Bing, Microsoft's answer to Google and Yahoo, could well be treading where other search engines have yet to appear by tightly integrating cashback into the search engine environment.
The search giant has been offering a cashback scheme since May 2008 using technology that it acquired back in October 2007 through a company called jellyfish and purchased shopping website Ciao in September 2008.
Now it looks as if Bing is putting cashback everywhere although this is limited to US territories for the time being. However, there seems to be a UK version of the cashback page as well here (opens in new tab).
Microsoft offered so-called Searchperks to the first 1 million respondents who used Microsoft Live. The offer though was limited to the US as well as users of Internet Explorer.
Microsoft offers up to 30 percent cashback on various every day life items and is likely to reach Europe sometimes this year. For those attentive to details, just remember that Bing is already set to target four key areas at launch.
They include planning journeys, finding local businesses, making purchasing decisions and probing a health condition. All of those four segments are highly monetizable, both in terms of advertising and delves deeper into a cost per acquisition model as compared to Google's Cost per Click approach.
For once, Microsoft might get the upper hand as in a recession stricken economy, companies are likely to be attracted by lesser risk and a higher return on investments compared to other traditional offers.
And of course, one cannot discount the fact that cashbacks act like a powerful lure especially as act like a tax-free cash incentive for new and existing users.
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Bing and Cashback appeal can be very, very powerful if Microsoft makes it clear how it is done and extends it well beyond the US. It also needs to be more proactive about it and possibly use excess inventory to promote it across its network. Even if Microsoft can't cut Google's market share, at least it can hit it in terms of return on investment and profitability.
Bing is live: Nice first impression; Will Bing boost Cashback?