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

07.14.09

Carphone Warehouse AstroTurfing Exposed, Microsoft’s Voyage Into Twitter Continues

Posted in Deception, Fraud, Mail, Marketing, Microsoft at 8:26 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

No kneeling

Summary: Carphone Warehouse disguises AstroTurfing as worship on the Web

Boycott Novell has had its encounters with agencies whose job is to plant fake (paid) blog posts. We always snitch on them. See Unruly Media for example. It seems reasonable to bring criminal charges* against such agencies (and those who hire them for services) and then shut them down permanently. We already do all that we can to address this problem [1, 2, 3, 4] and today we hope to help expose Carphone Warehouse, thanks to our reader David Gerard. Here is David’s summary of the incident:

This just arrived and appears genuine. Carphone Warehouse are (a) sending spam (b) to request blog spam. I suggest not dealing with them, cancelling existing contracts with them, and telling them why.

For future reference, a copy of the evidence is appended in the body of this post. Here is another complete copy:

Delivered-To: dgerard@gmail.com
Received: by 10.102.215.10 with SMTP id n10cs431768mug;
Mon, 13 Jul 2009 05:41:07 -0700 (PDT)
Received: by 10.211.195.3 with SMTP id x3mr5020984ebp.28.1247488867684;
Mon, 13 Jul 2009 05:41:07 -0700 (PDT)
Return-Path: <webpartners@mobiles.co.uk>
Received: from mobiles.co.uk (mail.mobiles.co.uk [81.6.195.106])
by mx.google.com with ESMTP id 5si330642eyh.50.2009.07.13.05.41.07;
Mon, 13 Jul 2009 05:41:07 -0700 (PDT)
Received-SPF: pass (google.com: domain of webpartners@mobiles.co.uk designates 81.6.195.106 as permitted sender) client-ip=81.6.195.106;
Authentication-Results: mx.google.com; spf=pass (google.com: domain of webpartners@mobiles.co.uk designates 81.6.195.106 as permitted sender) smtp.mail=webpartners@mobiles.co.uk
Received: from [195.242.214.21] (HELO ds4)
by mobiles.co.uk (CommuniGate Pro SMTP 5.2.14)
with ESMTP id 22484445 for dgerard@gmail.com; Mon, 13 Jul 2009 13:41:07 +0100
Subject: =?iso-8859-1?Q?davidgerard=2Eco=2Euk?=
Sender: “=?iso-8859-1?Q?webpartners@mobiles=2Eco=2Euk?=” <webpartners@mobiles.co.uk>
From: “=?iso-8859-1?Q?webpartners@mobiles=2Eco=2Euk?=” <webpartners@mobiles.co.uk>

Date: Mon, 13 Jul 2009 13:41:05 +0100
To: “=?iso-8859-1?Q?dgerard@gmail=2Ecom?=” <dgerard@gmail.com>
X-Priority: 3
X-MSMail-Priority: Normal
Content-Transfer-Encoding: Quoted-Printable
MIME-Version: 1.0
X-USER_IP: 195.242.214.20
X-Mailer: JMail 4.3.0 by Dimac
Content-Type: text/plain;
charset=”iso-8859-1″
Message-ID: <auto-000022484445@mobiles.co.uk>

Hello. I`m Chris Conwell, Director at mobiles.co.uk. A wholly owned subsidiary of the Carphone Warehouse Group, we were the UK`s first retail mobile phone website (launched in 1995) and are now the largest web-only mobile phone store in the UK.

I was searching the web for decent potential partners and came across davidgerard.co.uk. I have an idea which I hope you will find useful:-

We would like to have our editorial team research and hand write some content for you to add to a page on davidgerard.co.uk. We will agree a subject with you that is relevant to both of our sites (it won`t be a sales pitch for us!) and will include a single simple text link back to a relevant content page on our site. The content will be uniquely written for you and will not be re-used elsewhere. It should be helpful to your visitors and of course the search engines, as will the presence of a relevant link back to us. Hopefully we will also benefit from the link in the longer term. We are not currently in the position of being able to exchange or return links so we thought this could be a good alternative.

Naturally there are no costs whatsoever for you.

If this isn`t appropriate for you, please accept my sincere apologies for having troubled you.

GETTING A QUICK RESPONSE

I realise you may prefer to simply reply to this email which is no problem and I`ll respond as quickly as I can. However, I have found that email isn`t always as reliable as everyone thinks plus I`m out and about a lot of the time. We have therefore created a simple and quick-to-use response page that provides detailed information and answers to questions on the various options and allows you to send messages to our team . . and lots more.
The page is at http://www.mobiles.co.uk/partner-response.html and we have created an access code for davidgerard.co.uk which is 20090711150119IEQFU.

REMOVAL
If you feel I should not have sent you this email, I`m really sorry – please just reply with REMOVE in the subject.

Please let me know your thoughts.

Kind Regards – Chris Conwell
Director
www.mobiles.co.uk
Mobiles.co.uk Ltd is a wholly-owned subsidiary of The Carphone Warehouse Group PLC

Registered in England no. 3253714 at 1, Portal Way, London W3 6RS

It is not enough only to expose but to also shut down the agencies that do all of this. Lack of complaints means that they can carry on unabated (maybe just humiliated).

It is worth adding that Microsoft steps deeper into Twitter.

As of late Wednesday, the new Microsoft account had three posts — one pointing to a new feature, one to a new product, and another to a positive review of Microsoft’s Bing search engine.

The last time we summarised Microsoft’s activity in Twitter was last month. There are also the following posts to become familiar with because Microsoft hired several agencies to police Twitter:

More information on the subject of Microsoft AstroTurfing is appended below.

Related:

“I’m a huge fan of guerrilla marketing.”

Joe Wilcox, Microsoft Fan

_______
* The practice is already illegal in Europe (there is actually a good link to a more recent article about the Commission ushering a law around June). The US FTC catches up. People should contact the European Commission and/or the FTC (the World Wide Web has no physical borders). Those who still AstroTurf are essentially breaking the law, which was officially passed over a year ago.

From December 31, when the change becomes law in the UK, they can be named and shamed by trading standards or taken to court.

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

8 Comments

  1. eet said,

    July 14, 2009 at 8:38 am

    Gravatar

    Again, load of garbage. Roy, is it asked too much that you try to produce LESS but more SUBSTANTIAL ‘articles’. Well, of course, why do I bother asking…

    Mikko Reply:

    why are you here if you hate this place ?

    eet Reply:

    Precisely in order to show that not all Linuxers are foaming-at-the-mouth lunatics. Because that is the impression a casual visitor would get from reading this website.

  2. DiamondWakizashi said,

    July 14, 2009 at 12:24 pm

    Gravatar

    Here are Bing propagandists on Twitter:

    http://twitter.com/reachconnection

    http://twitter.com/bingdevelop

    joo Reply:

    Here are BN propagandists on Twitter:

    http://twitter.com/astralknight
    http://twitter.com/nastymicrosoft

  3. Yggdrasil said,

    July 14, 2009 at 5:47 pm

    Gravatar

    I wanted to make a comment on this article:

    http://boycottnovell.com/2009/07/14/paid-microsoft-astroturfer-wong/

    But it seems you have disabled comments or they are not working for some reason. Allow me to continue here:

    I’m sure “you” do indeed check the messages of anyone who posts to this website if they defend Microsoft or disagree with your worldview. This is exactly what you have done to me. You do this because you are desperate for attention. Seeing an IP address that might trace back to Microsoft headquarters would feed into your fantasy. One man fighting a crusade against an evil empire. I realize that even by responding to you I am helping to feed that fantasy. This is why I don’t post from my original IP address. Also, because I don’t think you are above carrying out your own denial of service attack against me. Maybe I’m wrong, but I haven’t seen your personal side and I’m not really sure you have one. Who are you working for? Have you ever told us? What is your job? Are you still a student? You would have a difficult time proving this hobby isn’t a full time job, and that does beg the question, “Who pays your bills?”

    As far as Wong is concerned, his “about” page spells it out pretty clear with the first list item: “I am… a technology evangelist working for the biggest software company in the world.” To be creative, he didn’t give the name of the company, but most people would know the largest software company is Microsoft. They could also look at his tag posts and see the largest tag is, that’s right, Microsoft. You are trying to make him out as a deceptive snake, but this would defy common sense. Logic dictates that if Microsoft really wanted to have someone spread covert word of mouth advertising, they would direct someone to create a profile that in no way mentions them working for the company.

  4. aranur said,

    July 15, 2009 at 8:53 pm

    Gravatar

    @Yggdrasil

    you regard Wong’s about page as creative, I consider it deceptive.

    Yggdrasil Reply:

    And you would be completely wrong. To be deceptive would be giving false information. Wong didn’t do that. He used a common literary device that we’ve all seen many times before.

    For example, rather than telling people I live in Asia, I can say, “I live on the largest continent in the world.” No rational (key word here) person would believe I am being deceptive because Asia being the largest continent is common knowledge and for those that did not know, this information is easy to obtain.

    The only possible way this could be considered deceptive is if I purposely directed this statement at a person who I knew wouldn’t know which continent is the largest and wouldn’t be able to figure out the answer on their own.

What Else is New


  1. The EPO Is More Corrupt Under Battistelli Than Under Alison Brimelow: Part VIII

    After Brimelow, with all her flaws and her scandals, an even worse President is installed who then abolishes oversight and seemingly brings his old friends to the EPO, creating a sort of subculture that is impenetrable to outsiders



  2. Claiming That Microsoft 'Loves' Linux While Windows Update Bricks Devices With Linux

    The sheer absurdity of claims that Microsoft -- which not only attacks those who distribute Linux and GNU but also blackmails them, takes them to court, or bricks their products without any liability -- 'loves' Linux



  3. Protectionist Reign: Corporations in Complete Control of Everything With Domination Over Patent Law

    How multinational corporations, joined by the corporate press that they are funding, promote a corporations- but not people-friendly patent policy in north America



  4. Links 30/10/2014: GNOME 3.15.1, Red Hat Software Collections 1.2

    Links for the day



  5. Links 29/10/2014: Ubuntu Touch Tablet, Puppy Linux 6.0

    Links for the day



  6. Links 28/10/2014: SUSE Linux Enterprise 12, Canonical OpenStack Distro

    Links for the day



  7. Links 28/10/2014: PiFxOS, The Document Foundation in OSBA

    Links for the day



  8. Microsoft is Bricking Devices With Linux (Yet Again!), So a Microsoft Booster Spins/Paints Linux Devices as 'Fakes'

    Microsoft delivers rogue drivers through Windows Update and they brick Arduino microcontrollers



  9. How Bill Gates Continues to Pass Wealth From the Public to His Own Bank Account

    Having put a universal tax on many things (not just computers) and evaded tax using the classic 'charity' trick, Gates is now buying the media, the schools, politicians etc. and earns as much as 10 billion dollars per year while the public is taught that Gates is a giver, not a hoarder of the worst kind



  10. Links 27/10/2014: Lenovo Unbundling, Linux 3.18 RC2

    Links for the day



  11. IRC Proceedings: September 14th, 2014 – October 25th, 2014

    Many IRC logs



  12. Links 25/10/2014: KDE Mockups, Update on GNOME Outreach Program for Women

    Links for the day



  13. After Infecting Unity -- Successfully -- Microsoft's Partner Xamarin Wants to Infect Unreal Engine With .NET

    Xamarin continues to spread dependence on Microsoft to more gaming frameworks, not just platforms such as GNU/Linux, Android, and even permanent-state devices



  14. Taking Microsoft Windows Off the Grid for Damage to Businesses, the Internet, and Banking Systems

    Microsoft's insecure-by-design software is causing massive damages ([cref 27802 possibly trillions] of [cref 13992 dollars in damages to date]) and yet the corporate press does not ask the right questions, let alone suggest a ban on Microsoft software



  15. City of Berlin Does Not Abandon Free Software, It's Only Tax Authorities

    A Softpedia report that says the City of Berlin is moving to Microsoft Office is flawed and may be based on a poor translation



  16. Nadella a Liar in Chief at Microsoft, Pretending That His Anti-Competitive Practices Are Unfortunately Imposed on Microsoft

    The nastiness of Microsoft knows no bounds as even its assault on GNU/Linux and dirty tricks against Free software adoption are characterised as the fault of 'pirates'



  17. Reuters Writes About the Demise of Software Patents, But Focuses on 'Trolls' and Quotes Lawyers

    How the corporate media chooses to cover the invalidity of many software patents and the effect of that



  18. Links 24/10/2014: Microsoft Tax Axed in Italy, Google's Linux (ChromeOS/Android) Leader Promoted

    Links for the day



  19. Links 24/10/2014: GNU/Linux History, Fedora Delay

    Links for the day



  20. Links 23/10/2014: New *buntu, Benchmarks

    Links for the day



  21. Links 22/10/2014: Chromebooks Surge, NSA Android Endorsement

    Links for the day



  22. Links 21/10/2014: Debian Fork Debate, New GNU IceCat

    Links for the day



  23. Criminal Microsoft is Censoring the Web and Breaks Laws to Do So; the Web Should Censor (Remove) Microsoft

    Microsoft is still breaking the Internet using completely bogus takedown requests (an abuse of DMCA) and why Microsoft Windows, which contains weaponised back doors (shared with the NSA), should be banned from the Internet, not just from the Web



  24. Microsoft 'Loving' GNU/Linux and Other Corporate Media Fiction

    Microsoft has bullied or cleverly bribed enough technology-centric media sites to have them characterise Microsoft as a friend of Free/Open Source software (FOSS) that also "loves Linux"



  25. India May be Taking Bill Gates to Court for Misusing His So-called 'Charity' to Conduct Clinical Trials Without Consent on Behalf of Companies He Invests in

    Bill Gates may finally be pulled into the courtroom again, having been identified for large-scale abuses that he commits in the name of profit (not "charity")



  26. The Problems With Legal Workarounds, Patent Scope, and Expansion of Patent Trolls to the East

    Patent trolls are in the news again and it's rather important, albeit for various different reasons, more relevant than the ones covered here in the past



  27. Links 20/10/2014: Cloudera and Red Hat, Debian 7.7, and Vivid Vervet

    Links for the day



  28. Links 20/10/2014: 10 Years Since First Ubuntu Release

    Links for the day



  29. How Patent Lawyers Analyze Alice v. CLS Bank

    Breaking down a patent lawyer's analysis of a Supreme Court's decision that seemingly invalidated hundreds of thousands of software patents



  30. Is It Google's Turn to Head the USPTO Corporation?

    The industry-led USPTO continues to be coordinated by some of its biggest clients, despite issues associated with conflicting interests


CoPilotCo

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

CoPilotCo

Recent Posts