Yup, you read that right—Bing has a program called Bing Rewards that gives Internet users an incentive to use their search engine over its competitors.
Users have to sign up for Bing rewards through Facebook or a Microsoft account (if you have a Windows phone or MSN/Hotmail/Live email account, you have a Microsoft account). Once your account is created you can receive a credit each time you use Bing’s search engine. You get 1 credit per 2 Bing searches, with a limit of 15 credits per day.
Bing also will have various promotions that you can get extra points for. Right now they have a promotion called “Bing It On” (http://www.bingiton.com/?form=MFEREW&publ=RewardsDO&crea=TEXT_MFEREW_BIO_Feb_new_1x1). In essence, you are blindly testing which search engine you like better—Google or Bing. You type in a keyword and you choose your favorite search engine. It doesn’t tell you which is Google and which is Bing. I took the test this morning and it was an even split between Bing and Google. But now that I know I can get rewards for using Bing…well, let’s just say I am a sucker for free stuff.
There are also credits for referring your friends to the program. Five credits for five friends who join, with a max of 25 credits.
Once you accumulate credits, you can redeem them for all sorts of gift cards to Starbucks, ProFlowers, Amazon, Groupon and more. They also have monthly Skype subscriptions, Xbox memberships and Hulu subscriptions. And if you want to feel all warm and fuzzy inside, you can also choose to donate to charities such as Teach for America, Boys & Girls Club of America and more.
One thing is for sure, Bing wants to raise the bar and compete head to head with Google and is willing to give you some cool prizes for doing so. This also will have an effect on how SEO companies track rankings. A good search engine optimization agency will take a holistic approach for its clients and will not neglect to track Bing rankings. Happy Googling, err, Binging!