Bing has put considerable effort in the past several months into building out its deals content. First Bing introduced third party deals via its mobile website. It then created a retail-centric deals portal within Bing Shopping. More recently Microsoft added self-service group buying deals to the Bing Business Portal. And now there’s a new product in Microsoft’s deals mix: Bing Deals. (It was first noticed by TechCrunch.)
It’s a more “traditional,” email-based daily deal offering vs. the company’s earlier deal products and efforts (which are still ongoing). The new daily deals email capability is being powered by Tippr, another deals vendor that has found success with its white label platform.
Interestingly, in order to receive the Bing Deals emails, users must complete the sign-up process by logging in to a Windows Live or Facebook account. It’s not clear whether there’s any intended personalization behind the scenes — or whether deal purchases will be exposed through the Facebook news feed or Ticker.
The consumer pitch for Bing Deals is very much the same as that being made by scores of other deal providers: local business services at 50% to 90% off. And in respects this is a conventional offering — the earlier search-oriented Bing deals sites were more “progressive” — however there’s an interesting charitable angle that Microsoft hopes will build viral momentum.
Bing is offering what it’s calling Bing Deals for Schools, which allows schools or other non-profits to receive a piece of the money generated by local deal sales. In some sense this follows in the footsteps of “eScrip,” which is used in many places to raise additional funds for schools through ordinary purchases such as groceries. Microsoft hopes that by connecting deal buying and school fundraising there will be more word of mouth and grassroots adoption of its program. (There are other deals programs out there that provide a portion of sales to good causes; see, e.g., SharingSpree.)
The program has just started but appears to be available in 12 US cities so far. In this very early stage, the program’s track record is mixed (see below). In fairness, however, Bing Deals hasn’t yet been actively promoted.
There’s a question surrounding the source of these deals. Is Microsoft selling them directly to small merchants or is it sourcing them from a third party such as Tippr — or a bit of both? Tippr CEO Martin Tobias said he was unable to talk to me about specifics. It’s likely that Microsoft isn’t directly selling to small merchants but taking a deal feed from Tippr, just as it takes similar feeds for its other deal products.
I’ve made a similar request for additional information about the new program to Microsoft. If I get a statement or talk to someone I’ll update this post accordingly.
Postscript: Microsoft, through a spokesperson, said that this was not new and that daily deal emails were already available for each of the 12 markets in which Bing Deals operated. However I had not seen this previously.
Microsoft also said that “The vendor selling the deal may vary depending on the market and the deal and can include Microsoft via the Bing Business Portal, Tippr, or merchants via the Bing Business Portal.”