Microsoft cans Bing bung

Microsoft is to cancel its Bing Cashback programme. The attempt to woo searchers away from Google by offering cash incentives to buy through Bing is two years old but won't get any older.

From July 30 there will be no more cash on offer, Yusuf Mehdi, senior vice president for the online audience business group at Microsoft, confirmed in a blog post.

Cashback customers will still have a year to redeem any credit they earned, and Microsoft said it will also provide 12 months of customer support, to let folk down slowly.

Mehdi confessed that Microsoft "did not see the broad adoption that we had hoped for."

Windows Live Cashback was launched in May 2008 and morphed into Bing Cashback after the software outfit finally got around to delivering a search engine.

The scheme was evidently designed to court Google users with the prospect of free money

Mehdi said Cashback had been designed to "provide a new type of shopping experience that would change user behavior and attract a bunch of new users to Bing."

Bing has managed to grow Microsoft's search share from eight to almost 13 per cent over the past year but has barely made a dent in Google's dominant position. Microsoft's gains have largely been at Yahoo's expense.

Mehdi said Microsoft has new tactics based around online shopping searches, which are "designed to provide amazing shopping experiences for consumers and great opportunities for advertisers."

He blogged: "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."