While most free web-based email providers show ads, users likely never think twice about how those ads are generated. In order to better showcase the vast differences between Outlook.com and Gmail, Microsoft seeks to inform users how and why the ads they see could be compromising to their privacy.
* The entire purpose of the Scroogled campaign is to promote Outlook.com over the popular web-based email Gmail from Google. Microsoft is encouraging users to sign a petition against Gmail’s email scanning practices.
* From the Scroogled.com home page, visitors can take Outlook.com (a web based version of the popular Microsoft Outlook desktop email client) for a test drive, sign the petition and view a detailed video outlining Gmail ads and how Google generates those personalized ads.
* Microsoft began its campaign by first commissioning a report through a Gfk Roper study to determine whether email users were even aware the content of their emails was being used to generate ads during their email session. According to the study, over half of the participants didn’t realize personal emails were scanned by their provider.
* While some emails didn’t matter to participants, 66 percent agreed that private emails shouldn’t be scanned at all.
* The vast majority (almost 90 percent) believed targeted ads were indeed a violation of their privacy. Approximately the same percentage believed there should at least be an opt-out policy so users could better control how their personal email data was collected and used.
* According to a press release from Microsoft on Wednesday, Google doesn’t stop at Gmail. It actually collects data from non-Gmail accounts as well when you use Gmail to combine multiple accounts, such as Yahoo! and Hotmail.
* With six active class action lawsuits against Google in relation to its email scanning practices, it is the perfect time for Microsoft to appear as the informative hero offering a safe, private email alternative.
* To prove its point about Google’s rather relaxed attitude towards user privacy, Scroogled points users to quotes and articles from Google executives, including comments from chief executives Eric Schmidt and Larry Page.
While Google isn’t likely to drastically change data collection practices any time soon, perhaps direct comparisons from respected companies such as Microsoft may begin to change how users think about privacy and the Internet. As the study proved, most users still prefer to retain their privacy instead of the share all mentality of many of today’s web giants.