Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Save 8% or More on eBay Purchases

NOTE: Since the % cash back you get it based-upon the keyword you use and your timing, I've written an application that puts the latest, highest % keyword into a twitter feed available at www.twitter.com/wulgaru. Look there to get the best keyword to use in the steps below.

For those who haven't used it, there is a site called Jellyfish through which you can get cash back for shopping at particular stores. Microsoft actually purchased them and turned it into the Microsoft Cashback program integrated with Microsoft Live Search. They are currently offering the following deal that gets you at least 8%, up to $200, on tons of ebay items. You can also use the offer up to 12 times for a maximum savings of $2400 reimbursed directly to your PayPal account!
  • Go to https://cashbackaccount.search.live.com/cashback/welcome.aspx and set up a Microsoft CashBack account (just sign in with your Live ID and tell them your address).
  • Go to search.live.com
  • Search for the keyword noted in bold purple at the top of this post to trigger a % off ebay offer (8% and up). Note you don't have to buy what you search for on Live. Once you get to ebay, you can search for and buy whatever you like.
  • If the offer is triggered, you will see a gray box that looks something like this. You may have to search multiple times to trigger the offer.
  • One or more of the links will take you to ebay (pick the one that has the highest % off) where you then have a 60 minute window to find and buy whatever product you like. As previously noted, your % off coupon has been triggered and you can now search for anything you like in ebay. Technically, you can find the product in advance and add it to your watch list instead of trying to beat the 60 minute clock. You need to use Buy It Now and pay via PayPal. On the page where you confirm your purchase after clicking the Buy It Now button, you will see how much cash back you are going to get (look because there are special instructions for some sellers). Don't worry, though, because you haven't agreed to purchase the item yet when you're on that screen. Confirm the purchase, check out, and follow the directions (you will need to click a link to Microsoft's CashBack site at the end to claim your cash back).
  • If the item has a return policy specified (in the return policy section of the listing not in the description), your cash back will become available 60 days later (they wait until you cannot return the item) in your Microsoft CashBack account and be automatically transferred to your PayPal account. If the item does not have a return policy, you get the cash back instantly in your PayPal account! Please note that I cannot guarantee this last statement if it's your first purchase using the offer as they may have a different rule for that. I have purchased 4 items so far and have received instant cash back on two of them (#2 and #4) ostensibly because they had no return policy.
So, you may get it instantly or you may have to wait a little while for the $, but 8-35% off a whole bunch of stuff is nice. Plus, your pending cash back shows up right away in your Microsoft CashBack account, so you're not wondering whether or not it worked. The cash back limits are $200 per purchase and up to 12 purchases per account. To make a second, third, etc. purchase, simply go back to live.search.com and start over with a new search. Here are the official details.
Please note that nobody appears to know when this offer will end, but I can't imagine it will last beyond the holiday shopping season.

EDIT: Added details about instant cash back and being able to search for anything once you get to ebay regardless of what you search for in Microsoft Live Search. Added Magellan GPS search term. Added note about the keyword not being important but the timing triggering the different % savings.

EDIT: I made purchase number 12 with this offer. Upon attempting # 13, I was informed on the eBay checkout screen that I had already exceeded my lifetime limit for the deal.

40 comments:

deKaliber said...

"pressure cooker" works too (haha, don't ask...I was looking for a gift)

k00k said...

Thanks for setting up the twitter feed. Max cashback for any one user is $2000 (not $2400). It's in the terms on eBay. Hope we get back to 30% soon, I have a netbook to buy :)

Craig said...

Thanks, I'm always looking for interesting little programs to write.

I know the terms have changed a little over time. If you look, though, there are three main rules when it comes to amount.

- $200 maximum cash back per purchase.
- 12 Uses of the Microsoft Cashback / ebay offer per account.
- All Microsoft Cashback accounts have a $2500 per year cap.

I don't seen anything about $2000, but 12 x $200 is $2400.

I agree on the 30%. I've still got 4 purchases left of the 12, and it sure would be nice.

knils said...

cashback is gone :(

Anonymous said...

Im not getting anything right now!

Craig said...

Looks like the cashback is gone for now, but it may be back. It's been going since June and has shut off a couple times in the past. The twitter tracker I set up will keep checking for working keywords.

Anonymous said...

It's back... 15%

Craig said...

And my tracker caught it ASAP. :) I've also updated the tracker to try each keyword several times looking for the best % savings.

Anonymous said...

craig, whats the highest you have seen the cashback go? This monday it was at 30%. Does that happen often?

Foster said...

After I found a new refrigerator to buy on eBay this afternoon, I was shocked to find the live.com cashback gone. Fortunately, I found your post on the slickdeals.com forum and signed up for twitter, so I could follow your tracker.

After a few hours, the tracker found a 15% cashback using a search for "drm". It took many tries with three different browsers to get it to work. I ended trying several keywords using internet explorer before "drm" gave me the 15% off ad. It may have helped that for the last few tries, I went back to the live.com home page, instead of using the box on the search results page. Within 30 minutes, I had a $195 rebate burning a hole in my paypal account.

Needless to say, I'm very grateful for your help in getting this rebate. Thank you for setting up the tracker and sharing it on slickdeals.com.

-Foster

Craig said...

The highest I have personally seen the cash back with ebay is 30%. 35% supposedly happened a couple months back. I will say, though, that there was a 40% cash back offer with HP on black Friday with no $200 cap like the ebay one.

Craig said...

Foster,

Thanks for the kind words. I'm always looking for little applications like this to write (mostly for my own use in the past). It's typically the only opportunity I get to do something nobody else is doing and to finally get some people visiting my blog! :)

Anonymous said...

Why did you turn Device Updates off? I'd like to get these on my text.

Craig said...

Two things. First, I haven't made any changes to the twitter account. Anything that was working previously should still be working. Second, I don't believe there is any Twitter setting I can change from my end that would prevent you from getting text message updates if you're following me. I believe the only thing I can control is whether or not I get text updates for people I follow. If I'm wrong or there is some other issue, then somebody please let me know. .

chouman82 said...

Hey Craig,

thanks for the work. this is quite helpful. BTW, just curious do you just screen scrap the http response? for ur program?

Craig said...

No problem. Yes, it's basically screen-scraping. I'm using .NET 3.5, and there's a WebClient class that allows you to get the source for any URL. Then, I just look for the appropriate text using a regular expression. I think the key to the program, though, is that it has a bunch of randomization built in so that it can browse more like a person does. So, it typically finds the same cash back offers that you could just typing a bunch of keywords in Live search at random points in time.

chouman82 said...

hey craig,

on the twitter update thing, i just saw "ipod touch" with 25% off but when i tried it and it turned out to be 8%. kinda weird

Craig said...

Sorry, false alarm. It looks like somebody is now using the same "You may get x% off with PayPal if eligible." phrase in a sponsored ad. I'll make the program a little fancier to avoid this issue when I get home tonight.

billy said...

is ebay live cashback still working? I see nothing now.

Craig said...

It's still at 8%. You may have to try a couple of keywords multiple times to get it to show up.

Anonymous said...

The eBay links all seem to be to eBay Stores only now. It is 8%, but no CashBack banner appears for general searches.

Anyone seeing differently than me? I need to buy a few more Christmas gifts...I am really hoping for one last 30%! ;)

Anonymous said...

Oh, actually I guess the banner DOES appear if you switch over to regular eBay after clicking the 8% link to eBay Stores. Sorry about that!

Craig said...

Yep. As long as the link gets you to eBay, then you're good-to-go. You can search for whatever you want at that point.

Anonymous said...

it's back...

Craig said...

Thanks. I'll get the tracker running again when I get home from work.

iguanajm said...

cashback is working again. would you please turn your tracker on again? thx!!

Craig said...

Tonight...

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the tracker.

iguanajm, you are extremely rude. Craig said he was going to turn on the tracker once he got home, but you had to insist he turn it on.

Craig said...

Not a problem at all. People get all excited about saving $$. :)

Anonymous said...

I type these into live search and eBay never seems to come up. Do I need to sign into my cashback account first or do I need to install your program? I used be able to type into live search and ebay and other stores would be at the top of the search now i don't see anything. Please help thanks

Craig said...

I'm not sure what to tell you. I don't have a program for anybody to install. My application just posts updates to Twitter on a regular schedule to let folks know the keyword it found with the highest cash back %. For me (using Firefox 2 or 3), I just go to search.live.com, type in Wii, and the eBay offer is right there in the box at the top of the search results. I just did it 10 seconds ago, and it works fine. I've also used it from at least 5 different PCs and with IE 7 and 8 in the past.

snc31337 said...

I was also having this problem where i did not see the link to the ebay cashback. I found out it's because i have an ad blocker installed as a firefox plugin which was blocking the cashback links. Try disableing any ad blockers you might have and it should work. Hope that helps!

Anonymous said...

Why did you turn off your tracker again? It sure was nice to have it these last few weeks!

Craig said...

Sorry about that. I was on vacation and a power outage at my home took down the server. It's back up now. Looks like 14% at the moment.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for this service!

Anonymous said...

A tip for those who cannot see the cashback links, if you have an adblocker turned on it will block that cashback offer since it is an ad.

Also, I just found another site that does the same thing, so if Craig ever decides he is tired of helping out us poor souls just check out www.cashbackr.com.

Craig said...

If I ever do decide to turn off the tracker (assuming the deal is still on-going), I will put my code up on CodePlex for somebody else to take over.

In the past, CashBackr seemed to often be out-of-date, but definitely had the potential of being a useful service. It's certainly a little more advanced than what I'm doing.

Anonymous said...

I saw that your twitter feed has been reporting 8% all summer long, but I just managed to get it to 10% by using the keyword "B&W". Just after I bought a $400+ camera lens on ebay with 8%, too... :(

Craig said...

It's difficult because the list of keywords my application uses is just arbitrary. Many are from the top Christmas searches last year. Others are ones that folks sent me after having success with them. The list that Bing uses to trigger % savings also seems very arbitrary. So, we can only hope that they will sometimes match-up. That said, it looks like B&W is still working at 10%. I will add it to the list of keywords.

Thanks,

Craig

Craig said...

Actually, it looks like some of the existing keywords have started to hit at 10%. The first one triggered about 8 hours ago (Bing seems to make changes during the night). So, just unfortunate timing.

Craig