Too Much Free Time

by Mike Masnick

Filed Under:
bribes, search

ebay, microsoft

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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  • identicon
    Mogilny, 10 Nov 2008 @ 9:58pm

    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.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Start Packing, 11 Nov 2008 @ 11:04am

      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!

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        Mogilny, 11 Nov 2008 @ 10:25pm

        Re: Re: Are you sure? Yup!

        Yup! My bad, MSFT is THAT stupid and I was stupid to believe otherwise. :(.

        I used a web proxy to check out I'm sooo full of envy right now.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Bob, 10 Nov 2008 @ 11:43pm


    Does that mean if I buy an XBOX 360 off E-Bay it would be free, if it were under $200?

    Hmmm...only problem is I have to put the money up first. Oh well, someone want to loan me $200 for a few days? :)

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Wildo, 11 Nov 2008 @ 12:17am

    RE: XBOX?

    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.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Thom, 11 Nov 2008 @ 5:33am

    @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.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Nathania Johnson, 11 Nov 2008 @ 6:30am

    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.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    TX CHL Instructor (profile), 11 Nov 2008 @ 6:53am

    New MS motto

    Search that Sucks so bad we have to pay you to use it.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    cashback, 29 Nov 2008 @ 8:41am

    Cashback Shopping

    Good article gives me a better insight. I might look to use livesearch cashback now it's christmas.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

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