There’s actually a way you can get Xbox LIVE Gold for free, and it doesn’t involve doing anything that breaks Microsoft’s policies–in fact, Microsoft encourages you to do it!
There’s a catch though–you have to start using Bing as your search engine. A lot.
The first thing to do, if you haven’t already is to sign up for Bing Rewards. This is a rewards program that gives you one point for every 2 searches you do on Bing every day. It can be a search for anything; you’ll be credited for up to a maximum of 30 searches (or 15 points) a day. In addition, in the top right hand corner of the Bing navigational bar, you’ll see additional ways to earn, such as by clicking on a daily search tip, referring friends, or taking tours of Bing.
You can then redeem your points for a number of prizes. The one I always go for is the 1 Month Xbox LIVE Gold Membership, which costs 699 points (679 if you do enough searches to get “Gold Status”). If you do the math, to get one month of free Xbox LIVE Gold, you just need to do 30 searches every day for 46 days (actually, it’s less than this, as you get bonus credits along the way). If that sounds like an awful lot of searches, go to your Web history and see how many Google searches you’ve done for the last week 🙂 So if you are good about searching, over a course of a year you can collect at least 5,000-6,000 points, which you can redeem for about 8 months of Xbox LIVE Gold.
As for the quality of Bing searches vs. Google, Microsoft has done a pretty good job of catching up. I’d say 90% of the searches are pretty much the same, Bing might have an edge in 5% of them, and Google might have an edge in 5% of them. I still use both (if I’m in Chrome, I set my default browser to Google, and if I’m in Microsoft Internet Explorer, I set it to Bing), and I’m still pretty happy with both.