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Is Novell Patrolling Open Source Blogs?

Posted in Finance, GNU/Linux, Novell at 4:15 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

The blogsphere isn’t a police state and anonymous comments make it hard to understand just how much astroturfing is really going on.

It was previously mentioned that Novell bends the arms of bloggers (also here, among other incidents). This is unacceptable. If a blogger has criticism directed at Novell, it needs to be addressed not behind the scenes and not in unpleasant ways. Arm-bending tactics do not work; neither does viral marketing or grassroots support.

“Should bloggers be bullied whenever they question Novell’s alleged ‘success’?”I’ve just spotted a new post from Dave Rosenberg, whose blog I regularly read and enjoy. He offered his interpretation of Novell’s latest figures — figures which we haven’t faith in.

There’s no concrete evidence, but only strong suspicion. Knowing what we know and having learned from past experience, however, it seems likely that Novell (or at least its community) is up to old tricks.

Have a look at this new blog item.

I’ve left two comments, but only one shows up (probably because of moderation, which limits posting to just one per IP address). The second comment (if it appears) will talk about the strange pace of responses, which consistently support Novell. This pattern can be seen despite the fact that Novell support comes from a quiet minority, based on I hear from other people. Notice how once again, a Novell critic gets immediate opposition from anonymous commenters. What is going on there? Should bloggers be bullied whenever they question Novell’s alleged ‘success’?

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Pages that cross-reference this one


  1. gpl1 said,

    September 30, 2007 at 4:20 am


    Microsoft has to maintain that deal as well. And they are experts in this sort of thing.

  2. Maarten Kooiker said,

    September 30, 2007 at 4:50 am


    I think there is little you can do about it, just leave Novell and Microsoft where they are and don’t pay attention…..

  3. Roy Schestowitz said,

    September 30, 2007 at 5:00 am


    @gpl1: Heh. You’re telling me

    Meet Thomas Brooks. He’s a viral marketer for Microsoft.

    It’s unfortunate that paid blogging is becoming all the more prevalent in communities like 1UP. And it’s not just the blogs or reviews, it’s also the message boards. Microsoft, for instance, also has a person (or people?) who is paid to post on some of the popular gaming boards (and no, Jeff Bell wasn’t part of that plan). But it’s not just Microsoft — I know of a few other game publishers who pay users to blog. They don’t necessarily require bloggers to say positive things about their products, but it’s certainly implied with the paychecks.

    Malik, Arrington and Battelle: X-22, come in [to Microsoft]

    What would possess a collection of online publishers and venture capitalists to pimp a Microsoft advertising slogan?

    Valleywag today reported about a site tied to a Microsoft ad campaign where the likes of Michael Arrington, Om Malik and others seemingly lend their support to the “people-ready” catchphrase.

    Microsoft really loves Bloggers !!!

    Microsoft regularly flies customers and industry experts to its campus in Washington to listen to the feedback given by those people.The company invites dozens of key customers and partners to the event,where they spend brainstorming as a group.But as of late, Microsoft has changed it’s strategy and the company is making extensive use of blogs to get direct customer feedback.

    Within a year,more than 1000 Microsoft employee blogs featured developers and product managers talking directly to customers every day, instead of once a year.Microsoft employees read dozens of blogs every day to see how customers react to Microsoft products and services. In fact,Microsoft employees have taken a bigger leap and even contribute to other’s blogs in the expanding space of Blogosphere.

    Microsoft Traps and Hunts for Bloggers in India !!

    Microsoft has announced the “Microsoft BlogStars” contest, to Hunts for Developer Bloggers in India. After feeling the power and increase of the Bloggers community in India, Microsoft tries to trap and hunt Bloggers in India to buildup the blogging community, for writing blog posts supporting towards Microsoft Technologies.

    Bloggers meet Mr. Bill (Gates)

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    Microsoft’s Laptop Giveaway Becoming PR Disaster?

    This thing is starting to feel like a PR disaster. Bloggers are starting to smell blood and this thing very well may begin to turn into yet another episode of bloggers gone wild.

    Bribing Bloggerss [SJVN on Microsoft]

    It’s a bribe. Period. You say nice things about us, you get nice things from us. Heck, just say neutral things about us-we’ll give you a killer new laptop and we know that you’ll be inclined to say better things about us.

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    Wikipedia on Astroturfing

    In 2001, the Los Angeles Times accused Microsoft of astroturfing when hundreds of similar letters were sent to newspapers voicing disagreement with the United States Department of Justice and its antitrust suit against Microsoft. The letters, prepared by Americans for Technology Leadership, had in some cases been mailed from deceased citizens or nonexistent addresses.

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    Later, during the antitrust trials, Microsoft attempted to prove the inseparability of Windows and Internet Explorer by playing a video for the judge. But the government?s lawyer noticed that as the tape rolled on, the number of icons on the desktop kept changing. Microsoft had spliced together footage from different computers to make its point.

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    Daniel=Eran’s take:

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    From the Register:

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    Microsoft’s mystery game is Vista promo

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    After weeks of sifting through clues, bloggers, gamers and technology enthusiasts got some relief this week when Microsoft Corp. revealed that Vanishing Point is part of a viral-marketing campaign for Vista, the new PC operating system set for a consumer launch later this month.

    Also related to this: List of fictitious company names used by Microsoft

    Another perspective from C|Net blogs:

    “The main thing I’m pissed off about right now is that they pulled all the ads, which mean we’re taking a revenue hit. We’re running a business here, and have payroll to make. We run ads to make that payroll. Those ads have now been pulled.”

    Microsoft once again corrupts confidence in the blogsphere. They turn ‘citizen journalists’ to marketing people in disguise.

    How’s the Reception at [Microsoft's] Channel 9?

    Microsoft Chairman Bill Gates emphasized the importance of blogging in a May 2004 speech during the company’s annual CEO summit. But Gates doesn’t blog; same for Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer.


    Many Microsoft employees do blog, reportedly more than 4,000 of them. The number of employee bloggers was comparatively quite small, about 300, before the launch of Channel 9 and the success of Scoble’s blog.

    Last year could be called year of the blog at Microsoft. Employee blogrolls swelled and Microsoft bloggers disseminated lots of vital information about the company. Increasingly, employee bloggers are becoming Microsoft’s primary evangelists. They are certainly a group over which the company can exact some control and which can spin information to Microsoft’s advantage.

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  4. Ian said,

    September 30, 2007 at 10:18 pm


    You’re using post times and the general tone of those posts as evidence that Novell is pushing bloggers? Regardless of where anyone comes down on the whole Novell/Microsoft deal, that’s a weak claim with very shoddy evidence. You often like to hold Groklaw and PJ up was an example of what you’d like this site to be, but I don’t think that site would make a claim like that with so little to back it up.

    I’m not trying to be a jerk. I can’t even tell you you’re wrong. What I’m trying to say though, is that you need more than hearsay and conspiracy theories if you’re going to make claims like that.

  5. Roy Schestowitz said,

    September 30, 2007 at 10:25 pm


    The IP addresses were checked and I know what I read (by E-mail).

  6. Serenitude said,

    October 1, 2007 at 12:56 am


    The wiki link to the “Fictitious names used by Microsoft” points to a deleted article ;)

  7. Roy Schestowitz said,

    October 1, 2007 at 1:15 am


    It’s hardly surprising. Wealth and power enable you to rewrite history.

    I am especially amused by all the bits in red font since they are either borderline libel or just straight up hilarious.

    Yes, I’m sure that Microsoft’s corruption of Wikipedia with paid contribution hasn’t anything to do with this. *rolls eyes*

  8. Adam said,

    October 1, 2007 at 8:51 am


    I’ve gotta say I’ve been reading posts from this blog off and on and I find most of the complaints to be rather petty. I do not work for Novell, but I work with many Novell products and they are good stuff. I get Google updates of posting on the keyword “Novell” to check what’s going on and there is plenty of balance on the Internet of Novell negative/positive posting. From the previous comments, I get it, Microsoft strong arms, but what does that have to do with Novell besides the fact that they are dealing with them now?

  9. Roy Schestowitz said,

    October 1, 2007 at 3:23 pm


    A lot of Novell’s actions support Microsoft’s interests, at the expense of other Microsoft rivals and Linux as a whole.

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