If trying to find appropriate gifts for friends and family is always one of the more challenging times of the year, then have a quick chat with them some time to try to ascertain their thoughts on Google. If their opinions happen to be overwhelmingly negative, Microsoft can sort you out.
As part of its year-long anti-Google Scroogled campaign highlighting what it sees as the Mountain View company’s various dodgy practices and underhand use of user data, Microsoft is now offering a selection of reasonably priced items on its online store, from Scroogled word-cloud T-shirts (yours for $11.99) emblazoned with “Scroogled synonyms” like sold out, fleeced, scammed, conned, cheated, fooled, double-crossed, defrauded, hoodwinked, swindled, and duped, to “Keep calm while we steal your data” mugs ($7.99, though currently sold out), to “Step into our Web” shirts suggesting that users of Gmail, Google Search, and Google+ are like “flies trapped in Google’s web.”
Microsoft launched its Scroogled campaign last year to bash Google’s practice of “selling their shopping search results to a high bidder.” One of the campaign’s aims was to draw more users to its Bing search engine.
However, Microsoft’s methods in the same field haven’t always been free from controversy, with the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) earlier this year ordering a number of search engines, Google and Bing included, to distinguish more clearly between search results and ads (including paid search results) displayed on their webpages. The commission issued updated guidelines emphasizing “the need for visual cues, labels, or other techniques to effectively distinguish advertisements, in order to avoid misleading consumers.”
Not only Google
Microsoft’s bold PR initiatives don’t only go after Google – Apple was also a target a couple of months ago when the Redmond-based company released a video ad making fun of the iPhone 5S. However, it was deemed to be in such poor taste – it appeared to feature Steve Jobs – that Microsoft ended up pulling the ad, admitting it was “off the mark.”
As for Google, DT’s very own Nick Mokey recently laid into the company for a variety of reasons, though we’re not sure he’d go so far as to pull on a Scroogled word-cloud T-shirt (he still uses Gmail, y’see). You can read about his issues with the Web giant here.
In the meantime, what do you make of Microsoft’s anti-Google campaign? Funny or a bit feeble?