Bonum Certa Men Certa

FullSIX and Mr. Youth LLC May Be Ruining the Web (AstroTurfing) on Microsoft's Behalf

Violation of new European laws, courtesy of Microsoft-hired agencies?

Several readers have voiced complaints about what they characterise as increased AstroTurfing in the already-embattled Slashdot [1, 2, 3], especially over the past week, but then culminating today. We have been told this by quite a few people independently (via E-mails and IRC).



A lot of this phenomenon was explored and covered here before, so old arguments and exhibits will be linked to rather than repeated. If in doubt, follow the links and catch up.

Microsoft does not favour doing its AstroTurfing directly, but there are exceptions such as this recent one (dissident employee perhaps). Matt Asay now takes the time to complain about it in a stand-alone post.

I'm always amused by comments on this blog suggesting that I'm biased against Microsoft.


As the previous post about such incidents shows, it's actually Microsoft employees who often do this. But there's more. We recently showed a 'smoking gun' about Sys-Con's Maureen O'Gara [1, 2] and Waggener Edstrom [1, 2]. The intervention (sabotage -- or contrariwise -- glorification) is well coordinated. Microsoft is arranging and orchestrating events that affect public perception.

It's still difficult to pass definite judgment on the LinuxHater Blog, but one reader passed us a pointer to this new comment:

Communists, go home and smoke joints. Hail Microsoft, hail apple.



And there's also this:

Linux is communist stuff. It's days are counted. The code has no quality. It's a joke that's gone too far.



"A guy named 'mmm' and 'mmmm' (the same origin IP address) posted (dumply hoping) "anonymously" those insulting statements," said the blogger.

"Funny thing is that he did them from the server mta.fullsix.com a marketing agency. Searching for http://www.google.com/search?q="fullsix"+microsoft gives you almost 27k hits."

That would be FullSIX. The blog above is Portugal-based. Watch this new-ish post from a .NET blog:

Last week I was at two events about Scrum, organized by Microsoft and Fullsix Portugal.

The first was called Scrum for Managers and was presented by Mitch Lacey (from Ascentium).


Is that scrum or scrum? Who's going head-to-head, and if so, why?

The blogger wrote: "So that's a marketing agency, wh[ich] has strong ties to Microsoft, and someone from their online premises spammed us. Circumstantial evidence, but you may want to keep it for something."

This may now affect just blogs in Portugal. Watch this from China.

China's webspace is infamous for censorship, but increasingly, public relations firms there are helping their clients "manage" online conversations. China-based firms such as Daqi, Chinese Web Union and CIC "charge $500 - $25,000 monthly to monitor postings and squelch negative information or to create positive buzz," reports BusinessWeek.


In a nutshell, companies are outsourcing their trolling, too. This makes it difficult to pin-point the culprits that contaminate the Web with promotional messages and attacks on critics. This following portion comes from a post of an American blog which was removed. The headline was: "MSN Is Spamming The Blogosphere."

Mr. Youth LLC is a marketing firm and lists MSN as a customer. Their website is here: http://www.mryouth.com/ Their phone number is (212) 779-8700.

I've talked to a couple of other bloggers who said they are receiving similar comments on their blogs. This pisses me off because MSN/Mr. Youth should 1) be more upfront about their true identity, and 2) provide a real e-mail address so that I can request they take my blog off their marketing campaign.


It's a marketing company. Go to mryouth.com and you will see that Microsoft is still their client. Bloggers complained, so it's not an isolated incident. New European laws were created to forbid this, so in some place, assuming the accusations have merit, Microsoft is breaking the law.

Another reader who had been approached for an assessment added: "Too few people are willing to face even the possibility of the cult-like nature of Bill's political movement.

"Also, with XP and other failures getting pushed into even hospitals, the cost is not just economic but actual lives. But on just the money side, with the US in the situation it is currently in, having Microsoft Vista shoved down everyone's throat may be the productivity killer that tips the recession beyond the point of no return."

If you are aware of more marketing companies that Microsoft uses (there are plenty), please share supportive information here. It's worth getting to the bottom of this.

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