Today Microsoft announced that they are officially going to cease operating the Bing Cashback program on July 30, 2010. The Bing Cashback program was setup as a loyalty program that offered consumers a percentage of their purchase at selected partner online store in terms of a cash back. The primary goal of that program was to support the Bing Search engine by cultivating loyalty through cash back and the partner online stores will have their Bing Cashback appear above the sponsored ads on Bing. At that time, Microsoft could have turned that application into an affiliate marketing network or become a super affiliate, but I have no idea why the executives did not have that foresight.
The birth of this program started with the acquisition of JellyFish in 2007, and that morphed into Bing Cashback when it launched in May 2008. When the program launched in 2008, they signed up 700 online stores or so from Sears, Overstock to eBay. Within the last two years, they signed on another 300+ online stores to have 1000+ online stores.
Bing Cashback was never thought out before implementation from strategy to execution. Although they announce the death of Bing Cashback, I would spin this around and turn the program and platform into something else which would see a positive cash flow in 6 months. They just need to think beyond using that to support the Bing Search.