Peter VanRysdam / Digital Marketing / July 24th, 2007

Microsoft Live Club Idea Revisited

I did some more thinking about this topic after my last post, and it took me back to to days of sites like iwon.com, etc that gave away cash or prize incentives for regular use of their site.  On the one hand, those sites will certainly draw in the crowds.  On the other hand, they will open the floodgate to scammers galore.

In a quick search I found this site, the annagrammer.  Whether you’re out to cheat your friends at scrabble with your pda under the table, or you’re after a free xBox playing chicktionary, this site has all of the answers for free.  So, if you don’t have enough money for a new xBox but happen to have a couple of weekends free for data entry, you’ve got a pretty simple path to some fun gaming through Microsoft’s Live Club promotion.  Granted you could just get a job and feel good about yourself, but where is the fun in that?

This is not the first of these “scammable” promo sites, and it certainly won’t be the last.  Take my college buddy Jesse, for example.  He was among the army of internet junkies using programs that kept your mouse moving overnight while you slept to scam sites that would pay you while you surfed.  Now he’s a lawyer.  Go figure.  He did get a couple of small checks for his efforts, and the site soon folded. 

There’s a pretty good list of the history of these promo sites on a page I referenced in my last post, Search Engine Land.  Their list includes iWon (somehow still around), Amazon, Blingo, Ask.com, and many others that have tried and failed over the years.  In fact, I can’t think of a scenario where this system has worked (remember when NetZero actually cost zero?).

Maybe, just maybe, the marketing team at live.com has learned from the mistakes of the past (including MSN’s own failed “search and win” campaign) and will come out ahead as a result of the Live Club.  Only time will tell.