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Microsoft The Almighty Buck

Microsoft Cancels Bing Cashback Program 124

Posted by timothy
from the it-couldn't-last dept.
pjfontillas writes "Yusuf Mehdi, Senior Vice President of Microsoft's Online Audience Business Group, recently announced, 'One of the principles we have here at Bing is to constantly experiment and learn. We do this to ensure we are keeping pace with new social and technology trends, and can continue to deliver great value for our customers and advertisers. As part of this "test-and-learn" mentality, we will be retiring the Bing cashback feature, which means that the last day you can earn cashback will be July 30, 2010.' From the look of the comments, Microsoft has at least 35 saddened users. eWeek does a follow-up attempting to explain the situation in more detail."
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Microsoft Cancels Bing Cashback Program

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  • Bing (Score:5, Interesting)

    by freefrag (728150) on Saturday June 05, 2010 @06:31PM (#32471412)
    They had to pay people to use their search engine?
    • by belmolis (702863)

      And they thought people would like yet another rebate plan, where you don't see the rebate until weeks later? Even if the rebate is set up automatically and there's nothing that has to be sent in, I'd much rather not pay the extra in the first place and not have to keep track of rebates.

      • Re:Bing (Score:5, Interesting)

        by bob8766 (1075053) on Saturday June 05, 2010 @06:48PM (#32471526)
        I didn't even see how it was getting paid to use Bing. I would search on Bing for a deal and find ones where I would have to wait for cash back.
        I'd then do the same search on Amazon or go directly to the store site and get offfered the same deal except the price was just lower by the amount that Bing was offering for a cashback.

        What's worse is that even when it was a little cheaper I'd go through a different site because I couldn't be bothered with signing up for the program, nor would I just make the purchase without signing up knowing that I was forfeiting the cashback deal.

        People like me are what really screw up corporate marketing campaigns.
        • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

          by Cthefuture (665326)

          That might be true for some stuff but for example when buying from Newegg the price is the same but you get the Bing discount. Also when doing Ebay.

          There are often sales of items and many of us use Cashback to make those deals even sweeter. It really is a discount in many cases. Actually, I have personally never seen what you are talking about where it's the same price with or without Cashback. Usually I find the cheapest price then use Cashback to make it even cheaper.

          • Re: (Score:1, Insightful)

            by Anonymous Coward

            The funny thing is that people here think that Bing or Microsoft actually paid anything or "paid" users to use Bing. Ebay, Amazon and all other stores and sites have affiliate programs. Bing just gave some of that affiliate money back to users it referred to those stores via Bing. The most funny thing is that as a huge traffic source, Bing got excellent commission rates. A much higher than what they gave back with the cash back program.

            But sure go on and continue the oh-so-funny joke about Bing "having to p

            • Ebay fees are high, but I doubt that it can kick back 35% in commissions. Microsoft has lost billions on its internet business; if they didn't use some of that money to bribe users they would just seem even more laughably incompetent.
            • Re:Bing (Score:4, Interesting)

              by rtb61 (674572) on Sunday June 06, 2010 @01:32AM (#32473328) Homepage

              You really don't get it do you. Just like all the other B$ (lies for profit) marketing tools, everyone except the youngest or the most foolish have become accustomed to them. Any time I see cashback, my immediate thought is, yeah yeah, charge me extra and give some of it back, eventually 'er' maybe and, more often than not the product is going be crappy because they "need" gimmicks to sell it. So immediate reaction to product is negative, just put the offer out of consideration and when comparing it to competitors ignore the cash back .

              Marketing is now down to factual product claims and warranty conditions, as well a consumer reported background on the companies actual ability to fulfil claims about their products and to provide real warranty services. Then I check the price and see often I will have to pay that price again, upgrade B$, end of warranty auto breakdown features, missing buts and pieces actually required to make use of the product and of course cost of using the product normal cost as well as bugs and defects costs.

              It is commonly accepted corporate marketing tactics to lie about the product, to lie about it faults when the occur and, to blame customers for faulty products. In turn in is now commonly accepted consumer practice to accept most marketdroids are lying ass hats, just give me the technical details and urinate on your company board not me. Truth in advertising what a joke, it is about time a law was enacted to force companies to only make claims about provable product qualities and to institute random audits of the claims with full consumer refunds plus costs when those claims are proved false.

        • Re:Bing (Score:5, Interesting)

          by thegarbz (1787294) on Saturday June 05, 2010 @07:23PM (#32471758)

          People like me are what really screw up corporate marketing campaigns.

          Really? Because I think you may have fallen right into it with your post just now. I'm a member of several forums covering some diverse topics and the one thing I have noticed several members in all forums over the past year jump in saying "Btw guys just realised with this website you can get bing cashback on this camera" This entire scheme doesn't give me the vibes of paying people to use the search engine, but rather getting people to talk about using it in various unrelated forums. Although I admit that you're talking about bing right now in a bing related post, but did you ever talk about bing outside of slashdot due to this marketing campaign?

          It seems to me a clever trick to get people to use Bing just to see what the savings may be. The people who probably never heard of Bing in the first place now must actually use the search engine. Some of them may like it and stay, some may have more sense.

          • It seems to me a clever trick to get people to use Bing just to see what the savings may be. The people who probably never heard of Bing in the first place now must actually use the search engine.

            Wow, thanks for explaining that one. Although that was the expressed purpose of the cashback plan, I probably wouldn't have gotten it without this insightful post.

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by Ecuador (740021)

          I don't know what sites you looked at, but this was never the case for large sites like newegg, buy.com, overstock etc. However, the greatest deal was the 20% (later dropped to 8%) cash back on ebay get it now purchases. I saved a lot of money with that and could never figure out how they could afford it. Plus, even if I loved the cash back thing, I would only visit bing to go to ebay through it - google was still my search engine, so they didn't gain anything by paying me. In all canceling the program seem

          • Plus, even if I loved the cash back thing, I would only visit bing to go to ebay through it - google was still my search engine, so they didn't gain anything by paying me.

            They took away from Google's referal bonus and received it themselves. So they did gain from it.

            Now, they get to use those numbers to push their ad engine and pretend that there are tons of users using bing.

            • by Ecuador (740021)

              What do you mean? You use google to go to ebay? I guess you don't like to use the address bar?
              When I shop from newegg, ebay etc I go directly, I would assume it is the most common procedure. If I want to compare stores & prices I use specialized sites like retailerratings.com, pricegrabber etc.
              Oh, and the ebay referal bonus could not possibly amount to anything close to the 8%-20% range that bing was giving.

              • Most people I know don't write addresses anymore. They either have a bookmark or write the site's name in the search engine.

                • by RockDoctor (15477)

                  Most people I know don't write addresses anymore. They either have a bookmark or write the site's name in the search engine.

                  I bet that they've done away with that old, humanoid overrated feature of being able to walk and chew gum at the same time too.

        • by fermion (181285)
          This was my assumption. They jack up the prices and then give you back the money. It is the same everywhere. Amazon does this on free shipping items, $5 through them free shipping, $4 through someone else. It works out.

          I think MS was targeting the business user, those with expense accounts, or otherwise spending other peoples money. Buy an item on an expense account and pocket the difference. Like MS office, I think MS hoped that the work habits would transfer to home shopping. Of course people ten

        • I never used Bing to search for deals. I always went to the site directly, added the product to the cart, closed the window, then went back to the site through Bing's cashback program. That way I never get artificially raised prices (I always double-checked) and get cashback. I've saved hundreds of dollars using Bing's cashback. The best was buying giftcards (to stores I normally shop at like Sam's Club) on eBay and getting >15% cashback. That way I saved money on normal purchases.
    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by symbolset (646467)

      Actually, to pretend to use their search engine to buy things. The Bing advertisers would tell you - no matter how you arrived at the product - at checkout time that you could get Bing cashback if you put in the Bing code. So you had to go find the thing on Bing to get the code.

      The basic dishonesty of this evolution didn't lend credibility to Bing with anybody involved.

    • by poetmatt (793785)

      yes, and nobody would use it other than to use the cashback. Thus = watch bing marketshare drop quite quickly.

      This is where that 800M+ spent on search advertising came from.

  • by socsoc (1116769) on Saturday June 05, 2010 @06:32PM (#32471414)

    From the look of the comments, Microsoft has at least 35 saddened users.

    Snarky remark in TFS slamming MS, check.

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      I used Bing cash back all the time... it's the only time I used Bing.

      Bing cash back deals are huge on Fatwallet because sometimes they go up to 10%.

      Back in the day, when bing was first released. They had up to 30% off certain Buy It Now items on eBay. I'd just go through and buy gift cards. $100 gift card for $70. I got my first Canon SLR at the same time. 13 months later I sold it for more than I actually paid for it (after cash back).

      So there was a bit more than 35 users. People will use your crappy servi

      • by inKubus (199753)

        I second that. If you searched for "Silver" at one point, ebay would come up with silver. They had a 28% off buy it now and you could buy silver coins or buillion at market rates with low shipping and get 28% back up to $2000 from Bing. It was a nice deal while it lasted ;)

  • Bing, otra vez.

  • Duh! (Score:5, Informative)

    by Jah-Wren Ryel (80510) on Saturday June 05, 2010 @06:39PM (#32471476)

    MS tried the same thing with their "passport" single-sign-on-shopping system back in the dotcom boom days. It didn't work then either. People only used it for the money and ignored it otherwise. You would think they could learn from their own mistakes. I'm surprised it took them 2 years to figure it out this time around, it must have been a massive cash suck the way people like those on fatwallet have been milking it. Funny thing about that - the only reason I even knew about bing cashback is because of fatwallet. Whatever other means of advertising they used, it sure didn't make it to my ears.

    • by gad_zuki! (70830)

      >MS tried the same thing with their "passport" single-sign-on-shopping system back in the dotcom boom days. It didn't work then either.

      Now I have 100 different logins. OpenID doesnt seem to be going anywhere either. Err, victory?

    • by rpillala (583965)

      Somehow I still think of Microsoft as Bill Gates. I don't know exactly how true that is anymore. If it's pretty much true, I'm not surprised that they couldn't learn from their mistakes.

      The Gates Foundation was on a kick for a couple of years where they promoted "small high schools." Small high schools have fewer than 500 students. They took existing schools and broke them into smaller pieces, on the assumption that the smaller communities would lead to better relationships and therefore better achievem

    • MS tried the same thing with their "passport" single-sign-on-shopping system back in the dotcom boom days. It didn't work then either. People only used it for the money and ignored it otherwise. You would think they could learn from their own mistakes. I'm surprised it took them 2 years to figure it out this time around, it must have been a massive cash suck the way people like those on fatwallet have been milking it. Funny thing about that - the only reason I even knew about bing cashback is because of fatwallet. Whatever other means of advertising they used, it sure didn't make it to my ears.

      The problem was the execution. If they wanted people to actually use it, then they needed to make the cashback completely random. Use it for a month and then perhaps you get a 12% cash back offer for a store of your choice. But that might NOT happen as well. So you'd have to keep using it until it did happen. As those familiar with the most effective methods of operant conditioning (psychology) will understand, this "random" nature (which mimics the "gambling" reward) is by far the most addictive.

      So it woul

  • I'm 35 years old, I've been fed up with Microsoft since about Windows XP SP2 although previously not much of a fan before that.

    But at this point it's just like you guys are picking on the autistic kid.

    We get it. Microsoft sucks. Give it back it's helmet.

    • by grcumb (781340) on Saturday June 05, 2010 @08:40PM (#32472140) Homepage Journal

      I'm 35 years old, I've been fed up with Microsoft since about Windows XP SP2 although previously not much of a fan before that.

      But at this point it's just like you guys are picking on the autistic kid.

      We get it. Microsoft sucks. Give it back it's helmet.

      I don't know about the rest of the world, but I'll leave Microsoft alone when it starts leaving me alone.

      Microsoft may be autistic, but that's not why we pick on it. We pick on it because it's also crazy and occasionally a little scary. But mostly we pick on it because we all know it's the crazy, scary autistic kid, but nobody else seems to see the problem in that.

    • When they leave me alone then I'll leave them alone. I don't expect my non-MS browsers having their default search engine switched without my permission.
  • by Anonymous Coward

    I signed up when I was going to buy a big LCD TV.

    Got all the confirmation emails, or so I thought.

    Signed onto Bing, "searched", bought the TV, never got the refund. Poked the seller to no avail. No way to poke Microsoft.

    It was only about a $75 rebate. Still got a great price with free shipping, but I could have found that on Google too.

  • I made a little over $130 on this program since I always used it when I built computers for friends and family. Fortunately my new CC has rewards but Newegg isn't a member- I guess I'll take my business to Tiger Direct from now on.
  • I'm Sad (Score:5, Funny)

    by LearnToSpell (694184) on Saturday June 05, 2010 @06:48PM (#32471528) Homepage
    They've given me just under a thousand bucks over the last year and a bit, including buying a Wii and an N900 (20% off each). It was easy to use, I didn't have any problems, and it's a shame they won't send me money to complete my shopping trips anymore, after I found what I needed with Google.
    • by Albanach (527650)

      A bit of a 'meet too' reply, but I've also had a similar amount from them.

      Can't say I'm surprised the program is ending, though I am disappointed. I'm still not sure how much Microsoft actually shelled out other than in admin costs, I suspect the promotions themselves may have been paid for by retaillers.

    • Re:I'm Sad (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Etherized (1038092) on Saturday June 05, 2010 @08:39PM (#32472130)
      Indeed. This program is solely responsible for me ever using ebay. They say it's discontinued due to poor adoption, or some such thing; I think adoption was quite rapid amongst people looking to save money and get the absolute best prices possible. The problem is, as an advertiser, those are the people you're least interested in.
    • I saved a little money using it. Waited 2 months to get a $68 discount on a $850 laptop from Tiger. Could have just gotten it on Amazon through a referral program (for the guy in my Sig) and payed $810, but meh. Ultimately not enough money to make it worth it for me.
  • Cliche (Score:4, Funny)

    by hilather (1079603) on Saturday June 05, 2010 @06:49PM (#32471534)
    Microsoft couldn't pay me to use bing. Literally.
  • I guess I have no incentive to use Bing anymore to get stuff I was going to get without the cashback....

    It's a shame there have not been any ebay bing's greater than 8% in a while or I would use them more....

    I never really understood their motivation behind cash-back, especially with many sites having a discounted price for non-bing users (scam, I know) but I did appreciate the ebay buy it now discounts....

    MS has now removed the only motivation to use their service in my eyes.
  • by Tablizer (95088) on Saturday June 05, 2010 @07:05PM (#32471640) Homepage Journal

    Almost all their recent TV ads are as lame as hell. I'm watching and thinking, "What the hell are they talking about? Is this Random Night?". Then they mention the name of the product, such as Bing or Windows 7.

    In one ad, there's a guy sitting in a college class, then suddenly he's naked, then he's a caveman at a business meeting, then a naked caveman. WTF city. I seriously expected them to say, "Windows 7 and Bing will together help you locate better LSD".

    Please go back to Gates and Seinfeld wiggling their asses together. At least I know which end I'm looking at.
           

    • I liked the Seinfeld ads tbh. Not that they were really going to change my mind I didn't mind watching them.
    • by CAIMLAS (41445)

      I haven't seen the ad you speak of (serious WTF city, if that's true), but I have seen a theme of several ads. This:

      Almost all their recent TV ads are as lame as hell.

      Does not hold true.

      The ones I'm thinking of are the ones where they're basically 'hyping' Windows 7: "get things done faster" or some such tagline. They're basically selling the new 'Run' bar/dialog which is, IMO, the single best feature of W7. It really does as advertised, and the ads are good (largly because they're also educational to W7 users).

      • I do not know this feature of which you speak, unless you are referring to something that was also in Vista.

  • It was a scam (Score:5, Interesting)

    by rm999 (775449) on Saturday June 05, 2010 @07:09PM (#32471668)

    I and several other people I know used bing a lot for about a week in late 2008. At the time, Microsoft was literally offering 25-35% off any buy-it-now item on ebay (I'm pretty sure from their own pocket, no way they were making 25% off those purchases).

    I bought a new car stereo, camera lens, laptop, and several gifts. I saved over 500 dollars. Then, like a month later, I saw a news release where Microsoft showed off that the number of Bing users had doubled or something over the holiday period. They probably used this to gain traction in advertising and increase their collaboration with companies like Apple.

    They literally paid people to use bing over a month-long period to pad some statistics! I wonder if it was worth the 500 dollars they handed me.

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by inKubus (199753)

      Google Checkout was giving cash discounts and free shipping for a while. It's nothing very new. But yeah, it didn't convince me to use Bing. Although I do use it on the iPhone, I find their maps are much more accurate than the built-in Google maps. Sometimes Google would put me miles away from where I was when using the location feature. I've used them on Blackberry also with AT&T and it sucked as well, so it could just be AT&T location services. But Bing has always worked, and it also has the

      • by pz (113803)

        I look at Bing.com -- the main page -- almost every day. Once. The background images they put up are at worst good, usually excellent, and at times breath-taking. (The tool-tip factoids are dumb, though.)

        Then I go to Google to actually get work done.

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by clifyt (11768)

      Of course it was a scam, Microsoft screwed more people out of money than anyone will ever know and any time someone complains on their forums too much, the message disappears. Or they claim the payment was paid and the comment is closed...and then the user is banned where they can't complain any more.

      I've had a dozen purchases canceled.

      I made certain to check prices with and without Bing. A lot of times, if you used Bing, the price was jacked up...if you looked at the price elsewhere with a second browser

  • ...after all that has become the defacto currency on the Internet... right? right?

  • by aklinux (1318095) on Saturday June 05, 2010 @07:52PM (#32471910) Homepage
    Those 35 disappointed users must have forgotten how several of the merchants that signed up to give the Bing discounts could afford to do so. Show up with a Bing cookie and the price went up. http://yro.slashdot.org/story/09/11/24/0112201/Bing-Cashback-Can-Cost-You-Money [slashdot.org]
    • Only with ebay. When I bought my netbook, it was the same price between newegg and TigerDirect (the cashback store). Saved me $50.

  • There's still Club Bing. They give you points for playing word games (that do searches on words you enter). Those points can be traded in for prizes. Since I started playing I think in October I've earned a book, 2 dvds, a water bottle, a magellan car gps, and a stressball, with an electric shaver is on the way. I'm about to redeem points for a juicer and a toaster oven. I know a number of people get xbox 360 games and controllers and sell them.
    • I used to do that for 360 controllers, I logged in a little while ago to see what it was like, they had jacked up the point values of many things substantially. I know people traded ways to get points quicker, because if you did it their way it was practically a full-time job and a minimum wage one at that.
      • That's true. You definitely wouldn't want to quit your day job for it. I'd really only recommend it if you enjoy word games or typing anyway. I tend to do it when I need to unwind anyway. Even then, I often don't bother getting the max 1000 points per day if I get bored or have other things to do.
  • You had to imagine this was going to happen, everyone I knew was using Bing for the sole purpose of getting cashback. I'd search for something on Bing (The old standby was 'cheap ps3') and then follow the link to eBay and get xx% cashback on my BiN purchases. Oh well, it was fun while it lasted.

    I don't know what that bob8766 guy way up above is talking about [slashdot.org], I'm pretty sure he's either making that crap up or is just ignorant. Because I never saw anything like that from retailers (Also, that sounds like

  • Google really can't tell me much about it, and it takes forever if I try to go there.
  • I was saving 8% on all transactions and getting ebay rewards at the same time. I will miss it greatly.
  • Jump-starting the use of your service through a glorified referral program is a solid idea, but eventually, you want to be something more than that, particularly when it comes to search.

  • by kriston (7886) on Saturday June 05, 2010 @09:48PM (#32472446) Homepage Journal

    Just as unsustainable as Google cash back was back a few Christmas seasons ago, where I was awarded $20 for every purchase transaction for no apparent reason. I will enjoy my $280 and $320 dual-core, wide-screen laptops courtesy of Bing.com, too. *sniff*

  • It seemed like 2/3 of the posts on bargain hunting sites were focused around using this to buy stuff, and it made shopping online a real chore to make sure it went through and to wait to get the money back later. There was always an immense guilt if you didn't use it and I spent too much time crunching numbers.

  • Actually, they are both dead, which is too bad. I loved their Road to Morocco. Needless to say, they both lived longer than Microsoft.
  • ...we have many cashback sites that give you a cut of the money from you clicking their affiliate links, usually a percentage of the amount you spend. There are many of them so it's clearly a viable business model, and as a customer it's brilliant. I've got the impression that Bing worked differently and I've got the impression that in the US you don't have cashback sites like we do, am I correct?

  • ...that in the Chinese, "bing" means poison?

  • When was it? They used to advertise heavily on TV. It positioned itself as a search service, and the pitch was that every time you used it for a search, you were automatically getting entered for free into a sweepstakes. The obnoxious ad showed a "plain-folks" lady, presumably at work, asking sotto voce "If I use it at work and I win, does my boss get the money?" and the announcer saying enthusiastically "No, you get the money," and the lady replying "Good to know."

    Of course I tried it, and the free sweepst

  • By using a combination of key words (a bunch from http://www.slickdeals.net/ [slickdeals.net]) on bing.com (especially during the holiday season), I was able to save between 5% to 30% on a bunch of items. I knew M$ was trying to buy results and did not care - $1500 cash back in addition to more from rebates and sometimes coupons which worked with cash back is more money in my pocket....

    As for the person who says it costs more to buy thru bing - I don't think so - there are some items which go on sale at specific merchant

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