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 in other sites/networks: These icons link to social bookmarking sites where readers can share and discover new web pages.
  • Reddit
  • email

This post is also available in Gemini over at:

gemini://gemini.techrights.org/2008/05/04/shill-watch-thoughts/

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. Links 27/2/2021: IPFS 0.8, OnionShare 2.3.1, and New Stuff in KDE

    Links for the day



  2. The Internet After Social Control Media (and Maybe After the World Wide Web Too)

    There seems to be a growing trend of protests and backlash against centralised Internet disservices; there's also growing dissatisfaction over bloat and spyware, which the Web rendered a 'norm'



  3. SCO's Darl McBride is Finished (Bankruptcy)

    Some news about the site and about the long-forgotten SCO, whose infamous old (and sacked) Darl McBride (responsible for decade-long attacks on Linux) loses everything, based on fresh legal documents



  4. IRC Proceedings: Friday, February 26, 2021

    IRC logs for Friday, February 26, 2021



  5. Links 26/2/2021: Wine 6.3, Genode OS Framework 21.02

    Links for the day



  6. Links 26/2/2021: GNU Poke 1.0 is Out and Rocky Linux Leaves Microsoft GitHub

    Links for the day



  7. Microsoft's Status in Web Servers is So Bad That It Has Fallen Off Charts, is Now Partly Delisted

    In several categories or criteria Microsoft is no longer even listed by Netcraft; the share has become rather minuscule during the pandemic, which convinced more companies to explore expense-cutting moves



  8. We Take Away Your Freedom for Your Own Safety...

    People are herded like cattle and protest/dissent will be demonised as part of the new norm; what will be the cost of the pandemic and will resistance to the status quo ever be permitted to resume?



  9. EPO President Pushes Illegal Software Patents in South America (Over the Telephone With a Misleading New Puff Piece)

    The EPO's "news" section has become worse than a form of distraction (from the EPO's internal rot); it celebrates illegal and unlawful practices, spreading them to other continents



  10. The Free Software Foundation Warns Against Using Twitter

    Richard Stallman said Twitter was OK because it was possible to use it without proprietary software; that's no longer the case, so the Free Software Foundation (FSF) speaks out against it. It speaks about it more than 3 months after the problem became a known one and also an irreversible one (maybe Twitter would have reversed the decision if the media or the FSF actually spoke about it early enough).



  11. IRC Proceedings: Thursday, February 25, 2021

    IRC logs for Thursday, February 25, 2021



  12. Stéphane Bortzmeyer Explains Gemini Protocol (February 2021)

    A recent talk from Stéphane Bortzmeyer about Gemini and what it is for (or why)



  13. Links 26/2/2021: Istio 1.7.8 Announced, Blender 2.92, Firebird 3.0 Language Reference, FSF Against Twitter

    Links for the day



  14. Special Thanks to Mogz

    Credit where it's due to Mogz



  15. Modifying WordPress to Include Gemini Links in All Articles (Assuming a Canonical URL Form)

    In order to promote the departure from the World Wide Web (where possible and suitable; sites with text don't typically need Web-like features) one can promote the analogous pages in one's Gemini capsule; we suggest a way of doing so in WordPress (the most widely used CMS)



  16. Links 25/2/2021: RHEL for Open-Source Infrastructure, GNOME 40 Beta, LXPanel 0.10.1

    Links for the day



  17. IBM and Qt Don't Understand Free Software and They Now Impose Terms and Conditions on Who Qualifies for Use of Free Software Free of Charge

    IBM and Qt Don't Understand Free Software and They Now Impose Terms and Conditions on Who Qualifies for Use of Free Software Free of Charge



  18. Techrights Gemini Capsule, Now With Over 35,000 Pages and Files

    Blog posts combined with static (plain text) files are now 36,000+ in number, just for Gemini protocol alone; that number keeps growing as our conversion proceeds and evolves (our software will be released under terms of the AGPLv3)



  19. Eventually, or Hopefully, Many People Will Come Back to What the Web Used to Be (Or Web Alternatives More Like the 'Old' Web)

    With RSS feeds making a comeback and a resurgence of personal blogs we can take back the Web from a cabal of tech/Internet giants and social control media, censored, curated and spied on by oligarchy



  20. If Wikipedia is Controlled by Corporations and Mobs, It Needs to Be 'Cancelled'

    Facts have never truly mattered in social control media sites; it certainly seems as though Wikipedia now suffers the very same issue/deficit, allowing oligarchs and their companies to define what goes on in the world and which people Wikipedia should regard as persona non grata



  21. GNU/Linux Reaffirms Its Status as the Universal and Inter-planetary Operating System

    The operating system made for and by scientists (not business sharks and marketing cults) is winning the battle, and not only in this planet



  22. IRC Proceedings: Wednesday, February 24, 2021

    IRC logs for Wednesday, February 24, 2021



  23. Links 25/2/2021: Kali Linux 2021.1, Wine Launcher 1.4.46, and Google's Security Posing

    Links for the day



  24. Links 24/2/2021: MariaDB 10.5.9, Krita 4.4.3 Beta, and Debuginfod Server for Debian

    Links for the day



  25. Self-Host Your Videos, Take Full Advantage of HTML5 and Video Attributes

    For self-hosting of videos over the World Wide Web (Gemini too can handle videos; its clients/browsers can, for example, link video files/URLs to external media players) it's worth reviewing the full set of features made available by the standards because a lot can be accomplished without JavaScript and without unnecessary bloat/complexity



  26. Trying Out NoiseTorch to Reduce Background Sound/Noise in GNU/Linux

    An introduction to noisetorch (or NoiseTorch), an application that helps create virtual microphones/devices with reduced background noise



  27. How the Big Banks and OIN Can Whitewash Software Patents and Do Nothing Concrete About Patent Trolls

    Response to the puff piece entitled "How the Big Banks and OIN Can Lock Out Patent Trolls with Enabled Publications"



  28. IRC Proceedings: Tuesday, February 23, 2021

    IRC logs for Tuesday, February 23, 2021



  29. How to Set Up a Gemini Server of Your Own, Even on a Simple Single-Board Computer

    Using Agate to start one's own Gemini capsule (self-hosted) is a lot simpler than one might be inclined to believe; this is a detailed HOWTO, hoping to encourage more people to join Gemini space, which is fast-growing and free of garbage



  30. Links 23/2/2021: Tails 4.16, Libinput 1.17, Fwupd 1.5.7, Firefox 86, NeoChat 1.1

    Links for the day


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