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

12.26.11

Microsoft and Nokia Caught AstroTurfing, Abusing/Attacking Genuine Posters

Posted in Marketing, Microsoft at 5:42 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Smearing competition, smearing opposition too

Advertising

Summary: Aggressive AstroTurfing from Microsoft and its new department for mobile PR

JUST before Christmas, Homer posted a good summary that helps show another new example of Microsoft’s shameful behaviour.

Microsoft’s proxy PR tentacles, which even reached the FOSS world, typically not only promote Microsoft but also attack dissent. Watch out for PR piece like this one which says that “[a]ccording to [Microsoft's] organization’s publicity arm” FOSS thinks one way or another. The voice of the public or the of FOSS community gets robbed by Microsoft intruders and this is a standard routine. We gave examples of this before.

Microsoft AstroTurfing is the process where Microsoft pretends to be members of the public that post innocent comments in favour of Microsoft and against Microsoft’s competition. It is illegal, but if this sort of practice is done overseas, then regulations can be dodged. It is a legal loophole.

“Microsoft and Nokia shills caught astroturfing again,” wrote Homer, who supports his allegation with a new article that says: “Last Friday, I wrote an article about the newly launched Nokia Lumia 800. The article was aimed to educate and inform readers and buyers about this latest smartphone from Nokia so that they could make a smart decision. However, this review ruffled some feathers and we saw an orchestrated pile of comments. The common factor in all these comments was use of abusive language that explains the motive.

“However, the surprise came when I decided to check the origin of these comments. The first comments that appeared were posted by none other than the employees and associates of Nokia and Microsoft. Especially one commentator, Harish, who later realised his mistake of posting comment from his official IP address (from India) and changed it later, is the one who had written the maximum (nine so far) abusive posts. I wonder, if this is called good PR practice at Nokia and whether they believe that everything can be bought like the ad-extravaganza they created in newspapers and TV channels?”

Here is the source. Bear in mind that Microsoft used similar dirty tricks for Vista 7 promotion, as we showed around the time of its release.

Homer goes further by noting that “trolls in COLA [USENET] scoff at the suggestion they’re also hired shills, but clearly this is fairly common. In fact I’d bet most pro-Microsoft nastygrams on the Web come directly from Microsoft. Average Joe knows too little about GNU/Linux to really care, certainly not to the point of launching a vicious tirade against it. Most Android users probably don’t even know its Linux underneath, and Windows users merely endure the daily rigours of Windows, they’re disinclined to “evangelise” it.

“So who are these vicious attack dogs, that spring-up in such a timely fashion, every time someone writes anything negative about Microsoft, it’s products or “partners”, or anything positive about GNU/Linux?”

Homer quotes: “Waggener Edstrom Worldwide Rapid Response Team [...] Burson-Marsteller… Washington, DC”

“In fact I’d bet most pro-Microsoft nastygrams on the Web come directly from Microsoft.”
      –Homer
The source of this? Microsoft’s official page of PR contacts. We wrote about both firms before (see wiki page on Waggener Edstrom and this example of Burson-Marsteller AstroTurf), but “Waggener Edstrom explains its “Perception Management” services,” notes Homer, who quotes: “Uncontrolled buzz can dramatically change perceptions of your brand. [...] The Narrative Network mines online dialogue and traditional media, even foreign language media, for mentions of your brand, your company, your key executives and your competitors. Then using a social networking algorithm, it associates what they say about your brand. [...] While we monitor your narrative network over time, or before and after a product launch or PR announcement, we will find new branches of a story [graphic flashes the phrase "Negative PR"]. This allows us to measure effectiveness of the PR messaging, and insert new messages or themes into your brand storyline, and deploy the right resources to keep the story on message, or adjust tactics to manage perceptions.”

That is the transcript. Disgusting. This is the type of thing Microsoft does behind the scenes. It’s like spying. When you see a blogger personally attacked for voicing opinions that upset Microsoft, watch out for comments that may in fact be arriving from Microsoft’s PR firms and their minions. Here is the source of the transcript. Right from the horse’s mouth.

“And as for Microsoft’s other shill agency,” writes Homer, “Burson-Marsteller [...] Hired A Former CNBC Reporter To Spread Lies About Google”

To quote: “The social network secretly hired a PR firm to plant negative stories about the search giant, The Daily Beast’s Dan Lyons reveals—a caper that is blowing up in their face, and escalating their war.

“For the past few days, a mystery has been unfolding in Silicon Valley. Somebody, it seems, hired Burson-Marsteller, a top public-relations firm, to pitch anti-Google stories to newspapers, urging them to investigate claims that Google was invading people’s privacy. Burson even offered to help an influential blogger write a Google-bashing op-ed, which it promised it could place in outlets like The Washington Post, Politico, and The Huffington Post.

“The plot backfired when the blogger turned down Burson’s offer and posted the emails that Burson had sent him. It got worse when USA Today broke a story accusing Burson of spreading a “whisper campaign” about Google “on behalf of an unnamed client.”

Here is the article. As Homer points out, “who is Facebook‘s closest ally?”

“Clearly we’re well beyond the point of having to debate whether or not Microsoft astroturfing is a “conspiracy theory”. It’s a palpable fact.”
      –Homer
An article says: “As Google grows ever more powerful in techdom, and Microsoft’s influence slips, the Redmond software giant is building closer and closer ties to Facebook. The Facebook-Skype deal today is more evidence that Microsoft and Facebook are in lockstep as they fight their mutual foe, Google. And it comes even while Microsoft awaits regulatory approval to conclude its Skype acquisition.”

Here is the respective article.

“Clearly,” notes Homer, “we’re well beyond the point of having to debate whether or not Microsoft astroturfing is a “conspiracy theory”. It’s a palpable fact.

“But none of the above surprises me in the least, it’s just nice to see it spelled out in black and white now and then, to vindicate the stand against gangsters like Microsoft.”

Given that Microsoft employees (“TEs” as Microsoft calls them) were trying to defame me over the years (even comparing me to serial killer Unabomber), I probably have legal basis, but I would rather expose what this criminal organisation is doing, not sue.

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

2 Comments

  1. walterbyrd said,

    December 26, 2011 at 1:47 pm

    Gravatar

    Great article, except, I don’t know if I would quote msft/scox-shill Dan Lyons. Lyons impresses me as somebody who will write whatever he is paid to write.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Daniel_Lyons

    Lyons later admitted he was wrong about everything, but only after four years when scox was proven to be lying.

  2. Michael said,

    December 26, 2011 at 6:48 pm

    Gravatar

    You reject other sources based on their bias but then quote… Homer.

    LOL!

    Really… that is very, very funny.

What Else is New


  1. Microsoft is Interjecting Itself Into GNU/Linux and Free Software News, Even Events and Foundations

    Microsoft's entryism strategy is proving effective as Microsoft successfully embeds itself inside the idealogical competition, subverting the competition's overall message and diluting the competition's focus on Free software



  2. The Unethical Business of Selling Fear of Free/Libre Software Bugs (Black Duck, Sonatype, and Symantec)

    The spreading of fear of Free/Open Source software (FOSS) is now a growth industry, so proprietary opportunists are eager to capitalise on it, even if by distorting the truth



  3. Patients' Data at Risk as NHS Reinforces Its Microsoft/Accenture Stockholm Syndrome

    The worst privacy violator in the world and the firm behind LSE failures are pocketing as much as £0.35 billion of British taxpayers' money to acquire access to very sensitive data of British people



  4. Links 26/4/2015: Debian 8, OpenMandriva Lx 3 Alpha, Mageia 5 RC

    Links for the day



  5. Links 25/4/2015: Debian LTS Plans, Turing Phone Runs Linux

    Links for the day



  6. Who Kills Yahoo? It's Microsoft, Not Yahoo!

    The media should blame Microsoft, not Marissa Mayer, for what's going on (and has been going on for 7 years) at Yahoo!



  7. EPO Management is Trying Hard to Appease Its Critics While Pushing Forth Unitary Patent Agenda

    The European Patent Office and European Commission promote the agenda of large multinational corporations (at the expense or European citizens) and critics are being kept at bay



  8. Real Patent Reform Will Not Come From Biggest Backers of GNU/Linux, Not Even Google

    A look at the 'new' Google, the company which is hoarding patents (2,566 last year alone) instead of fighting for reform



  9. Microsoft's Troll Intellectual Ventures Loses Software Patents

    Intellectual Ventures is bluffing with software patents, but this time around it doesn't get its way



  10. Links 24/4/2015: Ubuntu and Variants in the News, Red Hat Developer Toolset 3.1

    Links for the day



  11. Links 23/4/2015: Ubuntu 15.04 is Out, Debian 8.0 Out Very Soon

    Links for the day



  12. Links 22/4/2015: Fedora 22 Beta, Atlassian Acquires BlueJimp

    Links for the day



  13. The Dying Debate Over Patent Scope (Including Software Patents) Replaced by 'Trolls' (But Not the Biggest Ones)

    The corporate media and Web sites or people who are funded by large corporations have essentially suppressed any debate about issues in the patent granting process, thereby guarding software patents and preventing criticism of large corporations' power grab



  14. The Patents Gold Rush Continues

    The morbid obsession with monopolising mere ideas still dominates the media, even increasingly in China



  15. 9 Millionth US Patent Tells a Story of Failure and USPTO Misconduct

    The USPTO, much like FISA (notorious court for surveillance/espionage authorisation), has become a rubber-stamping operation rather than a patents examination centre, as new evidence and old evidence serve to show



  16. HBO Helps Shift Debate Over Patents to 'Trolls' (Scale), Not Scope

    More of that awkward shifting of the patent debate towards small actors who are misusing patents, not large conglomerates like Apple and Microsoft which use patents to destroy competitors, crush startups, drive up prices, and so on



  17. Software Patents Are Still Menacing to Free Software: OIN Expands Scope, HEVC Adds to MPEG-LA Burden/Tax, Google and Facebook Give in on Patents

    A look at recent news about software patents and especially Free/libre software, which is inherently incompatible with them



  18. The Latest Developments Around Microsoft's Clever Attack on Android/Linux

    Microsoft's campaign of destruction, extortion, etc. against the most widely used Linux-powered operating system is revisited in light of new reports



  19. The Microsoft 'Community' is Maligning the Free Software Community

    Dishonest generalisations and baseless deductions portray the Free/Open Source software communities as a nasty place that leads to poverty and despair



  20. Googlebombing 'Microsoft Open Source' Even When Microsoft Shuts Down Its 'Open Source' Proxy

    A massive failure by the press to cover the most basic news, which is Microsoft putting an end to a supposedly 'Open Source' effort



  21. Links 22/4/2015: Calculate Linux 14.16, SparkyLinux 4.0 RC KDE

    Links for the day



  22. Links 21/4/2015: Project Photon, Ubuntu Touch Buzz

    Links for the day



  23. Embrace, Extend, Extinguish: How Microsoft Plans to Get Rid of Linux/Android

    Microsoft's sheer abuse against Android is laying bare for everyone to see now that Microsoft has paralysed Google's legal department with potential antitrust action in Europe



  24. Yahoo's Current CEO (Mayer, Formerly of Google) is Trying to End Yahoo! Status as Microsoft Proxy

    There are signs of relinquishing Microsoft's control over Yahoo! after Marissa Mayer worked to end the company's suicidal/abusive relationship with Steve Ballmer's Microsoft



  25. Repeating Microsoft's Lies Without Any Journalistic Assessment

    Poor fact-checking by relatively large media/news sites results in Microsoft's patently false claims being repeated uncritically



  26. Links 19/4/2015: New KaOS (2015.04), Manjaro Linux 0.8.13 Pre1

    Links for the day



  27. Links 18/4/2015: ExTiX 15.2, RaspArch

    Links for the day



  28. Microsoft Tired of Pretending to be Nice to Free/Open Source Software (FOSS), Microsoft 'Open' Technologies Dumped

    Microsoft dumps its proxy (misleadingly named 'Open Tech') and other attacks on Free software persist from the inside, often through so-called 'experts' whose agenda is to sell proprietary software



  29. More Translations of French Article About the EPO

    German and Dutch translations of the Le Monde article are now available



  30. Links 17/4/2015: Wipro and the Netherlands Want FOSS

    Links for the day


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