Scour: It DOESN’T Pay To Search

Alright, as you probably guessed, I like to try new things, and new things that provide an opportunity to profit, in particular. With that in mind, I went ahead and signed up with Scour. For those of you who haven’t heard of Scour, and that’s definitely most of you, it is a search engine that piggybacks off of Google, Yahoo, and Microsoft, to deliver results. It also allows for (and provides incentives for) user participation, in the form of comments, and votes.

Sounds good, right? A lot more appealing than that trainwreck that was cuil.com, anyway, you’re probably thinking… Actually, no, you’re probably thinking, “what the hell is cuil.com?”, but nevermind that for now.

Scour’s big promotional ticket is that is pays users to search.  That’s right…  They’re willing to bribe you to use their search engine.  I guess that might be your first clue that their performance isn’t exactly stellar. They’ve tried to distance themselves from their first incarnation as a P2P network, with a rather deceptive statement, but nevertheless, it’s the same company with a new face, and a new gimmick.

Scour launched in early 2008, according to (the infallible) Wikipedia.  Without looking up the exact launch date, we can say about a year has passed.  In that year, Scour has indeed payed out to some of it’s users. They even have the “leaderboard” to prove it.

So, what are the spoils of war for those who make literally thousands of searches, give thousands of votes, and write thousands of comments? Since it’s been running, one user has cashed out with $75, two with $50, and a small group with $25.  Not exactly raking in the bucks there…  And I suspect that Scour isn’t, either, but certainly they are doing better than their users are, assuming those users are not running scripts.

And speaking of scripts, yes, once you reach the minimum dollar amount for a cash out, the team at Scour is so incredulous that you’ve managed to do it, they assume you must have cheated. They will run a lengthy audit on your activity, and according to their own site, frequently ban users or drop their “points” back below the value necessary to cash out.  But, don’t worry, the nice folks at Scour, are more than happy to let you start again witrh a new account, if you’re banned. I bet they are…

So, overall verdict, the attraction for this site is that it pays you to use it… I guess it pretty much has to, otherwise why would you bother? Unfortunately, it doesn’t pay very well or very often, so don’t get your hopes up on this one. If you search regularly enough, that you could make an extra $25 or $50 a year doing it, and you can overlook the inconvenient toolbar, and the laggy search results, you might get some benefit. For most users, the meager profits coupled with high expectations, auditing process, and toolbar further cluttering up your browser, makes this an unappealing offer.

I will say this for Scour, though:

The voting process, if utilized properly would definitely cut down on spammers using SEO manipulation technniques to levitiate their junk sites, onto the top of the pile.  This is something that we do need a fix for. At this time, though, that feature alone is not enough to draw a userbase large enough to implement it fully, so remains largely unrealized.

Have you had any experience using Scour? Love it, or hate, comment below.

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4 thoughts on “Scour: It DOESN’T Pay To Search

  1. Hey thanks for the input I think you will be the only one to comment though. If you feel up to it I’m putting more of my book up later this week and you’re welcome to comment on that too. On the other side of this I really like your song.

  2. I personally like Scour. If you use it to its maximum, you can make $25 in 3 weeks, or even shorter time depending on how many friends you have.. and it looks like there are hundreds of cashouts now, not just a few. Besides, Google never paid me a cent for years of searching…

    Also, i imagine they have to audit peoples’ points because so many people will try to cheat the system. It wouldn’t be fair to the rest of us if some hacker got all the profits and we were doing it by honestly searching.

  3. How to know that Scour is not just fooling us. after how many scour points I could be validated for the cash payments??

  4. I have to say I loved this site – everything about it (including the, yes, real payment of actual cash) but all the debate is a little academic now as they’ve taken the extremely short-sighted approach of simply converting points to ‘options’ to win in a massive daily prize draw of (wait for it….) $25, so realistically, no-one will now get paid while they get all (?!) the income generated from users’ searches.

    The only reason I can think they’ve done this (like My Homepage Friends simply taking what used to be your earned money and giving it to charity instead – hhmmm, womder if people will continue to use this site either now) is that they haven’t been making any increase in market share/profit and the marketing experiment is over after just 1 short year. Bye bye Scour – no doubt the site will close in the next few months…

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