When Microsoft (MSFT) revealed plans to spend a seven-figure sum to convince people that Gmail is too scary to use, we were skeptical that it could really succeed in swaying longtime Gmail users into switching to Outlook. And now a new report from Marketing Land’s Danny Sullivan suggests that our skepticism was warranted, because Microsoft’s anti-Gmail campaign seems to be a major bust so far. First, Sullivan notes that Microsoft’s big anti-Gmail petition garnered only 5,600 signatures in its first week online, an average of just 800 signatures per day.
What’s more, Sullivan shows that the petition gathered around 1,800 signatures on its second day of availability but then significantly declined for several days after and slowed to just 327 signatures on Wednesday. In the two days since Sullivan’s analysis, the petition has garnered around 850 additional signatures, suggesting it has gained some small momentum back but certainly nothing compared to the nearly 2,000 signatures it garnered over its first two days.
Sullivan also notes that many of the users signing the petition left comments bashing Microsoft, which is surely not what the company had in mind when it started its “Scroogled” campaign. Sullivan thinks that Microsoft will get very little traction in its anti-Google campaign because it too uses personalized tracking practices to deliver its “Scroogled” ads onto websites, which gives the company very little room to criticize Google for doing the same thing.
“Microsoft tracking people in order to spread its message that Google is targeting ads to email feels kind of self-defeating,” writes Sullivan.
Or to use a ’90s music metaphor, hearing Microsoft decry Google’s privacy practices is like hearing Kenny G complain that Hootie and the Blowfish are bland and uninteresting: The criticism may be spot on, but the identity of the messenger gives it no credibility.