A long time ago, on a world wide web far, far away, everyone used Yahoo! as their primary search site.
Then along came Dogpile, Lycos, Infoseek, Excite, Alta Vista, MSN and a number of other portal/search engines, all competing to become the defacto, go-to site where people would begin their Internet excursion.
Along came Google, and with their superior search algorithms, they dominated the search space in just a few years.
While Google still accounts for the majority of searches conducted daily (some ridiculously, incredible number), they aren’t the only game in town.
Microsoft’s Bing provides a useful alternative, and they are picking up steam.
A few months ago, I decided to give Bing a chance. I liked what I discovered.
In their “Bing it On” blind search challenge, I found myself preferring Bing more often than Google. I wrote about this at greater length back in September of this year.
But beyond the way Bing provides search results which I prefer, today I want to point out another feature of Bing that few people are aware of.
Did you know that Bing actually rewards you for using their search engine? It’s true!
The program is called Bing Rewards, and just as you might expect, you are issued points for your activity on the site. These points are redeemable for real-world currency and items.
It’s not complicated. You connect your Microsoft account to Bing, and do your searches like you normally would.
But Bing wants to give you a bunch of points right away. When you first sign up, they will encourage you to take a tour of Bing and familiarize yourself with the various features.
Take the tours. It’s a no-brainer and will automatically increase your status level. Increased status level means more points and discounts on redeeming points. Basically, you can meet the requirements to go “Gold” fairly quickly.
Bing provides a variety of rewards to choose from. I’ve already redeemed points to enter contests (win Free XBox 360, naturally), and just yesterday I redeemed 475 points for a $5 Amazon.com Gift Card.
Bing also has a referral program. For every person you refer who reaches Silver level (which you can do with your eyes closed), Bing will give you 200 points (with up to 100 referrals you can receive credit for).
I applaud Microsoft for implementing a program that gives back to the user. Free money just for using Bing instead of Google? That’s a perk I can live with.