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Monday, February 13, 2006

Yahoo Offering Prizes to Search Users

Yahoo Inc. is considering offering free music downloads, discounts on DVD rentals and frequent-flier miles to users who make the Web site their primary search engine.

The possibility was disclosed in a recent online survey of some of Yahoo's e-mail users, intended to gauge interest in a rewards program, that detailed the idea and provided a list of potential incentives.

In contemplating such a program, Yahoo is showing the lengths to which it may go to try to erode Google Inc.'s dominance in search. But it also illustrates Yahoo's concerns about the rest of the industry, which has signaled increasing interest in offering users carrots for their loyalty.

Recipients of the survey were given a list of 10 possible rewards to choose from, including an advertisement-free version of Yahoo e-mail, five free music downloads per month, discounted subscriptions to Yahoo Music Unlimited, donations to charity, a discount on Netflix DVD-rental subscriptions and 250 frequent-flier miles that could be used on most major airlines.

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