Now that over a month has passed since Microsoft’s infamous scroogled TV advertising campaign stopped airing, I was curious to find out if it had any effect on Google. For those who have been living under a rock or have better things to do than watch TV, Microsoft has been engaging over the last few months in what it was calling “phase two” of its “Scroogled” campaign. This campaign consisted of a series of ads “informing” the public on how their Gmail accounts were not safe and how Google is monitoring even the most personal of emails. The ads then directed individuals to go online and sign the scroogled petition to stop the peeping (www.scroogled.com). The tone of the ads suggest that Google does this for evil purposes and while Google admits to the practice, it contends that its sole purpose is to collect information so it can target ads based on keywords in emails.
Microsoft’s purpose for the campaign however was to get individuals to trash their Gmail accounts and replace them with Microsoft’s “more secure” outlook.com services. As far as I can tell, the results seem to have mixed reviews. Microsoft has said that over 3.5 million people visited the scroogle.com website and over 115,000 people signed the petition “asking” Google to no longer look through their emails. This far surpassed the company’s goal of 25,000 signatures. However, from a Gmail user base standpoint, this is roughly the equivalent to 0.038% of the people who use its Gmail service.
If you were hoping that Google would throw down a little verbal fisticuffs with Microsoft, you were sorely mistaken. Google said:
“Google Shopping makes it easier for shoppers to quickly find what they’re looking for, compare different products and connect with merchants to make a purchase. With 360-degree, interactive product images, social shopping lists and a fast growing inventory of more than a billion products worldwide, Google is a great resource for shoppers to find what they need, at great prices.”
And its reaction to the attacks on Gmail ads:
“Advertising keeps Google and many of the websites and services Google offers free of charge. We work hard to make sure that ads are safe, unobtrusive and relevant. No humans read your email or Google Account information in order to show you advertisements or related information. An automated algorithm — similar to that used for features like Priority Inbox or spam filtering — determines which ads are shown.”
The plus side is that for those who want to see a Tyson vs. Holyfield style slugfest between these two giants (ear biting included) there is still the possibility. A spokesperson for Microsoft said:
“Scroogled will go on as long as Google keeps Scroogling people. We know Google doesn’t like it when the facts come out. Chapter two of the consumer education campaign has shown people care about their privacy.”
I guess we will all need to stay tuned………..