Microsoft has launched a new holiday campaign designed to show Google users how Google Shopping really works. It’s called “Scroogled” and in short, Microsoft aims to point out how the search giant’s shopping portal went from showing relevant results to displaying nothing but paid advertisements.
As it turns out, there’s a good bit of truth to the Microsoft campaign. In May, Google changed how their shopping portal works. The new commercialized Google Shopping only displays results from merchants that have agreed to pay them on a per-transaction or a per-click basis. What this means essentially is that you’ll never see true, fully relevant search results but paid ads instead.
At the time, Google vice president of product management Sameer Samat said that having a commercial relationship with merchants will encourage them to keep their product information fresh and up to date. He said that higher quality data should translate to a better shopping experience which will in turn create higher quality traffic for merchants.
Microsoft likely coined the term Scroogled by combining “screwed” and “Google” or maybe even “scrooge.” As Redmond notes, when you limit choices and rank them by payment, consumers get Scroogled. Not surprisingly, Microsoft suggests that consumers use Bing to search for gifts this holiday season.
The company appears committed to their shopping initiative, promising customers that they won’t switch to a pay-to-rank model that allows some products to appear higher than others. That may or may not change over the long term but it’s the stance Microsoft is taking for now.