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Sadly in just a few days Microsoft’s Bing Cashback program will be closed. The doors on this awesome cash back program will be closed and locked and a sign will indicate that the program is no more. Many of us deal hunters have received some very nice amounts from Microsoft and for that we thank Steve Ballmer and crew. The Bing Cashback program had such amazing promise but sadly was executed poorly and therefore failed.
If you buy anything online and aren’t using a coupon or a cashback site, you are throwing money away on every purchase. A simple example… Office Depot offers 10% cashback on Bing – you buy a $100 whiteboard, you score $10. You buy a ring for your significant other and you can score way more than $10. Keep the money inside your startup and use the cashback for office parties or other fun team events.
Click here to view the search results for Dell on Bing. At the top of the results, you will see a sponsored result for Dell that displays the “Bing Cashback” link. Click that link and the Bing Cashback page will be displayed and then you can select if you want to browse products on the Business side or the Home side.
Here are the terms and conditions that were provided to me tonight:
- Shop at Dell Today and Earn 15% Bing CashBack
- Offer applies to purchases on Dell Home & Home Office and Small & Medium Business on this visit only.
- Purchases from Dell Outlet, Dell Public or Large Enterprise stores are NOT eligible for this offer.
- Dell reserves the right to end or change this offer at any time.
- View all Bing.com CashBack terms and conditions.
Fatwallet users are reporting that the cashback works on any product (e.g. laptop, monitor, mp3, tv, etc.) but as always, check the current terms and conditions before making any purchase to verify that the Bing Cashback applies to the specific item(s) you are interested in.
I haven’t used Bing Cashback yet, but if the 15% is around on Sunday, I may finally purchase a Wii.
When Microsoft launched their Live Search Cashback option back in May, all of the bloggers and reporters talked about how it was going to really boost Microsoft’s search market share. I took a different view, looking at it from the dealhunters point-of-view. In late June we talked to the deal hunters (me included) and they said that the Live Search Cashback was great, paying up to 35% rewards for shopping on eBay.
Today Techcrunch editor Erick Schonfeld has an article about how Microsoft hasn’t gained any market share with the new Live Search Cashback option and in fact the overall share dropped by a small percentage in July. Erick points to research by comScore and concludes with, "While two months worth of data is far from conclusive, it does suggest that in search you can’t buy market share. You have to earn it."
The issue that so many writers are missing is that this new cashback option will never get users who are looking for information to switch. Why would I switch from Google to Microsoft Live Search Cashback when I am looking for cat photos? Microsoft is sitting on a huge homerun if they could get their ducks in a row about how to market this tool properly.
For example, why would ANYONE not start a purchase on the Microsoft site? If you are buying items online and not getting cashback from Microsoft, Fatwallet or the other cashback services, you are simply throwing money away. Look at these cashback amounts:
- Zappos – 22.5%
- Footlocker – 45%
- Newegg – 3%
In the deal hunter segment, the Microsoft Live Search Cashback is doing well from my perspective. Fatwallet continues to be a discussion place for the cashback search and as of yesterday there are now merchants paying up to 62.5% back.
Will Live Search Cashback take away market share from Google or Yahoo in the informational searches? No. Could it dominate the product search/price comparison category? Yes. Microsoft needs to learn how to market the search as a product and purchase search – and then we will see those charts change direction.
Update Wednesday 5:45pm – the deal is back – if you want 35% off on eBay, read below.
Back in May, Microsoft launched their "live search cashback" which basically helps you earn rewards (paid via PayPal) for items you buy when you enter the merchant’s site via Microsoft. While most believed that it would help Microsoft gain important search market share and also get people to convert from Google to Microsoft for general searching. I believed that while it might help with the market share, the bottom line is that deal hunters would be the only ones to really take advantage of the service and that it would generate more of a financial loss overall.
You see, us deal hunters are a special bunch. We will pick at that chicken bone until there’s nothing left, then sell the bone using a discount code. Over the years I’ve joked with friends about my "deal hunter levels" and have promoted friends to different levels depending on the deals they find. Not all of us can afford to pay market prices.
So what’s happened with Live Search Cashback recently? Well, the deal hunters have found a way to get 35% rewards on purchases on eBay. By doing certain searches on the Live Cashback search engine, there are links in the sponsored area for 35% off purchases at eBay. There’s even a step-by-step walkthrough of how to get the 35%. It gets even more interesting because now people are setting up auctions for cash, selling for over the face value of the cash, just to get the maximum 35% cashback.
The thread on Fatwallet has nearly 2,000 replies in the last 24 hours and SlickDeals’ thread has almost 3,000 replies and 250,000 pageviews.
The net result is I can pretty much guarantee the search numbers for June for Microsoft will be massive. Alone, I’ve completed over 150 searches over the past 24 hours alone looking for the goodies. Let’s see how Microsoft spins this boost in searches when the industry reports surface.
Here’s where it gets tricky – many of the forum posts are related to the terms and conditions related to the cashback search. I sure hope that Microsoft makes good on all of these rebates through this eBay deal. Trust me, you don’t want to piss off the deal hunters.