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07.15.09

ASUS — Like Microsoft — Uses ‘Contests’ to Conceal AstroTurfing (Blog Posts in Exchange for Incentives)

Posted in Deception, Finance, GNU/Linux, Marketing, Microsoft at 5:55 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Cash rules everything around me

Summary: ASUS uses prizes to generate buzz for its products all across the blogosphere

AS we showed before — using hard evidence — Microsoft had mastered the art of generating a lot of positive coverage using the excuse that it's a "competition". Carphone Warehouse takes the illegal route probably because it does not understand those loopholes Microsoft is exploiting (Microsoft is to a great degree a marketing company that polices perception). The PR plot is simple: bring together a bunch of contestants, urge them to promote you or your products on the Web, and the one who sucks up the most will receive an award. The raw outcome is attractive: for the mere cost of an award (usually monetary prize) the Web will get filled with favourable posts from a large bunch of people who are jumping for dollars. Most wannabe winners will not even be compensated for their “side-effect AstroTurfing”.

As we showed a few months ago, Microsoft is still using this method not only to poison the blogosphere but also to poison social networks, including sites like Slashdot and Digg. We have just found out that ASUS is doing the same thing after selling out to Microsoft and then assisting a Slog against GNU/Linux [1, 2].

A while back, Asus decided it would save itself ooodles of cash on marketing and advertising by picking six people from the ranks of the unwashed masses and asking them to ‘blog’ about certain products they’d been given for review. Readers, said Asus, would be able to vote for their favorite blogger and the winner of the popular vote would be able to keep their Asus review kit. But alas, it wasn’t to be.

Readers, in their naive ignorance, voted for a particularly honest – read, not entirely Asus kissing – blogger by the name of Gavyn Britton, a choice Asus wasn’t so keen on. So the Taiwanese computer maker decided to change the rules of the competition.

Amazing.

With ASUS in the “dark side”, GNU/Linux remains a strong player and contender in sub-notebooks, especially thanks to ARM. To say a word about Microsoft’s attempt to rewrite sub-notebooks history and issue slurs against Chrome OS, it is worth adding that Steve Ballmer could not help adding a slur of his own. He publicly mocked Chrome OS yesterday (or the day before that).

“Microsoft only ever responds to competing products that it is really worried about because it gives those products visibility.”This is a positive sign. Microsoft only ever responds to competing products that it is really worried about because it gives those products visibility. Only if there is no other choice will Microsoft mention them.

We now know almost for a fact that not only the Enderle, Yankee, and Gartner Groups have thrown FUD on behalf of Microsoft; it escalated to the CEO of Microsoft, so Chrome OS must be pretty serious. Ballmer publicly mocked Android last year and right now Android is stealing market share from Windows Mobile, whose presence out there is seemingly diminishing and market potential eroding. Microsoft pondered buying RIM and it also bought Danger, which was odd because Danger leads to duplication and it uses BSD. It is all indicative of an internal crisis and lack of direction in Microsoft’s Mobile Unit, whose leader quit.

“In the Mopping Up phase, Evangelism’s goal is to put the final nail into the competing technology’s coffin, and bury it in the burning depths of the earth.”

Microsoft, internal document [PDF]

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