Microsoft is trying to skewer Google as a lousy holiday shopping guide in its latest attempt to divert more traffic to its Bing search engine. The attack started today with a marketing campaign focused on a recent change in the way Google operates the part of its search engine devoted to shopping results. The revisions require merchants to pay Google to have their products listed in the shopping section. In its new ads, Microsoft contends the new approach betrays Google's longstanding commitment to provide the most trustworthy results on the Web, even if it means foregoing revenue.
To punctuate its point, Microsoft is warning consumers that they risk getting "scroogled" if they rely on Google's shopping search service. The message will be highlighted in TV commercials scheduled to run on NBC and CNN and in newspaper ads. The blitz also will appear on billboards and online, anchored by a new website, Scroogled.com. Google defends the fee-based approach as a way to encourage merchants to provide more comprehensive and accurate information about what they're selling. (Read more Google stories.)