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Does Microsofts Cashback Program help?

|Includes: AMZN, DELL, EBAY, HPQ, Microsoft Corporation (MSFT)

Is Microsoft's Cashback program driving people to use its Bing Search Engine.  For me, yes!  I usually use whatever search engine is in my toolbar and on whatever computer I am at (college, library, laptop, desktop etc.).  Recently I have caught myself typing in to check prices of items that I want to buy.

I usually start with ebay or amazon, but now I start with Bing because I might find a link to buy it on ebay anyway, but through bing I save about 8% that comes back to me via Paypal.

The reason I am writing this is because I just purchased a book from through Bing.  I could have gone through or amazon, but when I calculated in the FREE shipping and the 7% bing cashback it comes out to be $4 cheaper from via Bing.

Here is a snapshot of my BingCashback account for the year.  It does not include the book I just bought but you get the idea.

Pending $30.24
Available $7.22
In process
Rewarded $28.70
Total cashback $66.16

This year alone I have saved over $66 from purchases I would have bought anyway.  Its like a coupon that takes 60 days to go into affect. With Christmas coming up I will be relying on Bing even more to shop within my budget.  I will be buying DATG sales from home and getting an even BETTER deal then going to the store at 3AM!

My total would have been $130 higher had Dell not screwed up, I was trying to buy a new laptop and Quickbooks Small Business,  The price they advertised and the price that was present in the "cart" where 2 different numbers.  I called Dell to confirm the price and they said once I paid it would only charge me the Sale price.  Well it didn't, called back to cancel/re-order at the sale-price.  After going through the cancel debacle (30 minutes on hold) i was told it was cancelled, so I was connected to the ordering department, told the rep what I wanted, they tried to place the order, the previous order was not cancelled!!!!  Had to do a 3-way call to get the first order cancelled (again).  Once I was told it was cancelled and had a confirmation number, I apologized to the sales rep and said I no longer wanted to purchase anything from Dell after 2 hours of waiting on the phone.  I was going with Dell because my HP laptop was having problems with the wireless card.  Found out through BestBuy and GeekSquad that it was under a recall and they showed me the papers, when I tried to get it fixed under the recall from HP they repeatedly told me there was no such recall!  I SAW the PAPER HP sent to BestBuy!  I tried to get it fixed through HP for 3 days and was on the phone for over 6 HOURS total. I even had my credit card statement proving the date of purchase.  I gave up. 

A savings is a Savings.

What do you think of BingCashback? Is it a Gimmick? is Microsoft making/Losing money from this?  Are other people like me and check Bing before they go other places?    Without Spamming this post, are there other worthy Deal/savings programs?

P.S.. I am still looking for a good small business laptop, any ideas?

I am long MSFT and do not hold any position in AMZN, HPQ, DELL, or EBAY.