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Microsoft has just announced via the Bing search engine blog that it will be retiring the Bing Cashback program as of July 30th, 2010.  Don’t worry though, you will have a year to be able to redeem any cashback awards you may have earned.  Additionally, Microsoft plans to offer 12 months of customer support to ensure there is a smooth transition.  I personally never used Cashback, but it did look like a good program, it just never took off as intended.

According to the blog post:

Why are we doing this? When we originally began to offer the cashback feature, it was designed to help advertisers reach you with compelling offers, and to provide a new type of shopping experience that would change user behavior and attract a bunch of new users to Bing.

In lots of ways, this was a great feature – we had over a thousand merchant partners delivering great offers to customers and seeing great ROI on their campaigns, and we were taking some of the advertising revenue and giving it back to customers. But after a couple of years of trying, we did not see the broad adoption that we had hoped for.

Unfortunately, not every good idea can take off as many startups are aware. A large part of the success comes with the execution of the product/service. As I previously wrote, Bing is doing rather well within its first year of existence, but this program was around before Bing existed and maybe that is part of the reason for the lack of success – it was still associated with live search.  Who knows.  Maybe it just wasn’t simple or straight forward enough, though I guess it doesn’t really matter at this point.

I look forward to seeing the new shopping programs Microsoft is referring to within the blog post.  Did you ever use Cashback?  What were your thoughts?  If you didn’t use it – why not?


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