Believe it or not, it has been just about one year already since bing was brought to life by Microsoft. Out of the gate there was significant buzz and plenty of hopeful Microsoft folks and industry pundits who thought that maybe, just maybe, there was a threat to Google’s search dominance. In many ways, bing has made some inroads. One program that was started during the MSN Live search days that there was some hope for was the bing Cashback program . We say was some hope because Microsoft has shut down the program.
The bing Community blog tells us:
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.
One has to wonder that a program designed to give shoppers cashback would be one that would garner enough support to make it a mainstay for bing who needs to do whatever it can to look different than Google (even though Google appears to like how bing looks based on some recent activity). The users of the service were loyal enough but there just wasn’t the numbers that bing needed to keep the doors open on the program.
As with anything there are two sides when examining what this really means with regard to bing and its success. The econsutlancy blog has one side with
While it will be interesting to see what Microsoft cooks up next in this area, one has to wonder: if Microsoft couldn’t obtain the type of adoption it had hoped for by enticing consumers with cash back, how will it drive adoption when it isn’t paying them to use Bing?
While paidContent had this to say:
This is likely a sign, however, that Microsoft’s search engine efforts are growing up, especially since Cashback always seemed a bit like a desperate attempt to get users, which Microsoft now seems to be (finally) gaining. The company has 11.8 percent of the search market, up from 8 percent before it relaunched its search engine as Bing a year ago, according to comScore.
What are your thoughts? If bing turns into just another search engine with no differentiating offers and services will it have the muscle to truly compete with Google? When you are trailing the leader by as much as bing trails Google it would make sense that there should be offers to make a searcher stand up, take notice and change behaviors. Does bing really have what it takes?