Microsoft 'Cashback' Gimmick Still Rolling? Search Traffic Up 39% (Or Not)

Earlier this week, we pointed out that Microsoft’s (MSFT) search traffic increased 31% from April to May, after it launched “Cashback,” its we’ll-pay-you-to-shop-using-our-search-engine gimmick. Was it a temporary bump? Apparently not: Nielsen just released its June search stats, and Microsoft’s U.S. queries grew again, while rivals Google (GOOG) and Yahoo (YHOO) stayed relatively flat.

Specifically, Nielsen says Microsoft garnered 1.11 trillion search queries in June, up 6.2% from May — Cashback was launched on May 21 — and up 39.3% from April, the last full month before Cashback launched.

Company June ’08 MM y/y m/m vs. Apr. May ’08 MM
y/y m/m Google 4,650,982 19% 0% -9% 4,654,624 15.4% -8.9% Yahoo 1,310,273 -12.4% -1.4% -9.4% 1,328,667 -13.8% -8.1% Microsoft 1,108,976 12.5% 6.2% 39.3% 1,043,848 72.4% 31.1%Is Cashback the only reason Microsoft’s search queries jumped so much from April to June? Not necessarily. Some commenters on our original post think this might have to do with search queries automatically conducted via Microsoft’s search engine if someone types a wrong URL in their Internet Explorer address bar, or if there’s a DNS problem. I’ve contacted Nielsen to see if they filter those out; they haven’t replied.

Another reason not to make too much of the Nielsen numbers — they differ dramatically from comScore’s data, which says queries jumped a mere 9.9% from April to June. comScore says queries actually decreased from April to May, then rebounded from May to June, climbing 14.8%. We’re certainly not in a position to say whose data is more accurate, but the discrepancy between the two makes us loathe to draw any conclusions about Cashback.

See Also:
Microsoft’s Search Traffic Spikes: Cashback Gimmick A (Temporary) Success?
Whoa: Microsoft Cashback Google-Killer Generates NO Revenue For Microsoft
Microsoft Cashback Test Drive: Slick! (But Won’t Kill Google)
Microsoft’s “Cash Back” Google Search Killer: Great Idea, Won’t Work

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