Yahoo is polling some of its mail users to find out if they would use its search technology more often if they are financially rewarded. The poll mentioned discounts on premium services such as Yahoo Music or Yahoo Personals; infinite storage space for Yahoo Mail or 250 frequent flier miles per month.
Amazon's A9 has been doing something similar by offering discounts on store items to A9 users. Market share statistics prove that the programme has been largely unsuccessful.
Loyalty programs work in markets that are commoditized and where the reward is considered sufficient.
Airlines are the obvious example. Service is similar across airlines, making it important for airlines to differentiate. Frequent fliers mostly travel for business, making the cost of their fares of secondary interest. The rewards furthermore are large. Frequent travellers receive free perks that are highly valued, including priority on waiting lists, free travel and upgrades.
Search too is a commodity. Yet none of the Yahoo offered incentives would entice me to start using its search engine more often. I guess that the reward just isn't big enough.
All loyalty comes at a price
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