In order to promote its Outlook.com email option, Microsoft launched Wednesday a campaign “Don’t Get Scroogled by Gmail” aimed to hit the popularity of rival Google’s Gmail.
Microsoft says it is a national campaign to educate Americans about Google’s practice of going through the contents of all Gmail emails to sell and target ads.
According to a public GfK Roper study, commissioned by Microsoft Corp., 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.
Unlike Gmail, Outlook.com doesn’t go through the content of users’ emails to show ads. Outlook.com hopes this campaign will help educate consumers about Google’s email practices and promote Outlook.com’s policy of prioritizing the privacy of its users’ emails, according to Microsoft.
To help consumers have their voice heard, Outlook.com has launched a petition to help them get the message to Google that going through personal email messages to sell ads is unacceptable.
It encourages consumers to sign the petition at Scroogled.com and tell Google to stop going through their emails to sell ads. In the process, Microsoft is encouraging consumers to prioritize their privacy by switching to Outlook.com.
Microsoft alleges that Google even goes through emails from non-Gmail users to generate advertising income. Gmail goes through all incoming email messages, from any email provider, and sells ads based on the content of those emails, says Microsoft.
A new GfK Roper poll, commissioned by Microsoft, shows that only 30 percent of Americans are aware that any email service goes through the content of personal emails to sell ads, and 88 percent of consumers disapprove of this practice.
The telephone survey was conducted Feb. 1-4, 2013 by GfK’s Public Affairs & Corporate Communications division, among a nationally representative sample of 1,006 adults ages 18 or older. Interviews were conducted with 753 respondents on landlines and 253 respondents on cellular telephones. The data were weighted on age, sex, education, race and geographic region.
Key results from this survey include the following:
- 88 percent of Americans disapprove of email service providers scanning the content of your personal emails in order to target ads, and 52 percent disapprove strongly.
- 89 percent of Americans agree that email service providers should not be allowed to scan the content of personal emails in order to target ads.
- 83 percent of Americans agree that email service providers scanning the content of your personal emails to target ads is an invasion of privacy.
- 70 percent of Americans didn’t believe or didn’t know that any major email service provider scans the content of personal emails in order to target ads.
- 88 percent of email users believe that email service providers should allow users to “opt out” if they prefer that the content of their emails not be scanned in order to target ads.
Outlook.com believes users should be informed about Google’s email privacy intrusions and consumers should know they have a choice to switch to Outlook.com.
Photo courtesy: Microsoft