In the Microsoft headq. says that its Live Search cashback program, launched in May to attract more users has done well in three key areas.
Its cashback program has had a positive return on investment for advertisers (ROI), percentage of search queries for commercial purposes, and the number of advertising offers on the system.
"We are pleased to report a 30 percent increase in the number of product offers available in Microsoft Live Search cashback, indicative of the strong advertiser interest in the program and early results on its ROI," said Brad Goldberg, general manager of Microsoft Live Search.
"We have seen an average of 4.5 million unique users per month visiting cashback who have conducted more than 68 million commercial queries."
Microsoft says that 20 of the top 50 online retailers in the U.S. and 140 of Internet Retailer's Top 500 are now participating in the program, including new advertisers AT&T, Drugstore.com, FTD, Gap, Kmart, RedEnvelope and Saks Fifth Avenue.
eBay says the Microsoft Live Search cashback program has improved its ROI on paid search by 50 percent and the company says it is planning on increasing its search marketing spend with Microsoft by threefold.
According to comScore, in the second quarter of 2008, Microsoft Live Search referred almost 12 percent of total U.S. commercial online transactions and about 13 percent of total U.S. online spending in key retail categories.
While all this is good news for Microsoft it still lags way behind Google in terms of search share. Also it's not certain if its cashback program is a good long-term strategy.Still Microsoft thinks it's working well for now. "We believe this early traction speaks to the differentiated and unique value proposition of Microsoft Live Search cashback for both consumers and advertisers, especially in these tough economic times," said Goldberg.