Bing Cashback is dead. Long live Bing Rewards.
Microsoft this week announced a new promotional program called Bing Rewards that, as its name suggests, rewards users for utilizing the company's Bing search service. If this sounds familiar, that's because it is: Bing Rewards is essentially an updated take on a previous program called Bing Cashback, one that is modeled after similar loyalty programs from airlines, grocery stores, and other entities.
With Bing Cashback, online shoppers could earn cash back on purchases made through Bing Shopping. Microsoft shut down Bing Cashback in July 2010, noting at the time that it would share more details about a replacement program in the months ahead.
This week, Microsoft shared those details. Bing Rewards allows you to earn credits for using various Bing services, and those credits can be applied toward rewards that include such things as gift cards, digital downloads, donations, electronics, computers, movie tickets, and so on. Unlike Bing Cashback, however, Bing Rewards isn't just tied to Bing's shopping experiences. You can earn credits just by using Bing to search the web for example, or by setting your browser's home page to Bing.
There's a catch, of course. In order to take advantage of Bing Rewards, you need to install the Bing toolbar in your browser, which works only with Internet Explorer 7 or later. (You also need a Windows Live ID.)
If this doesn't turn you off, head over to the Bing Rewards site. Bing Rewards is currently a preview release that's available only in the US.