Windows Live Shopping Beta has been shut down.
The official word from the Marketplaces team:
Windows Live Shopping Beta and all associated Windows Live Shopping gadgets are being taken offline effective February 19th.
Windows Live Shopping Beta was launched as a technology showcase that paired the vast selection of MSN Shopping with some of the user interface enhancements provided by Windows Live services – Live gadgets, drag and drop, dynamic pages, etc.
This test enabled the shopping team to glean valuable insight into user behavior. These learnings are being incorporated into the team’s plans for future products. User-created content from Windows Live Shopping Beta (lists, guides, and reviews) will continue to be available on MSN Shopping.
MSN Shopping was and will continue to be the flagship product of our team. It receives the vast majority of user traffic and is the target of all on and off network promotion.
MSN Shopping offers a vast selection of 36 Million items from over 8,000 merchants in the US . In addition, it offers buying guides, editorial and user reviews, and helpful shopping tools to let users compare, save, and share their shopping choices.
This is a sad turn of events. I guess no one was really using Windows Live Shopping Beta, but the enhancements over MSN Shopping’s interface were significant. I really do hope that some of the features of Windows Live Shopping filter down to MSN Shopping or up to Product Search Beta. Or maybe I’m way too into the whole Web 2.0 craze and expect too much of my shopping experience…while MSN’s demographic might be a little more Web 1.0.
Ok, with MSN Shopping the focus and Windows Live Product Search now accepting feeds, I’m really waiting for MSN Shopping to provide real data feed support for all merchants. I probably get 10 merchants a month asking me how to get on MSN Shopping…unfortunately, the simple answer is to submit through MSN Shopping’s partners: Shopping.com and PriceGrabber.
Screenshot of the now defunct Windows Live Shopping Beta:
In the middle of last year, I posted an entry entitled Ecommerce, Microsoft Style which discussed the differences between MSN Shopping, Windows Live Shopping and Windows Live Product Search. Shortly after, I interviewed Jim Barr, GM of Microsoft Marketplaces to get a little more color on the situation.