Published November 21, 2013
If you hate Google and want others to know about it, there are a number of options open to you. You could, for example, make your feelings known via a social media site, or simply shout them from atop a box on a street corner, though admittedly such in-your-face shenanigans could end in arrest or a street brawl.
From this week, you may be pleased to learn, there’s another way: Microsoft merchandise.
That’s right, 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. The items range 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’s Scroogled campaign launched last year originally to promote Bing by bashing Google’s practice of “selling their shopping search results to a high bidder.”
However, Microsoft’s methods in the same area 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.”
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, DigitalTrend’s 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?