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07.16.09

Microsoft Propaganda (PR), Embargo, and New Convictions for AstroTurfing

Posted in Fraud, Marketing, Microsoft, Office Suites at 3:42 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Referee

Summary: Microsoft manages the press in order to hype up Office 2010 and it can be fined severely for AstroTurfing now that laws and enforcement are in place

AS WE pointed out some days ago, Microsoft is likely to be breaking the law when it sends full-time workers to promote Microsoft products in other people's blogs, without disclosure. As the links at the bottom show, our encounter is not an isolated incident and as part of “perception management” [1, 2] Microsoft is looking to control how journalists cover Office 2010. It uses embargoes to limit what they know about the product and how it gets covered. One person spilled the beans on what Microsoft did for Office 2010 coverage.

Well, perhaps. It’s only Office, after all. But then the official Microsoft twitter account @MicrosoftEMEA twittered a link – with a smiley – to the embargo breaker’s copy. A hack twittered back, saying “Thanks for applauding someone breaking the embargo” only to get a direct message saying “I’m not sure if you taking the Michael? :)”. A similar tweet from me got a “me, “official”,??? I couldn’t possible endorse that kind of behaviour.”

Hard to see as MS holding up its end of the embargo deal.

Yes.

Witness how to the so-called “reliable press” actually works. It is an orgy of influence, selling people “perception” (or selling privileged audiences to corporations). That would be Microsoft's PR department. Returning to the subject of illegal AstroTurfing, according to the following report (there are many others), Microsoft can probably be fined millions or even billions for its practices.

The online journal gave a chatty account of a problem-free face lift. “You will never regret it,” the patient wrote.

But the seemingly satisfied customer actually was an employee of the firm behind the Lifestyle Lift, writing as part of a company campaign to plant plugs for the procedure online, state Attorney General Andrew Cuomo said in announcing a $300,000 settlement with the company Tuesday.

His office said the settlement appeared to be one of the first to address so-called astroturf marketing, or creating a bogus grassroots buzz about a product.

People should complain about Microsoft because it is doing the same thing at a massive scale and there is plenty of evidence. Andrew Cuomo may be known for his anti-USENET stance, but he would at least be valuable if he could also put an end to Microsoft AstroTrufing (or “astroturf marketing” as the article above calls it… our server administrator calls it “Internet Astroturfer”).

Related:

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

Joe Wilcox, Microsoft Fan

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4 Comments

  1. eet said,

    July 16, 2009 at 4:15 am

    Gravatar

    I bet, Microsofts’s PR department read this site during their coffee-break and laugh their head off. They couldn’t do a better job of portraying Linuxers as nutjobs and Linux software as risky (–> ‘patent threat’ is this site’s buzzword) if they’d invested millions in those top-secret campaigns that Roy wants to make out,

    Nah, Roy, I don’t think Microsoft considers paying people to ‘shill’ your website (as you constantly say when anybody disagrees with you). You are doing a fabulous job all on your own.

    Do you hear them laughing?

  2. aeshna23 said,

    July 16, 2009 at 8:06 am

    Gravatar

    I think you do an excellent job of exposing Microsoft’s dishonest habits. I wonder about criminal charges. I think that freedom of speech implies a right to “astroturf” or advertise. The reader, like the buyer, should always beware.

    At the risk of being obnoxious, but hell I am obnoxious, I would go so far as to say that hoping Microsoft is prosecuted for advertising their products directly flies in the face of the freedom. Freedom gives us that first letter in FLOSS. Perhaps, you need to calibrate these articles to reflect the value of the freedom.

    Roy Schestowitz Reply:

    I wonder about criminal charges. I think that freedom of speech implies a right to “astroturf” or advertise. The reader, like the buyer, should always beware.

    I think civility can be ethically enforced by law because it reduces the friction between people’s right/individual freedom to be informed rather than deceived, misled, and consequently abused.

    Sabayon User Reply:

    I think civility can be ethically enforced by law

    Boy, I hope so. That would mean your little operation would be promptly shut down. I’ll take that along with Microsoft’s real[1] illegal astroturfing .

    [1] That would exclude your self-aggrandizing tantrums about being personally targeted by them, which are obviously just a symptom of your desperation rather than being based on facts or reality.

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