How is it possible to make money using Bing? Let’s start by approaching this question from a different angle: why can you make money using Bing?
Microsoft (MSFT) is currently the 3rd biggest company in the world, worth $1.8 trillion – not bad for two guys who started out making electronic boxes for controlling traffic lights. (You can read this book for how exactly two engineers took a unique startup from a motel room in Albuquerque to the top of the world). Many people dislike the company, but many more (around 1.5 billion worldwide) use their Windows operating system.
Interestingly, Windows makes up only a minor part of how this software behemoth generates money. You could say that Microsoft’s main assets are its dominant market position, brand, and enormous user base. They haven’t been standing still in maintaining and expanding these, either, meaning that it’s actually possible for you to make money using Bing.
The reason for this is that Microsoft, like virtually all online and software companies, gathers data from their users. Some of the main ways this data is used are for targeted advertising (so you’re bothered less often by ads that don’t interest you), to improve products and their user experience, and simply to better understand what their customers want. In general, this data is analyzed (or sold on to third parties) without any compensation going to you. You do get something in return, of course: being able to use free services like Facebook and Google.
Microsoft, however, takes a slightly different approach when it comes to its loyal, locked-in customers. You don’t, for instance, have to supply them with any confidential information like a phone number when you register for their rewards program. While they have other ways of vacuuming up plenty of user data, their rewards program allows you to get paid for doing so. In addition to having to sign up for this program, it’s only active while you’re logged in to your Microsoft account.
Finally, you determine your own level of commitment. If you’re only interested in how to make money with Bing, you can simply use this search engine as you would normally and get paid (admittedly, not a huge amount) just for browsing. If you want to earn more, you can easily find out how to get Microsoft Rewards points with very little effort – some ways include simply using the Microsoft products you already do, playing games, and filling out surveys.
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How to Get Microsoft Rewards Points: The Rough Guide
First of all, unlike (say) a credit card with a cashback program, it’s totally free to join Microsoft Rewards. (You will need to create a Microsoft account first but this also costs nothing). So, at the very least, it won’t drain more points from your account than you earn in fees. Secondly, for the average user, this is not going to replace your day job. Still, since it mostly requires you to do things you do every day in any case, it is a good way to supplement your income with a few extra dollars each month, which may well make the difference between being able to afford something nice or not. Points also take 18 months of zero account activity to expire – even if you take a long, long digital detox, they’ll probably still be there when you get back.
How Can Rewards Points Be Redeemed?
You can’t, unfortunately, simply convert these points to cash if you’re having trouble paying your rent. You have multiple other options, though:
- Gift cards from multiple retailers including Microsoft brands like Xbox Game Pass and Skype, as well as GroupOn, Starbucks, GameStop, Hulu, AMX Movies, Sephora, Applebee’s, Amazon, Burger King, and Fandango’s. If needed, you can then sell these to other consumers online for money.
- Microsoft makes it easy to use points for charitable donations. They do say the best reward is giving back, and you can contribute as little as 1,000 points ($1) at a time.
- Transfer your points to friends and family. If you’ve created a Microsoft Family account, you can use the “Community” tab on your Rewards dashboard to send or request points between each other. Sadly, you are not at present rewarded for referring new members to the program.
- Instead of buying lottery tickets, you can enter sweepstakes with your earnings. Prizes range from free lifetime Xbox Game Pass memberships to tablets and $1,000 Microsoft gift cards. Most cost only 200 points to take part in and you get one free entry just for signing up. The chances of winning are kind of remote, though.
- Free downloads of movies, TV shows, and apps from Microsoft. Unlike with some streaming services, Microsoft gives you the option of storing and keeping video content on your devices instead of only viewing them online.
How to Get Microsoft Rewards Points
Each point you earn is worth only one-tenth of a cent. They accumulate pretty quickly, though, and your balance will probably be the farthest thing from your mind while you’re performing the following point-generating actions:
- Just browse the internet. Like many other companies, Microsoft will pay you just for sharing your search history. The only real requirement is that you use their Bing platform, for which you get 5 points per day.
- Install Microsoft’s Edge browser, Cortana, and/or the Bing mobile app. This, as well as searching online using the taskbar search box on Windows 10, increases the number of points you can earn by simply browsing the web. Note that Edge can be installed on Macs and also (as a pre-release build for now) on Linux systems.
- Shop online, though this counts only at the Microsoft Store or Xbox Live. You get at least one point for each dollar you spend and as many as 20 points per dollar for some types of digital content – maybe it’s time for a new computer?
- Play games online. Your Rewards dashboard page contains trivia quizzes and simple games that change on a daily and weekly basis. Some are worth more than others, while a couple run contests that can earn the winner as much as several million dollars.
- As with most websites that pay you to watch ads, you’ll find some other rewarded activities here, too, like surveys, videos you can watch, news stories to browse through, etc.
- Crank up the Xbox (or PC, but Xbox owners earn way more). When logged into your account, a frequent gamer can earn points by viewing trailers, downloading new games, completing in-game tasks, and more. You will also occasionally be eligible for special offers on Xbox purchases.
- Level up. Microsoft Rewards has two tiers depending on how active any given user is. It’s worth adjusting your computer habits to reach Level 2. For example, you can then earn 600 instead of 150 points each month just by searching (i.e. a maximum of 20 vs 5 points per day), allowing you to make money with Bing. In addition, you’ll receive a 10% discount when redeeming certain rewards and 10 points per dollar instead of one when shopping online with Windows Store or Xbox Live. To get to Level 2, you have to earn 500 points each month, so searching alone won’t cut it – the goal of this program, after all, is to encourage you to spend more time and money on Microsoft products.
The Upshot: Is It Really Worth It to Make Money With Bing And Microsoft Rewards?
As mentioned above, you can potentially earn 7,200 points in a year just by searching, without installing any new apps or changing your habits. Though the value of the gift cards you can get with this varies, it basically translates to about $72. This isn’t enough to retire on, but it isn’t nothing either and is in fact a pretty good trade for simply setting your default search engine to Bing. You’ll also have to remember to sign in to your Microsoft account every time you log on; luckily you can automate this process.
Your mileage may turn out to be lower if you don’t use the internet frequently; you will get significantly less out of joining if you don’t plan to reach and maintain Level 2 status. On the other hand, the amount can also turn out to be much higher, especially if you make a point of visiting your Microsoft Rewards Dashboard every day and completing a few activities. Spending 5 to 10 minutes doing this during your coffee break will show results quickly; visiting the site for several days in succession will also earn you “streaks” worth a lot of points. If you’re a fan of video games and own an Xbox, the situation is even rosier: the global console market is worth over $40 billion annually and Microsoft is eager not to let their customers drift over to competitors like the PlayStation.
Of course, there have been some complaints about the website and app not working properly, but Microsoft’s tech support is generally quick to sort them out. In addition, the points structure and especially the kinds of rewards you can claim change over time. You may not be able to redeem your points for exactly the gift card you want, and you can’t pay for Office 365 using rewards points at the present time.
These drawbacks are pretty minor, though, and heavily outweighed by the prospect of free money. You don’t need to spend much time on understanding all of the terms and conditions, though: this program’s whole purpose is to encourage you to use Microsoft products as much as possible while earning rewards for things you do anyway or would enjoy doing. Basically, you can place the whole thing on autopilot, make money using Bing, and perform a few extra tasks just to keep your Level 2 status. If you don’t have a dogmatic objection to using this Microsoft-owned search engine (and some people certainly do), you’d be a fool not to make money with Bing and Microsoft Rewards.