In a bid to strip Google off its monopolistic demeanour in the search engine market, Microsoft roped in political strategist, Mark Penn. Penn, responsible for ousting enemies of the likes of the Clintons, is currently the Corporate Vice President for Strategic and Special Projects at Microsoft Corporation.
Often called the ‘Brawler’ by the media, Penn devised an ad campaign that makes Google take full offence for their new initiative, ‘Google Shopping’ where paid product listings pop up as search results. The campaign- ‘Scroogled’ is a website where Microsoft uses the signatory Google colours to warn customers off the initiative and urges them to try its Bing for honest results.
Showing excerpts from the ‘Terms and Conditions’ of Google Commerce which say that Google Shopping will exclude members who do not ‘participate’ in the transaction, Penn has hit Google where it hurts most. In lieu of the anti-trust lawsuit that Google is facing, the search engine giant maybe heading to a gigantic downfall.
Search engine wars have been a trend on the internet with Yahoo! trying to stave off Google since 1995. Bing, overtook Yahoo! but still has a Goliath in the form of Google to beat. Microsoft is pulling out all stops to sow a doubt about Google’s unbiased search results. The ‘Don’t be evil’ preach at its inception has been attacked by the Scroogle initiative as Microsoft calls Google an “evil empire” built on a “pure commercial model.”
The SWAT-style team that Penn has assembled for the campaign includes political advisors, public relation officers and Josh Gottheimer, counsellor to the chairman of the Federal Communications Commission. A poll conducted by the team showed that consumers of Google where unaware of the monetary transaction and were hardly bothered by it. Microsoft warns holiday shoppers that they might not get the best merchants or prices through Google Shopping.
Penn who is of the opinion that “negative ads are, by and large, good for [our] democracy”, has put a step forward for Microsoft in the search engine war. Microsoft which already has Apple on its back will have to strive to sustain this initiative, lest it loses face among millions of internet users.
See the Scroogle campaign here: http://www.scroogled.com/