Microsoft Takes Aim at Google Gmail With Scroogled.com
Outlook.com has launched a new website and campaign entitled Scroogled.com to educate users to the email privacy and ad selling issues of Google’s Gmail. Outlook.com is Microsoft's newly rebranded email product born from Hotmail, renowned as the first free email services that launched in 1996. Gmail launched on 1 April 2004 to the surprise of many because it was initially perceived as an April Fool’s joke by Google, known for its playful marketing.
Microsoft Corp., commissioned GfK Roper to conduct a public study and found that 70 percent of consumers don't know that major email providers routinely engage in the practice of ‘reading’ through their personal email to sell ads — something that 88 percent of people disapprove of once they are informed.
The Outlook.com branded Scroogled.com site strives to help users understand what they may be exposing themselves to in using Gmail, pointing out that its email service doesn’t scan emails to sell advertising. "Emails are personal — and people feel that reading through their emails to sell ads is out of bounds," comments 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," Weitz concluded.
It’s not the first time Google has been challenged on its advertising products and more recently it has fallen foul of a study where is it is claimed searches unearthed "significant discrimination" in adverts that served up ads depending on the race of the person determined by their name. However, the search engine has recently won a legal case in Australia where courts have ruled that it is not responsible for the content of the adverts that it displays.