Don't Get Scroogled by Gmail
Outlook.com launches campaign to educate consumers that Google goes through
their personal emails to sell ads.
New GfK Roper poll: Users largely unaware and strongly disapprove of the
Outlook.com prioritizes user privacy, launches petition campaign to tell
Google that emails are private, should be off-limits for selling ads.
REDMOND, Wash., Feb. 6, 2013
REDMOND, Wash., Feb. 6, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- Today, Outlook.com launched Don't
Get Scroogled by Gmail, a national campaign at http://www.scroogled.com 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.
To help consumers have their voice heard, today Outlook.com launched a
petition to help them get the message to Google that going through personal
email messages to sell ads is unacceptable. Outlook.com encourages consumers
to sign the petition at Scroogled.com and tell Google to stop going through
their emails to sell ads. Outlook.com encourages consumers to prioritize their
privacy by switching to Outlook.com.
How Google Uses Personal Email Content to Sell Ads
Google goes through every single word of personal Gmail messages and uses that
information to sell and target ads. As Google explains on its website, "In
Gmail, most of the ads we show appear next to an open email message and are
related to the contents of the current email conversation or thread." For
example, if you write a friend to let her know you are separating from your
husband, Google sells ads against this information to divorce lawyers, who
post ads alongside it. Or if you ask a friend for vacation suggestions, Google
uses this information to target you with ads from travel agencies or airlines
that want your business.
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 — a practice that
nearly 90 percent of Americans agree should end.
Unfortunately even if they try, consumers cannot stop Google from going
through their personal email for the purpose of showing them targeted ads.
Google does not enable Gmail users to opt out of seeing ads based on the
content of emails.
There are currently six active class action lawsuits against Google, all
alleging illegal eavesdropping or interception under federal and state
wiretapping laws, related to Google's scanning of emails.
"Emails are personal — and people feel that reading through their emails to
sell ads is out of bounds," said Stefan Weitz, senior director of Online
Services at Microsoft. "We honor the privacy of our Outlook.com users, and we
are concerned that Google violates that privacy every time an Outlook.com user
exchanges messages with someone on Gmail. This campaign is as much about
protecting Outlook.com users from Gmail as it is about making sure Gmail users
know what Google's doing."
New GfK Roper Poll: Public Largely Unaware and Strongly Disapproves of the
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
Key results from this survey include the following:
o88 percent of Americans disapprove of email service providers scanning the
content of your personal emails in order to target ads, and 52 percent
o89 percent of Americans agree that email service providers should not be
allowed to scan the content of personal emails in order to target ads.
o83 percent of Americans agree that email service providers scanning the
content of your personal emails to target ads is an invasion of privacy.
o70 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
o88 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
About the Don't Get Scroogled Campaign
With the Don't Get Scroogled by Gmail consumer education campaign, Outlook.com
is doing two things: First, it is highlighting Google's practice of going
through the personal contents of emails to benefit Google's bottom line ahead
of the user. Outlook.com has launched this education campaign and petition to
help consumers get the message to Google that going through personal email
messages to sell ads is unacceptable. Second, Outlook.com wants to highlight
that it is an email service that puts consumers' privacy first.
Beginning today and continuing for the next few weeks, the
Outlook.com-sponsored Don't Get Scroogled activities will appear online and
offline, demonstrating why consumers should be concerned and helping them take
action. Outlook.com is also calling on consumers to join the petition drive to
tell Google to stop going through their users' email to sell ads. Consumers
can also visit http://www.scroogled.com to get information about Google's
practices and updates on the situation.
"Outlook.com believes your privacy is not for sale," Weitz said. "We believe
people should have choice and control over their private email messages,
whether they are sharing banking information or pictures of their family or
discussing their medical history."
Weitz added, "Outlook.com does not scan the contents of your personal email to
sell ads. Outlook.com is an email service that prioritizes your own and your
family's privacy. You wouldn't let the post office look inside your mail, so
why would you let Google?"
More information about how Outlook.com prioritizes your privacy can be found
Founded in 1975, Microsoft (Nasdaq "MSFT") is the worldwide leader in
software, services and solutions that help people and businesses realize their
^1 About this study: TheRDD telephone survey was conducted Feb. 1-4, 2013
byGfK's Public Affairs & Corporate Communications division, among
anationally representative sample of 1,006adults ages 18 or
older.Interviews were conducted with 753 respondents on landlines and 253
respondents on cellular telephones. Thedata wereweighted on age, sex,
education, race and geographic region. The margin of error on results based on
the full sample isplus or minus 3 percentage points.
SOURCE Microsoft Corp.
Contact: Rapid Response Team, Waggener Edstrom Worldwide, +1-503-443-7070,
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