02.07.10

Michael Arrington a Hypocrite: Bribed by Microsoft Yet Fires Bribed Bloggers

Posted in Deception, Marketing, Microsoft at 5:47 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Michael Arrington
Photo by Joi

“Ask the partner to give you heads up on customer situations – bribe them!”

Steve Winfield, Microsoft

Summary: Another fine example of an influential blogger who sells out to Microsoft yet does not apply to himself the same standards that he applies to colleagues

SOME TIME ago we wrote about how Apple had arguably bribed influential people. We provided more than a single example but what makes it “arguable” is that iPad is a hardware product; In order for hardware to be evaluated, sending hardware might be required. Microsoft bribes differently though. In order to persuade influential people to write positive reviews, Microsoft sends them expensive gifts that have nothing to do with Microsoft’s products.

TechCrunch’s founder, Michael Arrington, was bribed by Microsoft for secret advertising disguised in posts (before he was ousted and his little deal with Microsoft exposed). We are not going to repeat stories that we have already covered (over 2 years ago), but Arrington also spoke to Ballmer 4 months ago and his site's hypocrisy when it comes to Microsoft bribes was mentioned here a couple of months ago.

Sadly, too many people forgot what happened and now that TechCrunch sacks an intern over a bribe, there is nothing to be said about the hypocrisy of Arrington, who should probably also sack himself (or resign).

There are many links about this incident right here:

I first found out about the blowup at TechCrunch this morning when I read our own Kim LaCapria’s post about Michael Arrington sacking young Daniel Brusilovsky because of accusations of accepting tech toys in exchange for favorable posts. I have followed that up with reading every post on the matter that came through my feed reader. Just for the record they are:

An Apology To Our Readers
Techcrunch Accepts Money for Posts – Fires Under Age Blogger Daniel Brusilovsky
Rule #1: be honest
The Line Was Crossed
Was Deleting All Daniel Brusilovsky’s Posts an FTC Blogger Guideline Violation? [#bruhaha]
Tech Journalism Wunderkind in Bribery Scandal
Payola allegations prompt TechCrunch to fire teen intern
Unpaid Techcrunch Reporter Sacked For Bribe Attempt

So I would say I have a really good grounding on all the angst and finger-pointing that is going on around what Daniel is suppose to have done.

This subject is also being covered by JupiterMedia, for whom I used to write. Carla from JupiterMedia writes about “Vendor-Paid Product Reviews and Journalists vs. Bloggers”

Ever since the US economy turned sour, hordes of people have flocked to blogging as their path to riches. Because there is nothing so fine and empowering, including the Internet, that it cannot be subverted for crass commercial exploitation. And thus we have a growing phenomenon of vendors paying bloggers to review their products.

My first reaction is to recoil in horror. How is that not the most blatant shilling? Why would anyone want to trust such a “review”? But on the other hand, the news and publishing industries have been taking terrific beatings, so more power to anyone who can get paid to write product reviews. But on yet another hand, it seems an obvious conflict of interest. But on still another hand, it’s OK if the blogger discloses it, right?

And then what is the difference between a blogger getting paid by the vendor to write a review, and a journalist accepting review units? The usual practice is to receive hardware on loan for review, and to return it after 30 or 60 days. Most vendors don’t want to hassle with software returns since those are just boxes of CDs. Most reviewers give away product that vendors don’t want back. But there are reporters who are notorious swag hounds, and who exploit vendor relationships for all they can get.

[...]

In the end it seems that what matters the most are a journalist’s or blogger’s reputation, ability, and quality of work. Doesn’t it seem that even in this high-tech era everything comes down to knowing who you can trust?

Boycott Novell was never pressured to say anything positive, even when companies that are regularly criticised here mailed us with the intention of changing the tune (including mail from Novell).

Boycott Novell was never pressured to say anything negative, either. Merciless analysis is a path to truth. Boycott Novell never accepted gifts of any type.

“I’ve been thinking long and hard about this, and the only conclusion I can come to is that this is ethically indistinguishable from bribery. Even if no quid-pro-quo is formally required, the gift creates a social obligation of reciprocity. This is best explained in Cialdini’s book Influence (a summary is here). The blogger will feel some obligation to return the favor to Microsoft.”

Former Microsoft manager

It is worth mentioning that there are Linux hardware sites (we prefer not to mention names) whose reviews are mostly of products that they receive as gifts. It could be argued that a hardware company is ethically allowed to ship hardware for reviews. Where hardware and software are mixed (phones for example), it’s a tricky and thus borderline case. Microsoft need never send more than just software, but it gives out free vacations and $2,000 laptops which it does not actually manufacture (Microsoft also gives these to AstroTurfers). That’s what makes Microsoft one of the worst among the bunch, with PR agencies that bribe bloggers, notably Edelman and Waggener Edstrom. We have reported these agencies to the FTC.

“Government attorneys accuse Microsoft of using its monopoly position to bully, bribe and attempt to collude with others in the industry, while illegally expanding and protecting its Windows franchise.”

The antitrust case: a timeline

Share in other sites/networks: These icons link to social bookmarking sites where readers can share and discover new web pages.
  • Reddit
  • email

This post is also available in Gemini over at:

gemini://gemini.techrights.org/2010/02/07/michael-arrington-microsoft-bribes/

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

4 Comments

  1. Yuhong Bao said,

    February 7, 2010 at 6:41 pm

    Gravatar

    I read TechCrunch (it is still very interesting IMO, and I sometimes cite it), and AFRIK, it was a startup that bribed the intern, not Microsoft.

    Roy Schestowitz Reply:

    I was talking about an older incident involving Microsoft.

    Yuhong Bao Reply:

    If you are talking about the “people ready” thing, yea it seems that GigaOM handled it better:
    http://gigaom.com/2007/06/22/on-the-microsoft-ad-campaign/

    Roy Schestowitz Reply:

    Notice that Federated Media still works with Microsoft. They might be doing the same thing in Twitter. We’ve covered many examples of paid Microsoft tweets.

What Else is New


  1. IRC Proceedings: Saturday, May 15, 2021

    IRC logs for Saturday, May 15, 2021



  2. [Meme] When All That Matters is 'Production' and 'Timeliness'

    The EPO has gone down the same route as the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) when it comes to patent quality; as if the goal is to grant 11 million patents (most of them in just a few decades) rather than assess the impact of such patents



  3. The EPO's War on Justice and Assault on the Law -- Part 8: The Radical Student “Brotherhood”

    The latest part in this series explores the roots of Judge Josefsson; that can help explain how Benoît Battistelli constructed his stacked EPO ‘court’, which he and António Campinos basically control to rubber-stamp whatever illegal practices they engage in (in pursuit of money and power, at the expense of the law)



  4. Christoph Ernst Lecturing Us on “Transparency” and EPO Corruption (as Well as Assault on the EPC) Becoming a “New Normal”

    The EPO’s administration continues rushing ahead with an unlawful agenda, exploiting a pandemic that’s gradually coming under control regardless to shred apart the EPC



  5. Richard Stallman's Talk About New/er Risks to Free Software (Free as in Freedom-Respecting, Libre)

    Richard M. Stallman (RMS) gave the above talk not too long before the attacks on him intensified greatly, serving to silence him for nearly 2 years



  6. Jacques Michel and Willy (Guillaume) Minnoye: Stakeholders in EPO Lawlessness

    Former EPO Vice-Presidents who wish not to be held accountable for what they did in the Office (or be chased after leaving their duties, finishing/ending terms there) are adding fuel to the illegal agenda of an EPOnian regime



  7. Links 15/5/2021: Godot 3.3.1 RC 2 and Pine64 Hardware in Focus

    Links for the day



  8. The EPO's War on Justice and Assault on the Law -- Part 7: Calle's Strange Metamorphosis

    Sources believe the “legal anarchy” that EPOnia became notorious for, especially when it comes to handling referrals at the EPO‘s BoA, will become a dark legacy — a legacy that would, if he was alive, disappoint even Josefsson’s source of inspiration



  9. Making up Law at the EPO

    Another video about the ongoing EPO series and some news/commentary from around the Web



  10. Over a Thousand Videos (or Audio Files) and More Protocols Supported

    From just a Web site (ordinary HTTP/S protocol) we've expanded to alternative channels of communication; this is a quick roundup, with focus on last night's development work (already pushed into our self-hosted Git repository)



  11. IRC Proceedings: Friday, May 14, 2021

    IRC logs for Friday, May 14, 2021



  12. Nathan Proctor: Right to Repair and the DMCA

    LibrePlanet 2019 video



  13. [Meme] Calle Calling...

    The values of the Habermasian EPO judge depend on who’s paying the salary



  14. The EPO's War on Justice and Assault on the Law -- Part 6: The Habermasian Who Warned About “Legal Anarchy”

    The political orientation of a Benoît Battistelli-appointed EPO judge who has the audacity to talk about legal anarchy and bemoan abuse of the law; the António Campinos administration extended his term until (at least) 2027



  15. Paid-for Plugs and Coordinated Marketing Fluff (PR Campaigns) Are Ruining 'Linux' Sites

    Junk 'articles' (just marketing disguised as 'news') spoil the World Wide Web; companies repeat the same sales pitch over and over again, sometimes leveraging what they perceive to be avenues read by geeks



  16. Links 15/5/2021: GCC 8.5, Fedora Community Revamp

    Links for the day



  17. Links 14/5/2021: FreeBSD on the Pine H6, Red Hat Hiring

    Links for the day



  18. Protecting Freenode is Protecting the Free Software Movement

    Freenode may seem like a negligible corner of the Internet, which media never bothers mentioning at all; but Freenode, which many have come to take for granted, is core infrastructure for many Free software projects and protecting the network is essential for the Free Software Movement



  19. EPO Justice

    Justice in Europe's second-largest institution, where the law itself is a second-class citizen



  20. IRC Proceedings: Thursday, May 13, 2021

    IRC logs for Thursday, May 13, 2021



  21. Understanding How Freenode (IRC) Works -- or Doesn't Work -- in 2021

    There is a conflict going on behind the scenes at Freenode, but there are also sincere and well-meaning attempts to undo the damage and get back to normal



  22. [Meme] Judges the Office Cannot Control Are Just Nazis With Weapons in Their Office...

    The EPO hasn’t been run by grown-ups for over ten years; Benoît Battistelli, António Campinos and their confidants cannot grasp the concept of law, just blind loyalty



  23. The EPO's War on Justice and Assault on the Law -- Part 5: Battistelli's “Swedish Chef”

    The EPO's 'courts' are controlled by the people whom they're supposed to judge on; this has been the case for at least half a decade



  24. Links 14/5/2021: KDE Plasma 5.22 Beta and GNOME 40 in Gentoo

    Links for the day



  25. Audio: “Unjust Computing Clamps Down” by Richard Stallman

    The FSF has finally uploaded the LibrePlanet talk of Richard Stallman



  26. Links 13/5/2021: KDE Gear 21.04.1 and LibreOffice 7.0.6

    Links for the day



  27. The EPO's War on Justice and Assault on the Law -- Part 4: The President of the Boards of Appeal

    A deeper look into the ‘sausage factory’ that is EPO tribunals certainly helps us understand the inherent bias of many decisions, including a recent decision on European software patents like a controversial simulation patent



  28. Judging the Judges

    Today we shall take a closer look at Carl Josefsson, a person who shall become a figure of interest if he sends EPO courts to the United States in clear violation of the EPC (looking to rubber-stamp an unlawful decision already made before this case even started)



  29. When EU Authorities Tell You to Complain to the EPO Itself About EPO Privacy Violations...

    “Kafkaesque” at the EPO; Kafka could do a whole novel about the flirtations with or affairs of ‘justice’ at the EPO



  30. The Need for Reliable Governance at Freenode

    Why the current and high-profile (albeit somewhat covert) owner of the network, who seems to care about Free software (it has made him very wealthy), should put the whole thing in reliable hands and not attempt to 'monetise' it in any way


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