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May 23, 2008

Microsoft Live Search Cashback – 1 for 2

Tested Microsoft Live Search and its cashback feature today after praising it yesterday – maybe I should've reversed the order. Live Search was only one out of two in my very limited test.

First I wanted a new chest strap for my Garmin watch; the old one says my heart doesn't beat anymore and I don't think that's true. Entered Garmin Chest Strap in the special cashback search box and got right to a page that had a number of these including the one I want. Clicked on that and got a choice of many online stores in net price order after store and cashback discount (the different stores offered different cashback discounts). When I entered my zip code, the stores were reordered with shipping now included in the calculation; it made a difference.

So I will get a dollar something back; my true reward for using Live Search isn't quite that high because the runner up net net was less than a dollar different. Nevertheless, getting paid about a buck to use a search engine isn't bad.

Unless….

Unless you don't find what you want.

Next I needed a UV bulb for the unit that sterilizes well water coming into the house. Entered the part number into Live Search Cashback; nada. Entered Wedeco lamps; nada. Went back to the regular (no cash back) Live Search and entered the part number; nada. Entered Wedeco lamps; several hits including the manufacturer's site but no one who sells them.

Google's in the tool bar of my browser; typed in the part number; bingo: the first link was to the correct catalog page of a company which sells them. Had to do the comparison shopping on my own by going back to Google and back again but I had choices.

Note that my complaint isn't that I didn't get cashback on the second purchase; it's that the Microsoft search engine didn't find it at all. This speaks to Google's overall search being better than Microsoft and indexing more pages. If I only get cashback some of the time but almost always find what I'm looking for, I become a Live Search customer. But, if I have to go to Google second too often, I'll just go to Google first.

Net, I'll keep trying Live Search first for a while, particularly for bigger ticket items.

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