Microsoft Steps Up Program To Bribe Users To Search

from the pay-up dept

Apparently Microsoft’s ongoing program to bribe users to use its search engine wasn’t getting enough attention, and the company seems to be upping the ante. At least for a little while, it’s now giving 25% cash back on eBay purchases (limited to $200). At some point, you really have to wonder how well this program really works. Sure, some folks may use Microsoft’s search to get the cashback (or to game the system), but will they keep it up when Microsoft isn’t paying? That’s not at all clear, and it seems likely that Microsoft could be paying out a lot more than it gets back in benefits.

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Companies: ebay, microsoft

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Comments on “Microsoft Steps Up Program To Bribe Users To Search”

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Mogilny says:

Are you sure?

MSFT isn’t stupid. On its live search blog,,

they say it is UP to 25% off. I think this is how it works. You search for PS3 on An area with ebay sponsored links appears with possible cash back savings. Only through these links will you get savings.

If i’m wrong, i’m moving to the states.

Start Packing says:

Re: Are you sure? Yup!

Better start packing… It’s currently 25% off ANYTHING on ebay with a “buy it now” option that uses PayPal (owned by ebay) as the payment method. First select the item(s) you want and “watch” them in “my ebay”. Then go to and search for a big ticket item such as “PS3”. Once you click on the link, you’re on your way to 25% off. It’ll be displayed at the top of the page. You can then click on “my ebay”, and “buy it now” for any item you’ve got in there, and still get the 25% discount. I wouldn’t use to actually search for anything (that’s what google is for), but if Bill is handing out free money, I’m sure as heck going to be in line to take it. And that $200 limit is PER TRANSACTION, with up to 12 transactions allowed. Can you say $400 laptop for $300? Good, I knew you could!

Wildo says:


No, it would not be free. You get 25% cash back. What that means to you:
Xbox = $200
cashback = $50
Xbox cost after cashback = $150

Cashback payout is delayed 60 days to account for returns, etc.

Cashback has been as high as 35% in recent months, 30% more recently and finally resting at 25% for the last several weeks.

I would not use live search if it were not for the cashback.

Thom says:

@Ebay 25% off is losing money

I’m buying a lot of tech books lately and looking for some camera equipment too. I’ve got everything in my Amazon wishlist where I can see both the new and used prices. When I was reminded of the live search cashback for Ebay I searched for every single item in my wishlist – over forty of them.

Every book was available through multiple Ebay sellers, but even with the additional 25% off I could get brand new items directly from Amazon for less. Some new items were available from some Amazon sellers for significantly less. The 25% applied to camera gear usually brought the price slightly below Amazon’s lowest offers but let’s see.. would I rather buy from Ebay w/Paypal and their “guarantees” or Amazon with theirs? It’s no contest.

Getting 25% off an ebay purchase is like getting 25% off at a Circuit City store closing sale – you’re still paying more than you’d pay elsewhere at regular price.

Nathania Johnson (profile) says:

Ever listened to the radio?

Radio stations are notorious for having contests where they give away cash, tickets, or even cars. In those cases, only one person or a few people win.

At least with Cashback – anyone who uses the program can take advantage.

It’s not like MSFT is the first company to use incentives to get people to use it’s product.

Coupons, free shipping, BOGO, 0% financing, the list goes on and on.

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