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Summary:

Apparently, Microsoft (NSDQ: MSFT) doesn’t think it needs to give back money to people who use its search engine anymore. The company is end…

Apparently, Microsoft (NSDQ: MSFT) doesn’t think it needs to give back money to people who use its search engine anymore. The company is ending its ‘Cashback’ program — a staple of its marketing for two years.

With Cashback, searchers who bought selected products they found on Bing (and before that on Live) got a percentage of the purchase price back.

In a blog post, SVP Yusuf Mehdi says that “after a couple of years of trying, we did not see the broad adoption that we had hoped for,” so the program is being shut down effective July 30.

Yusuf’s comment about a lack of adoption is odd, considering Microsoft has claimed in the past that Cashback was “showing traction with advertisers and consumers” and the company has had to shut it down at least once because the money allocated for it had run out.

This is likely a sign, however, that Microsoft’s search engine efforts are growing up, especially since Cashback always seemed a bit like a desperate attempt to get users, which Microsoft now seems to be (finally) gaining. The company has 11.8 percent of the search market, up from 8 percent before it relaunched its search engine as Bing a year ago, according to comScore.

For nostalgia sake, here’s a Cashback ad:

By Joseph Tartakoff

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  1. Get your reporting right. Microsoft does not pay users to search on Bing. Instead, the merchants themselves provide the rebates. Microsoft just administers the program.

    I find this a pretty dumb move. This was one of the few true differentiators between Bing and Google Base … resulting in a small but quite happy customer base who go to Bing for shopping. Microsoft is getting rid of a significant differentiator.

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