Microsoft is well known for putting products like the Edge browser and the Bing search engine under our noses at every opportunity. But some people are just discovering that the software giant is happy to pay users to use its services, for example offering Minecraft ‘Minecoins’ to users who make the switch – a marketing tactic that seems to target a younger audience.
Getting paid to use Edge or Bing isn’t a new thing – Microsoft Rewards has been offered for a few years now and rewards users with points for using the products for an extended period.
Currently, the Microsoft Rewards website (opens in new tab) states that you can earn five points per survey on Bing, and these points can be redeemed for other rewards such as gift cards or vouchers for various retailers such as Starbucks or Amazon.
This isn’t even the first time Microsoft has tried to use games to entice Windows 10 and Windows 11 users to jump ship, as points can be redeemed for Xbox Gift Cards, Game Pass Ultimate, and even other in-game currency, like Roblox’s ‘Roux’, and it’s worth mentioning that Microsoft bounties have been offering Minecraft-related content for some time now.
Reddit User u/TrueTech0 posted a screenshot of a marketing box on the PCMR forum showing that in this case you will be rewarded with 330 Minecoins if you join the rewards program and use the Bing on the Edge browser for five days.
These ‘Minecoins’ are used to purchase custom content on the Minecraft Marketplace, but only if you use the Bedrock version of the game. For Java users, you can modify the game for free with online downloads, something Bedrock users cannot do, but Bedrock does have some advantages – namely, raytracing capabilities and lower system requirements.
This also means that Bedrock’s player base tends to be younger than the Java servers, as the game will run on almost anything. But while marketing software to kids using in-app coins seems like an immediate red flag, there is a gray area in all of this. After all, many adults also play Minecraft and Roblox, but it’s hard to see that this won’t appeal to kids who don’t have access to real-world money to buy in-game currency.
Date is a girls best friend
Microsoft isn’t trying to market these bounties to kids as a rampant supervillain – marketing is marketing at the end of the day, and that doesn’t stop when it comes to children’s interests, as we can see in other ads in the industry, from cereal and fast food channels. from YouTube.
But that begs the question: what does Microsoft gain by claiming market share on a free service? The answer is really simple – it’s information.
Your data is valuable, so it’s not surprising that companies like Google and Microsoft are so intent on retaining users, but this type of marketing is unlikely to be nefarious in any way, even if it seems morally ambiguous. Google Chrome also collects some of your data, as do almost all other web browsers, unless you go to a specialist to prevent this from happening or disable data sync in your settings where available.
Younger children may also lack the technical skills to follow the onscreen instructions to make the switch. But given how quickly they can learn how to use the devices, I wouldn’t say it’s too preemptive – I clearly remember installing using proxies to access flash games on my school computers when I barely hit puberty, and Microsoft easily guides you through making an exchange, you should read some marketing material.
It’s probably nothing to worry about
Still, I hesitate to vilify Microsoft for any of this, because they’re not really going beyond what their competitors are doing in regards to data collection – the only difference is that you can get something in return, no doubt for free, if I don’t believe your data has any value.
Microsoft rewards are restricted to US residents (except Puerto Rico), but if you want to install the Edge web browser and set your default search engine to Bing, you can earn a small amount of cash (in voucher form) simply using your device as normal.
If you allow younger children to access your personal devices, make sure you have filters or parental settings in place, as Bing is known as a preferred browser for finding… ahem, adult content and these rewards will be linked to your personal Microsoft account.
There’s the added benefit that Edge really is a fantastic web browser these days, especially if you’re migrating from Chrome – they both run on Chromium, so they support many of the same extensions, and Edge doesn’t take up as much of your memory. .
Just remember that it’s a personal choice which of the best browsers and search engines you install, so don’t let Microsoft’s heavy-handed marketing tactics push you into anything unless you’re interested in making money at some point. .