Microsoft Sunsets Bing Cashback Program

Today, Microsoft announced the termination of the Bing Cashback program as of July 30, 2010.  July 30th will be the last day that advertisers can run Cashback ads, as well as the last day consumers can make Cashback purchases.  Consumers will then have one year from July 30th to collect their Cashback rebates.  Microsoft will retain Cashback support representatives during that time.  If a consumer does not collect their rebate within the year, Microsoft will reach out to them to provide the rebate.

At Performics, our advertisers successfully utilized Cashback to drive incremental conversions, especially during the holiday season.  However, the Cashback program was not a sustainable long-term strategy for Microsoft.  Because the upcoming Microsoft-Yahoo! integration will drive additional search share for Bing, we understand Microsoft's need to increase profitability by terminating Cashback.  Over the next few months, Microsoft will be working on ideas beyond Cashback to create stickiness and drive new consumers.  As we learn more, we will bring these opportunities to our clients.  Additionally, Bing Shopping will continue to be free for advertisers.

If you are an advertiser affected by the Cashback termination, your Performics and Bing account teams will work with you to make adjustments to your Bing paid search program.

Below is the full press release issued by Microsoft:

A Farewell to Bing cashback

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.

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.

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.

So 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.

Our strategy for Bing remains consistent – working hard to understand the intent of your search and helping you make smarter decisions and complete important tasks.

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. For merchants and advertisers, we have some ideas for making it easy to get a broader array of products and offers into Bing, and we’ll share some details on this later this summer.

So what does this mean for Bing cashback users? Well, until July 30th at 9:00 pm PST, it’s business as usual, with cashback offers still living within Bing. After that, Bing cashback will discontinue, though you will have a year to redeem any cashback you have earned through your cashback account consistent with the cashback Terms and Conditions. In addition, Microsoft will provide 12 months of customer support to ensure a smooth transition.

We’d like to thank all our advertising partners and the customers who used the service. We hope you have had great experiences and received some great value to date, and we are looking forward to sharing some exciting new ideas with you all in the near future.

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