Microsoft continues on, consumed with Google envy (I really don’t get it, so I will continue to stand on the sideline and laugh my behind off). Search rebates is the latest scheme they are trying in the hopes of disrupting Google. I think offering rebates for products found via a web search seems cool but as I think about it, it doesn’t seem very practical. When I’m shopping, I don’t go to a search engine and type, “Red stylish shoes.” Rather, I go to the websites of my favorite shoe sellers and check out their websites to see what’s out there. If I went through a search engine, then I would get too many website links to deal with — some of which may not even be retailers (instead I’d get the blog of someone with a red shoe fetish …). Now, what would be cool is if I went to an online store website and saw a pair of shoes that I like. That pair of shoes has a unique identifier that can be used to find the same item at other online sites so I can be presented with comparison prices. An additional layer to that would be so show me the shoes that other people bought who either bought or looked at the shoes that I’m interested in. Buy.com has something like this that allows users to see the prices of the same items at competitor’s websites. Amazon suggests similar items to the ones a user is looking at based on other users’ purchasing patterns. As for the shoe example, the Easy Spirit website shows users other shoes that are similar to the shoe the user is looking at. In general, I find that I buy more than I intended to after being coaxed to explore more by the suggestions Amazon and Easy Spirit gave me.
So yeah, a search rebate would be cool, but I wouldn’t use the search engine for shopping unless there are some drastic improvements.
Personally I would like to take a picture of an identifying bar code with my cell phone while I’m at a physical store and see if I can find the same item for cheaper. Of course, I would just use that info to negotiate at the store I’m in for a better price. Also, if the item I’m looking for is out of stock or not in my size, it would nice to be able to locate the nearest location that has the item, reserve it, and then go to the location and pick it up or order it to be delivered to my house.
Sigh … here’s a link to the article — Link