Digg, Google, Microsoft, Videos, Web/Tech, Yahoo

No, It's Not Game-Changing

Here's Henry and Aaron's coverage of Microsoft's announcement this morning. Although Henry says it won't work, I think the "knobs" (as they're affectionately known in-house thanks to a snarky Yahoo commenter) give way Microsoft too much credit for creativity and strategy here.

Search engines that reward people with prizes and cash have been tried before with the idea, "If you're searching anyway, why not search where you can make money?"  Because I don't search to make money. I search to find information fast. A few pennies here or there isn't going to pay my mortgage. It's not enough of a value add to accept an inferior search engine (sorry, MSN still is. It pains me to say it, but Yahoo is too) or even enough to change basic customer habits. I don't even have ads on my blog (yet) because the take home would be so low, it wouldn't be worth even a marginal annoyance to my readers.

Similarly, there was a big debate back in 2006 about whether or not user generated content sites should share in advertising fees with their content creators. The most famous example was the smack-down between Jason Calacanis when he was running Netscape and Digg. Calacanis was actually offering substantial money to switch and few top Diggers did. I have long said the key to successful UGS sites is tapping into human needs like connecting with friends and validation. Those are so much more rewarding than cash. People use and love these sites because they are not work. I don't want to get paid by Facebook, I don't want to get paid by Yelp, I don't want to get paid by Digg. I want to use the sites because I love them and conversely I want the founders to have to WORK to retain me as a contributor. I'd rather them plow that money back into making the site better than give me a cut.

In short, this strategy is only new and innovative if you have a time machine. And it has almost never worked. Nice try though, Redmond!

Comments

Feed You can follow this conversation by subscribing to the comment feed for this post.

I actually like Microsoft (very few of me left) and I was pretty disappointed in Microsoft's announcement. A Google disruption? Please... back to the drawing board guys.

Yep--This tack goes back eight or so years. Case in point, I used to work at Inktomi, which back in the day OEM'd its search technology to IWon.com, a pioneer in this area. And IWon is still around (now owned by IAC, i.e., the ASK folks), and yet I absolutely never hear about 'em. A "games and sweepstakes destination site?"

The comments to this entry are closed.

"Brilliant, Crazy, Cocky" puts a well-deserved spotlight on the fascinating entrepreneurs working in some of the most overlooked places on Earth. This book reminds us that when entrepreneurial opportunity is enabled and embraced locally, the economic and social benefits have the power to transform us all.
Brilliant. Crazy. Cocky.

New Book

An unforgettable portrait of the emerging world's entrepreneurial dynamos Brilliant, Crazy, Cocky is the story about that top 1% of people who do more to change their worlds through greed and ambition than politicians, NGOs and nonprofits ever can. This new breed of self-starter is taking local turmoil and turning it into opportunities, making millions, creating thousands of jobs and changing the face of modern entrepreneurship at the same time. To tell this story, Lacy spent forty weeks traveling through Asia, South America and Africa hunting down the most impressive up-and-comers the developed world has never heard of....yet.

Excerpt »

Buy it from these sellers

Srah Lacy

Sarah Lacy is an award-winning reporter who has covered high-growth entrepreneurship for more than fifteen years. She is the founder, CEO and Editor-in-Chief of PandoDaily.com, the site-of-record for the startup ecosystem. She lives in San Francisco.

Learn more »

Updates

Get updates delivered directly to your inbox. Just enter your email address and click Subscribe: