06.28.09

“Mr Dee” on the Paul Allen-funded CNET, More on Microsoft-funded Comments

Posted in Google, Marketing, Microsoft at 8:09 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

‘The author of the email, posted on ZDNet in a Talkback forum on the Microsoft antitrust trial, claimed her name was Michelle Bradley and that she had “retired” from Microsoft last week.

‘”A verbal memo [no email allowed] was passed around the MS campus encouraging MS employee’s to post to ZDNet articles like this one,” the email said.

‘”The theme is ‘Microsoft is responsible for all good things in computerdom.’ The government has no right to prevent MS from doing anything. Period. The ‘memo’ suggests we use fictional names and state and to identify ourselves as students,” the author claimed.’

Wired Magazine

Summary: Another little roundup of Microsoft’s guerrilla marketing

IT IS NOT a secret that Microsoft pays people to promote Windows in social networks and various Web sites (including sites other than their own). A recent press release made it a truism, so it is not deniable. A lot more transparent is Microsoft's activity in Twitter and several months ago we showed that Microsoft had bribed Andre Da Costa with a laptop, probably in exchange for or expectation that he will carry on promoting Microsoft in a lot of blogs/sites. One of our readers, Goblin, shows evidence that led him to suspecting that Andre Da Costa might also be “Mr Dee”, a notorious Microsoft spinner who is heckling posts that are favourable to Free software.

Very short post here, Ill let others read for themselves.

Thanks to Will who directed me to CNET I think I have something of interest to anyone who wanted to seek further evidence in the allegation that Andre Da Costa posted as Mr Dee on CNET. BTW Screen dumps taken should the offending articles be removed!

This might not be true, but it ought to be an interesting possibility given that Microsoft is said to pay for comments in sites like Digg, Reddit, and Slashdot. The FTC, as toothless as it may seem, claims to be going after “payola bloggers”, but it must really go after those whose job is to systematically offer bribes (on behalf of customers like Microsoft), not those who are tempted by the bribes. The likes of Edelman and Waggener Edstrom should be hot targets for severe legal action [1, 2]. Here is the report from IDG, which still does not disclose financial relationships with Microsoft [1, 2, 3, 4, 5].

Scanning Weblogs for product information and reviews has become a cornerstone in contemporary consumerism. Often, readers appreciate the opinion of someone who is not an expert to guide them to the right product. What some consumers may not know is that some of these writers are being paid for their smiles in the form of cash, free products and lavish trips.

A good new example is TechFlash, which we mentioned last week. Microsoft gave them a pile of money to promote Bing and that is precisely what they do. They fill the news wires with promotional coverage of Bing, proving that Microsoft’s investments pay off. It ought to be expected that TechFlash is just one among many and Vista 7 will receive similar treatment owing to similar bribes which are disguised as “sponsorships”. The pro-Microsoft Eric Savitz (at the ultra-pro-Microsoft Barron’s) appears to have taken a break from Microsoft promotion; well, to an extent anyway. He writes:

The graph above, from Google Trends, as relayed by Broadpoint.Amtech analyst Ben Schachter, suggests the buzz on Bing, at least, is fading

Are journalists not bribed sufficiently anymore?

The whole launch of Bing was over-hyped by paid-for news coverage. That’s just how it works. Yes, money certainly buys press coverage these days; not to acknowledge this is simply to play ignoramus. But the “Slog” [PDF] for Bing went a lot further than this, potentially breaking competition laws. One person calls Bing’s/Microsoft’s tactics “The Great Bing Scam.” He explains why:

I was almost ready to believe it myself, but one small thing caught my attention. I just started a new assignment, and at my new workplace Internet Explorer 6.0 is the only allowed browser. Of course, in the first several hours I mistyped some link in the browser address field, and, surprise, I see a Bing search page! I checked the browser search settings and Google was a default search engine. A little googling made things perfectly clear.

We wrote about this before in some of the many posts appended at the bottom.

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