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February 8, 2013

Microsoft is at it Again: Company Takes Aim at Gmail

Firm Warning Google Users Not to Get 'Scroogled'

Microsoft is on a mission to keep Google users from being Scroogled — again.

The software giant, in an apparent bid to become the No. 1 e-mail provider, is attacking Google’s Gmail in a new round of commercials for its Outlook service.

The company’s ‘Scroogled’ website cautions users that Gmail commits the following faux pas:

Goes through the contents of users’ sent and received e-mail messages to display targeted ads.

Goes through the contents of users’ incoming e-mail from other e-mail services for the purpose of targeting ads.

Goes through the contents of users’ entire inbox for the purpose of targeting ads.

While Microsoft admits it also peeks at users’ e-mails, the firm says it does so for very different reasons.

“ only scans the contents of your email to help protect you and display, categorize, and sort your mail appropriately,” the website reads.

scroogled“Just like the postal service sorts and scans mail and packages for dangerous explosives and biohazards, scans your mail to help prevent spam, gray mail, phishing scams, viruses, malware, and other dangers and annoyances.

“Microsoft and its e-mail services, including, Hotmail, and Office 365, do not use the content of customers’ private e-mails, communications, or documents to target advertising.”

Microsoft also used ‘Scroogled,’ in its Christmas ads for Bing last year. The ads criticized Google’s “pay-to-rank” system, cautioning viewers against being ‘Scroogled.’



Google’s shopping section is comprised of paid ads rather than search results. The search engine moved to the new model last May in which merchants pay either per-click or per-transaction to be listed in Google Shopping results.

Mike Nichols, Bing’s corporate vice-president and chief marketing officer, took to the company’s blog to promote Scroogled and take a few shots at chief rival Google.

“We are also calling on Google to stop this pay-to-rank system for their shopping results and give shoppers what they expect – an honest search,” Nichols said.

Microsoft is encouraging ‘Scroogle’ victims to sign a petition to “tell Google to stop going through your e-mail to sell ads.” The signature goal is 25,000. So far 1,577 people have signed.

The company is also encouraging people to share their tales of Scroogle woe on Facebook.

Microsoft is receiving plenty of critisicm for the ads of Twitter.

“This Microsoft anti-Google campaign looks like something a civil society group would’ve come up with:,” one tweet reads.

“I’m 4 #privacy but these Scroogled ads are a bit hypocritical given Outlook_com also “scans every email for keywords” when spam filtering,” reads another.

While the majority of tweets poke fun at the campaign or criticize Microsoft’s motives, some tweets support the company’s efforts.