Microsoft slams Google again, warns shoppers not to get "Scroogled” [Update]

The holiday shopping season is now well underway, and from now until late December people will be searching online for the best deals for gifts to give to others. Today, Microsoft decided to use the holiday shopping theme as a way to take another shot at Google regarding what Microsoft claims are Google's deceptive search results.

It's part of a new campaign that Microsoft has launched called "Don't Get Scroogled" (Scroogled is actually a term coined by well-known author Cory Doctorow back in 2007). Microsoft says Google's search practices have changed over the years so that when users search on Google's site for holiday gifts now, they may not be receiving truly objective results, but rather results that people paid Google to have listed.

The official Bing blog states:

You see, Google recently pulled down its “product search service” and replaced it with a “paid listing ads” service. Search for “Canon EOS” in Google Shopping and you receive pages that look like the old days, with “results” down the middle and ads mixed in. But the “results” are also ads. Every product offer within the shopping search results on that page paid to be there, and where and how high they appear is at least in part dependent on how much they paid. Meanwhile, at least one of biggest online retailers refused to pay Google’s new fee, so you won’t see any of their product offers and great holiday deals in shopping results.

Naturally, Microsoft says its Bing service doesn't give those kind of search results for its users. The company said:

We won’t let who pays us for ads or other services affect what you see in your search results. Search results are one thing; ads are another. We won’t switch to pay-to-rank to allow some shopping search results to appear higher than others. We don’t believe shoppers should risk paying more, simply because they started their search at Google.

This campaign is just the latest instance of Microsoft going after Google. Earlier this year the company ran a massive TV ad and online campaign that attempted to push the idea that search results from Bing were more accurate than Google's.

Update: Google sent Neowin this response to the Scroogled campaign:

Google Shopping makes it easier for shoppers to quickly find what they’re looking for, compare different products and connect with merchants to make a purchase. With new 360-degree, interactive product images, social shopping lists and a fast growing inventory of more than a billion products worldwide, Google is a great resource for shoppers to find what they need, at great prices for their loved ones this holiday season.

Source: Don't Get Scroogled website | Image via Microsoft

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35 Comments

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Hey Microsoft...

Why not release your Shopping experience world wide before making these claims?

Still not supported in AUS from what I can see...

While I dont really give a f***, I see this at the bottom of the shopping search results
Google does not charge for inclusion in its search results and all advertisements are clearly marked.

As always MS just doing stupid comments. The common practice is to sort that list by price and that button still there.
It would be nice that MS invest money developing their Bing crap instead of use it to defame their adversaries with useless ad campains.

Christmas wish ... Google .. find me a Sony Xperia T sim free for £59.99 and I'll be a good egg all next year

Microsoft has spent the better part of 12 years being everyone's favorite whipping boy and now that they are embracing their underdog status and fighting back, bed-wetters are crying foul about it. Hilarious.

Normally I hate attack campaigns, but looking at this Scroogled website, it's pretty legit. They provide real quotes and research proving their point, and explain why it's better to use honest search results from Bing instead of Google's paid ad-ridden results. I've only recently switched over to Bing and found the results are better recently compared to Google, and after find out the dirty things Google does as well, I'd wouldn't switch back to Google. Do your research as well, and you'll cringe.

well Considering that ads is the only major source of income for google (whereas for Microsoft is variety of things) I don't think google has any other choice with increasing cost of servers and maintenance. Plus It don't mind to see some ads and sponsored results (I wouldn't click them anyway)

S3P€hR said,
well Considering that ads is the only major source of income for google (whereas for Microsoft is variety of things) I don't think google has any other choice with increasing cost of servers and maintenance. Plus It don't mind to see some ads and sponsored results (I wouldn't click them anyway)

I think MS point is that, how do you know which link is an ad and which was sponsored (paid to be there) and is it the best deal?


xbbdc said,

I think MS point is that, how do you know which link is an ad and which was sponsored (paid to be there) and is it the best deal?

it's SHOPPING search, not regular search. they're basically providing a service not only to people (that are looking for items), but to stores that may have crappy search engines themselves or little to none web presence. they may as well cash in. shopping search is not the same as regular search.

if I were google my response to microsoft would be something like: at least we're profitable.

xbbdc said,

I think MS point is that, how do you know which link is an ad and which was sponsored (paid to be there) and is it the best deal?

Who cares if you're shopping anyway? I would still click the ad for a product if it was cheaper or if I liked the seller more anyway.

I really don't care. If I want to buy something, I know where to go. In fact I'm more annoyed that google filter more and more aggressively piracy content (Sorry). Also lot of spam related website are getting improved ranking. Also google track a bit too much user, all search results are redirected from their server, you can't copy paste directly an url from search results, without having a "redirection url from google". And I hate that "unified" account thing, if you are logged in youtube, you stay logged for google. A last thing I don't like : result can vary widely depending of your location. But I'm still using google, because it provide more search results than bing, and more pertinent too.

bigmehdi said,
I really don't care. If I want to buy something, I know where to go. In fact I'm more annoyed that google filter more and more aggressively piracy content (Sorry). Also lot of spam related website are getting improved ranking. Also google track a bit too much user, all search results are redirected from their server, you can't copy paste directly an url from search results, without having a "redirection url from google". And I hate that "unified" account thing, if you are logged in youtube, you stay logged for google. A last thing I don't like : result can vary widely depending of your location. But I'm still using google, because it provide more search results than bing, and more pertinent too.

I think google is still working on the spam websites thing. Once I looked for lyrics, clicked on a link, went back and saw a "dont show results from this website again" button. I've never seen that button again. But I think they are thinking of ways to let people filter the crap. THe thing is, I guess the line is blurry. I mean the website I went to HAd the lyrics, buried in a lot of ads

Microsoft just gave me another reason to not use their service. I HATE companies that attack other companies' services.

Tpiom said,
Microsoft just gave me another reason to not use their service. I HATE companies that attack other companies' services.

Better throw out that iphone and or android then

Tpiom said,
Microsoft just gave me another reason to not use their service. I HATE companies that attack other companies' services.

Didn't Apple do a five minute rip of Google Nexus 7 during the iPad Mini release. Everyone does it. I just don't think MS should be doing it with Bing right now since it's a weaker brand. If it was stronger then go right ahead.

Tpiom said,
Microsoft just gave me another reason to not use their service. I HATE companies that attack other companies' services.

Man, so what's left for you to use, then?

Better dump all of your Google Android and Chrome products then...

Tpiom said,
Microsoft just gave me another reason to not use their service. I HATE companies that attack other companies' services.

ameluso said,

Didn't Apple do a five minute rip of Google Nexus 7 during the iPad Mini release. Everyone does it. I just don't think MS should be doing it with Bing right now since it's a weaker brand. If it was stronger then go right ahead.

I'm pretty sure that's the main reason one attacks the competition, strong or weak - try to accentuate your competitors flaws while doing the same with your strengths. You do it when you're weaker than your opponent (because if it's true, it's cheap advertising that should work) and when you're stronger (keep your competitor down, unless they rise to actually challenge you on equal footing). It's not rocket science.

Joshie said,
Man, so what's left for you to use, then?

That's just it... there aren't any left. Not any good ones at least. But the keyword here is 'another', I wasn't planning to use them anyway.

Cyborg_X said,
Better throw out that iphone and or android then

Apple is worse with its iPhone... maybe they're improving now that's Jobs' gone but doubtful. I need a phone: RIM is dying a painful death. Microsoft are always late (and I don't want to support them after so many failures of different products) Nokia's troubles shows how good the Windows phone is. Android is the only viable option here - there are more companies than Google that are supporting it.

Tpiom said,

That's just it... there aren't any left. Not any good ones at least. But the keyword here is 'another', I wasn't planning to use them anyway.

Apple is worse with its iPhone... maybe they're improving now that's Jobs' gone but doubtful. I need a phone: RIM is dying a painful death. Microsoft are always late (and I don't want to support them after so many failures of different products) Nokia's troubles shows how good the Windows phone is. Android is the only viable option here - there are more companies than Google that are supporting it.

You could always just rate technology for what it is, rather than for what its creators say. Tech is a very high ego, low empathy field, so it's filled to the brim with asswipes and dicksmacks. If you let attitudes rule your decisions, you'll be forced to turn luddite.

I can't stand this advertising tactic. Apple are bad for it too. I'd much prefer to choose your product or service because it's good, not because you claim the competitor is bad. Also tired of seeing this in politics actually.

Shoop said,
I can't stand this advertising tactic. Apple are bad for it too. I'd much prefer to choose your product or service because it's good, not because you claim the competitor is bad. Also tired of seeing this in politics actually.
Pointing out a competitor's faults is one way of educating the public on which is actually better. Otherwise, you are left to actually take people's word at face value. And we all know how well that works out, because people and politicians NEVER lie /sarc.

PotatoJ said,
Ads are evil now. Cool.

gj Microsoft.

Except for the fact that ads are in basic Win8 apps like News and Sports.

Only a fool goes onto Google Shopping and just blindly accepts whatever it says is the best price... I look around at several sites before making a purchase and only use Google Shopping to give me some ideas on places to check!

Anthony Tosie said,
I really don't think this is the best marketing tactic Microsoft could be using for Bing at the moment.

Oh.. I dunno. I think the next time I look for a good price on an item i'll try both - i'm not interested it giving with MS or G money but I would like a good deal.

so if Look for canon eos on google shopping , am I to assume that the 180 stores that are selling the top item are paying google to show me that information?