When students use search engines other than Bing in school they see ads that can distract them from their studies. So Microsoft, recognizing a need, has introduced a version of its Bing search engine that doesn’t show ads to students– Bing in the Classroom (BiC). It’s free to all K-12 schools in the US–requiring only registration by school administrators. Microsoft is also launching a massive marketing rewards program tied to BiC. Similar to a frequent flyer program, users–or searchers, in this case–earn credits to win free Microsoft Surface tablets for their schools each time they search with Bing. BiC rewards members can invite friends to join and donate credits, too.
Of course the offering isn’t entirely free from promotion. If all goes well, BiC will do a world of good for Microsoft’s brand. Microsoft, like every other company, would like to place its products, like Surface tablets, into the hands of babes. Technology companies thrive on research and Microsoft is doubtless aware that studies have shown even preschoolers can recognize brand names and logos and make judgments about them based on associations with those brands. Apple knows this. But if you’re not convinced, ask Disney.