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Yahoo to offer incentives for using search engine?

blog Yahoo is polling some of its users about what they would want in exchange for making Yahoo their primary search engine.

Yahoo confirmed on Wednesday that it's polling some Yahoo Mail users about what they would want in exchange for making Yahoo their primary search engine. The survey was sent to a random sampling representing about 5 percent of its Yahoo Mail users, a Yahoo representative said.

"Yahoo is considering launching a program to reward people who make Yahoo their primary search engine," the survey says. "Yahoo Mail users will be given early access to this program. You will receive a monthly reward if you make Yahoo your primary search engine. This means that most of the searching you do each month must be on Yahoo Search."

Users would have to log in or use a search box specifically designed for the program, like "a Yahoo rewards toolbar," the survey said. It then listed 10 different potential reward options:

• No Yahoo Mail ads.

• Unlimited Yahoo Mail storage, versus the one gigabyte now provided for free.

• Outlook Access to Yahoo Mail. Users could use Outlook or Outlook Express to manage their Yahoo Mail as well as download and read it while offline. This is not currently offered.

• Five free music downloads a month for playing on a PC or portable MP3 player.

• Discounted music subscriptions. Users would pay nothing for the first month of unlimited access to Yahoo Music Unlimited and $3.99 a month thereafter, rather than $6.99 a month for unlimited access.

• Donations to charity. Yahoo would give a percentage of revenues generated from user searches to nonprofit organizations of the users' choice.

• PC-to-phone calling credit. Users could receive $5 in calling credit per month for PC-to-phone calls over Yahoo Messenger with Voice, which costs 15 cents a minute.

• Netflix discount. Users could receive one month free Netflix DVD rentals and pay $10.99 thereafter, rather than $17.99 a month.

• Discounted Yahoo Personals subscription. Users could receive the first month free for joining Yahoo Personals and pay $19.95 thereafter, compared to the current cost of $24.95 a month.

• Frequent flyer miles. Users could earn 250 frequent flyer miles each month that could be transferred to most major airline mileage programs.

The Yahoo representative said it was too early to say how serious Yahoo is about offering incentives to Yahoo search users or to say which of the incentives was the most popular with respondents.