09.28.09

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Microsoft Offers Gentle Bribes to People Who Mention Vista 7 in Twitter

Posted in Marketing, Microsoft, Vista 7, Windows at 3:23 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Safe - piggy bank

Summary: Microsoft pays members of the public to become stealth marketers of its products

LAST week we showed that Microsoft offers little bribes to people who create Vista 7 hype, artificially [1, 2]. As Information Week now reveals, Microsoft has taken it further by offering prizes to people who merely mention this operating system. This is a case where money pollutes communication hubs, turning them into marketing channels in disguise.

Microsoft is continuing its social media campaign to promote Windows 7. Twitter users who search for the #WinWin7 tag can win pizzas, candy, gaming keyboards and other “somewhat goofy” prizes, a spokesman said.

Microsoft does not quite stop there. We previously wrote about Microsoft’s Twitter AstroTurf in:

The above shows, among other things, that Microsoft PR agencies like Waggener Edstrom have developed tools for tracking/influencing people at Twitter. There are actual patents on surveillance methods in several companies and Microsoft’s PR department is no exception.

Now, watch what Microsoft releases as a product.

Microsoft has developed a social media analytics tool that’s designed, among other things, to improve a marketing organization’s ability to adjust to social media phenomena on the fly.

Called “Looking Glass,” the product is still in prototype and will only be available to a few companies in the near term. It sends e-mail alerts when social media activity picks up considerably. The sentiment (i.e., negative or positive) of that chatter and the influence level of the content creator are reported in the alert. Digital flow charts show what days of the week generate the most activity on Twitter, Facebook, Flickr, YouTube, and other social media sites.

“Strange Microsoft did not hide that in a sub company,” claims Oiaohm. Here is Microsoft focusing on an areas where it actually does well, namely AstroTurfing.

What is interesting about this product is also the name:

A new product in development by Microsoft Advertising under the code-name “LookingGlass” may be the help brands are looking for.

Are they not ‘stealing’ the name of a project from Sun? It sure seems as though Microsoft merely publicises and monetises a tool that it developed for its own use.

Today Microsoft is taking the wraps off a new platform called Looking Glass, a social-media aggregator and monitoring tool that’s still in “proof of concept” stage, meaning it’s not yet in the market and will be open to a very small group of testers next month.

Microsoft is very paranoid about what people say on the Web — something which characterises a company which understands the impact of its disgusing actions to present. Watch what blogs are doing to Microsoft’s image. From a new article at the Financial Times:

Mini Microsoft, the anonymous blogger widely believed to be a well-informed employee working at the software company’s Redmond headquarters, heavily criticised this year’s Microsoft annual employee meeting. He gave a two-zero rating to Steve Ballmer, Microsoft’s chief executive, and described Stephen Elop, head of Microsoft’s business division, as “suck[ing] the life out of the entire stadium”.

Steve Ballmer pretends that Vista 7 will save the day (for Microsoft) and marketing is now approaching sickly levels (Microsoft has attempted to outsource it to the public using incentives). It was the same with Windows Vista when Microsoft asked people to write “Show me your Wow” letters and had India serve “Vista” coffee. Those corny and obtrusive ads are making a comeback for Vista 7 and more tasteless advertising (worse than Gates|Seinfeld even) leaves people rather shocked. Examples:

This Microsoft Windows 7 launch video is, if possible, worse than that musical one

The worst Microsoft promo videos ever!

Comedy Is an Uninvited Guest at Microsoft’s ‘House Party’

Microsoft has produced its share of quirky marketing messages, but a YouTube clip produced to promote a series of Windows 7 launch parties is a special sort of odd. Oh, so very special.

[...]

By two minutes into the video, I could only hold my head in my hands, cringing and saying, “No, no, no, this can’t possibly be real!” before giggling helplessly at how high these six minutes and 14 seconds of video ranked on the Unintentional Comedy Scale.

HOW TO: Party Like Microsoft [Awkward Video]

On first view we were tempted to think it might be parody, but the classic commercial set house was just too perfect.

We joked about that advertisement yesterday. Was it intentionally made lame so as to increase its reach (viral marketing)? Microsoft did this before.

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6 Comments

  1. David Gerard said,

    September 28, 2009 at 8:05 am

    Gravatar

    I wonder when Microsoft decided name-stealing and acronym-stealing was the way to go. XP … Rights Management System …

    Roy Schestowitz Reply:

    Here is Looking Glass in action (2006).

    Remember what Microsoft did to the “Palm” trademark and “Open Office” (twice even, first with OOo, then OOXML).

    David Gerard Reply:

    Oh yeah. I’m just wondering where this is in their playbook. Wonder if there’s a Comes document on trademark-stealing.

    Roy Schestowitz Reply:

    Another Sun product that Microsoft tried ‘stealing’ is Java, using MS-Java (like MS-ODF, SMB, and MS-HTML).

    Yuhong Bao Reply:

    Yep, it led to a lawsuit from Sun because of how it “embraced and extended” Java, and MS ended up having to discontinue it. Support for the MSJVM ended December 31, 2007.

  2. Yuhong Bao said,

    September 29, 2009 at 7:23 pm

    Gravatar

    Look like a very minor bribe, but I still don’t think that bribing people to follow you on Twitter is a good idea.

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