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Even More Silly Data July 17, 2007

Posted by David Card in Media.

Unless I’m missing something, this is way nuttier than reporting total minute across random aggregations of Web sites. (That is, if ads aren’t actually sold and targeted across them.) Microsoft is gaining “share” in search by paying off participants in a search game. This is clearly a case of trying to show off in the most widely-reported numbers, and I seriously suspect that Microsoft is helping the measurement firms interpret the results correctly. But:

    Live Search Club is online gaming, not a reward for searches. Amazon.com’s A9 used to provide a 1.57 percent discount on Amazon purchases if users made A9 their default search engine. Google offers random prizes to users who search through the Blingo.com site. Neither effort has provided substantial results. But Club Live has nothing to do with search: Instead, it runs online word games that generate automated search queries. Other programs rewarded fidelity to a search service; the Club just displays search results.

I would take Valleywag’s hyperskepticism with a grain of salt (especially on the number of folks gaming the games). But not this big a grain.

Regular readers know I have nothing against a little healthy payola. As long as it’s in an efficient, self-correcting marketplace, where money spent badly is punished. But as Valleywag says, this isn’t even proper payola. Well, marketplace, punish away.

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