New search engines launch all the time but how many entice users by offering to pay them to search? None until Zotspot, a new search engine that actually pays its searchers to search. The idea is to attract a user base that will use Zotspot for their search queries and then share the wealth by either allowing the searcher to keep their earnings or donate them to charity.
From the official press release:
Payments, disbursed monthly through PayPal, are calculated based upon personal usage. In addition, by referring friends, Zotspot users can add greatly to their pocketbooks or increase their donation to charities. Creating an account is quick and easy. All personal information is secure, and the data collected by Zotspot will never be sold or shared.
“Zotspot makes it possible for people to make money and also make a difference simply by doing something they already do on a daily basis — search the Internet,” said Mark Davis, President and Founder of Zotspot. “Billions of dollars in Internet search have been made by search companies and online advertisers, but users — the catalysts of this huge revenue stream — have been essentially left out of the market. Zotspot gives people the ability to earn extra money and the flexibility to do what they want with the earnings, whether they spend it themselves or donate it to hundreds of Zotspot partner charities.”
Why would a search engine want to pays its users? Well first and foremost so people will search using their site. They also believe large profits being made on the Internet should be shared with the average consumer. Google has accomplished this by rewarding web publishers with the AdSense program. Finally they want to give consumers the means to support the charitable organizations that are important to them.
Sounds like a neat idea but will Zotspot be able to whisk users away from Google, Yahoo, MSN or Ask, the four largest search providers?
Well for starters they do offer a toolbar by which you can search directly from your browser. This has worked very well for Google, mostly because people want to see Google’s PageRank scores for pages, but will people actually install another toolbar option for their browser? There are an abundance of toolbars available today, so much in fact that if you had every possible toolbar installed, you’d have no room left to view any web pages. Search results are delivered quickly and seem fairly relevant. I’m not sure where the results are derived from, whether Zotspot has its own index or makes use of another’s. They simply claim in the FAQs, “Search results are powered by one of the best search engines on the planet.” Who that is is left to question. of course there is the pay but the question is “how much do they pay?” I cannot find any direct information on that either.
Like ChaCha.com, we will simply have to keep our eye on this newcomer to see if they succeed and to what degree.