Here we go again, another day, and another negative ad campaign coming from Microsoft, this time attacking supposed privacy problems with Android phones. Carrying on with the “Scroogled” theme, where Microsoft, apparently unable to make much of a dent in Google’s dominance on its own merits, takes to attacking Google for some perceived violation or another. Here’s the latest ad:
Of course the problem is that along with attacking Google, Microsoft is leaving itself open to attacks of its own. Google itself hasn’t bothered to respond directly, but plenty of commenters and pundits have voiced their displeasure with the tone and substance of the ads. Responding to an earlier set of “Scroogled” attacks, Search Engine Land’s Danny Sullivan takes his usual thorough approach to dissecting the real difference between Google and Bing in a post he titled “Bing Attacks Google Shopping With “Scroogled” Campaign, Forgets It’s Guilty Of Same Problems”. After pointing out that Bing actually uses many of the same techniques that Google does in its Shopping vertical, Sullivan says:
In other words, if you want to be in Bing, you have to pay — exactly like Google.
Moreover, the page says that merchants doing this will get:
- Higher visibility: Paid offers will be highlighted throughout Bing Shopping, including search result and product pages.
Higher visibility in search results? You mean you’ll rank better in search results, by paying to be listed? In the search results that Bing just told consumers that payment isn’t a factor?
Now as it turns out, after talking with Bing today, it’s not as simple as all that. But from a consumer standpoint, which is what this entire campaign that Bing has launched is about, it does appear Bing is being completely hypocritical, based on information out there in the public view.
Dissecting the intricacies of what Bing does and doesn’t do vs. Google is one thing, but there’s a whole other argument against the “Scroogled” campaign: it just makes Microsoft look bad. In a post on Search Engine Watch in March, Lisa Barone explains why negativity just doesn’t work:
If you need to spend your time trashing your competitors to convince users not to use their product, you have a sucky product. If you didn’t you’d be too excited talking about your benefits and features to worry about someone else’s. But you’re not. You’re spreading negativity about someone not even in the room.
Unfortunately for you, consumers are smart. And they’ve been through high school. They know the reason you can’t take your eyes off them is because you secretly wish you were them.
Insecurity isn’t sexy. It makes people wonder why you’re more concerned with your competition than your own capabilities. You won’t like the answer they come up with.
In another negative-trending attack, Microsoft’s Frank Shaw last week took to the Official Microsoft Blog to damn Facebook with faint praise for its “Facebook Home” treatment coming for Android. Shaw said he needed to check his calendar (luckily for him, Outlook.com had finally released an updated calendar, some 8 months late) to make sure it wasn’t 2011:
Because the content of the presentation was remarkably similar to the launch event we did for Windows Phone two years ago.
Shaw’s smug defense of the superiority of Windows Phone, where the market shows a decidedly different story, didn’t go over too well either. MG Siegler (aka Paris Lemon) was blunt in his assessment:
If you have to tell people you won, you lost.
We’ve been following Microsoft, and using Microsoft products for a long time, because we like them. Why not focus on that? The Sinofsky years led to the severing of almost all ties to any enthusiasm offered up by consumers, and users were punished instead of praised for their interest in what Microsoft was planning on doing next. The ultimate goal seemed to be in keeping secrets rather than releasing products, and the pace of innovation, Windows Blue or not, is still dreadfully slow. Instead of getting “Scroogled”, we’d much prefer to be Microsoft’d by a barrage of new products, new ideas, and a new pace of innovation. How about you?