It looks like the Windows Live Search Club, the puzzle game promotion that seemed so successful for Microsoft at first, is quickly turning into a PR disaster for the company. The Club, which had searchers play puzzle games in order to win prizes, originally gave Microsoft a huge boost in search engine market share, a gain which has slowly dissapeared entirely in the last few months. Even worse, though, is the anger the Club’s fans are now turning towards the company.
Commenters have been showing up in increasing numbers at my original six month old Live Search Club post, complaining about cancelled or undelivered prize orders, a dead website, removed prizes and bugs. There’s talk of a class action lawsuit, and you can see some more complaints on the Wikipedia Talk page. Has Microsoft screwed up, or is it fighting back so aggressively against cheaters that it is causing a lot of anger among legitimate players?
Either way, we haven’t heard the last of this story. It looks like, in the end, Microsoft had negligible gains from the promotion, and there are a lot of headaches to come from its management, or mismanagement, of same.
If you’ve had a good or bad experience, feel free to post about it in the comments.