It is real and has nothing to do with eBay. Online stores commonly pay a small commission to search engines, publishers, affiliates and others who help bring leads when the lead turns into a successful purchase. Microsoft is offering to split this commission with you, the end-user.
This model is not new - Ebates.com has been doing this for quite a while. It's like credit cars with cash back - they are not being philanthropic, they just give you back a little (0.5%)from the excessive interchange fees they wring from merchants (3-4%).
In this case, eBay itself is paying Microsoft an affiliate commission (from its auction fees, as a cost of doing business), and Microsoft is kicking you back a little of it.
Last edited by majid : 08-25-2008 at 18:53.