Microsoft plans to shut down Bing Cashback, the service that offered online shoppers cash rebates for buying products after searching for them on Bing.
It appears that the offering, which was based on technology developed by Jellyfish.com, a company Microsoft bought in 2007, didn't do as well as hoped.
Microsoft attracted more than 1,000 merchant partners who offered cash back to shoppers, said Yusuf Mehdi, senior vice president for Microsoft's Online Audience Business Group, in a blog post. "But after a couple of years of trying, we did not see the broad adoption that we had hoped for," he wrote.
Cashback will be available to users until July 30. After that, users will have a year to redeem any cash they earned through purchases.
Cashback was once central to Microsoft's push to position its search engine as one that was ideal for shoppers. It was also a service that Microsoft founder Bill Gates seemed particularly fond of. He often spoke about the potential for the offering to draw people to Microsoft search.
In May 2008 when the service launched, he described Cashback as a new advertising platform. Search advertising offers essentially nothing in return, compared to advertising on TV or radio, where users get content in return, he explained. Cashback "gives you a reason why you should use a particular search," he said at the time.
Cashback launched with some marquee names including eBay, Barnes & Noble, Sears, Home Depot, Zappos.com and Overstock.com. It launched with 700 merchants, so it grew only nominally over two years.
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