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Bing’s Cashback Program Shuttered

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.

Disney Sells Movie Tix on Facebook

The Walt Disney Company is doing more than wishing upon a star that their new release “Toy Story 3” will have success at the box office. While the movie doesn’t open until June 18 Disney is using their Facebook presence to pre-sell tickets and create buzz for Buzz Lightyear and company.

The New York Times reports

The Walt Disney Company has created what it believes is a first-of-its-kind application allowing Facebook users to buy tickets to “Toy Story 3” without leaving the social networking site and while, at the same time, prodding their friends to come along.

The application, called Disney Tickets Together, could transform how Hollywood sells movie tickets by combining purchases with the powerful forces of social networking. When you buy a ticket through Disney’s application, for instance, it alerts your Facebook friends and prompts you to invite them to buy tickets of their own.

More People Believe Online Reviews

The forthcoming 2010 Social Shopping Study by PowerReviews shows a marked increase in consumer trust in and reliance on online product reviews. However, their trust isn’t blind—online consumers are also becoming more skeptical of those reviews, willing to take them with a grain of salt.

The majority of online consumers use reviews as research, and more people are reading more and more reviews. Reports MediaPost:

Results from the 2010 survey indicate that 57% of shoppers trust customer reviews as a research source along with other corroborating information, but 35% question whether they are biased. Factors that degrade trust in reviews suggest that 50% do not provide enough reviews to make an educated decision, 39% doubt they are written by real customers, and 38% said a lack of negative reviews or limited information. . . .

Tippr Patently Going After Groupon

One day you’re up, the next day you’re down.

Just yesterday, we were gushing over the rapid rise of online coupon provider Groupon. Frank pointed out that Groupon had managed to achieve a $1 billion valuation, despite the many copycats in the marketplace.

Well, one of those copycats is not prepared to go quietly into the night.

According to GigaOm, Tippr picked up a boatload of patents that could put a serious dampener on Groupon’s capital raising efforts.

[Tippr CEO Martin Tobias] saw the rise of Groupon. He happened to know that Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen, who’d invested something like $90 million in the failed Groupon of the late ’90s, Mercata, still owned that company’s patents.

Groupon Appears in Valuation Rarified Air: $1 Billion

Wow. A site / concept that is barely 1 ½ years old that hits the $1 billion valuation mark? I had to see if I stepped into some worm hole that took me back in time to the late 1990’s. Apparently I have not and neither has Groupon who, by landing $135 million in an additional funding through Digital Sky Technology and Battery Ventures, has attained a standing that very few sites in the world can claim: a $1 billion valuation.

As reported at All Things Digital and the press release of this news:

Chicago/Moscow, April. 19, 2010–Groupon, the leading social commerce site, today announced that DST, a leading global internet investment group, will lead an investment round of $135 million in the Company. A portion of the investment will be used to fuel Groupon’s global expansion, and the rest will be used to facilitate liquidity for employees and early investors.

Google’s Blue Dot Marks the Availability Spot

Google has announced that a service that was previewed last December is now live for mobile devices. I’ll call it the “Blue Dot of Availability” which is stupid but it’s the best I can do. This function is just more evidence that Google is making mobile a top priority and it is giving retailers the ability to come along for the ride.

The Google Mobile blog tells us more

We’re happy to announce that as of today, if you’re searching for a product that is sold by participating retailers, including Best Buy, Sears, Williams-Sonoma, Pottery Barn, or West Elm, you can just look for the blue dots in the search results to see if it’s available in a local store. If you see a blue dot, you can tap on the adjacent “In stock nearby” link, and you’ll be taken to the seller’s page where you’ll see whether the item is “In Stock” or has “Limited Availability” near you. You’ll also see how far away the stores are from you — as long as you’ve enabled My Location or manually specified your location.

Colorado: Another State of Confusion

Being a resident of North Carolina I have had the experience of watching the state government take away an income stream for people in a time when income streams can be little more like a trickle. It did this through imposing a tax on Amazon affiliate sales in the state and Amazon essentially said “No problem, we’ll just remove the program from your residents reach”. I marveled at what can only be seen as utter stupidity on the surface (I say on the surface because that’s where I sit and have no other details) as the government pulled the rug out from under its own citizens thus removing dollars from the North Carolina economy over a dispute about the tax on those transactions. The state essentially threw out the baby, the bathwater and the tub. Way to go NC state government!