Microsoft will be retiring Bing's Cashback feature on July 30, 2010, it announced today on the Bing Blog. Cashback offers shoppers rewards that range between two and ten percent of the merchandise price when promoted on behalf o
f specified partners or advertisers on the Web search engine, as mentioned by ReadWriteWeb this morning.
Yusuf Mehdi cited reasons for abandoning Bing Cashback including a "test-and-learn mentality" and general lack of adoption. Mehdi, author of the post and senior VP of the Online Audience Business Group, assures readers that Bing prizes the experiment principle and that their search engine's team has learned much from the nearly-outmoded feature.
When Bing cashback was first offered, it was designed to help advertisers reach consumers with incentives, and offer a different type of shopping experience with the possibility of changing user behavior and attracting new Bing users. According to TechCrunch the service was first made available on Microsoft's previous project Live Search, which enjoyed an increase in revenue but not a larger section of Web search market share.
Back on Bing, over a thousand merchant partners signed on with great ROI for their campaigns, and the customers received a small amount of money taken from the advertising revenue. Since the adoption rate was not what Bing hoped for, they are instead putting what they learned into other programs.
Since shopping is a significant subject for consumer Web search, Bing will try to offer new services related to product decisions, discounts and time-savers. For businesses, Bing will be offering new ideas later in the summer related to getting more products and offers into the Bing shopping search.
For those customers who are interested in using cashback, the service will be available for nearly two additional months, until the end of this July. The service will then end, but users can still redeem offers for an additional year.