Microsoft attacks Google with “Scroogled” campaign

by: Kristofer WoukNovember 28, 2012

While anti-Google ads from Microsoft are nothing new, their latest salvo fired against the company seems less like an advertisement for a search engine, and more like a political attack ad.

“Scroogled,” a portmanteau of “Google” and “screwed,” seems to be a major focus of Bing’s holiday advertising, and to be fair, it isn’t completely baseless. In May of this year, Google Shopping made a transition from using a search algorithm similar to how other Google searches work to a system where listed merchants pay to be included in the results, either on a pay-per-click or pay-per-transaction basis.

Ads or Answers?

Microsoft says that this practice isn’t fair, but Google sees it differently, saying that “ads are just more answers to users’ queries.” As with Microsoft’s criticisms, this isn’t as easy to write off as it may seem. Those who use Google Shopping are doing so because they are looking to buy something, and companies paying to make sure that they are seen first in search results isn’t that different from placing other ads.

Google has been relatively transparent on this matter, but this is where Microsoft is really playing its hand. By suggesting that customers are being “Scroogled,” they are also suggesting that Google is breaking its “Don’t be evil” policy. The most prominent text on Microsoft’s Scroogled website reads:

In the beginning, Google preached, “Don’t be evil”—but that changed on May 31, 2012. That’s when Google Shopping announced a new initiative. Simply put, all of their shopping results are now paid ads.

In their under-the-radar announcement, Google admits they’ve now built “a purely commercial model” that delivers listings ranked by “bid price.” Google Shopping is nothing more than a list of targeted ads that unsuspecting customers assume are search results. They call these “Product Listing Ads” a “truly great search.”

We say that when you limit choices and rank them by payment, consumers get Scroogled. For an honest search result, try Bing.

Who Is This Good For?

Microsoft is promising that Bing won’t “switch to pay-to-rank to allow some shopping search results to appear higher than others,” and that’s a good thing for consumers, but it raises a question. Are these types of ads, which seem to be increasingly prevalent, a good thing for consumers? Or will this just lead to an ultimately more confusing climate for regular people?

  • xoj_21

    pff we microsoft your search engine sucks, try to fix it instead ttrying to look google look bad

  • dynadom

    Microsuck is gay

    • n900mixalot

      Quality comment. If you’re basing gayness on sucking, so are str8 chicks. You lose.

      • dynadom

        Straight woman don’t suck a Micro. And Microsuck is using Scroogled

  • Im not surprised at all. I dont trust them.

  • OW

    yes Microsoft is gay and Google is better as a search engine and an OS (android). but to be honest, I see where Microsoft is coming from, its best to read these articles from a non biased point of view.

    • n900mixalot

      Which is clearly your strong suit. Try again.

  • B

    Haha ha I have a lot more trust in Google then I ever did in Microsoft… When they attack Google like apple is doing its because they have no ammunition left.. No innovation no odeas

  • Ed Baker

    Google is my search of choice, but not for shopping. Advertisers ad 20% to there online price compared to their in store price. Big name stores list their items 20% more + shipping. But walk into the stores and the price is much lower without a sale. Plus it is very hard to find most items except at 1 specific stores 30 locations. The larger stores that don’t mind paying Google 30 times so no competition can be listed.
    I would never considers buying an item from Google shopping. The ads are why I left msn sites behind.

  • Marvin Nakajima

    I don’t see what the fuss is about unless you mean that if you go through the generic Google Search to search for products and it redirects you to the ‘shopping’ Google search if even one result is commerce related.

  • what about all those anti-trust law suites that Microsoft got hit with by being anti competitive and telling hardware manufacturers that they would lose there OEM licences for installing other OS’s on there hardware and the choice of web browser in Europe that they failed to follow through with?

  • Ryan MORGAN

    Mircosoft, f’ off.

  • It similar in the Aviation business. I saw an article on bloomberg about the new ad from Airbus saying Boeing can’t keep their promises etc fuel efficient planes etc. So those ads are everywhere

  • Paradise

    Microsoft is right. I wish Bing would defeat Google search.

  • joda

    To me u it seems kinda like political ads.

  • Peterson Silva

    Oh come on. It’s not like they’re hiding search results, they’re showing some of them first. Also, if you don’t do thorough research on the prices (clicking the first result and not seeing anything after that) you can’t really complain if you’re buying something for a steeper price. You should always look around if you want to save some money.

  • Still a better search engine than Bing.

  • Silly Microsoft.

  • APai

    microsoft should stop screwbing around

  • Hugo Oskarsson

    That ad looks like a 12 year olds school project