Microsoft’s Scroogled website redirects to new page, but campaign isn’t dead

Microsoft Scroogled website now redirects visitors to a more neutral website, but the company isn’t entirely ready to let go of its Google-bashing campaign yet.

Microsoft’s two-year Scroogled campaign is a little bit more buried than it was last week but don’t be surprised if it rears its head again. The company’s main page for its anti-Google campaigns scroogled.com now redirects visitors to whymicrosoft.com, a site that compares Microsoft’s products against rivals but lacks the negativity of Scroogled. The redirects began this week, according to The Verge’s Microsoft watcher, Tom Warren.

Scroogled has had a few chapters since emerging in 2012 as a tool for Microsoft chiefly to stir up doubt over Google, often related to its handling of private data. The campaign was dreamed up by Mark Penn, a former strategist for Hillary Clinton.

In 2013, Microsoft trained Scroogled on Google’s practice of machine-reading email messages in Gmail to display targeted ads. Microsoft's prime time Scroogled TV ads in the US coincided with the release of its new ad-free outlook.com. While criticised by the media for its negativity, the ads and online campaign helped Microsoft gain 10,000 signatures for its anti-Gmail petition.

Google’s head of privacy said Microsoft’s ads were “misleading” and “intellectually dishonest” — which were similar to accusations that were later levelled at Microsoft in the UK where it ran radio ads that were not under the Scroogle banner but had the same basic message. The UK’s Advertising Standards Authority ruled that Microsoft’s anti-Gmail ads were not misleading.

A Microsoft executive last April said the company was “now done with the Scroogled campaign” , however an official statement from the company stopped short of confirming it had been binned for good.

A Microsoft spokesperson emailed CSO.com.au the same statement it sent to media last April when asked today why its Scroogled page redirects to “Why Microsoft?”.

“We are always evaluating and evolving our marketing campaigns. There are times when we use our marketing to highlight differences in how we see the world compared to competitors, and the Scroogled campaign is an example of this. Moving forward, we will continue to use all the right approaches and tactics when and where they make sense,” the Microsoft spokesperson said.

In other words, Scroogled may be on the back burner for now, but Microsoft won't commit to killing it for good.

This article is brought to you by Enex TestLab, content directors for CSO Australia.


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