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


Visible Technologies Spies on Microsoft Brands Using TruCast/TruPulse, to Control Perception (Updated)

Posted in Deception, Marketing, Microsoft, Windows at 4:51 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz


Summary: Another important cogwheel in Microsoft’s perception management operations

AS promised in the previous post, today we continue to explore Microsoft’s “perception management” [1, 2]. In short, perception management is associated with PR techniques of managing brands not just by pushing out marketing messages but also by tracking (spying on) sources of negativity and attempting to shoot/shut them down. We too have had visits from Microsoft “Technology Evangelists” who — without any disclosure — attempted to annul criticism of products like Vista 7 by mocking the message and the messenger [1, 2, 3]. It is no secret that Microsoft is gagging critics; being more or less a PR-reliant company, it’s only to be expected.

“They should really be called “Invisible Technologies” for being so obscure, even secretive.”Today we take a look at a firm called “Visible Technologies”. Its front page shows Microsoft as a client. “Microsoft, GM, Hormel, Panasonic are their top customers,” writes Ryan. They even earned a Gartner award, which may only tie them to the same Microsoft interests [1, 2, 3, 4] if anything at all. But it goes deeper than this.

“I’ve got some kind of Microsoft PR firm following me now,” writes Ryan. “Trucast” or “TruPulse” is perhaps the culprit. “They’re monitoring my blog,” he argues. “I got a referral hit from them to my post about Windows Media Center DRMing cable television. I followed it back to some kind of login page, but I got to looking around the site and it says they do “brand management”, customers include Microsoft, and their tag is “They’re talking about you, listen, measure, and participate”; not sure I like the sound of this. [...] My guess is that their web crawler probably flagged that post and a human was checking up on it. http://pulse.trucast.net/Listen/54 was the referral link. [It] doesn’t even mention the company that owns it. I had to google “TruPulse” to be led back to Visible Technologies.” They should really be called “Invisible Technologies” for being so obscure, even secretive.

According to Visible Technologies, “TruCast channels the right conversations to the right subject matter experts who can quickly and easily participate in the dialogue.

It seems like yet another Microsoft-hired PR agency that has spying methodologies as “products”. One of Waggener Edstrom’s (Microsoft’s PR Department) latest such products is a tool for spying on people in Twitter. Yes, they are monitoring blogs and Twits and they constantly develop software to do the spying more effectively. Based on their own promotional videos, they scan the Web, then check the profiles/messages of people to see if they can be manipulated. They also keep dossiers on people. As Neighborlee put it, “they can fire as many watchdogs as they wish…it’s about staying power at the end of the day.”

If one takes a closer look at the Web site of Visible Technologies, it soon emerges that there are more Microsoft connections. According to the site, “Microsoft Distinguished Engineer, Bill Baker Joins Visible Technologies as CTO.” Yes, that’s him. The reference page says that “Bill spent twelve years at Microsoft, where he directed the company’s SQL Server Business Intelligence Unit and was general manager of Business Intelligence applications for the Microsoft Office Business Platform.”

Business intelligence.

Got it? They mine data, which can be useful for tracking blogs and doing intelligence. As Microsoft’s evangelism instructionals [PDF] put it: “Gathering intelligence on enemy activities is critical to the success of the Slog.”

“She used to work as an independent consultant at Microsoft, but the Visible Technologies Web site does not say this.”Ryan argues that it “looks like some sockpuppet organization, run by proxy for Microsoft.” This argument seems like a big stretch, but then again, ACT also disguises itself using names of other companies.

Looking at the company’s board, Ryan argues that “most of them look like they were snapped up from small companies I’ve never heard of in Washington state.” See Rowland Hanson, for example. “Rowland is CEO of The HMC Company and Chairman of CRH & Associates. Prior to consulting, he was Vice President of Corporate Communications at Microsoft, where he created and executed the company’s highly acclaimed branding strategy which included the market introduction of Microsoft’s most popular product—a graphical interface that he named “Windows.”

“One of them is from Square Enix and also worked for the Chinese government,” remarks Ryan. That would be Michelle Goldberg, who is also with the Microsoft-loaded Ignition Partners. She used to work as an independent consultant at Microsoft, but the Visible Technologies Web site does not say this. There are other examples. Ryan brings up “David J. Moore, founder of 24/7 real Media, an advertising stat tracker. [...] Lance Maerov, some kind of dotcom bubble millionaire that blew a bunch of venture capital and ran off with the money. These are some really bad people.”

For those who wish to see if Visible Technologies and its tracker (TruCast) drops in for a visit, pulse.trucast.net is, trucast.net is, and visibletechnologies.com is “They have some low latency servers too. Looks like they’re set up to survive some hate traffic. They’re registered with GoDaddy, netblock owner is Qwest,” adds Ryan. “They’re using Windows Server 2008 R2. That’s not even released yet, except on MSDN.”

Going a little too closely (although it’s public knowledge), Ryan persists. “[Address is] Visible Technologies, 401 2nd Avenue S, Suite 101, Seattle, 98104, United States [...] looks like they have a suite in some leased out office building [...] Google Street View is a little off, but it has a picture of the block they’re on [...] looks like an older stone building, the entrance says “Court in the Square”. Down the street (to the south) there’s a building that says “Qwest Field” [...] building is owned by Commercial Properties International. they have office space for rent, and the phone number is 622-1010. There’s a coffee shop in the northeast corner of their building called Zeitgeist Coffee. Well, whatever they have there is just a medium size office building [...] doesn’t look like you’d set up a long term company there [...] looks like it may be the kind of company where they can pack up the office today and not exist tomorrow,” concludes Ryan.

Speaking of perception management, another reader brought to our attention this old gem:

Microsoft Asks Slashdot To Remove Readers’ Posts

Our friends at Microsoft are upset about some of the readers’ comments attached to the story, Kerberos, PACs And Microsoft’s Dirty Tricks (posted on May 2), and would like us to remove those comments from Slashdot. We are not happy about this, to say the least. But instead of reflexively going into rant mode, we are calmly posting the full text of the e-mail we got from Microsoft, along with our initial response to it, so that you can see what news and community Web sites like Slashdot are up against now that the DMCA has become law. We are talking to our lawyers, of course, but we would also like your suggestions on how we should handle this situation.

From: “J.K. Weston”
To: “‘dns_admin@andover.net’”
Subject: Notice of Copyright Infringement under the Digitial Millennium Copyright Act
Date: Wed, 10 May 2000 07:08:49 -0700
X-Mailer: Internet Mail Service (5.5.2651.58)

Andover Advanced Technologies
50 Nagog Park
Acton, MA 01720
Phone: (978) 635-5300
Fax: (978) 635-5326
Email: dns_admin@andover.net; dns_tech@andover.net

Dear Internet Service Provider:

We understand that your website, http://www.slashdot.org, is a popular site for developers to discuss topical issues of interest. In that vein, it has come to our attention that there have been numerous posts of concern related to Microsoft’s copyrighted work entitled “Microsoft Authorization Data Specification v. 1.0 for Microsoft Windows 2000 Operating Systems” and we would appreciate your posting this email to the site to help relay our position to your users.

This notice is being sent under the provisions, and following the guidelines, of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act of 1998 (DMCA).

Included on http://www.slashdot.org are comments that now appear in your Archives, which include unauthorized reproductions of Microsoft’s copyrighted work entitled “Microsoft Authorization Data Specification v.1.0 for Microsoft Windows 2000 Operating Systems” (hereafter “Specification”). In addition, some comments include links to unauthorized reproductions of the Specification, and some comments contain instructions on how to circumvent the End User License Agreement that is presented as part of the download for accessing the Specification.

Although not intended to be an exhaustive representation, the specific comments below, categorized by corresponding activities, are examples of the misuse of Microsoft’s proprietary information:

Comments Containing A Copy of the Specification:
“by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday, May 02, @03:37PM EST (#197)”
“by BlueUnderwear on Tuesday, May 02, @04:09PM EST (#239)”
“by BlueUnderwear on Tuesday, May 02, @04:15PM EST (#248)”
“by smartin on Tuesday, May 02, @02:20PM EST (#86)”

Comments Containing Links to Internet Sites with Unauthorized Copies of the Specification:
“by ka9dgx on Tuesday May 02, @2:52PM EST (#133)”

Comments Containing Instructions on How to Bypass the End User License Agreement and Extract the Specification:
“by myconid (my S conid@ P toge A the M r.net) on Tuesday May 02, @07:27PM EST (#362)”
“by markb on Tuesday May 02, @05:47PM EST (#321)”
“by Sami (respect.my@authorita-dot-net) on Tuesday May 02, @01:47PM EST (#19)”
“by iCEBalM (icebalm@[NOSPAM]bigfoot.com) on Tuesday May 02, @01:52PM EST (#33)”
“by Jonny Royale (moc.mocten.xi@notners) on Tuesday, May 02, @01:59PM EST (#51)”
“by rcw-work (rcw@d.e.b.i.a.n.org.without.dots) on Tuesday, May 02, @07:12PM EST (#353)”

Under the provisions of the DMCA, we expect that having been duly notified of this case of blatant copyright violation, Andover will remove the above referenced comments from its servers and forward our complaint to the owner of the referenced comments.

This email notification is a statement made under penalty of perjury that we are the copyright owner of the referenced Specification, that we are acting in good faith, and that the above-referenced comments, as part of http://www.slashdot.org, is posting proprietary material without express written permission.

We request immediate action to remove the cited violations from Andover’s servers, in accordance with the provisions of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act of 1998.

This email is not intended to waive any of our other rights and remedies.

Please confirm your receipt of this request by responding to this email. Also, confirm the status of this request either via email or via the following contact mechanisms:

By mail:
J.K. Weston, Designated Agent
Microsoft Corporation
One Microsoft Way, 114/2314
Redmond, WA 98052
By phone:
(425) 703-5529
By email: jkweston@microsoft.com


To: J.K. Weston”

From: Robin Miller

Subject: Notice of Copyright Infringement under the Digital Millennium Copyright Act

Dear J. K. Weston:

Per your request, we are posting your e-mail on this subject on Slashdot.org to help you relay your position to our users.

The balance of your e-mail’s content is somewhat puzzling to us. I’m sure you agree that freedom of speech is at least as important a principle under American law as the freedom to innovate, so I’m sure that you personally, and Microsoft corporately, will understand our hesitation to engage in censorship.

Indeed, after reflecting on the nature of freedom for a little while, you may wish to withdraw your request that we remove readers’ comments from Slashdot. Please realize that if we censor our readers’s posts because they contain ideas Microsoft does not wish to have made public, we may set an unhealthy precedent for other online news outlets and online service providers, including those owned in whole or in part by Microsoft itself.

Meanwhile, in case Microsoft does not decide to have a happy change of heart and support a free and open Internet (which would certainly be in everyone’s best interest), we have sought advice both from our attorneys and from our readers about what, if anything, we should do next.

Please expect a formal reply to your request that we censor our readers’ comments, which we allow them to post on Slashdot as freely as Microsoft allows user-generated content to be sent through Hotmail and through chat facilities and discussion groups hosted on MSN.com servers, as soon as we receive wise counsel not only from our attorneys, but also from concerned members of the Slashdot community and other interested parties.


- Robin “roblimo” Miller


Remember how Microsoft successfully removed a negative review of Microsoft Surface a few months ago. Many such incidents go unnoticed or unannounced. It makes Microsoft happy.

“Mind Control: To control mental output you have to control mental input. Take control of the channels by which developers receive information, then they can only think about the things you tell them. Thus, you control mindshare!”

Microsoft, internal document [PDF]

Update: Check out this article from the Seattle Times.

Clients pick an “author” or opt for anonymity. Visible [Technologies] also has a virtual army — thousands of personas registered with online forums.

So, if some blogger criticises a Microsoft product, then Microsoft — via Visible Technologies — can dispatch an army of shills to counter this blogger.

As one blogger put it, “Visible Technologies is Playing with Fire”.

Sean reminded me about a local Seattle company called Visible Technologies that enables organizations to listen and respond to the commentary that is occurring across blogs, social networks and communities.

This is a fast growing niche and one that is fun to watch. Organizations of all types are growing more and more curious about what is being said about them online – and struggling to respond in the appropriate way. While I have confidence that Visible will do well as a company, I think they are playing with fire – the destructive nature of which I hope their clients fully understand.


I just hope that Visible’s clients understand the risks before jumping in too deep. Napalm is dangerous stuff.

Is it not a violation of the law in some parts of the world?

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

What Else is New

  1. The EPO's Balkan Express Keeps Chugging Along Despite Predictions of Derailment

    The latest part in the series regarding the reappointment of the two Vice-Presidents, Casado and Topić

  2. Advice to Journalists: Stop Repeating Propaganda of the EPO, a Serial Liar With a Track Record

    The EPO is weaponising its propaganda and pushing hard for media across Europe to repeat this propaganda while severely punishing anyone who 'dares' contradict it

  3. Leaked: Ljiljana Kuterovac Covering Željko Topić's (EPO) Back

    Leaked E-mail from June 2012 regarding Željko Topić, an EPO Vice-President who reportedly faces many criminal charges in Croatia

  4. Leaked: Budget and Finance Committee Outcomes That Jeopardise What's Left of the EPO's Future

    A look at the latest reckless step from the Budget and Finance Committee of the Administrative Council (chaired by Battistelli's pet chinchilla), which marginalises yet more oversight or a branch which facilitates patent quality control (thereby concealing the effect of Battistelli's ruinous sausage factory mentality)

  5. Links 27/10/2016: Major Changes in Unity 8, Nextcloud Targets Phones

    Links for the day

  6. 'Balkan Express' Teaser: EPO's Željko Topić, Kuterovac, Campinos, Gurry, Battistelli and the DKPTO (Kongstad)

    Various photos of Topić and Kuterovac. Some more photos with other IP "luminaries" such as Campinos of the EUIPO and Gurry of the WIPO.

  7. The United States Pressures India to Broaden Patent Scope and Other Monopolies

    The envoy of the US is trying to tell India how to run the country (stricter laws regarding copyrights, trademarks, and patents), as a condition for foreign investment by multinational corporations

  8. Budget and Finance Committee of the Administrative Council (EPO) Confirms Exile of the Boards of Appeal

    Crushing of highly-skilled staff, propaganda in the form of new press releases, and recruitment attempts that won't succeed because the world now knows what goes on inside the European Patent Office

  9. Links 26/10/2016: “softWaves” in Debian 9, Rust in GNOME

    Links for the day

  10. Leaked: EPO's Vice-President Willie Minnoye Saying the Unsayable, Then Threatening Anyone Who Keeps Record (Evidence) of It

    E-mail that would leave Vice-President Willie Minnoye bashful, as it helps show not only bad policy but also attempts at suppression of discussion about it

  11. Puff Pieces of the EPO-IPO (EPO+EUIPO) Have Begun to Appear Amid New Evidence of Brain Drain, Lowered Standards

    The grim vision of the EPO which is losing all its talent (over time), becomes more like a production line (quality does not matter), and produces propaganda for "media positioning" (or "placements") -- all under the guise of 'studies'

  12. Leaked: Minutes From the Administrative Council of the EPO Regarding the 'Reform' (Exile) of the Boards of Appeal

    Details of the relatively secret proceedings back in June (belatedly released only a short while ago), carefully abbreviated to demonstrate which delegations helped Battistelli crush the Boards of Appeal and which ones insisted on maintaining the status quo, as per the EPC

  13. No Promising Future For the EPO Under Battistelli (If Any Future At All)

    Pessimism becomes realism at the European Patent Office as units are being torn apart, patent quality discarded, "unified" patent courts dreamed of (more patent lawsuits, higher damages), and EUIPO (EU-associated, unlike Eponia) gets closer to the EPO

  14. Leaked Minutes From the EPO Reveal That Battistelli is Detached From Reality and Blames Everything on “Union Officials”

    Minutes of the Administrative Council's meeting reveal some truly bizarre rants from Battistelli, who simply refuses to accept that the European Patent Office is burning (without a future direction, only burnout and brain drain) under his poor and abusive leadership

  15. Tata/TCS is Still Pushing for Software Patents in India

    The obnoxious company that is promoting Microsoft and software patents in a country that needs neither makes the headlines again (Financial Express)

  16. Links 25/10/2016: Rackspace's Praise of FOSS, Chain Chooses the GPL(v3)

    Links for the day

  17. Links 24/10/2016: Linux 4.9 RC2

    Links for the day

  18. Battistelli Plans to Expand the Social [sic] 'Study' (Then 'Conference') Propaganda Until Next Month, Under the 'Workshop' Umbrella

    Milking his shameless propaganda (paid-for 'studies'), Battistelli wants to rewrite the record by all means possible, then pretend that EPO staff participates in it

  19. EPO and EUIPO Join Hands to Release Propaganda (for European Media to Parrot) Some Time Tomorrow

    EPO and EUIPO in collaboration for the promotion of the notion that they are both necessary (and reinforced speculations about growing overlap between them)

  20. UPC Preparatory Committee Puts the Brakes on UPC Amid Brexit and Growing Uncertainty

    The Unified Patent Court (UPC) preparatory committee recognises that the UPC isn't going anywhere (any time soon) and false job advertisements -- or advertisements for jobs that will never exist -- are withdrawn

  21. Updates Regarding EPO and BoAC: Unrest and Injustice Carry on

    Some of the latest information which is publicly and privately available to us, in particular regarding the case of a suspended judge which represents unprecedented erosion of the appeal boards' independence (and hence lack of justice in the Organisation)

  22. EPO and the “Iberian Connection”: Patricia García-Escudero Márquez - Battistelli's Pet Chinchilla on the Boards of Appeal Committee?

    Why the Boards of Appeal Committee has begun showing prominent signs that it is anything but independent and capable of standing up to Battistelli (or his circle at the Office, which includes the “Iberian Connection")

  23. Links 23/10/2016: Alcatel's New Android Smartphones, Another Honorary Doctorate for Stallman

    Links for the day

  24. Open Letter Exposing the Farce Which Was Battistelli's 'Social Conference' Coinciding With Further (New) Attacks on EPO Staff Representatives

    A detailed letter reveals legitimate concerns expressed by staff representatives at the EPO ahead of the so-called Social Conference, in which we have highlighted severe factual flaws

  25. Translation of Latest Rant From French MP Philip Cordery About Benoît Battistelli's Abuses at the EPO

    Philip Cordery crosses horns with Benoît Battistelli, who has become a source of embarrassment for France with his autocratic tendencies and misguided policies that rapidly ruin the European Patent Office (EPO)

  26. Battistelli-Commissioned PwC ‘Study’: Leaked Document Shows PwC's Dishonesty and Misrepresentation of EPO Staff

    An in-depth analysis (but not comprehensive, just preliminary) of the so-called 'study' from PwC, which basically did what it was paid for (pay to say)

  27. Links 22/10/2016: Deus Ex for GNU/Linux, Global DDoS (DNS)

    Links for the day

  28. Battistelli-Commissioned PwC ‘Study’: Survey Comparison Shows Serious Deterioration and Efforts by PwC to Disguise the Truth

    The latest output from PwC turns out to be even worse than initially thought, indicating that not only did it find a degradation in the EPO but also attempted to hide/obscure it

  29. EPO Teaser - The "Iberian Connection" - Some Photos of García-Escudero and His Royal/Government Connections

    A look at the undeniably close connections between Mr. García-Escudero and the most powerful people in Spain

  30. Disruption to Site's Service

    A technical note about why Techrights has not been publishing many articles recently


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