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Microsoft's Scroogled campaign  (Source: CNN)
The campaign tells email users that Google scans all sent and received emails for advertisement keywords

Microsoft is taking a serious jab at Google's Gmail service in a new campaign called "Don't Get Scroogled by Gmail."

Microsoft's "Scroogled" campaign is an effort to draw new customers to its own email service, Outlook -- and plans to do so by informing Internet users nationwide of Gmail's practices.

Microsoft is telling the nation that Google scans each email that is sent and received through the Gmail service for keywords that can help it target users with more accurate advertisements. Microsoft even commissioned a study, conducted by GfK Roper, where 70 percent of users were unaware of Google's email scanning and 88 percent disapproved of it once they knew.

“Emails are personal — and people feel that reading through their emails to sell ads is out of bounds,” said Stefan Weitz, senior director of Online Services at Microsoft. “We honor the privacy of our users, and we are concerned that Google violates that privacy every time an user exchanges messages with someone on Gmail. This campaign is as much about protecting users from Gmail as it is about making sure Gmail users know what Google’s doing.”

Microsoft will spread the news and its new word "Scroogled" all over TV, Internet and print advertisements. It even launched a petition to stop going through user emails for the sake of ad sales, where it has received nearly 600 signatures of the required 25,000 at the time this article was written.

Microsoft was even nice enough to offer a few examples of Google's practices.

"For example, if you write a friend to let her know you are separating from your husband, Google sells ads against this information to divorce lawyers, who post ads alongside it," said Microsoft. "Or if you ask a friend for vacation suggestions, Google uses this information to target you with ads from travel agencies or airlines that want your business."

There has been some tension between the two tech companies, as Microsoft cried "antitrust" over a YouTube snub last month. More specifically, the Redmond, Wash. tech giant was upset that Windows Phone still could not get a full YouTube app while the competition (Android and iOS) were able. It added that the U.S. Federal Trade Commission (FTC) was not doing enough to force Google to conform to antitrust laws (Google got out of a two-year FTC investigation with only a slap on the wrist). 

Also, Google had filed a patent claim with the U.S. International Trade Commission (ITC) against Microsoft that would stop the Windows giant from applying video compression technology to the Xbox video game console. While it dropped this patent claim against Microsoft last month, others are still pending. 

You can check out Scroogled here.

Source: Microsoft

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Advertising facts is not smearing...
By tayb on 2/7/2013 11:33:02 AM , Rating: 4
A smear campaign involves false or dubious claims. "Craig James killed 5 hookers" is smearing Craig James. Advertising facts is not a smear campaign. Google does scan your email. Google does sell that information to advertisers. Google does target ads to users based on the content of their emails. Google is not up front about this policy and if they were more people would be aware of it.

This campaign is not going to convince me to stop using gmail but I do hope it convinces google to stop scanning my emails. I do consider this an invasion of privacy even if I use adblock and never see the ads.

RE: Advertising facts is not smearing...
By Reclaimer77 on 2/7/13, Rating: -1
RE: Advertising facts is not smearing...
By maugrimtr on 2/8/2013 8:45:25 AM , Rating: 1
Microsoft throwing money out the door at Bing must be one of the greatest investment jokes going. Billions of cash and it's still unreliable compared to Google which can pinpoint the exact page you need and put it top of the list. There's simply little to no reason NOT to use Google Search and Gmail outside of business considerations and the fact that Bing is made the default engine on Windows so it's "hard" to switch. If Hotmail is any indication, having an Outlook account will be swamped with spam. Gmail is practically spam-free with the best spam filtering around.

Also, who paid for those user awareness statistics? Why pick this particular time to worry about users' privacy? How is Microsoft monetizing their alternative service without user privacy data?

By spamreader1 on 2/8/2013 9:52:34 AM , Rating: 2
I use both quite often. Have Bing as home page on 2 machines, and Google on another. I tend to get better (less erroneous) results with Bing.

RE: Advertising facts is not smearing...
By nafhan on 2/7/13, Rating: -1
RE: Advertising facts is not smearing...
By NellyFromMA on 2/7/2013 12:28:58 PM , Rating: 2
Not that I feel eager to research whether or not what you think is a fact but ad supported is a far cry from personalized ads based on email contents.

Could be true, but that alone is not enough at all.

Ad supported means an ad is displayed and its revenue supports the service directly or indirectly.

Finally, it is a privacy concern whenever anything you do is aggregated and used without your opt-in. They are my actions.

Maybe people should start aggregating there own non-identifying info and sell it to third parties instead. Might patent that idea actually.

RE: Advertising facts is not smearing...
By Reclaimer77 on 2/7/13, Rating: -1
By ianweck on 2/8/2013 11:16:24 AM , Rating: 2
I use gmail and I like it. I just read through their privacy page for the first time:

I don't see anywhere in there about scanning my email and using the results for ads. Sure, there is a lot mentioned about collecting various information for ad purposes but nothing specifically related to scanning my emails. So by using their service I'm opting in for these scans? Not sure about that. I think the whole point from Microsoft is that they are doing these scans covertly evidently. Also I can't opt out if I wanted to, not using there services notwithstanding.

Interestingly, their Prohibited actions page lists data mining to find email addresses as prohibited by the user, although it's ok to data mine emails for ad purposes by them. There are a lot of double standards like this one in these EULA-type pages if one cares to find them.

One last one, from the legal notices page:

"Google does not claim any ownership in any of the content, including any text, data, information, images, photographs, music, sound, video, or other material, that you upload, transmit or store in your Gmail account. We will not use any of your content for any purpose except to provide you with the Service."

You can probably read that one either way, yes we can scan your emails or no we won't scan them.

I like gmail and will continue to use it, although I would have liked to have known about these scans from the start. I don't think just because my data rests on someone else's server that they have the right to comb through that data.
My 2 cents.

RE: Advertising facts is not smearing...
By nafhan on 2/7/13, Rating: 0
RE: Advertising facts is not smearing...
By Flunk on 2/7/2013 1:04:49 PM , Rating: 4
Where can I find these "squirrel slippers"?

RE: Advertising facts is not smearing...
By InsGadget on 2/7/2013 1:24:35 PM , Rating: 3
Where is it stated that MS know what's in your email?

RE: Advertising facts is not smearing...
By GotThumbs on 2/7/13, Rating: 0
By nikon133 on 2/7/2013 3:41:48 PM , Rating: 3
Of course they have access.

But are they taking advantage of it, remains to be seen.

MS tossed a gauntlet by accusing Google to actually analyse emails and target adds based on emails content. Google will retaliate, if they find any ground to do so.

By inighthawki on 2/7/2013 3:41:36 PM , Rating: 4
You do realize that simply being on their servers does not mean they go through and read/analyze them, right?

By nafhan on 2/7/2013 1:55:48 PM , Rating: 2
Do you use an MS webmail service?
If you answered yes to that, they know* what's in your email. To be clear, I'm not sure what you mean by know, but in this context I would define know as "have that info stored and readily accessible".

RE: Advertising facts is not smearing...
By nikon133 on 2/7/2013 3:17:41 PM , Rating: 4
I tend to have more trust in Microsoft.

Not because they say Google scans your emails and they don't.

But because Google lives from advertising, and everything they do is, in a way, bent around advertising.

Microsoft's bread & butter is selling software. Advertising is not their priority, so I think there's more chance that they do keep my emails private. They also play catch up, so they might be trying harder.

Also... I live in Windows ecosystem. I already use SkyDrive and other MS services (Skype, Messenger...). It is kind of natural for me.

Finally and completely personally, I prefer the look of web portal to Gmail.

By kleinma on 2/7/2013 4:46:34 PM , Rating: 2
To paraphrase you:

The problem here is Microsoft maybe does the same thing, i think, but im not sure i dont use it, but im going to say they do because i like to make uninformed comments not based on any true fact, but on my assumption that I came to by guessing something which may or may not be true, because I simply don't know.

Does that sum it up?

By NellyFromMA on 2/7/2013 12:25:52 PM , Rating: 2
How DARE you offer an honest user assessment. Surely all of Dailytech will implode over this.

By ppardee on 2/7/2013 1:24:35 PM , Rating: 2
You're correct, but by now I thought all but the most novice user of the internet would realize that if the service is free, then YOU are the product. This goes for Bing, Yahoo, Ask, or any other service that doesn't try to get you to pay them money directly.

Google won't stop what they're doing because that's what allows them to provide you the service. And why should they? How is it detrimental to you?

RE: Advertising facts is not smearing...
By GotThumbs on 2/7/2013 1:39:11 PM , Rating: 2
Let's be fair here. Google is not the only company that does this. Facebook is one of the largest collections of marketing pools and its users don't pay one cent to use it. They make their money from marketing. Providing marketing opportunities to is users, is how these companies make money. Personally, I have not given goggle one cent for using their email service.

Your an ignorant twit if you really think you should get these services for free. Now if Google and FB allowed the option to pay a monthly fee to opt out of any/all marketing, then you have your option.

Revenues are what allow a company to pay its employees and buy the hardware to support its service. Revenues are why investors choose to invest in successful companies. Nothing is free people so stop lying to yourselves if you have a problem with companies using you a as a revenue resource. You can stop using their service any time you choose.

RE: Advertising facts is not smearing...
By nikon133 on 2/7/2013 3:33:34 PM , Rating: 2
These companies, yes. But MS is in a bit different business, which is exactly my point.

Microsoft has openly accused Google of scanning emails and using content to target adds. If Microsoft is doing the same, what are the chances Google will not respond and accuse MS for scanning emails - AND hypocrisy?

I'm not aware it happened yet.

RE: Advertising facts is not smearing...
By nafhan on 2/7/2013 4:52:19 PM , Rating: 2
According to this:

MS explicitly states that they do targeted ads in Hotmail (but not their newly rolled out I would say that's enough to call MS's ad hypocritical. They're essentially saying "Google is bad because they scan your email for keywords! We plan to stop doing that..."

Also, they're scanning your email. They're just not serving you ads based on that scanning. Doing any kind of keyword search in a reasonable amount of time means that an index has been built up by scanning your email.

RE: Advertising facts is not smearing...
By nikon133 on 2/7/2013 6:48:07 PM , Rating: 1

But upgrade from Hotmail to Outlook is free and really simple, so there is no reason not to upgrade.

Besides, MS is comparing Gmail to in their little assault. Is it completely honest - maybe not, but technically it is correct.

Look, I'm not saying MS is being led by holly forces of heaven, while Google is fronted by Satan himself. Both companies are over there to make money, simple as that. But nature of their core business is why I trust MS more... until proven differently.

By nafhan on 2/7/2013 11:11:02 PM , Rating: 2
The point is that MS is singling out Google for a practice MS is actively doing now, and has been doing for years.

Opt out is good! No argument there.

By Trisped on 2/7/2013 7:50:57 PM , Rating: 3
A smear campaign involves false or dubious claims.
So you do not think it "dubious" to present the truth in a way you know will be miss understood? Google collects the words used, but not the meaning. Are people really worried that the word "pizza" or "Coke" was in one of their emails?

This is basic fear mongering. Microsoft's services are crap and have been for years. When Gmail came out with its gigs of storage I was using Hotmail, stuck at 5MB. How many years did it take Microsoft to catch up? Oh wait, I still can't use POP3 to import my emails from Hotmail into another email client which I have been able to do since I got on Gmail.

And oh yeah, I have caught Microsoft "scanning" my emails to provide targeted adds on my Hotmail account, so their hands are as dirty or clean as Google's on this issue.

By bug77 on 2/8/2013 7:39:48 AM , Rating: 2
Then what about a campaign informing users their email is sent unencrypted all over the internet? How many would be aware of that and how many would approve, once they found out?

By Integral9 on 2/8/2013 9:50:02 AM , Rating: 3
Ummm... I'm pretty sure Google was up front about it from the beginning. It was the OMG thing about gmail when it came out. They'll scan your email so they can provide ads that might actually be something your interested in. It's very similar to placing ads next to newspaper articles that are related.

By ResStellarum on 2/8/2013 11:40:04 AM , Rating: 3
Microsoft is trying to make Google look bad by scaring people with claims of privacy invasion among other things, but instead it's actually backfiring because all it does is make Microsoft look desperate and weak, and unable to compete with Google on product merit alone, and thus all we have coming out of Microsoft are PR stunts (Bing it on - haha), smear campaigns like this, and antitrust cries. Time to call the whambulance for Microsoft me thinks lol.

And Microsoft does conduct smear campaigns and antitrust lobbying efforts in secret too using proxies to attack Google and FOSS.

Exhibit A:

Exhibit B:

So yes Microsoft is constantly trying to smear Google and other threats such as GNU/Linux, which Microsoft regularly boasts it could destroy on a whim with its patent arsenal.

By Piiman on 2/9/2013 10:45:32 AM , Rating: 2
So ask yourself why does Microsoft want to give you free email? Just for fun? I'm guessing they pretty much do the same thing.

If you aren't paying for a service YOU are the product.
At least the ads I see these days are something I may want, until last year I never clicked an ad since they seldom where anything I wanted or needed.

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