So, the timing just can’t be better to write about this. Microsoft announced that it will give its users cashback when they make a purchase through its Live Search. I try a query on Panasonic PV-GS80, a camcorder I recently bought. Among those results, the top percentage payout is 3.5% on an original price of $299.89, and the lowest “bottom line price” is $243.04.

3.5%. Sounds not bad, huh?! Well, let me tell you my recent experience with’s price alert service. [Disclosure: I am the founder of]

I bought that Panasonic PV-GS80 for $199.99 from a local BestBuy on Apr. 24 (See?! This price is already 18% lower than the lowest price I find on Live Search) for the Best Startup Contest in Startup Camp. I wanted to record our funny moments in the Speed Geeking sessions. ended up tied with for the third place. We both got 12 wooden nickels from the voters, but we did not win the iPod. Anyway, that’s another long story.

I have the good habit of setting price alerts for what I have bought using in the hope of getting some extra refund dollars. This time, it really paid off, and paid off BIG! On May 8, the 14th day (the last day of the return period) after I bought that Panasonic PV-GS80, I got a price alert notification from, telling me that that Panasonic PV-GS80 had dropped to $129.99!!! I still remember I got so excited that I jumped up and down for a while. Not only because I could get an extra $70, but more importantly, this proves that the web site we created is really working and really useful, and I believe more people are going to love our price alerts and jump up and down like me when they receive their big price drop notifications.

Excited as I was, I didn’t forget that I still needed to go to BestBuy in person to claim that refund. So I rushed to BestBuy, and this picture says it all. BestBuy, thank you so much! I love you:

Now that’s $70 off $199.99, or a whopping 35% off the original price. The final price I got is $129.99, which is 47% lower than the lowest “bottom line price” I find on Live Search. $129.99 is really a steal for a camcorder with good ratings and reviews.

Sounds too great to believe?! Well, next time don’t forget to go to to set a price alert right after you make an on-line purchase. A fortune may be yours–only if you know it’s there. But don’t worry. has made all this hassle free. All you need to do is enter the URL address of your purchase and your email address. Then rest assured you won’t miss a fortune like this any more.

So back to the Live Search cashback story, Michael Arrington seems slightly optimistic about it. Well, I’m not so. Michael probably isn’t a big online shopper, so he probably doesn’t know that the real problem is, Live Search still has too few listings and their prices are just not competitive enough against other comparison shopping engines, even after cashback. The real bargain hunters, who care only about the “bottom-line prices” but not about the percentages of cashback, are going to know this. Unfortunately, they also happen to be the same group of people that Microsoft is wooing with this cashback program.

Hey, Microsoft, if you want to do something really disruptive to the game, 2% or 3% cashback is not gonna be enough. The 35% off that helped me get is what is needed to be called disruptive or game-changing. And the best part is, you don’t pay that out of your own pocket (even though we know you do have a deep one). Other people pay the bill, but you get most of the credit!

So seriously, I do think Microsoft should talk to us. But oddly enough, I can’t find any mention of this new cashback program in any Live Search official blogs where I can leave my thoughts. So I’ll just post them here. We’d be happy to talk to Microsoft (in fact, any guys who want our disruptive features) any time.

Update: Looks like Microsoft is being a lot more generous in the “soft goods” (clothing, shoes, bags, etc.) categories. So I guess they are really serious about it. Good!