back to article Microsoft pulls plug on search bribery machine

Microsoft is pulling the plug on its search bribery machine. The Bing Cashback program — which actually paid people to use Microsoft's third-rate search engine — will vanish on July 30. In May 2008, as part of its desperate bid to catch the uncatchable Google, Microsoft began bribing people to use Live Search, Bing's precursor …


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  1. Disco-Legend-Zeke

    It's Rather Like...

    ...FARMVILLE: *clik* clik* clik* clik* clik* clik* clik* *DING$$$$$$;* Except real dollars come out.

    Arbitrage is the biggest game in town, and most games attract players. Job security for IT guys, too.

  2. pan2008
    Thumb Down

    not third rate

    I use bing as my default parly because I don't want google to get everything. I would say that for the average citizen bing is a good as google, just do some searches and they come very similar. However, google does seem to have more depth sometimes so if I can't find it with bing I try google, that doesn't happen very often and it's only for very technical stuff. Bing seems to eliminate some duplicate or useless links but google doesn't. Overall I give 95% to google and 85% to bing. I also love bing's homepage and the great pictures which I use as backgrounds.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      First rate

      Now Google has everyone's favorite picture -- the one you choose.

    2. Mike OReilly

      BCB was good

      Bing Cash Back saved me over US$400 over last year or so. It was a great way to shop for those who knew. I'm now a full time Bing user and BCB was the reason I first tried Live/Bing. FWIW.

    3. Fred Flintstone Gold badge

      Try Googlesharing

      If Google ID is a problem for you, plenty of ways to isolate you from the logfiles at Google..

      The fact is that Google has indeed done a killer job on searching, which is what brings them their traffic. Once upon a time it was Altavista (must go and look at it again), now it's Google, and someone gets clever it may change again.

  3. DJV Silver badge

    Ballmer insists that one day, it will turn black

    Yeah, on the day the sun turns nova and burns the Earth to a crisp.

    1. David McMahon


      This is why we need investment in the space program, so when that day comes we have already colonised some of the galaxy.

    2. Flybert

      Black Ball(mer) Bing

      or Bing Ballmer Black

      or Bing Black Bill

  4. Karl Lattimer

    I have visions...

    I have visions of an angry steve ballmer beating a poor, defenceless and dead horse with a large luxury leather office chair...

    1. N2


      Another 5 TVs

  5. LinkOfHyrule

    The title is required, and must contain letters and/or digits.

    Bing - The search engine you wouldn't use if they paid you! Only from your friends at Microsoft!

  6. Fazal Majid

    Bing is second rate, not third rate

    Thanks to the implosion of Yahoo!...

  7. Dest

    I tried Bing once

    I tried Bing once when it first came out, before they fixed it so that it didn't always direct the user to Microsoft related garbage and I immediately went back to using the various search engines that I normally use.

    When I tried Bing it was cluttered with all kinds of goofy and irreverent pictures and it just looked tawdry.

    I have no idea what Bing is like now because I won't bother with it but it doesn't surprise me that they had to pay people to use it.

    Reportedly Steve Ballmer walks around the office saying the word "Bing" and demanding that other employees say it with enthusiasm as well.

    Again this doesn't surprise me because he known to be an extremely autocratic leader and the idiotic name "Bing" certainly sounds to me like something that he would come up with.

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Gates Horns


    Have never been able to anticipate the market in advance (other than Bill G's "software is the market - hardware will be dime store stuff).

    They dismissed the internet, smart phones, Apple, the iPhone, the iPod, integrated search, desktop search et al. When they finally realise they've got it wrong again they throw money at the problem and come up with a half assed solution in a department where, presumably, no one is allowed to say "this design is shit and we'll be laughed at, again, if we try to sell it".

    They should stick to gaming platforms and let people who understand security deal with the desktop/net.

    1. Joe Montana

      Dime store stuff?

      The idea of software being expensive and hardware being dime store stuff is completely ass-backwards...

      Software can be produced for free, open source proves that... Hardware cannot be free because it always has per unit costs to produce...

      Both software and hardware will reach a point whereby it's good enough, at which point software requires trivial duplication whereas hardware still requires raw materials and specialised equipment to produce.

      You can see why, from a business perspective, they would want to sell a product that costs nothing to produce... Can't get much better profit margins than that, but it relies on consumer ignorance and sooner or later people will wise up.

      Sure, competition will push hardware down to dime store prices, but that same competition will eventually push the price of software much lower still.

  9. Anonymous Coward

    Easiest way to attract more shoppers ....

    By far the easiest way for M$ to make Bing an more attractive place for shoppers would be to copy google and allow merchants to list their products for free and to allow searches to find items and / return you to the merchant at no cost. This is what googles product search allows and which is why most merchants use it. Bing like google would make money from paid adverts rather than basic search. By only allowing products to be uploaded to ciao! and forcing the merchants to pay a cpc rate for all product referrals , small merchants see most if not all their margin go the ciao! in cpc fees.

    Consider this, most comparison sites charge approx 25/30p to the merchant for every click ( not sale and irrespective of the sale price ) , while at the same time offering conversion rates of only between 1 and 2% . Most products on the internet are sold for < £50, given the amount of discounting that goes on with internet prices most retailers ( not service companies/manufacturers ) are lucky to see a gross margin ( i.e. before advertising cost, shipping, running costs etc ) of 5% or 10% that’s £2.50 - £5 , do the maths and you'll see who's making the profit and who's making the loss.

    For small merchants using cpc sites is a mugs game, if you as a consumer want to have a diverse shopping and ultimately pricing experience, use google product search.

  10. Blake St. Claire
    Gates Horns

    I too tried it

    Wanted to buy a big screen TV. Registered, signed up for Cash Back. Received all the confirmation emails, or thought I did at the time.

    Bought the TV. Never got my rebate. Complained to the merchant, got no response. No way to call Microsoft, just a maze of links to web pages full of unhelpful hints like "make sure you received the confirmation emails" after the fact -- too late to do anything about it now.

    It was only something like $75, and the price I paid for the TV itself was still better than I could find locally and had free shipping.

    It confirmed to me -- yet again -- what shysters Microsoft are.

  11. JBH


    And who are all these mugs that respond to ads anyway?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Big Brother

      Who are all these mugs..

      ..that even let their browser display adverts?

  12. Bruce Ordway

    So long

    I just want to know who does the naming at MS lately.

    Bing? I hate the sound of it.

    Is it supposed to be a play on the sound ding?

    The word Google makes me curious, a great name for a search engine.

    Silverlight? Way too many syllables.

    The reference to a movie screen seems pretty lame.

    I hate the product Flash, but the name is a great one.

    1. Anonymous Coward

      @Bruce Ordway

      So you think the name is a good one eh?

      Bing is so close to BLING.

      Bling ( means flashy. To me, it also means without substance. Sort of more like Mouth & No Trousers. ( ) which says it all.

      Don't get me wrong here. I did really try to like the results of searches but in so many cases, it totally failed to find anything relevant.

    2. Steve 114
      Thumb Down

      Silly name

      Wasn't Bing Liz Hurley's squeeze? Worse, they've applied his name to their mapping/aerial photo feature, so my old html links to locations now advertise their silliness to my readers. Linking Google Earth doesn't seem so easy.

    3. Player_16
      Gates Halo

      You wouldn't mind...

      ...if you squirt that to my Zune would cha so I could bing it in Vista?

  13. Colin Brett

    Anyone remember Spitting Image?

    Way back in the mists of ancient history, when Spitting Image was funny, the Royal Family were discussing names for a new prince (Harry or Wills, I can't remember which). Princess Margarate, slightly tipsy, said "What about Bing? We haven't had a Bing in the family for ages.!

    I never could take the name Bing seriously after that.


  14. Cyfaill

    BING - the name

    Oh dear... reading the reply's... A little enlightenment.

    Mr Steve likes to play pay particular attention to what his foes do.

    Then seems to parrot behavior to mock, if possible. Does not work as well as he might think though.

    GNU/Linux and Unix communities use acronyms with abandon... quite often recursive... it's humor and a memory trick like the medieval rope memory game/technique. GNU means Graphical Not Unix.

    GIMP = GNU Image Manipulation Program


    So, B.I.N.G. Bing = Bing Is Not Google

    It was Steve's way of having a little fun. Or was a Freudian slip as to what his nemesis is. He rightfully thinks Google is connected to the Linux community. His obsession, perhaps, is Linux and anything successful associated with it since Microsoft cannot win on technical merit. BSOD which techies created as an acronym comes to mind, MS hated it for a long time, then wore it as the mantle it is. Along with the very famous Ctrl+Alt+Del... With many types of Linux, Ctrl+Alt+Del will bring up a Que which asks if you actually wanted to log out or were just walking memory lane. :)

    1. Jan 0 Silver badge

      Get it right, twerp.

      GNU = Gnu's not Unix

  15. Misoriented

    Bing community blog

    There's an actual "community" of people that regularly read a blog about a search engine? Clearly mankind has lost its way. I have an alternative suggestion for these Bing enthusiasts:

    1. Turn off the computer.

    2. Find some loved ones.

    3. Go outside with them.

  16. JDX Gold badge
    Thumb Down

    "which actually paid people to use Microsoft's third-rate search engine"

    Way to go with the objective journalism.

    Only a little while ago, Reg ran an article about Google copying Bing, IIRC.

  17. mmiied

    "which actually paid people to use Microsoft's third-rate search engine"

    the is nothing like objective jurnolisum is there?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Some did use Bing just for the cash back feature

      Actually I read on a couple tech sites that most commenters said they only used Bing just for the cahback feature. If true, that'd be pretty dang funny, and mean The Register was right, even if it was objective.

      1. John M. Drescher

        I only used bing for the money.

        And at that most of the cashback was earned buying hardware for linux machines..

  18. Linbox

    wait! .... Microsoft have a search engine?

    who knew?

    1. JDX Gold badge

      everyone in the UK who watches TV?

      They're very aggressively advertising it right now

  19. John M. Drescher


    They have paid me over $400 US to date. I really like when they sponsor my linux machines..

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