Perhahps our earlier article about Yahoo throwing in the towel was a little premature as there are signs of a fresh battle for market share.

Both Yahoo! and MSN Search are looking at innovative ways to lure users back to their search engines. What is the best carrot? Financial reward, of course.

Yahoo! sent out surveys earlier this month to investigate whether incentives such as free music downloads or free enhanced Yahoo Mail would entice browsers to use their search engine, whilst MSN Search goes one further and is handing out actual prizes that you can win from simply using the search engine (http://www.msnsearchandwin.com/).

A good spread of individual prizes and charitable donations may well help generate more interest and claw back some of that valuable market share, but don’t get too excited if you are not based in the US. A closer inspection of the terms reveal that the competition is open only to legal residents of the 50 United States and the District of Columbia.

Still, refreshing to see that the competition is still open and Google will not avoid a bit of a fight from its rivals.