According to a ZDNet article, Derrick Connell, a Microsoft Corporate Vice President in charge of the Bing Experiences team, said over the weekend in a hosted Q&A session that Microsoft is “now done with the (Scroogled) campaign.
I’m not sure what “hosted Q&A session” means, the statement links to a yabbly site (what the hell is yabbly?) that doesn’t say much (anything really) about the campaign. There is one question about the campaign, the answer to which was apparently removed at the request of Microsoft Officials. That question being “what do you think of the Scroogled campaign?”.
I was able to copy the response before it was taken down. Here it is:
That campaign had a primary purpose so let me explain that first. The main purpose was to bring attention to some activities that we didn’t like as a company (for e.g. the idea of scanning email for the purpose of selling you ads seemed wrong). As a company we deeply care about trustworthy computing and user privacy. We felt there were things happening in the industry that didn’t match our world view, and the campaign was aimed at providing information to consumers.
It is tricky as you want to raise awareness and do it in a fun way. I think we achieved that goal, and changed some policies, and we are now done with the campaign. Mostly I feel proud that we decided to do it regardless of how we might be perceived.
To summarize those two paragraphs, Connell says this:
Yes. I intentionally left a blank space. Connell effectively said nothing. I don’t even know why Microsoft wanted that response removed. He just delivered a bunch of typical diplomatic drivel.
I did think it was interesting he mentioned Google scanning your email as being “wrong”, considering Microsoft is the company that will send an actual person into your email account to personally read your emails if they suspect you of leaking company information. Google just sends an impersonal algorithm in there so they know what kind of ads to serve. (Ads that I don’t even notice. Honestly, I can’t even tell you were those ads show up. Are they in the actual emails? In the Gmail main page? I have no idea).
Anyways, I don’t see any evidence of the Scroogled campaing actually having been axed. I can’t seem to track down an actual quote from Connell saying the campaign has ended, apart from ZDNET’s mysterious quote linking to a yabbly page. The Scroogled webpage is still up, the merchandise is still for sale.
When ZDNET asked Microsoft if the campaign was indeed dead, this was the response:
“We are always evaluating and evolving our marketing campaigns. There are times when we use our marketing to highlight differences in how we see the world compared to competitors, and the Scroogled campaign is an example of this. Moving forward, we will continue to use all the right approaches and tactics when and where they make sense.”
So more drivel.
What do you think, is the campaign dead? I don’t think so. Even if it is I don’t think it’s enough to save Microsoft’s soul. Too little too late.