Microsoft’s New Search Initiative – Live Search Cashback

Well, one thing is clear: Microsoft is determined to increase its Live Search user base.

After having a nearly $47 billion offer rejected by Yahoo earlier this month, the software giant has launched Live Search cashback, a new initiative which will allow users of their search properties to get deals on products purchased.

Here’s how it works:

Users can search for products they’re looking to purchase at Live Search cashback, Microsoft’s new comparison shopping engine. When they do, they’ll be served relevant products from merchants participating in the program, which as of now includes Office Depot, Barnes & Noble, Home Depot and Sears, among others. Search results will outline the amount of cashback that users can receive for each product, which is expected to range anywhere from 2% to over 30%, depending on the product and retailer.

In addition to Live Search cashback, you’ll also be able to search for products using Live Search, Microsoft’s primary search portal. When using Live Search, certain products will be labeled with a distinct icon notifying users that they can receive cashback deals.

How is Microsoft offering these cashback deals?

The program stems from Microsoft’s purchase of Jellyfish.com last year, a cashback site that offers rebates to consumers for making purchases originating on their site.

Participating retailers will be paying Microsoft for each purchase made via their portals, which they will be splitting with the consumer. Rather than a cost-per-click model, advertisers will only pay Microsoft on a cost-per-acquisition basis.

This isn’t a new concept. Other, smaller engines have run similar programs in the past; however, given the prominence of Microsoft, along with the projected significance of the rebates that will be offered, this program has the potential to raise many more eyebrows and have users thinking twice as to where they’ll shop online.

Microsoft is working hard to develop new and extreme strategies (as in the case of the attempted Yahoo acquisition) in order to better compete with Google and secure a greater share of loyal users. Only time will tell if Live Search cashback is a success, but when you combine the company’s sheer determination with its virtually unlimited resources, these attempts certainly aren’t something to brush off.