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Don't Get Scroogled By Gmail

Stocks in this article: MSFT

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.

(Logo: http://photos.prnewswire.com/prnh/20000822/MSFTLOGO)

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.

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