Law-bbying against rivals
For those who missed this previous detailed post, we wish to gradually identity and expose agencies that Microsoft hires to pollute the Web (sometimes even attack its critics or competition). There is nothing ethical about it and it’s illegal in Europe, so some of them should be shut down immediately . Here is another new example from the news.
Only if they’re planting in AstroTurf
How do you know the organization, and the op-ed, weren’t created by LawMedia Group at the behest of some well-funded clients? If they did their jobs right, you don’t know.
Some of them have left digital fingerprints here and there, though, says Declan McCullagh, in a blockbuster of a report exposing the intellectual whoredom offered for various important issues. Shortly after Microsoft hired LawMedia, for example, legislators, national agencies, and news outlets received pointed complaints from coalitions of farmers, rural voters, and geeky Latinos about how Google’s advertising deal with Yahoo would wreck everything.
Don’t call them a PR firm or a lobbying firm though, Law Media – which has a ton of lawyers working for them too—is a “public affairs firm” specializing in producing “remarkable coalitions” for anything one might need a coalition for.
More information is available here.
LMG’s clients include Comcast, which opposes net neutrality, and Microsoft, which hired LMG in an attempt to block a Google-Yahoo advertising deal. Another strange aspect of King’s anti-net neutrality column is that “portions are identical to a Rainbow Push coalition statement attributed to the Rev. Jesse Jackson and dated three months before.” A source told CNET News that “LMG has a relationship with Jackson that includes ghost-written articles on behalf of corporate clients.”
In May 2008, Microsoft retained LMG on what was reportedly a “six-figure monthly retainer,” to oppose a Google-Yahoo advertising deal. “Immediately afterward, anti-Google coalitions of dubious provenance–an LMG specialty–sprouted. The American Corn Growers Association, the League of Rural Voters, and a group called the Latinos in Information Sciences and Technology Association (LISTA) sent a letter to the Justice Department asking it to investigate Google’s ‘search monopoly.’ Prior to that time, those groups had no history of aggressive anti-Google advocacy,” reported CNET News.
Microsoft also used such tricks against the DoubleClick acquisition and against YouTube when it encouraged publishers to sue. Never ever forget about lawsuits by proxy [1, 2, 3] and bribery or blackmail for pressure [1, 2].
Update: some more details about LawMedia Group here.
“LMG is one of several firms we work with in D.C.,” Microsoft spokesman Jack Evans said. “It’s no secret that we oppose the Google-Yahoo deal and that there’s been a great deal of opposition to it by advertisers, publishers, consumers, and legal experts.” Evans points out that Google has hired a constellation of D.C. lobbyists and public relations groups to tell its side of the story.
Microsoft hired LMG in early May for what a source with knowledge of the situation described as a six-figure monthly retainer.