Not even disguising search in the form of entertainment is enough to drive a sufficient flow of visitors to Bing. It has just been announced that Club Bing will soon be shut down.
Club Bing is a group of online word games that had been launched by Microsoft in April 2007. It was called Live Search Club previously. When players completed games on Club Bing, they would earn tickets that could later be exchanged for products from Microsoft.
The games had initially helped Bing to increase its market share from 8.4% in May 2007 to 13.2% in June that year. However, it now seems like the Club has either served its purpose to launch the Bing search engine or is not continuing to drive visitors to the service and hence the decision to shut it down.
The Club will be shut down on the 31st of May this year. The games will continue to be played until the 15th of May, and users will be allowed to redeem their prizes until the 31st of the month. Thereafter, the club will shut down, and any left over coupons will obviously lapse.
Club Bing is to be replaced by a service called msnNOW.