Introducing Google’s newest innovation: Gspam
Already reading your Gmail, Google now using your private content to Scroogle you with spam that looks like real emails
In February, we pointed out that Google violates your privacy by reading every single word of every single email sent to and from Gmail message accounts so they can better target you with ads. A public poll by GfK Roper indicated that 83% of Americans agreed that email providers scanning the content of your personal emails to target ads is an invasion of privacy.
If you’ve been following the news, you shouldn’t be surprised to learn that Google has now taken that intrusive practice a step further.
On top of reading your Gmail to figure out which ads to sell you, Google is now deliberately spamming inboxes with ads that look like real emails.
Consumers should be able to trust their email provider to protect them from spam, but Google is doing just the opposite. Rather than protect you from spam, Google is reading your private email conversations and using what they find to push junk mail – that looks like real email – directly to your Gmail inbox.
Here’s how it works: Google is already going through every word of every Gmail message to target you with ads. Now when someone uses Gmail’s new interface, they’ll receive ads from Google which are sent directly into their Gmail inbox. They look like regular emails, with a sender, subject line, and bolded “unread” font, but they are definitely not – they are Gspam ads from Google.
The new Gspam ads look and work like emails:
- They appear directly in users’ Gmail inboxes just like regular emails.
- You can forward the new Gmail ads to someone else, just like a regular email.
- You can add a priority star to the new Gmail spam ads to save them in your primary and promotions folder. When these ads are saved they appear as emails sent by the advertisers from the address email@example.com, just like regular emails.
- Google treats these ads like email, but unlike email you cannot label them spam and under the new interface you have no control over whether they show up or not.
- In addition, Google’s Gmail Program Policies specifically bans its users from “generat[ing] or facilitate[ing] unsolicited commercial email (“spam”).”
- So why is Google now spamming you?
A public GfK Roper poll released today shows consumers disapprove of the practice of advertisements being made to look like personal emails and believe that their email inbox should be the most private place on the Internet.
- Nine out of ten (89%) email users disapprove of ads being made to look like personal emails in their inbox.
- Nine out of ten (90%) email users agree with the statement “my inbox should be my most private place on the Internet.”
- Nearly eight out of ten (77%) email users feel email service providers have a great deal or some responsibility to keep unsolicited email or spam out of their inbox.
Don’t get Scroogled
Google is violating consumer trust and most consumers have no idea how they’re getting Scroogled once again by Google. That’s why today we’re launching a new education campaign at www.scroogled.com. This campaign is an effort to raise the public’s awareness of Google’s questionable practices and make sure consumers know they have a choice for their email provider.
Outlook.com: A better way
Outlook.com and Microsoft’s other email services don’t spam you with ads or look at the content of your emails to show you ads.
- Outlook.com will never send you spam ads. Outlook.com protects you from spam through SmartScreen technology and an independent study puts Microsoft’s anti-spam technology tops in the industry. (New York Times)
- Outlook.com only scans the contents of your email to help protect you and display, categorize, and sort your mail appropriately. Just like the postal service sorts and scans mail and packages for dangerous explosives and biohazards, Oultook.com scans your mail to help prevent spam, gray mail, phishing scams, viruses, malware, and other dangers and annoyances.
- Microsoft and its email services, including Outlook.com and Office 365, do not send you spam ads and do not use the content of customers’ private emails, communications, or documents to target advertising.
Gmail, on the other hand does all of the above.
Tired of being Scroogled? Here are two things you can do right now to help yourself and other Gmail users:
- Visit Scroogled.com to sign the petition to tell Google to stop reading emails and spamming their inboxes with ads. With this petition, consumers can tell Google to stop this practice, which 88% of Americans believe they should be able to at least opt-out of.
- Go to Outlook.com and switch over to an email service that doesn’t compromise your privacy for ad revenue. More than 400 million consumers use Outlook.com for email and it’s easy to switch from Gmail.
It’s time to tell Google to stop going through emails and spamming your inboxes to sell ads!
*The RDD telephone survey was conducted August 2-4, 2013 by GfK’s Public Affairs & Corporate Communications division, among a nationally-representative sample of 1,008 adults age 18 or older. Interviews were conducted with 750 respondents on landlines and 250 respondents on cellular telephones. The data were weighted on age, sex, education, race and geographic region. The margin of error on results based on the full sample is plus or minus 3 percentage points. The full survey can be found here.