Microsoft's IE sponsored post campaign backfires

The world of blogging is full of advertisements. You see them here on Neowin and nearly every other site on the web. In an effort to gain more organic content, advertorials have become popular as a premium way blogs can make money by posting up sponsored content. For the most part, these campaigns are ok as long as they are marked appropriately so but a recent Microsoft campaign has backfired.

Microsoft was working with SocialChorus to promote Internet Explorer (IE) with paid postings but things went aloof when Michael Arrington was contacted to participate in the program. If you are not familiar with Arrington, he founded TechCrunch and is outspoken about many things, including paid postings. In short, he is close to the last person on Earth that you would want to contact about doing a paid promotion for anything.

Arrington had no problem airing out what SocialChorus was offering and Microsoft reacted quickly by killing the deal with the company. Microsoft said the following:

This action by a vendor is not representative of the way Microsoft works with bloggers or other members of the media. The program has been suspended.

To no surprise, Microsoft is trying to distance itself from the program and we suspect SocialChorus is rethinking about who it will contact to promote paid postings. 

Back the drawing board for Microsoft on how it wants to continue to push IE, but if we have a say in it, stick to the technical showcases like this one, as they accomplish this goal much more effectively. 

Source: Uncrunched

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24 Comments

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In a nutshell, MS used an agency to astroturf about internet explorer and they got caught.

How is it a news?, Sheesh, it is his "modus operandi".

Next, let's talk about astroturfers and Xbox and how some astroturf explain the "less power is more power".

Rejected an astroturfing campaign? Good for him. All the bloggers who didn't disclose that they were getting compensated... For shame.

In the end, TechCrunch will probably see a boost in reputation and viewership for this, and neowin and others are helping spread the word. I didn't visit them in the past but I sure will now.

What I don't understand is what the big deal is. Okay, so the offer went to the founder of TechCrunch... and? Exactly why would people give a s**t?

How can something Microsoft didn't do backfire at them, sure, they get bad publicity now, but they didn't ask for this to happen, it was that company who started this.

Microsoft did indeed sponsor the "agent" to obtain, and arrange compensation for (along with opportunities for fun prizes along the way), bloggers to write about IE as shown in the Uncrunched link, which has screen shots of the actual communication. Michael should have taken them up on it and written what he really thinks of deals like this where full disclosure is not required. In the real world, there is no way to assure that blogs are fully honest and ethical, other than reputation and the readers own skepticism. It's too bad that paid for blogging occurs, as it is unethical. Sponsored links are another thing entirely.

How can you call that "backfiring"?

and how is that even newsworthy at all?

it's been a while that MS and Google are paying for ads and blog posts about their products.

I don't see how it is affecting the product or its reputation. It's not as if MS was providing false data to be posted directly by the blogger.

the only thing actually surprising is that this company is requesting blog posts for a product already several months old. Why would any blogger write about IE11 now?

Dot Matrix said,
So... What happened, or are you going to leave us hanging?

Check out the source link for the exchange, it's kind of funny how they responded to his "Is this for real?" question.

zeke009 said,

Check out the source link for the exchange, it's kind of funny how they responded to his "Is this for real?" question.

Ahh. Somehow I missed the source link. Thanks.

Huh, But Microsoft itself did not endorse this... Nice misleading headline
also
aren't StarDock posts here on Neowin all bought and paid for? pushing their Windows8 software sure helps your bottom line ;)

Edited by dingl_, Jun 18 2014, 6:39pm :

This site does not have a relationship like that with stardock, the website is only partially owned by stardock.

To be exact:
Neowin LLC is part owned by Stardock (40%) represented by Brad Wardell, with Steven Parker & Marcel Klum equally sharing the remaining 60%;

Seahorsepip said,
This site does not have a relationship like that with stardock, the website is only partially owned by stardock.

To be exact:
Neowin LLC is part owned by Stardock (40%) represented by Brad Wardell, with Steven Parker & Marcel Klum equally sharing the remaining 60%;

Oh, well that makes it all better ^^. Whew, I was scared there for a minute.

Seahorsepip said,
This site does not have a relationship like that with stardock, the website is only partially owned by stardock.

To be exact:
Neowin LLC is part owned by Stardock (40%) represented by Brad Wardell, with Steven Parker & Marcel Klum equally sharing the remaining 60%;

so stardock have the biggest stake.

Seahorsepip said,

40% is more then 60% in your opinion?

What he means is that Stardock owns 40%, Steven Parker owns 30%, and Marcel Klum owns 30%.

That makes Stardock the largest individual shareholder, but not the majority shareholder.

dingl_ said,
Huh, But Microsoft itself did not endorse this... Nice misleading headline
also
aren't StarDock posts here on Neowin all bought and paid for? pushing their Windows8 software sure helps your bottom line ;)

Huge difference between patronage and sponsorship.

dingl_ said,
Huh, But Microsoft itself did not endorse this... Nice misleading headline
also
aren't StarDock posts here on Neowin all bought and paid for? pushing their Windows8 software sure helps your bottom line ;)

Because some company did it and spend his money promoting Internet Explorer for their own will.