Microsoft’s Scroogled campaign attacks next Google target: Gmail

February 9, 2013
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Scroogled

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 http://www.scroogled.com, 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, Outlook.com. 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.

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