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Microsoft's PR Department (Waggener Edstrom) Patents AstroTurfing-related Methods


Summary: Microsoft's PR contacts are Waggener Edstrom staff, who were patenting new analysis and surveillance methods

FOR THOSE WHO ARE not familiar with Waggener Edstrom (W-E), there are many ways to learn about it [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10]. Waggener Edstrom is effectively Microsoft's PR handler (by far the biggest), which uses a name other than "Microsoft" because it lends credibility to its message. It's only the illusion of independence. One of the many activities at Waggener Edstrom involves spying on reporters and this habit is already being extended to Twitter.

“This includes some anti-Linux press campaigns that are well documented.”We wanted to find out more about how W-E works. Along the way we found some interesting new factoids. From what we could gather, Waggener Edstrom goes a long way back with Microsoft. It grew along with Microsoft because of its manipulation that had been done many years ago. This includes some anti-Linux press campaigns that are well documented. Some very old exhibits from Comes vs Microsoft reveal the eternal presence of Waggener Edstrom, which must have assisted with manipulation of perceptions.

Oiaohm has discovered that W-E is actually listed as part of Microsoft. It's "basically MS press," he says. In W-E's Windows-powered site he found this page which states: "A U.S. patent-pending product, the Narrative Network software is available immediately and can be used to analyze English, Chinese, German, French, Russian and Spanish text, eliminating the need for costly language translation." The applicability of business method (or software) patents aside, what will such methods be used for?

"Patent holder for some very strange patents," says oiaohm, who claims that W-E is "basically patenting a internet scanning tool to work out if your press is working."

"Don't miss the PR_Contacts," adds oiaohm, who has finally realised what W-E's role really involves. "That is a big one. How can they be independent if they are the PR contact for so many of Microsoft departments? Don't Microsoft departments trust themselves talking to the public?"

"We've got to put a lot of money into changing behavior."

--Bill Gates

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