Reaction to Bing Cashback Closing, and the Latest Rumor

June 20, 2010 · 0 comments

binglogosm.jpgIt’s been an interesting couple of weeks, as news of Bing Cashback’s closing has made its way around the internet and to the masses of fans and naysayers alike, as well as to competitors of the program.
Some of the more vocal outbursts about the end of Bing Cashback can be found on this post on, this one on FatWallet, this one on TechCrunch, here on CNet News, and on the comments to the official announcement on Bing’s blog here.
Commenters felt that the program suffered from poor marketing, bad PR for canceling cashback when members used a coupon code, confusion about cashback amounts being given in a range (e.g., 2-8% cashback), not enough merchants participating in the product price comparison feature, presumably high administrative costs (versus its pre-MS days as, with just 26 employees), the limiting of participation to US-only, etc. Many responders said that cashback was the only reason they used Bing at all, and that they would be changing their default search engine back to Google.
The BCB competitors I spoke with felt that Bing’s foray into the cashback shopping biz didn’t impact their business, but rather increased consumer awareness (for example by the Bing Cashback television ads) and made the pie a little bigger for everyone to take a slice, so to speak.
Jeff Nobbs of Extrabux (aff): “Microsoft has done a great job of using its resources to spread the word about cash back to millions of consumers. For that, I’m sure all cashback programs are very grateful. Whatever Microsoft was hoping to get from its cashback program, whether it was market share from Google or huge amounts of consumer purchase data, I hope they achieved their goals. Their departure will leave many consumers looking for another solution, and I hope Extrabux can fill that void as the only comparison shopping engine to integrate cash back.”
Craig Cassata of MrRebates (aff): “Both Mr. Rebates and competitors that I’ve talked with have seen no decline in business since Bing has introduced cash-back. In fact, most have seen good growth so it’s certainly possible that Bing actually did all loyalty sites a ‘service’ by really spreading the word about how cashback works and its benefits.” Cassata went on to encourage Bing Cashback orphans to consider making the switch to MrRebates: “If someone is looking for competitive cash-back rates, Mr. Rebates certainly won’t disappoint!”
Kevin Johnson of Ebates (aff): “ is sorry to learn that Bing is planning to end its cash back shopping program. We believe Bing’s program was actually good for Ebates’ business in that it introduced consumers to the concept of cash back while creating the opportunity for more comprehensive and service oriented offerings like ours to address their broader shopping needs.”
While I respect these guys’ opinions, of course, my theory is that Bing Cashback was way too complicated for the average cashback shopping newcomer to grasp, and that the one rewards program hurt most by Bing was probably FatWallet Cashback. FatWallet allowed discussion of Bing Cashback deals on their own, very popular deal forums, frequented by some of the most deal-savvy shoppers on the ‘net (which I thought was very progressive and open-minded of them). I think that many Bing Cashback members will simply revert back to the familiar, and FatWallet will see a return in droves of former members. I haven’t received a response to my request for a comment from FatWallet as of this posting.
In an interesting twist, there is a rumor floating around that Amazon wants to take over Bing Shopping. Jay Yarow of posted on Wednesday that an industry source with high-level contacts at both Amazon and Bing is saying that talks are ongoing for Bing to “outsource” the shopping search results to Amazon. Neither company would comment on record to BusinessInsider, and as of this writing, no further information is available.
It would make no sense for Bing to ONLY provide search results for items being sold through Amazon. Sure, Amazon would make it worth Bing’s while financially, but with Bing’s push to be THE decision engine, only providing shopping results from one vendor would be bizarre. My feeling is that Amazon has something much grander in mind:
- Bing already has the platform developed for providing product-level pricing…and so does Amazon.
- Amazon has a method in place for processing payments (Amazon Payments, which was a cashout option on Bing Cashback).
- Amazon has an affiliate program themselves (although it won’t allow cashback sites to pass a share of it back to their members).
- Amazon has a rewards program themselves, mTurk. While it’s not a cashback shopping program, at least they have some experience in managing a large membership base, fighting fraud, etc.
- Wouldn’t it make more sense for Amazon to just take ownership of Bing Cashback’s platform, incorporating Amazon’s products in addition to those from the thousands of other merchants currently participating in BCB? They could offer cashback ONLY in the form of Amazon credit, which would increase business at… or they could continue to offer cashback in the form of direct deposits but make some sort of incentive (e.g., a 5% bonus) for requesting Amazon credit.
We’ll have to wait and see what a Bing/Amazon shopping partnership might have in store for us. In the meantime, Bing Cashback users have until July 30th to earn cashback before the program officially ends.
See my Alternatives to Bing Cashback chart for a detailed comparison of some of the best alternatives to Bing Cashback.

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