New figures released by Compete, an online traffic tracking and information company, suggest Microsoft has finally beaten Google in search “growth” according to its June figures. Microsoft search grew 67.3% from May 07 to June 07, but closer inspection reveals the secret to the phenomenal growth.
According to the Compete announcement post, the majority of Microsoft’s growth has come from its Live Search Club. Live Search Club offers games where players can win points that are redeemable on Microsoft products. The clever part is that the games require users to use Live Search to play – hence driving up Microsoft’s search usage.
“We didn’t see any traffic to club.live.com at all in April. About a third of a million unique visitors went to the club in May, and in June, this shot up to over 3 million unique visitors.” said Steve Willis in his post.
Source – Compete July 2007
While search growth of 67.3% sounds impressive, it’s important to remember it’s based on Microsoft’s relatively small share of only 8.4% in May 07 and if they can’t turn Live Search Club searchers into loyal searchers – then the growth really doesn’t mean much.
I doubt Google will be feeling any pressure at this early stage, but should Microsoft continue to increase its share (even if only measured by Compete’s version of traffic tracking), then the search giant might start to pay more attention.