Microsoft’s Scroogled campaign attacks next Google target: Gmail

by: Conan HughesFebruary 9, 2013


Microsoft continues to spread its anti-Google sentiments via the Scroogled campaign. Launched a few months ago to target Google Search and its apparent failure to respect user privacy, the public information campaign has switched aim and is now bashing Gmail.

Fully dubbed as ‘Don’t Get Scroogled by Gmail,’ it is Microsoft’s initiative to increase awareness among Americans about Google’s method in assimilating information from Gmail emails and use that to target specific ads to its users. According to the company’s press release, about 70 percent of consumers do not know that most email providers perform such invasion in privacy to sell ads and, once they have been informed, 88 percent of them condemn the act.

The revitalized campaign also comes with a website at, complete with a series of videos and an encapsulating slogan that reads ‘Think Google respects your privacy? Think again.’ As a measure to avoid getting Scroogled, Microsoft proposes to users its own email service alternative, There is also a petition to “tell Google to stop going through personal email to sell ads.” Only a few thousand have signed to date, a far cry from the 25,000 signature goal it is trying to reach.

In Google’s defense, the search giant claims that all major email services – that includes Microsoft’s own Hotmail – “automatically scan email content for the benefit of users.” The company also emphasizes the fact that none of these content or other personally identifiable information are shared with advertisers. Most of all, no prying human eyes read any email messages.

Ads from Microsoft that directly criticize Google and its product are nothing new. Before Scroogled, Microsoft’s then-new Outlook email client has been released with an ad spot that implicitly attacks Gmail.  In 2011, Microsoft released the ‘Gmail Man’ spoof ad to public, although it originally started as a stimulating video for its Office 365 sales team.

  • Ryan MORGAN

    Nobody is sitting at Google HQ reading through my emails working out what ads to deliver. It’s all done by code, and I’m fine with that. Microsoft should start making their own products and services better, rather than bashing the competition.

  • When someone as big as M$ is bashing you, they recognize you as the new big dog.

  • aholsteinson

    Microsoft is so lame. Google is very open and transparent about what they do with regards to targeted ads and your privacy, they do not sell your data to advertisers, a computer as opposed to an actual person scans your emails to serve targeted ads and the data they collect is something they zealously guard and protect, it being such an important and profitable asset for the company. As a user of their services I am aware of what Google does with my data and I have no issues with this (and honestly don’t see why anyone else would) and I trust Google and it’s practices concerning privacy. Microsoft is just desperate and it shows. Personally I’m glad to be “Microsoft free”.

    • ^ This!!

    • Jeff Weatherup

      Yes. I applaud this response. I love my Google services, and will happily stay with them for the forseeable future.

    • On a Clear Day

      I couldn’t agree with you more. In fact, just today, because I wrote a vendor the other day about a subject related to an interest I have related to my business, the next thing I know I link to a provider of the very service I sought, who, it turns out, offers a exactly the version of what I am seeking in a way I never even knew was available to be had!

      If one is a “stay the hell away from me; don’t violate my privacy” person – fine – don’t use G-mail.

      Whomever is directing this ridiculous, childish so called “attack” on Google for Microsoft should be fired for gross idiocy and lack of comprehension of what the market really cares about, name innovative, exciting products and services that serve the public’s interest!

      Microsoft – which hasn’t had a winner of any great note for Lord only knows how long, like its counterpart Apple, has decided that rather innovate and give people what they really want it will try to pull down, rather than climb up to the heady heights that Google inhabits.

      Methinks that Bill might have made a mistake when he allowed Balmer to accede to the top power spot – not too much good has been happening at Microsoft of late except more of the same old same old.

    • Zero0


      They make it sound much worse than it is. “Google goes through every email,” but not manually. A computer algorithm can see what I write. Big deal. If targeted ads help Google make more money, and thus give me a superior product, go right ahead.

      It’s equally likely that emails through Microsoft will be read by a third party (a human one, at least) as it is on Gmail.

  • Gayan Kalinga

    Microsoft sucks and Stupid ,,,,Google give everything free to consumers unlike Microsoft …so they hate Google ..we hate Microsoft ….Go to hell MS you are nothing compare to Google Long live Google Long live you have our blessing …..

  • when you cant beat the best talk trash of him… thats the Human way

  • TechGuy21

    adblock and i never seen any ads or care about any of that. hey MS how much surface RT/PRO did you sell so far ? :D

  • yahyoh

    M$ STFU -_-

  • Snkz

    Its surprising how much of you trust and believe what Google is saying. I for one agree with what Microsoft is getting at, however making an ad campaign saying it is pretty pathetic.

    • The New Normal

      Yep, most free email options scan your messages (including hotmail). Part of the change to is it will only scan the subject line, which is a point of difference, but very rich to be running attack ads on it.

      I’d suggest some positive advertising, maybe even suggestions on how to encrypt mail if you’re worried. These ads are a bit 2 faced if you ask me.

    • Zero0

      Hey. Maybe you are right. Maybe Google has a building full of people who read every word that goes in and out of every Gmail account, and then hand-pick the ads that users should see. Sounds much more legit than a computer doing that work.

      I’ve said it before, I’ll say it again: I don’t care if my email is read by Google; as long as it’s not seen by any other humans, it’s not an invasion on privacy. And while I suppose it’s possible for a Google employee to read my mail, who is to say that Microsoft’s employees can’t do the same?

  • Çağlar Berkman

    end is near for MS they are trying the same thing which apple did with a different way but they are never sucsessed. all of the world everybody using wonderfull google application for what because they are good products.

  • Badmouthing competition… tsk tsk tsk, that’s a no-no.