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Microsoft Steals the FatWallet Concept
The big story over the past 24 hours is the launch of the Microsoft Live Search Cashback search. If you haven’t seen it already, you search for a product, see a variety of merchants with said product, order from one and receive some cashback percentage depending on the merchant. Barry Schwartz has an in-depth walk-through of how the system works.
Henry Blodget suggests that Microsoft is not making anything from the merchant transactions. If you are a deal shopper like I am, you already knew that. Some of the merchants are paying out 13+%, no way they will give MS a percentage on top of that.
This is basically a complete ripoff of FatWallet. FatWallet allows you to share with them in the affiliate commissions they receive from sales that start on FatWallet. I’ve been a member for nearly a decade and they have sent me hundreds of dollars over the years. Except for Amazon, I don’t know of any other purchases I’ve made in the last year without going through FatWallet.
In the hundred or so posts I’ve read today discussing the new Live Search Cashback application, most seem to think it won’t work. I totally disagree – if you are are an online deal person, you will be all over this. Why? Because FatWallet (and the other programs like eBates, etc.), share the affiliate commission. Microsoft is paying you (apparently) the FULL commission.
The community of FatWallet will keep their users because there is still some loyalty but I can see people switching quickly to this Live Search Cashback system.
If Microsoft was smart, they would buy out ALL OF THE ADS on every coupon site out there – whether they use Google AdSense, Yahoo Publisher Network or a banner ad network. If Microsoft wants this to work, they have to strike very fast and very hard.
It’s also important to remember that just because someone uses Microsoft for the cashback search, DOES NOT mean they will use Microsoft for the normal Web search. In fact, I’d bet most will think of Microsoft’s cashback search as another product, not a Google replacement.