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Microsoft search bribery machine in Black Friday breakdown

Apologies, but no shame

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Microsoft's search bribery machine shut down for several hours on Black Friday, continuing to exhibit a unique talent for online comedy.

In May, as part of a desperate bid to boost traffic, Microsoft began bribing people to use its second rate search engine. If you use Live Search ads to find and buy certain stuff, Redmond will return a hefty portion of the purchase price.

Black Friday The day after Thanksgiving - the biggest shopping day on the American calendar - was a prime opportunity for Microsoft to pay for some extra clicks. Showing even less shame than usual, Redmond was offering a 40 per cent refund on all HP goods. But as The Seattle Post-Intelligencer Microsoft blog first reported, the company's inexplicable bribery machine soon buckled under the weight of too many penny-pinching shoppers.

In some cases, people plagued by Web 2.0rhea received only 3 per cent back when they expected the full 40 per cent bribe.

A Microsoft spokeswoman confirms that the bribery machine "experienced an unexpected outage for several hours." But Redmond is sorry. "We apologize for any inconvenience that this issue caused," she said.

If you experienced problems with HP refunds, you can ask for help here.

It should be said all this isn't nearly as amusing as the Microsoft bribery machine allowing clever eBayers to sell $630 in cash for $714. ®

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