During the WiX Online Meeting this week, someone commented on the fact that I use Bing as my search engine of choice. I then went off on a tangent where I mentioned using Bing funded my music habit. For anyone that was interested, I thought I'd expound how you too could get $5 gift cards to Amazon.com and fund your favorite habit.
First of all, I should note that if you're living outside of the United States that none this will work for you. Honestly, that's probably for the better since I find that Bing is generally pretty useless outside of the U.S.
So what you are looking for is the Bing Rewards. You will need a Microsoft account (aka: Passport, aka: Windows Live ID) but those are easy to come by. If you don't have one already, sign up with Outlook.com.
Once you have signed in and accepted the terms and conditions, you'll be presented with a bunch of options to get easy credits. Do those. The goal is to reach Gold status since that provides a 10% discount on the credits required to redeem rewards. In fact, I recommend saving credits until you reach Gold status, except spend as few credits as possible on something small to reach Silver status.
Then set your sights on the $5 Amazon.com Gift Card. With Gold status it takes 475 credits. You'll probably have enough credits for two gift cards if you wait as I suggested.
So how do you get 475 credits? Easy. An everyday routine.
Each day you should be able to get 15 credits by simply searching 30 times. The Bing homepage provides a bar at the bottom where you can headlines that interests, such as Business and World news.
To minimize distractions, I tend to hide the bar for most of the day and show it after putting the kids to bed. Then I check that I'm signed into Bing and CTRL+click each of the headlines so they all open new tabs. Then I skim the search results and close each tab in turn. 5 minutes later I'm caught up on business, world and (unfortunately) pop culture headlines.
I find this process (plus Twitter) is an easier way to keep up with the going's on in the world versus watching/listening to the news.
There are also bonus credits available but if only you get the 15 credits for "searching the news" every day, then you should hit 475 credits every month. Better known as $5 at Amazon.com every month.
So how much music can you get for $5? Well, every two to three months is generally enough for an MP3 album. However, I'm still partial to shiny media. I know. I'm old fashioned.
However, it turns out buying actual CDs has an upside. You can buy used CDs. I can regularly find CDs in the $4 to $1 range. Unfortunately, CDs have a major downside: shipping costs. $4 these days. But when I find a $0.98 CD the $3.99 shipping means I can feed the music habit with one month of searching.
So there is a detailed look into why and how I use Bing. If you haven't looked into Bing Rewards, I highly recommend it.
In the meantime, enjoy your search engine of choice.