Microsoft's Fowl Strategy for Boosting Search Results

Dennis Faas's picture

Microsoft became the most widely-used search engine last month, rising from their third spot in May and surpassing both Google and Yahoo (the long-standing most and second-most used search engines respectively). What was Microsoft's recipe for success? Playing a deceptive game of chicken!

Microsoft's shares climbed to 13.2% in June, an increase of 3% compared to May's figures. Microsoft's recent success came at the expense of rival search engine providers Google and Yahoo. The shares of both companies fell 1% that same month. (Source:

To induce the influx of users, Microsoft did not have to improve the quality of their search results or offer any special incentives. Over 300 million more queries were asked of Microsoft once the company launched "Chicktionary".

Say, what?

Chicktionary, a chicken-themed letter scramble puzzle, is one of many addictive Live Search Club games designed as a segue into the "Microsoft Windows Live" search engine. When a player enters a word using three or more letters displayed under a group of noisy hens, the game automatically initializes a related web search.

A single game of Chicktionary can add 35 or more queries to Microsoft's monthly total search numbers. Often times, the player isn't even aware that the game has launched these added result pages. (Source:

The Live Search Club also offers several crossword puzzles that cannot be completed without executing at least one search per clue. There is also a matching game where every answer must be verified using an external search.

Microsoft awards points for the successful completion of each game. Chicktionary is worth 20 points per game, and the points can be accumulated to purchase prizes. A copy of Microsoft Vista which normally sells for around $239 USD can be purchased using 20,000 Microsoft points. (Source:

Industry analysts are eager to see if Microsoft's elevated search numbers continue throughout the month of July, or if the recent influx in search results will all come crashing down.

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