Many of the millions of consumers shopping this holiday season will turn to the world's most popular search engine, Google, in search of the perfect gift at the perfect price.

But Microsoft has a message for those consumers: be careful, you might get Scroogled.

To convey that message, Microsoft has launched, which warns consumers that Google Shopping isn't what it seems:

Google Shopping is nothing more than a list of targeted ads that unsuspecting customers assume are search results. They call these "Product Listing Ads" a "truly great search."

We say that when you limit choices and rank them by payment, consumers get Scroogled.

Microsoft's call to action, not surprisingly, encourages visitors to perform their shopping searched through Bing Shopping. "For an honest search result, try Bing" the site recommends.

Pointed criticism

While it's unlikely that will put a dent in the number of searches performed on Google Shopping, Microsoft's effort is interesting because it is arguably one of the company's most aggressive marketing assaults on Google yet.

On, Microsoft doesn't just call Google out on its new Google Shopping business model, it suggests that, more broadly, the search giant has turned its back on its founders' 'Do No Evil' pledge. The Redmond software company quotes Sergey Brin and Larry Page, as well as Google SEC filings. And it features quotes from the New York Times articles, including "The relationship between Google and Web sites, publishers and advertisers often seems lopsided, if not unfair" and "But Google is walking a tricky line, which antitrust regulators are watching closely."

Is Microsoft being hypocritical?

The use of the latter quote hints at an obvious fact: Microsoft wouldn't shed a tear if the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) pursues an anti-trust case against Google. Such a case has been widely rumored to be on the way.

But while is evidence that Microsoft has some marketing chutzpa, it might want to ensure that it's picking the right fight. As Search Engine Land's Danny Sullivan points out, Bing Shopping functions much the same way as Google Shopping, with merchants having the ability to purchase "higher visibility."

With that in mind, Google could easily hit Microsoft with a clever site of its own ( anyone)? Of course, given Google's continued search dominance, it probably won't be making that a priority any time soon.

Patricio Robles

Published 29 November, 2012 by Patricio Robles

Patricio Robles is a tech reporter at Econsultancy. Follow him on Twitter.

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Comments (3)


Matthew Chattaway

Best part of the Scroogled campaign? It appears higher in Google's results than Microsofts.

I think there is also a bit of 'people in stone houses'...Google isn't the first company to be in an antitrust or monopoly position afterall.

People use Google as it is a better experience, if Microsoft and Bing want to compete perhaps they should concentrate on the service and quality as opposed to trying to pick holes in the opposition (see their attitude to mobiles as well)

over 5 years ago

Gemma Holloway

Gemma Holloway, Digital Marketing Executive at Koozai

I find this stunt slightly disappointing for Microsoft. Google are where they are due to a successful marketing strategy and excellent functionality amongst other things.

I feel that Microsoft should focus their efforts on building Bing up as a brand and improving their functionality so that users actually want to use Bing rather than trying to 'beat down' their competition.

As Danny Sullivan pointed out - like all search engines, Bing's search results are generated by an algorithm, therefore, the 'honesty' they claim isn't a possible factor.

I suggest Microsoft focus on what's wrong with their own search engine before pointing out the errors of another. As for (love the name by the way!) I don't think Google will feel the need to stoop to this level.

over 5 years ago


Craig Simpson

Does anyone have an idea of when Bing will actually open their shopping results system to UK merchants?

over 5 years ago

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