Other People’s Money


As Google’s share of the search business approaches 70%, Microsoft is left needing a bold move to remain relevant.

While Live Search is a good product, Cashback will not save them from the Google monster.

Let’s look at the problem that they are trying to solve. Or rather, let’s look at what Microsoft is trying to achieve in the search business. Ultimately, Microsoft is trying to become the ad platform of choice. Being the search engine of choice would be nice too, but it is not their primary goal.

So if Microsoft wants to be the ad platform of choice, what do they need to do?

Well, first they need to become the number one choice for contextual advertising distribution. This should be the primary goal. Moving up in search engine popularity should be a secondary goal. If Microsoft marshalled their resources towards dominating contextual advertising, search popularity would follow as a byproduct. Why?

Well, if you run a blog or some other kind of site, and Microsoft is sending you a check every month, are you not at least a little more likely to use Microsoft Live Search as your default search engine?

What then happens if Microsoft offers to add cashback from personal Live Search behavior to contextual advertising syndication payment accounts?

What then happens if Microsoft partners with Amazon or NewEgg to offer discounts on Microsoft merchandise to contextual advertising distributors through a gift certificate conversion scheme?

Finally, what then happens if Microsoft tries to help solve the content creation challenge that millions of small site operators face?

It costs money to create content for your site. What if Microsoft offered site owners relevant ad-supported content for their site for free (possibly focusing on key verticals)?

Mmmm…. It’s starting to add up…

More content on site… More visitors…

Would that be a bad thing? Wouldn’t everyone win?

So, what are you waiting for Microsoft?

Your opportunity is here, your opportunity is now…

What do you think?

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Braden Kelley

Braden Kelley is a Director of Innovation and Human-Centered Problem-Solving at Oracle, a popular innovation speaker and workshop leader, helps companies build innovation cultures and infrastructures, and plan organizational changes that are more human and less overwhelming. He is the author of Charting Change from Palgrave Macmillan and Stoking Your Innovation Bonfire from John Wiley & Sons. Braden has been advising companies since 1996, while living and working in England, Germany, and the United States. Braden earned his MBA from top-rated London Business School. Follow him on Twitter and Linkedin.

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