12.05.08

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Microsoft Agents from Waggener Edstrom Airbrush Wikipedia, Glorify Paymaster

Posted in Deception, Microsoft, Windows at 9:31 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Face of rage

Microsoft does not need to edit Wikipedia. It only needs to hire people and agencies to do this. And that’s just what it does. As proof, we have already mentioned Rick Jelliffe on numerous occasions [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9].

Earlier today day we wrote about Waggener Edstrom. We probably ought to have properly highlighted the group’s ugly track record with Microsoft [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6], which includes Microsoft’s very infamous diversion and interference with Wikipedia. Here is a bunch of examples from usgw1.wagged.com, with edits like this of the article on “MSN Search”. Edits from usgw2.wagged.com include “Windows Genuine Advantage”. Notice the edits, particularly in the former example, which add a promotional slant to Microsoft-related articles. This comes from Waggener Edstrom’s offices (no need to proxify).

“…Microsoft not only manipulates the press but also rewrites history, literally, in editable sites like Wikipedia.”So, next time someone points out Microsoft’s revisionism [1, 2, 3] and requests more proof, it should be trivial to show how Microsoft not only manipulates the press but also rewrites history, literally, in editable sites like Wikipedia. Just watch how articles about Microsoft executives changed over the years, turning then from villains to heros.

Since we recently mentioned Waggener Edstrom and their laptop bribes, worth mentioning is also the following older article that we never referenced before:

Mercury News writer accuses Microsoft of Bribery

On the latest episode of “Dean and Nooch”, San Jose Mercury News writer Dean Takahashi had some choice news regarding a $800 swag bag he received, calling the swag bag a “bribe” and saying he’ll send it back in it’s entirety.

Bad people rarely change their bad behaviour (just watch today’s news about OJ Simpson). It is naive to expect otherwise.

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20 Comments

  1. G. Michaels said,

    December 6, 2008 at 1:47 am

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    I’m sorry Roy. I’m rather confused.

    with edits like this

    What’s wrong about that edit? I don’t see anything particularly ominous there. And in any case, that was from 2005… the article looks nothing like that anymore, not to mention that at that point it had a highly POV “Criticism” section, which is hardly strange for Microsoft articles on WP anyway. What exactly do you find problematic with the edit?

    include “Windows Genuine Advantage”. Notice the edits, particularly in the former example, which add a promotional slant to Microsoft-related articles.

    OK, this gets even weirder. Two whole 1-paragraph revisions that added this:


    [[August 9]], 2005, [[Microsoft]] gave up on the WGA program. Due to the various hacks and underlying problems within the WGA program, Microsoft sent the developers back to the drawing board..

    The second edit is actually a restore of that paragraph that was deleted. Can you tell your readers what’s so ominous about that?

    And do you have anything more recent than 2005? Surely there’s more than this to your conspiracy theory?

    it should be trivial to show how Microsoft not only manipulates the press but also rewrites history, literally, in editable sites like Wikipedia.

    No, I’m afraid that’s quite not the case. Not when you’re relying on things like these to make your point. Do you by any chance think people who read your blog are mentally disabled or something? That they won’t notice the gaping holes in your arguments?

    And I’m pretty sure you linked to the whole OOXML edit “fiasco”, which was done the way it was done *precisely* so people like you wouldn’t be able to point to it and say the things you’re saying here.

    For someone who thinks Microsoft is so devious and evil, you sure have a way to present your allegations of wrongdoing with the flimsiest of evidence. Do you not lie there at night (if you do sleep sometimes) and tell yourself “wow, if I were Microsoft I’d do X and Y” and wonder why it is that they don’t do that?

    Note: writer of this comment adds absolutely nothing but stalking and personal attacks against readers, as documented here.

  2. mike said,

    December 6, 2008 at 2:55 am

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    I dunno about nothing `wrong with that edit’ – they removed any mention of the fact that they used to use other search systems. It might have been written clumsily before, but that change does completely agree with the claim by Roy that they were paid to re-write history – it can’t be much clearer than that.

    Nor are they the only PR firm to do it – from politicians to tobacco companies to ‘big pharma’ to `alternative’ medicine to dictatorial regimes, they all pay PR firms to do it all the time. It’s just that Roy’s quite justified beef is with Microsoft and Novell, so he took the opportunity to point it out.

    And the current state of any page is irrelevant – i.e. the ability of wikipedia to `repair’ itself or not – the intentions of the incremental edits are often clear and stand on their own regardless.

    This sort of interference has made wikipedia a terrible and sad waste of human effort. Little if anything can be trusted to be impartial, there or really just about anywhere else on the web where ‘interested parties’ can freely comment.

  3. G. Michaels said,

    December 6, 2008 at 3:36 am

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    they removed any mention of the fact that they used to use other search systems.

    Wrong. See here, which is the last edit of that type. They restructured the paragraph and left that in. The other two edits are the addition of the languages under which MSN was available.

    but that change does completely agree with the claim by Roy that they were paid to re-write history – it can’t be much clearer than that.

    What the fuck?

    so he took the opportunity to point it out.

    Too bad it proved absolutely nothing, isn’t it?

    And the current state of any page is irrelevant

    More to the point, the checks and balances WP has work exceedingly well, and they have been able to fight this type of thing very efficiently – assuming of course these edits actually matched that BoycottBoy is saying about them. The current state of an article does matter because it’s the accumulation of work by dozens (if not hundreds) of people over time, and the application of those checks and balances. I know, I worked on most of the Java/Apache/Jakarta articles on there. What happened three or four years ago is irrelevant at best, especially if any actually damaging or misleading information was quickly caught and removed.

    Even assuming for a second that again, these edits actually proved anything, I would like to see current evidence from Roy that this is happening, considering he just took the opportunity to point it out. Surely there is some sort of pattern that can be observed and pointed out? Something that proves the implications made in this post?

    a terrible and sad waste of human effort.

    Speak for yourself, I love Wikipedia. To suggest that it is a waste of anything is stupid at best, especially if your opinion of the site is being colored by intentionally misleading things like these. Try thinking for yourself instead of mindlessly slurping up whatever vindictive people with agendas throw at you.

    Note: writer of this comment adds absolutely nothing but stalking and personal attacks against readers, as documented here.

  4. AlexH said,

    December 6, 2008 at 5:43 am

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    Obvious bias and wikipedia are clearly unaware of them!

    Quick, someone get my shotgun…

  5. pcolon said,

    December 6, 2008 at 6:05 am

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    To suggest that it is a waste of anything is stupid at best

    Giving no importance to what another individual believes does not help advance your point of view. Others will ignore you.

  6. Roy Schestowitz said,

    December 6, 2008 at 6:24 am

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    That’s just two IPs from a large company. I don’t know the rest, but there is one ‘smoking gun’, so to speak.

  7. AlexH said,

    December 6, 2008 at 6:32 am

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    @Roy: but there is also evidence that they’re extremely clear about who they are when they make edits.

  8. Roy Schestowitz said,

    December 6, 2008 at 6:33 am

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    It doesn’t make it OK.

  9. Roy Schestowitz said,

    December 6, 2008 at 6:41 am

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    http://www.sourcewatch.org/index.php?title=Waggener_Edstrom

    “O’Dwyer’s PR lists Waggener Edstrom as earning $92,303,000 in net fees in 2006, up 11.2% on the previous year. It notes the firm has 629 employees.”

    That’s quite an army of deceptive people (the definition of marketing) they got there.

  10. AlexH said,

    December 6, 2008 at 6:57 am

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    The very definition of shooting the messenger…

  11. Roy Schestowitz said,

    December 6, 2008 at 7:11 am

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    How so? I’m showing you that hundreds of people are paid to brush up Microsoft’s image. The disclosure does not change the act.

  12. AlexH said,

    December 6, 2008 at 7:19 am

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    Because nothing you’ve shown is them doing the things you say they’re doing. You make noises about them editing “Windows Genuine Advantage”, and the reality is that they removed the work “On”. You moan about the MSN edit, which in reality was a restructuring and some extra facts.

    You’re pointing at the people but not at anything they’re doing “wrong”: you’re shooting the messenger by complaining about edits without looking at the content of the edits.

    If they were promoting Microsoft advertising in Wikipedia, it would be pretty easy to a. show where that’s happening, b. get their proxy IPs and/or users warned and/or blocked.

  13. Roy Schestowitz said,

    December 6, 2008 at 7:54 am

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    a restructuring and some extra facts.

    That’s marketing, i.e. promotion in Wikipedia.

  14. AlexH said,

    December 6, 2008 at 8:01 am

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    Adding facts isn’t “marketing”. Neither is splitting a paragraph in two.

  15. Roy Schestowitz said,

    December 6, 2008 at 8:03 am

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    Adding facts isn’t “marketing”.

    If they are paid to do so, it is.

  16. Bob said,

    December 7, 2008 at 8:25 am

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    Please enlighten us why people paid to revise some factual, relevant and (otherwise) neutrally biased factual information is bad. The examples of edits that were presented were shown to be correct and on target.

  17. Roy Schestowitz said,

    December 7, 2008 at 8:46 am

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    Companies are not permitted to edit the articles about them (Phorm folks tried this). Here you have Microsoft’s marketing people brushing up an article about a Microsoft product.

  18. Bob said,

    December 7, 2008 at 9:30 am

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    Companies are not permitted to edit the articles about them

    I’m sorry, I missed the memo. Who was it that said that companies are not allowed to do this?

  19. Roy Schestowitz said,

    December 7, 2008 at 9:33 am

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    I think that Jimmy Wales did. It does for biographies too.

  20. David Gerard said,

    December 7, 2008 at 1:52 pm

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    We have huge amounts of edits from Microsoft computers, and mosty their stuff is quite good and worthwhile!

    I was involved in sorting out the mess over Rick Jelliffe being hired to edit the OOXML article. I encouraged them to, rather than edit the article directly, instead be available and contribute on the talk page.

    You need the people involved in an issue to have their opinions noted where noteworthy. It’s when they do it in a way that is anywhere less than utterly upfront and transparent that it gets problematic, as a zillion PR agencies trying it on on Wikipedia have discovered to their dismay. Applies to Microsoft too.

    They could get most of what they want just by being upfront and honest, y’know.

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