Microsoft To Discontinue Bing Cashback Program

"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," said Yusuf Mehdi, senior vice president of Microsoft's online audience business group, in a blog post Friday. "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. "

Microsoft first launched Bing Cashback in 2008, a program designed bring more users to the site by offering them cash back on some of the merchandise they purchased via the Bing search engine. More than 1,000 advertisers participated in the program, although it never achieved the anticipated widespread popularity.

"After a couple of years of trying, we did not see the broad adoption that we had hoped for," Mehdi said. "We are taking all the learning from the effort and putting it into some new programs for you and our advertisers designed to provide amazing shopping experiences for consumers and great opportunities for advertisers."

Mehdi said that more details about the impending programs would be forthcoming later this summer, and will likely be aimed at generating more Web traffic -- and subsequently advertising dollars -- in order to stay competitive with other search engines such as Google and Yahoo.

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"Shopping remains one of the most important tasks people engage in while using search, and we remain committed to delivering great shopping experiences for you that help you make better shopping decisions, get great deals, and save time and money along the way," he said.

Users can still get cashback for almost two months until July 30, Mehdi said. After that, it's lights out, although users will have one year to redeem their "cashback" they have earned. Meanwhile, Microsoft said it would provide another 12 months of customer support to help with the transition.