Due to a lack of user interest, Microsoft announced plans to end the Bing cashback program on July 30. There is no denying that Bing’s Double Cashback promotion served up some great deals. But apparently they were so good(!) that Microsoft had to end the deal. Microsoft on Friday said it would pull the plug at 9 p.m. Pacific time, July 30. The feature offered users cashback on items bought through Bing.
The program, which was launched with Live Search back in May 2008, offered cash rebates to online shoppers who bought items by searching them on Bing. It initially attracted more than a 1000 sellers offering rebates. Microsoft also launched a strong marketing campaign to promote the feature and claimed that it was “showing traction with advertisers and consumers”, but the program kept facing financial issues. To make matters even worse, in April 2010, Bing held 9.43% of the US search engine market share, down from 9.62% in March.
People owed cashback on purchases will have up to 12 months after the feature closes to redeem it, Microsoft said. The company also will provide customer support during that period. But this is apparently why the cash-back program is ending — “After a couple of years of trying, we did not see the broad adoption that we had hoped for,” Yusuf Mehdi, senior VP of Online Audience Business Group at Microsoft, said in the Bing blog.
The cashback program has had its critics. Samir Meghani, co-founder of price-comparison search engine Bountii.com, claimed last November that the rebate did not always mean shoppers were getting the lowest price available on the Web. As an example, Meghani cited how a camera available on Butterfly Photo site could be bought for less money by going directly to the site, rather than through the cashback program. Microsoft later said it was working with the merchant to fix the inconsistency.
Bing cash-back promo is ending. But not all is lost! According to Microsoft, what was learned will be put into new programs delivering great shopping experiences that help you make better shopping decisions, get great deals, and save time and money on the way. After all, shopping is still one of the most important tasks people engage in while using search! They also already have new ideas for merchants and advertisers to get a broader array of products and offers into Bing and will share more details on that later this summer.