Sep 232010

Bing Rewards: Can't Buy Me Love...

We knew that a Cashback replacement was in the works but didn't know what form it would take. Now we do. Bing Rewards offers points for searching...1 point for 5 searches and 250 point for signing up. Points can be redeemed for prizes, gift cards or charitable donations.

There are a few strings attached. You have to use IE, and you have to download the Bing Bar...oh, and you have to conduct searches on Bing.

This is probably a better mechanism than Cashback which required the users to sign up, the merchants to sign up and was somewhat complicated and confusing to both advertisers and users. Cashback was also subject to abuse -- Cashback links posted all over the web which violated the Ts & Cs of the program and alienated users.

The Points approach is much much simpler which may encourage adoption.

Greg Sterling points out shrewdly that users earning the maximum point total per day (8 points) for a year will earn enough points to buy...a Scrabble board game. Don't get me wrong, I love Scrabble, but for a program set to expire at the end of 2011, the incentive to participate is, well, underwhelming.

Bing says the point is to encourage loyalty among folks who already use Bing some.

From a business perspective it's probably more sustainable than Cashback which seemed financially ruinous for Bing. They don't give away much, and if it succeeds, the extra ad revenue will probably pay for the rewards.

But if all they're after is more loyalty from their existing customers -- and clearly the incentives aren't enough to do anything else -- that's kind of a sad admission.

If The Decision Engine provided a materially better search experience than Google they likely wouldn't need to offer incentives for loyal use.

For Bing to gain material share the point of this program has to be to convince folks to try it for the first time. That may require bigger incentives and lower barriers to entry -- requiring folks to both change engines and browsers (wont work with Firefox, Chrome or Safari) is a bridge too far -- and holding that share will require them to offer a truly better search experience.

"I don't care too much for money, money can't buy me love..."


12 Responses to "Bing Rewards: Can't Buy Me Love..."
Jc says:
With Google Instant coming out integrated into the Chrome's address bar and Chrome's increasing market share, I don't see how bing can catch up...
Thanks for your comment, JC. They definitely have their work cut out for them, and it doesn't seem like their service sufficiently differentiates itself to gain share meaningfully. Maybe they focus their attention on mobile; make deals with the device manufacturers, and...oh wait, Apple and Google are dominating the mobile operating system market and Microsoft doesn't have a great relationship with either :-)
George says:
Google are risking it with Instant, you disable it, it reappears each time you clear your cookies. Then you have the same with Google's personalized search. It should be opt in, not opt out. I dont want any of it. I just want to enter my search query and press enter, I dont want suggestions, I dont want streaming search results as I type, its just all a frustrating distraction. Then you have sponsored results that look just like organic results. I dont want go to affilate sites. Then you have all the MFA made for adsense sites/blogs, with unrelated scraped content. Sponsered by Google, creating more spam. I dont want any of it. Just give me what you provided me with years ago, get rid of the spam, blogs, affiliates, MFA sites. Im not interested. I am increasingly using Bing, its not perfect by any means, got along way to go still to catch up, but its getting better, whilst Google is just getting too frustrating to use. If only there was more players, it just a duopoly at the moment.
Jun says:
Searching with Bing is OK, sort of. Sticking to IE only? That's gonna be hard.
Thanks for your comments, Jun. George, Google doesn't think you know what you want. They know what you want. Their algorithms are really smart, much smarter than any of us. Just go where they tell you to go and you'll be happy. Indeed, I don't think we'll need to search in the near future. By 2012, we'll just turn on our computer and it will show us interesting things ... kind of like TV but without all the channels...:-) George
Bob says:
Can't seem to find any reference from Bing on the limitation of the 8 points/day. In doing the math, if I sign up today with the 250 point bonus and earn the maximum 8 points/day (your reference) through the end of the program on 9/30/11...(see Bing's reference in the following link)... ...I'd accumulate about 3,200 points...nowhere near enough points to get the nifty Best of Beauty Travel Kit for 3,638 points... ...not to mention the Photo Frame for 4,715 points... Maybe my math is off or maybe you can get more than 8 points per day or maybe Bing did not really think about this very thoroughly?
Bob, I don't know that I've seen anything from Bing on the cap, either. I picked that up from Greg. Boy if there's no cap, then you could...well the prizes are still kinda cheesy :-)
Josh says:
Yeah I actually find that you can get up to 40 points a day, you have to delete and reinstall the bing bar until you get the best points per day (16 points for searching 5-1 ratio and two 12 point offers every other day) .


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