Microsoft have called it a day and will be retiring their Bing cash back program rather than as had been hoped expanding it internationally. The program worked by offering discounts from retailers when a product was searched for on Bing (Microsoft’s search engine) and then purchased. Buyers had to sign up for the service and Microsoft say “after a couple of years of trying, we did not see the broad adoption that we had hoped for”.
eBay were one of the largest users of the program so there could be an impact for US eBay sellers, although with “over a thousand merchant partners” it really doesn’t sound like the program attracted that many users at all.
I’m seeing a pattern emerging here – Microsoft tried to buy searches from users but quite frankly I always use Google in favour of Bing. Google did their best with discounts to encourage merchants and buyers to use Google Checkout but I always use PayPal. There are plenty of “free to list” auction sites out there but I still use ebay.
Throwing money at users to get them to use a service might attract some but it doesn’t appear to have worked for two of the biggest industry giants. It would appear that many Internet users are similar to me and throwing out financial incentives to attract us just isn’t going to sway us away from the services we already use because frankly we use them because they’re the best at what they do.