EditorsAbout the SiteComes vs. MicrosoftUsing This Web SiteSite ArchivesCredibility IndexOOXMLOpenDocumentPatentsNovellNews DigestSite NewsRSS

05.04.08

Shill Watch: A Quick Ramble

Posted in Deception, FUD, GNU/Linux, Marketing, Microsoft, Open XML, OpenDocument, Site News at 11:58 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Rant alert

We sometimes hear from people who suspect that their Web site or forum’s community is getting poisoned by companies. The following is not necessarily related to the previous post about Microsoft 'evangelism', but one we received a couple of hours ago from a known and reliable source reads: “Do you have any way of finding out more about who is employing this shill on behalf of Microsoft?”

“Åtkomst nekad Du har inte behörighet till denna sida,” the request for this page returns, meaning that details are unavailable except for subscribers. LinuxPortalen’s sysadmin would have to provide details about user “plun” somehow, based on what we were told.

In a short conversation that soon developed it came up that Microsoft employs by proxy. “If I understood correctly Waggener Edstrom is [only] one of several (many) marketing firms, but the main one though.”

Watch the news in their front page at the moment:

“Yankee Group Chooses WE [Waggener Edstrom] as its Communications Partner”

Remember the Yankee Group, which we last wrote about just a fortnight ago? The apple doesn’t fall so far from the tree. Increased disinformation activity has been noticed not just here.

A reader points out that “though Microsoft is famous for lobbying / marketing, it isn’t even good at that. Those functions are outsourced. So, Microsoft is good at … well … nothing, except outsourcing.”

We had our share of problems too. This nymshifting troll (mind the comments) caused a lot of pain and hours of lost time. He keeps changing names and he harasses Beranger also.

In previous correspondence said the same reader: “It would also be useful to shoot down the Microsoft "talking points", the blog entries [on ODF] can help compensate for Microsoft functional ownership of the media. I’d also like to know how Microsoft is gaming Google’s page rank.” (c/f ODF smear campaign, akin to "The Slog")

“Earlier attempts to hire veterans from firms like Microsoft had awful results. “Google is so different that it was almost impossible to reprogram them into this culture,” says CEO Eric Schmidt.”

Google Goes Globe-Trotting (2007)

Microsoft was caught spamming (the ‘proper’ way) search engines before and it still does that. It has no guilt or shame. It’s the beautiful naked emperor in its own eyes.

“Microsoft has warned Google to steer clear of corporate search, declaring that the market is “our house”.

[...]

“Those people are not going to be allowed to take food off our plate, because that is what they are intending to do.””

Microsoft warns Google off business search (2006)

Further says our reader: “I would appreciate if you could send [share] the link. Since 2004 and onward I’ve mentioned a few times to Google staff about the problem of developing toxic shock. I see former Microsoft employee as largely unreformable and unemployable inside of high-technology for the rest of their careers. However, be that as it may, taking them without a cooling off or acclimitization period at another company means that all the problems at Microsoft transmigrate to Google.”

It is a worrying thought, surely, but it doesn’t quite ring a bell. There was another recent example where Microsoft escorted a Microsoft-to-Google defector out of campus like he was a criminal. It was only mentioned in Microsoft blogs, but not in the mainstream media. Microsoft’s Google envy has spun a little out of control, which brought out vanity as we showed before. It’s a hard problem to solve.

“They use lies, insults, extreme libel and bury everything (comments, submissions) they want to intercept.”Going back to the problem with manipulation of content and search, the reader added: “Google and others could deal with the problem. Rather than let it slide. Google did announce a change in policy a few years back and said that it will interfere with pages and groups gaming their ranking system.

“Back to Slashdot. On Slashdot, for example, there has been a lot of offensive text (coprophilia, homophilia, etc) posted prominently in discussion of articles which strike at the core of the issues. Some of it is more low key, for example towards the bottom of the wiki page on codes, there is a link to a problem in Australia.”

Speaking from personal experience, the same tactics seem to be used in particular newsgroups in USENET, namely the use of vile language that drives readers away. It happens in forums that are focused on Linux or — more broadly — on Free software. The very same people (from the same newsgroups where they have harassed for over a decade) came to Digg.com where they systematically insult me in the same obscene way using libel (see this, for example, because the problem recurred just a couple of days ago). Memories of a recent article spring to mind because it’s not an unusual tactic (even outside technology):

“The activities uncovered by Wikileaks include deleting Guantanamo detainees’ ID numbers from Wikipedia, posting of self-praising comments on news websites in response to negative articles, promoting pro-Guantanamo stories on the Internet news focus website Digg, and even altering Wikipedia’s entry on Cuban President Fidel Castro to describe him as “an admitted transexual” [sic]…

The proof Wikeleaks assembled includes the IP address and whois ownership record for public.jtfgtmo.southcom.mil, which is Guantanamo’s Internet gateway server, google hits on that IP address, a traceroute through a satellite downlink, the whois ownership record for that downlink, links to the defaced Wikipedia entries, links to comments posted at news websites, records of approximately 140 promotions of news articles at Digg, links and quotes about three alleged US military propagandists who are stationed at Guantanamo, and fourteen links to other Wikileaks articles about Guantanamo.”

US military propaganda team busted (2007)

The personal attacks that you can find in Digg (in my case, from users with the names “kretik”, “flatfish”, “harlowmonkeys” and several more) come from the same people who have harassed advocates of Free software for many years (in some cases for over 8 years with victims re-chosen until they give up or flee). They use lies, insults, extreme libel and bury everything (comments, submissions) they want to intercept. They lurk in Slashdot too and post anonymously sometimes, for a fact (it’s permitted in Slashdot, but not in all popular sites, whose reputation companies attempt to ruin if they dislike the message or topical focus they change).

An interpretation of this broad phenomenon comes from a reader: “That creates several problems, one of which is to turn new people off from both the topic and the site. Another, is that in regions or institutions using corporate censorship products, the site will eventually ease its way into the banned category. Yet another is that it tries to piggyback one issue onto another, unrelated, topic.”

There is a lot more to this and the issue was raised before, e.g. here. In addition, false accusation were made against my Web sites, saying they are the source of DDOS attack. Shades of Sys-Con and Groklaw. Then, my sites got blacklisted by Websense (Groklaw likewise).

“‘Riders’ are not any more appropriate in technology than they are in congress,” concludes the reader. It’s an interesting thing to explore, overall.

“Ideally, use of the competing technology becomes associated with mental deficiency, as in, “he believes in Santa Claus, the Easter Bunny, and OS/2.” Just keep rubbing it in, via the press, analysts, newsgroups, whatever. Make the complete failure of the competition’s technology part of the mythology of the computer industry. We want to place selection pressure on those companies and individuals that show a genetic weakness for competitors’ technologies, to make the industry increasingly resistant to such unhealthy strains, over time.”

Microsoft, internal document [PDF]

Share this post: These icons link to social bookmarking sites where readers can share and discover new web pages.
  • Digg
  • del.icio.us
  • Reddit
  • co.mments
  • DZone
  • email
  • Google Bookmarks
  • LinkedIn
  • NewsVine
  • Print
  • Technorati
  • TwitThis
  • Facebook

If you liked this post, consider subscribing to the RSS feed or join us now at the IRC channels.

Pages that cross-reference this one

A Single Comment

  1. squirmy wormy said,

    May 4, 2008 at 5:41 pm

    Gravatar

    Their shills are everywhere. They are easy to spot for some of us, harder for others, but they are everywhere: newsgroups, web forums, IRC, you name it, they are there. Often they will pitch a quick drive by post talking about how terrible the new version of Linux distrubution (name) is, making some silly claim. They all have their method, but the obvious give away every time is an overly hard e-penis for everything Microsoft, and a strong distaste for anything anti-Microsoft, especially FOSS. These people have no lives and are easily bought out for a low price.

What Else is New


  1. IRC Proceedings: Tuesday, February 18, 2020

    IRC logs for Tuesday, February 18, 2020



  2. FFII Press Release: Germany Can No Longer Ratify the Unitary Patent Due to Brexit and the Established AETR Case-law, says FFII

    Germany cannot ratify the current Unitary Patent due to Brexit and the established AETR case-law. The ratification of the UPC (Unified Patent Court) by Germany would constitute a violation of the AETR case-law, which was used during the EPLA negotiations in 2006 to consider a deal with non-EU countries, such as Switzerland.



  3. DRM (Proprietary Software) Already Makes Mozilla Firefox Broken, Unreliable, Undependable (Dependent on Binary Blobs)

    More people are beginning to realise that Mozilla resorted to self-harming DRM and self-inflicted damage that impacts Firefox; can Mozilla (re)join the anti-DRM coalitions?



  4. EPO and Other Patent Updates Over RSS

    Site syndication (over RSS feeds or XML/Atom) is vastly better than what became popular in recent years (censored, centralised, discriminatory "Social Control Media"); here are some feeds of interest



  5. When It Comes to a Unitary Patent System, Bad (or Intentionally Dishonest) Legal Advice Has Become the Norm

    The Unified Patent Court and Unitary Patent (UPC and UP, respectively) reinforce the old saying about lawyers being liars, doing anything to attract clients (to take their money); the UPC is basically dead, but fiction, falsehoods and outrageous fantasies still find their way into Web sites of law firms



  6. Links 19/2/2020: KDE Plasma 5.18.1, GNOME 3.36 Beta 2 and WordPress 5.4 Beta 2

    Links for the day



  7. Is Linux Foundation a Microsoft Branch Now?

    The so-called ‘Linux’ Foundation (LF) nowadays helps Microsoft cement its monopoly — the very opposite of what ages ago it said the LF would do



  8. Are Songs Property? And Maths Also Property? Artificial Monopolies Are Not Property...

    Patent maximalists continue to face stronger arguments from their sceptics, who rightly allege that words are being intentionally misused and numbers fabricated so as to distort underlying facts



  9. Battistelli Blocked Techrights at EPO (Banned for More Than 5 Years), So CEIPI Won't Respect Access to Information Either

    The use of censorship to confront people who talk about (not even expose) corruption isn't novel; but the adoption of this approach in Europe (not just places like Russia and China) is definitely noteworthy



  10. IRC Proceedings: Monday, February 17, 2020

    IRC logs for Monday, February 17, 2020



  11. Links 18/2/2020: Linux 5.6 RC2, Wine 5.2, GNU Social Contract and Sparky 2020.02 Special Editions

    Links for the day



  12. IRC Proceedings: Sunday, February 16, 2020

    IRC logs for Sunday, February 16, 2020



  13. Links 16/2/2020: MX Linux 19.1 and MyPaint 2.0

    Links for the day



  14. IRC Proceedings: Saturday, February 15, 2020

    IRC logs for Saturday, February 15, 2020



  15. Guest Article: Au Revoir, GNU/Linux

    "Funny how OSI just ended up being another vehicle for their takeover of the computing world..."



  16. Former Microsoft Employee: ZDNet is Owned by Microsoft (and Others) in Some Senses

    A noteworthy message we've received from someone who knows Microsoft from the inside



  17. Links 15/2/2020: Blender 2.82, Qt 5.15 Alpha and NetBSD 9.0 Released

    Links for the day



  18. Microsoft Views 'Open Source' as a Zero-Cost Heist Opportunity (Making Proprietary Software/Spyware Using Other People's Free Labour)

    Making GPL-licensed (copyleft) software and hosting it outside Microsoft’s jaws is the best way to counter the abusive monopolist, which still says it “loves” what it is actually attacking



  19. Did Microsoft 'Buy' ZDNet?

    A look at what ZDNet tells its readers (screenshot from this morning) and a rare look at how its writers are censored/suppressed



  20. Anatomy of a Crime and Protection From Prosecution

    It’s hard to forget what António Campinos hides for his friend



  21. Today's EPO is a Fraud Managed by Frauds

    Beneath the scandals associated with systematic abuse against staff, union-busting (silencing whistleblowers) and en masse granting of invalid patents — the hallmark of grotesque maladministration — lie a bunch of even greater crimes



  22. IRC Proceedings: Friday, February 14, 2020

    IRC logs for Friday, February 14, 2020



  23. One Need Only Look at ZDNet's 'Linux' Section to Understand It's a Microsoft Propaganda Operation

    A timely new snapshot (or screenshot) that demonstrates what ZDNet became after hiring Microsoft employees as ‘journalists’ and censoring on behalf of Microsoft, defaming Free software figures and so on



  24. Links 14/2/2020: New Release of KStars, OpenSSH 8.2, Rhythmbox 3.4.4, Flatpak 1.6.2

    Links for the day



  25. The Uselessness of Social Control Media and Why We Need RSS Feeds' Resurgence More Than Ever

    Social control media became pure noise or misinformation, usually in pursuit of financial expansion alone, and it is also a censorship machine which discourages not falsehoods but unconventional thinking



  26. Another New 'Clown' for the UPC 'Circus'

    A former writer of IPPro Magazine (which seems to be defunct now) reports another shuffle -- perhaps the fifth in a few years -- of "IP" [sic] Minister for the UK; it doesn't bode well for the Unified Patent Court (UPC)



  27. IRC Proceedings: Thursday, February 13, 2020

    IRC logs for Thursday, February 13, 2020



  28. Links 13/2/2020: Ubuntu 18.04.4 LTS, Septor 2020, Endless OS 3.7.7, Wayland 1.18.0, KDE Plasma 5.18 and GTK 3.98 Released

    Links for the day



  29. The Microsoft Propaganda Model

    Classic new examples (real screenshots) of how Microsoft-funded media entraps people looking for information about "Linux" to actually push Microsoft talking points and marketing, cover-up, face-saving lies etc.



  30. What's Evil is Forcing People to Use Something They Don't Want and Typically Dislike

    The difference between Google Search and Microsoft is that many people actually want to use Google (and don't have to)


RSS 64x64RSS Feed: subscribe to the RSS feed for regular updates

Home iconSite Wiki: You can improve this site by helping the extension of the site's content

Home iconSite Home: Background about the site and some key features in the front page

Chat iconIRC Channel: Come and chat with us in real time

Recent Posts