I just wanted to post this for anyone here who does a lot of Ebay shopping... especially if you do BINs!
Ebay recently went to their own in-house affiliate program, and Microsoft Live Cash Back just got them as a merchant. They worked out a SWEET deal where if you use the Microsoft Live search engine -- http://www.live.com -- and search for something available on Ebay, a "sponsored ad" will pop up that you can click for between 10 and 35% cash back (through Live Cash Back) on a Buy It Now!
Example! My son's been driving me NUTS wanting an ipod Touch. He's been saving his money but he was still way short. I went to Live.com and did a search for ipod Touch and saw the sponsored ad. It said something like, "Buy iPod Touch. Get 35% cash back if eligible." And it had a little icon next to it for Live Search Cashback. I clicked through and it showed me Ebay search results that included "ipod Touch." Found one that had a good price, seller had good feedback, etc., and clicked to BIN. The sale page gave me my total with shipping, and then showed me what I'd get in cash back from Live Search Cashback:
Item cost: $249.99
Out of pocket: $259.99
Live Cashback: $87.50 (appeared in my Live Search Cashback account the next day, and is available to withdraw by check or PayPal in 60 days)
So the total cost after rebate was: $172.49
PriceGrabber says the best price online including shipping and tax where charged is $255!: http://electronics.pricegrabber.com/mp3 ... 15/st=zip/
So, my son did pretty good, huh?
Now, this is the thing I found, though. The percentage that you're offered in cash back depends on the item (it's really hard to find products with 35% cash back!), and it depends on WHEN you're searching for it. Right now, when I search Live.com for an ipod touch, I only get offered 10% cash back for Ebay purchases. So you'll have to be patient... try searching at different times of the day, different days of the week... it may even vary depending on the search term (ipod touch, ipod touch 8gb, mp3 player ipod, etc.).
But in any event, 10% cash back for Ebay BIN's is, to my knowledge, the best rate you're going to get anywhere! If you're able to get 20%, 25%, or 35%...even better!
If you're not familiar with them, Microsoft Live Cashback is what used to be the Jellyfish.com cash back shopping site. You can join it here: http://search.live.com/cashback
Viewing the 'News' Category
I just wanted to post this for anyone here who does a lot of Ebay shopping... especially if you do BINs!
Everyone wants a piece of your economic stimulus tax refund.
Kroger stores (including King Soopers and City Market) will give you a bonus 10% for turning in your IRS stimulus check for a Kroger gift card... but I understand they'll give the bonus 10% to anyone who writes a personal check for $300, $600, or $1200, too.
Sears, Kmart, LandsEnd, and Fry's grocery stores will all give you a 10% bonus when you turn in your stimulus check with them.
Other companies like Walmart, Apple, and Expedia, are planning promotions designed to appeal to the "like winning the lottery" mentality that some, particularly younger Americans, will consider the rebate.
Consumers really need to spend the stimulus check wisely: is it better to get $300 to $1200 more stuff just because you'll get 10% more for free, or is it wiser to pay this toward a credit card where you're paying 21% interest? Duh!
If you're determined to spend your rebate rather than socking it away in savings or paying off a bill, be smart about it, okay? It does no good to get a 10% bonus at Sears when their regular prices are probably 10% higher than at Walmart anyway.
Consider spending your money online, shopping through a rewards program. You'll get cash back (or points that you can convert into a gift card to spend later), and at many online merchants you won't pay sales tax...which, where I live, saves me almost 10% right there, especially when you can combine the cash back with free shopping promotions or coupon codes.
I review many of these shopping rewards programs on CompareRewards (see my link on the left-hand side of the page). I ALWAYS start my online shopping session with a rewards program. All those 3%'s and 10%'s and 15% cashback rewards add up...so you can, in essence, spend your tax rebate check TWICE!
I do an annual review of shopping rebate rates at various online rewards programs, which I post on my website at CompareRewards.com. This year, in connection with the release of the study results (and to celebrate my site's 6th birthday), I'm co-hosting a chat with the management of many of these rewards programs.
The chat is open to the public and FREE. It's a chance for you to talk to the people behind the scenes at your favorite rewards programs -- want them to add a merchant? Want to know why a shopping order doesn't credit sometimes? Want to hear how one program is different from another? Just want to say hi and that you enjoy one of these sites?
The following people have RSVP'd (most are providing prizes to chat attendees as well):
* - Rebecca Faulkner, Marketing Content Editor of Ebates
* - Eric Shoemaker, Director of Marketing for Jellyfish.com
* - Charles Berman, CEO of BondRewards
* - Miriam McDermott, Senior VP of BondRewards
* - Dmitry B., founder and CEO of QuickRewards.net
* - Tricia S., founder and CEO of SunshineRewards
* - Jonathan Trieber, co-founder of iBakeSale
* - Jeff Nobbs, co-founder of Extrabux.
Unable to attend but sending prizes:
Unsure but will try to attend:
* Christopher Basista, founder of CreationsRewards.net
* Mitch Wander, founder of MyTroops
I hear you saying, "Whoa, hold up there, Becky, what's this thing about prizes?" Yes, we're going to be giving away prizes throughout the chat! Quite a few prizes, actually, well in excess of $500 worth!
"How do I get in on this chat?" Easy! Sign up for a free account on Gabbly.com and visit CompareRewards.com between 7pm and 11pm on Saturday, 11/3, for the chatroom name and password.
Come armed with any questions you might have for these folks -- they want to hear from YOU!
Rewards programs have been through the proverbial wringer in 2006. In fact, the only constant seems to be that everything is changing.
Take uPromise. It was sold to student loan provider Sallie Mae.
Take MyPoints. It was sold to United Online, owner of the NetZero and Juno ISPs.
Then there are the lawsuits.
Ebates is being sued for unwanted adware downloads. Trespassing, the plaintiff says.
Memolink is being sued is being sued for, among other things, copyright infringement from its "Get Free Levi's 501s" campaign and violating CAN-SPAM.
There have been some closures in the industry as well.
Parade Magazine shut down their ParadePerks rewards program, due to "logistical difficulties."
The off-line Betty Crocker Points program announced it is phasing out its long-time catalog.
And Experian's Metareward portal, their incentive program side of the business, closed down...which in turn shut down rewards programs that licensed the portal, like Netflip.
Rewards program sales, lawsuits, and closures...oh, my.
Meanwhile, the programs still in the game are scuttling to increase, or keep, their piece of the pie.
uPromise announced it will offer points for debit card purchases.
ClubMom, which operates the ClubMom Rewards program, introduced a manner in which members can earn points without spending by posting tips and stories to the site. Adding a strong social element, including Mom Blogs, ClubMom is attempting to build on the social networking craze which apparently extends to mothers as well. ClubMom Rewards also announced extended offerings in their points-for-vehicle-purchase category.
Greenpoints, the online descendent of the S&H Green Stamps program, redesigned their website, added more merchants, and doubled (they say temporarily) their shopping rates.
Instant win games, extra points for your first purchase, double points on certain days, free points for reading their emails...you name it, there has been a promotion for it.
What's yet to come for the remainder of 2006 remains to be seen, but if the first half of the year is any indication, hold on tight -- it's going to be a bumpy ride.
Last week, United Online (owner of Classmates.com, Juno, and NetZero, among others) bought MyPoints from United Airlines for $56 million.
How is this going to affect MyPoints members? Well, MyPoints has 1.4 million active members (around 4.5 million total), versus around 50 million for United Online (which isn't related to United Airlines, by the way). I imagine they'll try to roll some of their members into MyPoints. But then what?
So far they're not laying off MyPoints' staff, so it's not like they're walking into an empty office building with no knowledge of the rewards program business. They have money; there's no reason they'd shut the program down. But it's still a big question mark how things might change somewhere down the road.
Of course nothing's certain in life or in rewards programs...but points programs are more uncertain than straight cash rebate programs. Why? Because at a touch of a button, the points you earned can be devalued retroactively.
Example: Say you made a purchase at Overstock.com for $100 and earned 10 points per dollar for it, for a total of 1000 points.
Right now, at the current number of points to redeem, that's worth about $8.33. But if, say, they doubled the number of points required to redeem, all of a sudden, you just earned $4.17 worth of points. They halved your rebate...retroactively.
I'm a fan of MyPoints, don't get me wrong. I've been a member since 1999. But MyPoints has clearly been on a downhill slide.
MyPoints was bought by United Airlines in 2001 for $112.5 million, when it had 16 million members. United Online picked it up for $56 million with just 1.4 million active members (4.5 million total members).
Online shopping has exploded since 2001 -- yet MyPoints' membership base went from 16 million to 4.5 million (with under a third of those actually active members). Where did those 12 million+ members go? Why didn't MyPoints' membership GROW instead of shrinking, with so many more people shopping online?
I don't have the answer, just posing the question. There could be a lot of reasons -- competitors like uPromise, which does a much better job of marketing its program... Could be that early entrants into the rewards program scene, also fairly early internet subscribers, were younger, better educated, tech-savvy, and more adventurous online -- understanding the advantages to using a rewards program as a middleman between themselves and the merchant in order to get a rebate. Maybe MyPoints' members just had it with having the number of points required to cash out get increased once or twice a year.
Whatever the cause of its problems, I do know that MyPoints needs a serious investment in marketing if they plan to succeed. People need to know MyPoints is out there, what the benefits are to joining, and how to use the program properly. (Shut down the popup blockers before you shop, don't use coupon codes you got elsewhere, etc.) And customer service has GOT to be improved -- people submitting support tickets in FEBRUARY were getting a canned response about how things were busy from the holidays and response time would be delayed. That's just unacceptable, from a customer service standpoint.
It'll be interesting to watch how this all plays out, but for now, I don't have enough confidence in the program to do any business with them except clicking those BonusMails and doing their occasional surveys.