that saying "I wouldn't use Bing|Windows|Office|Outlook to wipe my cats bottom on!" is some kind of bonding ritual or virtue signalling mechanism for a whole class of technocrats. Like birds using colourful plumage to attract a mate. Fascinating, Captain.

    1. Colin Millar
      Devil

      You're just "starting to think" that - you can't have been coming here for very long. Some of these people are so dedicated that they could get their windows/apple bait from an article about charcoal burning in the middle ages.

      Oh noes - I mentioned the "a" word - that will have tripped the fanboi baiters radar and they will be along in a minute to tell us why Steve Jobs was the spawn of satan.

      1. Geoffrey W Silver badge

        I've got a Silver Vulture Badge. That's how long I've been coming here. You have to stop hating the haters and start looking at them the same way you look at baby alligators. Sure, they look at you like they want to eat you so bad, but they're still cute as buttons on a little blue sailor suit. Enjoy life. It's all there is!

  15. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    If only pornhub paid for searches I'd be a billionaire.

    </sarcasm>

    1. Geoffrey W Silver badge
      Happy

      I suppose pretending that was sarcasm is some new kind of meta sarcasm. We all know the truth.

      PS XHamster is better anyway.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Strangely enough it was.

        I'm not going to search for cross hamster though as who knows what lurks in these dark deep wet corners of the internet.

  16. John Brown (no body) Silver badge
    Coat

    Bashing the Bing?

    Is that a euphemism for...erm...something?

    Coat. The dirty mac.

  17. Mage Silver badge

    Again?

    Didn't they fail at bribing people to use Bing before?

    1. Dwarf Silver badge

      Re: Again?

      Didn't they fail at bribing people to use Bing before?

      Actually its their tried and tested approach - be last to the party, try and muscle in and force their way, then completely fail to deliver what users want. There are so many stories through history of where they have done this.

      If it were and odd product here and there, then you could let them off as being unlucky or something, but the more they do it, the more it can be confirmed as pure incompetence or a complete lack of understanding of people's needs..

  18. anthonyhegedus Silver badge

    Isn't bing just another site that you can use to Google for stuff, albeit with weird search results?

  19. The Original Steve

    Only person

    Swear I'm literally the sole user of Bing. I honestly quite like it. Must do 95% Bing, 5% Google.

    One perk is that the rest of my team naturally all use Google exclusively, so when we're all "Googling" an error message or symptom of a Major Incident I'll often have at least something different, and sometimes more accurate than everyone else.

    Diversity and choice is a good thing, particularly now Bing doesn't totally suck compared to Google,

    1. Michel

      Re: Only person

      I use it too, and agree it can often come up with the best solution quicker than Google; often it will have the solution in a code block on the page so you don't even have to click any search results.

      And thanks to the rewards, I haven't paid for Xbox Live Gold in over 2 years and been collecting 4+ games/month free.

  20. Martin Summers Silver badge

    Who remembers a toolbar that launched in the 90's called AllAdvantage? I remember it taking up quite a hefty portion of the top of my screen to show me ads whilst online and they sent you a cheque when you'd reached a certain amount. It was reasonably generous too and even better when coupled with the 0800 dial in numbers that sprang up back then. Didn't last unfortunately. So what Microsoft is doing is nothing new. I'm surprised no-one to my knowledge has tried to make AllAdvantage work again to get guaranteed eyeballs on ads and be upfront with the kind of people who'd be happy to do it and just pay them a decent amount to get on with it. People want more for their loyalty these days and I can't be bothered with what they are offering.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      I remember it, it was the only ad-bar that actually paid me. I had multiple monitors back then and filled 1 of them with all the ad-bars I had signed up for (maybe 15 of them), using the 0800 number for dial up, would leave it running 24/7 using the mouse wiggler to keep them from timing out.

  21. Smar Tass

    Ah, the glorious cries of corporate desperation as bing sits in the corner wondering why it's parents never loved it.

  22. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Looks like something that can be gamed

    Thanks to selenium, chrome headless etc, simple script to make the search requests and randomly follow links, could be worth an evenings investigation, plus taking money away from M$ is always a good thing

  23. arctic_haze Silver badge
    Facepalm

    Bing? That's interesting

    I'll need to Google it up!

  24. Planty Bronze badge
    FAIL

    So in short

    Use their shite search engine, and get game credits on their shite console, or their shite music service, or shite app store..

    How about no....

    1. CAPS LOCK Silver badge

      Re: So in short

      "How about no...." - Quite.

      In addition, MS know this will be gamed, it's just a cheap ploy so they can say to advertisers "Look at all this lovely traffic, give money now please". It just shows the level of contempt they have for their advertising customers. Could it be they have the same level of contempt for their other customers?

  25. JimmyPage Silver badge
    FAIL

    Is it keyword based ?

    If so, it's shit before it's started.

  26. adam payne Silver badge

    Over 7% I didn't think it was that high.

    1. P. Lee Silver badge
      FAIL

      > Over 7% I didn't think it was that high.

      Its the number of people who are looking for FF & Chrome stub installers.

      Seriously, IE11 doesn't appear to accept urls any more, it just dumps you on a bing page.

  27. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Whats in a name?

    Look, Microsoft, I don't know about others but I just can't bring myself to use a service with a name as stupid as 'Bing'. It reminds me too much of a microwave oven dishing me up a quick and nasty ready meal, which unfortunately is too close to the reality of the poor quailty of your search results.

    And in addition to this, I'm now aware of how much personal data you're syphoning from Windows 10 users (via Cortana) to feed your search engine. I don't want to have anything to do with it thanks.

    1. Michel

      Re: Whats in a name?

      In all fairness, if Google weren't already a household name, people might say the same about it too.

  28. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Xbox digital gift card?

    Wouldn't be effective to entice those who are proactively boycotting Microsoft products, would it?

    1. Geoffrey W Silver badge

      Re: Xbox digital gift card?

      Amazon gift cards. Buy what you want. That's what I got, before I was banned.

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