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Yahoo! Oz! PAYS! Punters! Pittance! To! Search!

Toolbar tie-up with supermarket yields 50 cents a month

An alternative Yahoo! logo, courtesy of a Flickr user

Yahoo!'s Australian outpost, a joint venture with the Seven Television Network dubbed Yahoo!7, has teamed with a local supermarket chain in a scheme that pays punters to use its search engine.

The supermarket outfit is Coles, which has for years operated a loyalty scheme called Fly Buys that was doing Big Data before anyone had thought of the term.

Fly Buys now offers a browser toolbar that, once installed in Internet Explorer, Chrome or Firefox, offers a search field that fires queries off to Yahoo!7 and awards loyalty points by way of reward. Punters are offered half a point per search, with an award limit of 100 points a month.

Members of Fly Buys can cash in their points at the point of sale at some stores, with 2,000 points translating into $AUD10.

So let's do the maths. It takes 200 searches to earn 100 points, and therefore 4,000 searches to earn $10. That means each search is worth a massive $0.0025 and punters stand to earn fifty whole cents a month if they download the toolbar, perform 200 searches and agree to pipe data about their search activity directly to Fly Buys.

As an indication of what that translates into in terms of purchasing power, a16GB WiFi-only iPad Mini - a Reg-relevant item available wherever our readers roam - costs $369 in Australia. Or 184.5 738 months – sixty-odd years worth of searching.

We've no idea how money flows between Yahoo!7 and FlyBuys, but it seems safe to assume neither party is acting out of kindness alone. Yahoo!7 can certainly use the traffic: the site is Australia's sixth most popular, trailing Google, Facebook, YouTube, Microsoft and local MSN presence Mi9. In search, Yahoo!7 is second, by the length of the straight, to Google. ®

The author holds shares in Coles' parent company.

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