MSN Launches 'Search and Win' Contest

MSN has come up with a new plan to draw users away from Google: free stuff. The company launched a contest on Monday that will give users a chance to win prizes simply by using the service's search engine. Over $1 million in prizes will be available during the months of February, March and April.

Prizes include gift certificates from American Express, Target, REI and Nike. MSN will also be giving away Canon PowerShot digital cameras, HP Digital Entertainment Centers, and Creative Zen Sleek MP3 players.

Three selected winners will additionally be able to donate $10,000, $25,000 and $50,000 to the charities of their choice.

1,200 keywords would be initially linked to prizes this month, with more keywords added in March and April. Users would find out if they were winners in the subsequent result page after entering their search term.

A consistent third in search engine ratings behind market leaders Google and Yahoo, MSN is looking for ways to entice users to make the switch. So far, the company's efforts have been largely unsuccessful, which could be why it is looking towards promotions to increase its visibility.

Yahoo has also considered a similar promotion.

"Whether you want to win a cool prize or give back to your favorite charity, now is a great time to try MSN Search," MSN Search marketing director Lisa Gurry said in a statement.

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