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Microsoft: the 'Scroogled' Show Must Go On 286

theodp writes "Microsoft says that the death of its 'Scroogled' ad campaign against Google has been greatly exaggerated. 'Scroogled will go on as long as Google keeps Scroogling people,' said a Microsoft spokesperson. 'Nearly 115,000 people signed a petition asking Google to stop going through their Gmail.' So, is Microsoft's scare campaign justified? Well, in a recently-published patent application for a Method and System for Dynamic Textual Ad Distribution Via Email, Google explains how its invention can be used to milk more money from advertisers by identifying lactating Moms, which might make some uneasy. Google also illustrates how advertisers can bid on access to those suffering from breast cancer, bi-polar disorder, depression, and panic anxiety. Hey, what could possibly go wrong?"
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Microsoft: the 'Scroogled' Show Must Go On

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  • Nice catch theodp (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday March 05, 2013 @09:16AM (#43077767)

    Those two patent drawings are plenty scary.

    This reminds me of the late '80s, when people still identified IBM and AT&T as the big bad boys and were willing to give Microsoft (which seemed like a scrappy startup led by a shy kid with thick glasses and long hair) a pass.

    Fast forward 25 years. Microsoft is the new IBM. Oracle is the new DEC. Google, Apple, and Amazon are the new Microsoft.

  • Hang on... (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Karellen ( 104380 ) on Tuesday March 05, 2013 @09:25AM (#43077845) Homepage

    See also Scroogled by Cory Doctorow [] (translations [])

    Wow, Microsoft appropriating the name of someone else's pre-existing work in a particular domain, particularly when that domain is the criticism and commentary on a near-monopolist, and the original author is one of the most vocal and prominent proponents of copyright and other IP-related reform. I think my irony meter just exploded.

  • by number6x ( 626555 ) on Tuesday March 05, 2013 @09:26AM (#43077857)

    A Microsoft sponsored petition had 115,000 signatures! That's probably more people than are using Windows 8.

    Of course, we should double check and make sure all of those signatures belong to actual living people, and not dead people. MS has a history of fake grass roots campaigns involving dead people []. You should all listen to your international corporate overlords and be outraged at being scroogled, but ignore the fact that Microsoft reserves the right to examine all of the data on your sky drive [].

    It shouldn't suprise us that Microsoft products are so popular among the dead. After all, Balmer is one of the most brain-dead CEO's in the tech world. They used to be such a scrappy competitive company. Then the 1990's happened.

  • by Stewie241 ( 1035724 ) on Tuesday March 05, 2013 @09:59AM (#43078065)

    How is this different from a drug company approaching a doctor and saying 'Hey, I have this medication that can help people undergoing cancer treatment with their nausea.' Then the doctor, who has the personal information of his/her patients, makes targeted suggestions. Do you think the doctor recommends that medication to people with strep throat? Probably not. It's targeted. The drug company is not given any personal information.

    Of course - there is a difference - the doctors are not allowed to accept money from the drug companies. The reason for that is because you want the medical advice given by your medical professionals to be unbiased and not slanted by money paid to them by drug companies, because you need to be able to trust that your doctor has your best interests at heart.

    Neither Google nor Microsoft have any such relationship with their clients. People do not expect Google's advertisements or Microsoft's advertisements to be sound medical advice. The relationship is pretty transparent and I'm pretty sure everybody knows at least vaguely how those ads got there. But the same situation applies - Google is not passing personal information along to drug companies - they are merely pushing the ads out to those clients that meet certain criteria. Google's advertisers are not being given the personal information.

  • by Kwyj1b0 ( 2757125 ) on Tuesday March 05, 2013 @10:06AM (#43078119)

    Google does not sell personal information to third parties. And they never have.

    At worst, they will use this as a signal to match ads to users.

    So if you have a physical mail, and someone gets to read it and insert ads with it (without knowing who you are - say they aren't allowed to see the address), it would be fine?

    While I get it that Gmail is "free", I also believe that certain expectations of privacy/regulations should translate from existing laws we have (or rather had) in place. No wiretapping? Then no reading my email either. Just changing the technology shouldn't require us to enact new rules and regulations.

  • by LordLimecat ( 1103839 ) on Tuesday March 05, 2013 @10:15AM (#43078187)

    the same thing MS does

    The elephant in the room.

    Kind of amazing that microsoft has had the nerve to go after Google's privacy practices, when its own regarding Bing generally arent as good. AFAIK Bing / MS Mail (whatever its called now) has historically scanned email in the same way as google, and the whole point of Bing is to datamine for advertising.

  • by jekewa ( 751500 ) on Tuesday March 05, 2013 @11:00AM (#43078605) Homepage Journal

    Didn't read the article, and don't get data intelligence. Wow, that's a tough spot to be in.

    If you RTFA you can see from the (outside of Target) analysis that it was due to increasing other purchases and not the stoppage of birth control. At the very least, I'm sure that even the most diabolical data analyzer realizes you can't dive into the protected vault of (not over-the-counter) health purchases. It was because of the purchase of certain vitamin combinations and cotton balls that set Target off.

    In hindsight it's always easy to tear apart someone's logic. It's really easy if you make up your own as you go.

    I gotta say "duh" to anyone who acts surprised that businesses that gather data use that data to improve their business. It'd be nice to be able to trust that the business is acting responsibly and in a way that they believe is in the interest of both parties; I mean, if you're pregnant, why wouldn't you want coupons for purchases you're likely to be making anyway? When you grocery shop, the receipt contains coupons for things you just bought, or things just like it, or things that complement those things. When you buy anything from Amazon, you're likely to get "you'll also like" e-mail and banner ads, even if you're not visiting an Amazon page.

    I'm sure Microsoft, for all of their "scroogle" name calling isn't avoiding reading your e-mail or Bing searches to come up with a marketing plan or to direct advertising or to refine search results.

    Of course, it's naive to think that all businesses will act in the best interest of anyone other than themselves, surely some or many will accept marketing funds from less scrupulous marketers. And it's also unfair to think that every recipient of such targeted marketing will take the offer with any care (otherwise SPAM would have stopped long ago).

    There are only a few was to avoid being scroogled by anyone. Most involve not being on the Internet, or not being truthful on the Internet, or hosting your own and forcing everyone else to participate in your service...but be careful you don't become the scroogler if you do. The key is to be mindful that scroogling is going on. it has been going on for a lot longer than most of us think; even if we limit it to just the Internet. Pretty much since the first "free" e-mail or search service was provided...and that's before most Internet users were born.

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