Microsoft adds Groupon-style deals to Bing

Microsoft has rolled out a new incentive to attract and keep more Bing users: Group deals.

Microsoft has rolled out a new incentive to attract and keep more Bing users: Group deals.

On March 3, Microsoft introduced "Bing deals" for the desktop and mobile (m.bing.com) via a partnership with The Dealmap. Via the partnership, Bing users in the U.S. will get access to "more than 200,000 unique offers in over 14,000 cities and towns," according to Microsoft. The Dealmap aggregates group deals from sources including Groupon, Living Social and Restaurant.com, among other sites.

Update: For now, on the mobile front, Bing deals are for iPhone and Android phones only, as reader @thedavidk pointed out. Microsoft's official statement: "The (deals) functionality is based on HTML5 and will work with phones that support it, but today is being released for iOS and Android. Windows Phone 7 announced that they will have HTML5 support in an update later this calendar year, at which point deals will work great on Windows Phone."

A Microsoft spokesperson said, when I asked about wider availability: "Deals are currently available in the U.S. only. We’re working to expand support to more markets, and will announce additional locations as they become available."

Microsoft has used a variety of financial promotions to entice users to try Bing over the years. Last year, the company discontinued its Bing Cashback program — via which the company paid consumers to use its Bing search engine to shop — claiming the program never really took hold.

More recently, Microsoft had better success by giving away virtual Farmville cash to get users to try Bing (or at least follow Bing on Facebook...).

There's one rather odd complication to the Microsoft-Dealmap partnership called out by Silicon Alley Insider's Matt Rosoff:

"The Dealmap uses Google Maps to display its maps today. The Bing deal won't change that. But the CTO of Dealmap's parent company Center'd is Chandu Thota, who previously led development for Bing Maps, so the company is very familiar with how Microsoft's mapping service works and could be making a switch in the future."