June 4, 2010
Microsoft plans to shutter the cashback feature on Bing due to a lack of interest among users of the search engine.
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. 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. Microsoft launched cashback two years ago on Live Search, which later became Bing. Despite having 1,000 merchants participating in the program, there wasn't enough interest among Bing users. "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. Despite the failure, Microsoft is still committed to working with advertisers and merchants in offering shopping deals through Bing, Mehdi said. "For merchants and advertisers, we have some ideas for making it easy to get a broader array of products and offers into Bing, and we’ll share some details on this later this summer," Mehdi said. No other details were provided. 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.
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