[Update: “NovellVideo” turns out to be a Novell employee, Ross Brunson. So it’s not AstroTurfing, it’s just shameless use of YouTube for marketing purposes.]
Several months ago we wrote about Microsoft's trashing of YouTube with OOXML 'propaganda', among other things. It’s probably not something the company would even deny. In fact, being already seen as somewhat of a ‘norm’, companies no longer feel guilty about it.
“We will start pointing this out in the future, whenever potential marketing people of Novell appear to be littering YouTube a little more.”This post intends to set the record straight on one particular YouTube ‘user’ which goes under the name “NovellVideo”. It’s uploading Novell commercials at a rapid pace, the latest example being this one from yesterday.
What to make of it all? It’s an open question, but extensive circumstantial evidence is there on YouTube. We will start pointing this out in the future, whenever potential marketing people of Novell appear to be littering YouTube a little more.
A couple of days ago, Bruce Perens had this to say about his experiences with viral marketing at H-P. He cites YouTube as an example:
[J]ust about every PR firm offers to help “manage the perception of your company in online communities” these days. What do you think that means? Astroturfing Slashdot, Youtube, etc. In my various manangement positions it’s been offered to me. Indeed, some of the companies offer to create negative publicity for your competition that way – HP had a publicity firm for its Linux activities that told us it would do that when we wanted. I never asked them to do so and hope nobody else did either.
This stuff is just standard these days. You’ve got to expect it.
I think mostly they’d like to dilute “Open Source” to mean any code with source code. This is important to them because it’s the rights connected to Open Source that scare Microsoft (and others). If you can call it Open Source when there isn’t even the right to compile the code, or to use the information you get from reading it, customers don’t have a reason to ask for it any longer.
Their publicity agencies are here on Slashdot pumping that angle every day.
This is why, despite us being Slahdotted a couple of days ago (thanks for the mention, Rob Malda and folks), we discourage reading of that site, which got manipulated by companies into an oblivion [1, 2, 3]. Without a verified identity of people (who they are and who they work for), there’s too much room for ‘manufactured’ debates, e.g. first provocative comment for propaganda to be latched onto it as followups. it edges out genuine comments further down. We also became aware of organised trolling in the site and something called “karma farming”. There’s some ugly stuff there for sure.
Speaking of AstroTurfing, a couple of weeks ago we mentioned VoicesforInnovation], which is one among many Microsoft lobbying arms. Groklaw found out that “Microsoft owns VoicesforInnovation domain,” adding: “Earlier, we had a News Picks item on VoicesforInnovation.org, a lobbying organization pushing what seemed to me to be a Microsoft agenda in Europe. Sean Daly noticed that the domain name belongs to guess who? — Microsoft. Go to betterwhois.com and search for yourself. Here’s what you will find:
Domain ID:D117910110-LROR Domain Name:VOICESFORINNOVATION.ORG Created On:06-Mar-2006 23:49:37 UTC Last Updated On:14-Nov-2007 00:21:24 UTC Expiration Date:06-Mar-2009 23:49:37 UTC Sponsoring Registrar:Tucows Inc. (R11-LROR) Status:CLIENT TRANSFER PROHIBITED Status:CLIENT UPDATE PROHIBITED Registrant ID:tukvECSsFENx3T2h Registrant Name:Microsoft Corporation Registrant Organization:Microsoft Corporation
Diversionary tactics, holding action, and retreats may each seem contrary to the achievement of the overall objective when considered solely in their own terms, but taken in light of the overall conflict, may contribute to overall success. In the Chinese Civil War that followed World War II, Mao Tse Tung’s Army ran away from every battle, until they won the war. They knew that overall victory, not local victory, was the objective.
Thus it is imperative to measure each action in accordance with its contribution to overall, not just local, victory.
“A computer on every desk and in every home, running Microsoft software.” This is the mission statement of Microsoft itself; it is the definition of the conditions under which Microsoft itself can declare overall victory.
–Microsoft, internal document