Microsoft wants to convert its MSN Live search engine into a giant affiliate scheme with the imminent launch of Live Search Cash Back (LSCB) in a bid to challenge Google's hegemony in the paid-for-search segment.
Microsoft will partner with Ebay to offer cashbacks to live users who successfully make a purchase through Microsoft Live and a joint announcement with Ebay is scheduled for today; Microsoft will use Paypal as its only payment partner.
The software giant will be using technology that it gained through the 2007 acquisition of Jellyfish and will allow users to see relevant products and services when performing an online search in one of its 18 new vertical search segments.
Partners willing to join LSCB will have a specific icon and will be listed within the Search Engine Result Page together with non-affiliates results.
Microsoft will be looking to woe advertisers away from Google and go one step beyond what the latter is doing by implement a more attractive (at least for the advertisers) pay-per-acqusition model rather than a pay-per-click one which has been widely abused by click-fraudsters.
The announcement also casts a shadow on affiliate networks like Tradedoubler and Quidco; Microsoft's announcement means that merchants could potentially be more attracted by LSCB's immense audience.
Interestingly Kelkoo and Shopping, two of the biggest shopping comparison websites on the web, are owned by Yahoo and Ebay respectively.