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

06.08.09

Perception Management at Microsoft, Using Web Agents

Posted in Microsoft, Site News at 2:11 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

SWAT
Microsoft’s strategy is also used by the Department
of Defense for political purposes

Summary: Another exploration of how a brand’s value is defended while its opponent’s gets tarnished

A WORD ought to be said about attempts to disrupt this Web site either by derailing the subject of discussion, attacking the server, or insulting people who are involved — both editors and contributors. One such contributor, “The Mad Matter”, wrote about this last night:

You know there are some things that really piss me off. Some goof ball using the name “Yggdrasil” posted a comment to my article Trolls and Linux and the rotten little son of a bitch had the gall to call me sensitive!

Actually I find it quite funny. I write about trolls, and lo and behold, Yggie, a fairly well known troll shows up, and proceeds to write a pro-Microsoft screed which accuses me of being dishonest. Think of the odds. I write something critical of Microsoft, on a blog that almost no one knows exists besides a few friends. It gets one mention on a relatively popular site, and I get a pro-Microsoft troll popping up the next day. A fairly well known troll. What does this tell you?

We’ve had a lot of trolls not only in the comments but also in IRC — trolls whose nature was rather vile, not just rude. They try to spoil it for everyone. They’ve tried the same thing with Groklaw too, especially recently (earlier this year, based what PJ told me).

“The Mad Matter” responded to an issue we’ve seen here for years. Mere comments get discouraged when anonymous trolls start attacking commenters personally for merely daring to comment. From the same thread which led to some of the flames (a comment from Linux Today) we also have this new bit [via Slated]

June 5, 2009 1:11 AM
Ex-Microsoft marketing manager said:

Of course Microsoft has a perception management team and specifically targets Web 2.0 sites like Digg and Reddit. Some of this is outsourced as well. It is felt inside MS that the reason why Vista failed was that on Web 2.0 sites it became fashionable to bad mouth the OS, this turned in to group think and thus the OS failed. Seriously, that is the belief and there is at least some merit to it. Lets be real, Vista is just not as bad as it is painted.

Now contrast that to Windows 7; Microsoft have spent a lot of money manipulating user generated content sites to hype the OS. Let me tell you, it is not so much different from Vista but the perception is that is it much better. Again, lets be real, Windows 7 is just Vista with some UI tweaks and *much* better marketing.

Watch for the talking points used, this is starting now but will be pushed harder after Win7 is released, I would expect “Windows 7 is the death blow to Linux on the desktop” will be a favourite.

I think it is poor form for MS to manipulate sites like Digg, there will be a backlash when the users figure it out.

As Slated points out, “This anonymous comment may be purely anecdotal, but it is nonetheless highly convincing. He certainly seems to know what he’s talking about.”

Waggener Edstrom, which is Microsoft's PR department, explains quite openly this practice of "perception management", so this should surprise nobody. Slated borrows an explanation of this term from Wikipedia.

Perception management is a term originated by the U. S. military. The U. S. Department of Defense (DOD) gives this definition:

    Actions to convey and/or deny selected information and indicators to foreign audiences to influence their emotions, motives, and objective reasoning as well as to intelligence systems and leaders at all levels to influence official estimates, ultimately resulting in foreign behaviors and official actions favorable to the originator’s objectives. In various ways, perception management combines truth projection, operations security, cover and deception, and psychological operations.[1]

The phrase “perception management” has often functioned as a “euphemism” for “an aspect of information warfare.”

Adds Slated: “Well now we know how to formally address the shills in comp.os.linux.advocacy … they’re “Perception Management contractors”.

“Is this comparable to Dubya’s “Regime Change” hit-squads, I wonder?”

Also he says, “First there was the “Technology Evangelist” (TE):”

For eight years (1992-2000), I was the driving force behind Microsoft’s effort to make its Technology Evangelism (TE) efforts more efficient, effective, and ruthless, by studying both the practice and the theory of TE. After leaving Microsoft in 2000, I spurned the inquiries of numerous Microsoft competitors to testify on their behalf. As recently as year, I fell on my sword on Microsoft’s behalf.

[...]

My belief that I was one of the Good Guys was similarly flawed. This is now inescapable. I was wrong. Many of the TE practices that I developed, taught, and espoused were wrong. Anyone who continues to practice them is wrong. As a first step towards making amends for my past wrongdoing, I must make this clear, and widely known.

We have already written a lot more about it [1, 2]. Carla from LinuxToday added yesterday (in light of a lot of trolling in the Web site she manages):

Some of the grumpiness comes from the endless torrents of anti-Linux FUD, propaganda, misinformation, astroturfing, and just plain whining that keep pounding on the same theme: that Windows is easy, Linux is hard, and expecting computer users to spend more than eight or fifteen seconds in study is a sin. It has never been true that learning to use a personal computer is easy; that is a plain lie. Conversely, it’s not that hard.

Microsoft AstroTurfing is a reality, not mere speculation. Microsoft admits it, but it contracts those who are responsible through outside entities. Microsoft is not alone by the way, but it is very unique in its field.

Related:

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

3 Comments

  1. Arun SAG said,

    June 8, 2009 at 5:46 am

    Gravatar

    “Mere comments get discouraged when anonymous trolls start attacking commenters personally for merely daring to comment.”

    The best example is linuhatersblog ,there every damn thing is anonymous, all are anonymous cowards :P

    aeshna23 Reply:

    You are complaining about commenters being attacked on Linuxhater’s blog of hateful nonsense! Why would any person with an IQ above a doorknob expect not to be attacked when they comment on such a blog? If I read and posted on Linuxhater’s trash, I would fully expect vicious attack and be disappointed if I didn’t merit some bile.

    Roy Schestowitz Reply:

    Well, some people like it nonetheless.

What Else is New


  1. Opinion: If You Advocate Population Control and You Are Yourself Doubling in One Single Generation, Then You Might be Hypocritical

    People with 3-5 children (each) tell us that the world has an overpopulation problem; while the growth of the population certainly poses a risk, these people lack the moral authority to lecture us about that (unless they adopt a eugenicist worldview, wherein only particular people are permitted to reproduce)



  2. IRC Proceedings: Saturday, January 25, 2020

    IRC logs for Saturday, January 25, 2020



  3. Nothing Has Truly Changed Since Netscape and Antitrust

    The same old crimes persist, as well as the blatantly anticompetitive behaviour



  4. When the Monopolists and the Patent Litigation Industry Hijack the News They Control the Narrative

    Money buys perception and litigation firms have certainly 'bought' the media coverage, which fails to convey the issue at stake and instead paints a rational court decision as tragedy for "innovation" (by "innovation" they mean monopolies on nature and on life)



  5. Links 25/1/2020: OPNsense 20.1 RC1 and DXVK 1.5.2

    Links for the day



  6. The Linux Kernel is No Longer Free Software?

    Gardiner Bryant, the creator of The Linux Gamer as well as The Off Topical Podcast, reacts to our articles about DRM in Linux (he even pronounced my name correctly)



  7. Sometimes Proprietary Software is Proprietary (Secret) Simply Because It is Not Good and Obfuscation Helps Hide Just How Ugly It Is

    Why nonfree (or proprietary) software generally fails to catch up with Free/libre software — at least on technical grounds — and then makes up for it with marketing and FUD offensives (discrediting perfectly-functioning things, based on their perceived cost)



  8. IRC Proceedings: Friday, January 24, 2020

    IRC logs for Friday, January 24, 2020



  9. Links 24/1/2020: GNU/Linux in Russia and More New Openings

    Links for the day



  10. When EPO Press Coverage Boils Down to Lobbying, Press Releases, EPO Lies, and Bribery

    Any attempts to properly assess and explain what happens in Europe's patent landscape are being drowned out by EPO-bribed and law firms-connected media; to make matters worse, the EPO's bribes have expanded to academia, so even scholarly work in this domain is corrupted by money of special interest groups



  11. IRC Proceedings: Thursday, January 23, 2020

    IRC logs for Thursday, January 23, 2020



  12. Links 23/1/2020: Qubes OS 4.0.3, EasyOS 2.2.5, GhostBSD 20.01

    Links for the day



  13. Passion of the Microsoft

    A rough timeline of Microsoft’s interactions with Linux and the Linux Foundation since 2015



  14. The Patent Microcosm is Really Panicking as European Patents on Life and Other Spurious Junk (Invalid Patents) Are Successfully Rejected

    European Patents (EPs) may be revoked en masse if what we're seeing is the gradual emergence of 'European Mayo' (and maybe soon 'European Alice')



  15. Distractions From Microsoft's Gigantic Tax Evasion and Contribution to Denial of Climate Science

    Microsoft (connected to oil companies) wants us to think of it as a "green" company; not only does it contribute to climate denial but it also evades tax, which is a serious crime that costs tens of billions of dollars (the public pays this money instead)



  16. Confirmation: System1/Startpage Offered Pay to People Who Pushed for (Re)Listing in Privacy Directories

    The debate is now settled; those arguing in favour of listing Startpage as privacy-respecting are in fact secretly 'compensated' by Startpage (in other words, they're Startpage 'shills')



  17. Vandana Shiva: “Bill Gates is Continuing the Work of Monsanto”

    A recent interview on what Bill Gates is really up to in that sham ‘charity’ of his



  18. IRC Proceedings: Wednesday, January 22, 2020

    IRC logs for Wednesday, January 22, 2020



  19. Extending Linux With DRM, Azure and exFAT

    An insufficiently 'conservative' Linux ceases to be freedom-respecting



  20. Linux Foundation (LF) Now Dominated by Lots of Microsoft People and LF Chiefs Join Microsoft in Smearing GPL/Copyleft

    We continue to see additional evidence which serves towards reinforcing our view that the so-called 'Linux' Foundation is actually hostile towards many things that are associated with Linux (unlike those looking to exploit/hijack Linux for proprietary ends)



  21. Links 22/1/2020: Wayland 1.18 Alpha, ODF 1.3 Approved

    Links for the day



  22. IRC Proceedings: Tuesday, January 21, 2020

    IRC logs for Tuesday, January 21, 2020



  23. Poor Excuses for Granting Poor (and Often Illegal/Invalid) Patents

    A quick look at some of the latest examples of software patents advocacy (not by actual software professionals, obviously) and why it's deeply misguided (or guided solely by greedy law firms)



  24. A Simple Plan For a Universal Free Software Community

    "For software to be free as in freedom, we need more people to care personally about software freedom."



  25. Links 21/1/2020: Wine 5.0 and Red Hat Enterprise Linux 8.2 Beta

    Links for the day



  26. Startpage/System1 Almost Definitely Pay for People to Lie About Their Surveillance

    A longterm investigation suggests that there are forces in the debate that aren't objective and are being super evasive and dodgy; this typically happens only when somebody has much to hide



  27. The Internet is an Appalling Medium for News and It Has Only Gotten Worse

    Something ought to change in the way people gather and assess news; at the moment — as proper journalism runs out of steam (and budget) — things only deteriorate and quality suffers; this rapidly exacerbates as people come to rely on — and then relay — hearsay, not fact-checked bodies of work



  28. Media Reactions to the EPO Coming to Grips With Fake Patents That It Granted (Spoiler: the Media is Controlled by Lawyers of Monopolists and EPO Partners)

    Appalling quality of reporting and truly awful bias in the media, primarily owing to the fact that it is dominated/manned not by actual reporters but the firms looking to patent life itself; they use their lawyers and operatives who are literally funded by these lawyers (wearing "journalist" badges to mislead)



  29. Links 21/1/2020: EarlyOOM Fedora Decision and AMD Zen 3 Microcode

    Links for the day



  30. IRC Proceedings: Monday, January 20, 2020

    IRC logs for Monday, January 20, 2020


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