By Harry McCracken | Friday, June 4, 2010 at 11:33 am
When Microsoft started offering sizable kickbacks to people who used its Windows Live shopping features to buy stuff–via a feature called Live Search Cashback which later turned into Bing Cashback–I was instinctively skeptical. It sounded kind of like bribery, and the process of finding deals and collecting your rebate involved jumping through multiple hoops.
And then I decided to invest a sizable chunk of change in a Nikon D90 SLR, a camera that tends to cost about the same no matter which (reputable) dealer you buy it from. I bought one using Bing Cashback and got a crazy-good Cashback deal that saved me $150. Boom–no more skepticism. A hundred and fifty bucks felt like more-than-adequate compensation for the effort involved.
But now Microsoft is saying that Cashback is going away:
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.
I’m sorry to see it go–and glad to see Microsoft being up-front about its rationale for shuttering it.