Microsoft Attacks Gmail with "Scroogled" Campaign
February 7, 2013 11:08 AM
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Microsoft's Scroogled campaign
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 Outlook.com users, and we are concerned that Google violates that privacy every time an Outlook.com user exchanges messages with someone on Gmail. This campaign is as much about protecting Outlook.com 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
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RE: Advertising facts is not smearing...
2/8/2013 11:16:24 AM
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.
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