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Bing Cashback Search Engine Customers Higher Prices

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In The News

Bing Cashback, the search engine from Microsoft, touts itself as a way to save shoppers money when shopping online retailers. That said, at least one user has found that Bing shopping prices are coming back higher for buying a product than if buyers use another browser (i.e., Google or Firefox browsers). Samir Meghani found that price difference to mean he'd be losing money, even after the cash back for the product, coining the experience 'Negative Cashback'.
The Bing Cashback program is supposed to work by giving shoppers a percentage return of cash back, each time a product is purchased using the search engine while buying from a participating store. Unfortunately the opposite seems to be true-at least in one specific instance. Meghani found installation of a cookie or cookies which reflect higher prices on some items. Even after a Bing Cashback percentage return, in this example it appears the buyer is still paying more for the item, even after getting cash back percentage of 2% from Microsoft's Bing.
It looks like Bing users can lose money, according to Samir Meghani, who states:
"Using Bing has tainted my web browser. Butterfly Photo [the retailer] set a three month cookie on my computer to indicate that I came from Bing. Any product I look at for the next three months may show a different price than I’d get by going there directly. Just clicking a Bing link means three months of potentially negative cashback, without me ever realizing it.  I’m actually afraid to use their service even just to write this, because it may cost me money in the future.  If you’ve been thinking about trying out Bing Cashback, you may want to rethink that."
Whether the problem is intentional on behalf of Microsoft, or simply an error, the result to the buyer appears to be the possibility of paying higher prices. And that definitely appears fishy, particularly when buyers are under the impression that they're saving money on an item purchase, at least through supposedly receiving cash back from Bing. Issue may lie with Bing's ability to track website changes or accurately. Or the problem may be in Bing's relationships with retailers or possibly ethics of retailers themselves. Regardless, the Bing Cashback program seems to be having issues, and Meghani's research shows buyers using the search engine could be the potential losers here.
What is Meghani talking about? Using Bing, specific products from websites appear through a Cashback-enabled browser. Those product results are listed at a certain price on Bing, but if the user visits the same website from a non-Bing Cashback browser, the price can be lower. Significantly lower, for at least one product. The other option Meghani states, to see the lower prices, is to delete the Bing cookies to see the lower price difference. Price can be dramatically different, with the buyer not the winner.
As one Bing Cashback user, Meghani, a user whom has supposedly had his Bing Cashback account closed by Microsoft, put it: "If I go directly to, I pay $699 with 0% cashback. If I use Bing Cashback, I pay $758 with 2% cashback, or $742.84. Using Bing Cashback has actually cost me $43.84, giving an effective cashback rate of -6.27%." And this is where the term Negative Cashback is derived. The theory can be tested by clearing cookies enabled by Bing or using a different browser to view product pricing for the same item.
Giving Microsoft benefit of the doubt, that this is a technical glitch or bug rather than intentional scam, a glitch is still a glitch.
Microsoft's reply? Microsoft spokesperson replied to Meghani's posted statements, saying, “With more than 1,000 retailers and 17 million product offers, the Bing cashback program aims to ensure Bing customers get the best available deal on the Web. Within the cashback program, each retailer sets the allocation of products and pricing of those products, which are delivered to Microsoft through a realtime data feed. We have tools that will catch discrepancies, and in this particular case, there was an error in the information delivered to us. When we notice an inconsistency or one is reported to Microsoft, we work with the merchant to correct the issue immediately. Overall, this case is an isolated instance within the larger Bing cashback and we are working with Butterfly Photo to resolve this specific issue as soon as possible.
Now this is a serious circle of confusion: "We have tools that will catch discrepancies, and in this particular case, there was an error in the information delivered to us." Okay, so Microsoft is stating it has tools that will catch discrepancies; Microsoft is simultaneously stating that this was an error in the information delivered to the company (implying the source of the problem to be Butterfly Photo, since it later states it is working with Butterfly Photo for resolution); then why exactly did those 'tools' Microsoft has not catch the discrepancy.
"When we notice an inconsistency or one is reported to Microsoft, we work with the merchant to correct the issue immediately." Ummm...this goes back to those 'tools'. If Microsoft has 'tools' to 'catch discrepancies', then why would an inconsistency need to be reported to Microsoft for the merchant to correct the issue?
"Overall, this case is an isolated instance within the larger Bing cashback": do the terms 'overall' and 'isolated instance' really go together. If it is an isolated instance, happening once and once only, then is it really necessary to suggest consumers or users look at the bigger picture. The question: is this really an isolated instance or an ongoing problem with Bing's Cashback program?

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Affiliates normally share the

October 23, 2013 by ileaddigital (not verified), 10 years 25 weeks ago

ileaddigital's picture

Affiliates normally share the percentage of the sale commission with the customers as cashback. Cashback websites are the best and easy way to earn online both for affiliate and customers including Bing Cashback website, but the issue described could be really isolated if they do not pay attention to it and resolve, otherwise Bing Cashback is good one cashback out there. A common affiliates can also have approach to get developed their own Casback tracking systems so that they can track their affiliate incomes. There are dozens of resources out there that provide professional Cashback website design and development for affiliation.