Bing to say “ciao” to Ciao?

Back in August of 2008, Microsoft, in preparation for the launch of Bing, bought Greenfield Online, Inc., owners of Ciao GmbH, for some $486 million.  Now word is coming out that Microsoft has put Ciao up for sale, at a price supposedly far less than what it paid back then.  Microsoft sold off the online survey solutions part of Greenfield Online when it first bought the company, keeping the popular European comparison shopping site.

Ciao recently suffered, along with a number of other sites, from Google’s recent “Panda” algorithm change.  According to a post on BBC News last week quoting internet analysis firm Searchmetrics, Ciao.co.uk lost more than 94% of its traffic due to Panda:

Ciao_co_uk_opi_thumb Bing

Matt Rossoff, at Business Insider, reported on the potential sale, citing a report from MergerMarket, estimating that the sale will bring in about $100 million.  A far cry from the $486 Microsoft paid less than 3 years ago, even counting the sale of Greenfield.

Whether this signals a plan for Bing to expand its own popular shopping sites to more markets, or is just cutting its losses in the wake of Panda, we’re not sure.  Microsoft would offer no comment to Business Insider on the sale.