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Bing Turns Japan Quake Into a Money-Making Opportunity

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Did a Kenneth Cole ad rep get a new job at Microsoft?

Following the devastating earthquake and tsunami in Japan, relief efforts came pouring in -- many of which were advertised on Twitter. The American Red Cross, in particular, gave instructions on how to donate directly to the cause. And then there was Microsoft's Bing account, which offered up more of a deal than a simple donation.

So rather than simply donating $100,000 to the victims in Japan, Bing turns it into an advertising game. In exchange for Retweets and links back to Microsoft's site, only then will money be sent to assist in the wake of a disaster. Nice goin', guys.

After the post went up, the uproar quickly hit a fever pitch. Twitter favorite Michael Ian Black wrote, "Hey @bing, stop using a tragedy as a [freaking] marketing opportunity." User Ethan A. Maffey also wrote, "Lemme get this straight. @bing is using #japantragedy to market on twitter, requiring RT's for donations? And only up to $100k? #epicfail"

Following the fallout, Microsoft responded.

"An easy way for people to help Japan." Using Retweets and a marketing scheme, rather than just a link to the page and a guaranteed donation.

Despite Twitter's raging success, it seems that some companies still don't quite know how to use it appropriately.

Just ask Kenneth Cole.
POSITION:  No positions in stocks mentioned.