Microsoft pulls the plug on paid IE social-media promotional campaign

Microsoft pulls the plug on paid IE social-media promotional campaign

Summary: Microsoft Internet Explorer officials are attempting to distance themselves from a paid social-media effort by an advocate marketing company meant to promote Microsoft's IE browser.

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TOPICS: Browser, Microsoft
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SocialChorus, an "advocate marketing" company, has been offering to pay bloggers for promoting Microsoft's Internet Explorer (IE) browser.

TechCrunch founder Michael Arrington posted to his Uncrunched blog on June 17 a note he received inviting him to blog about IE for pay.

Microsoft officials are distancing themselves from the paid-promotional campaign. An Microsoft spokesperson sent the following statement when asked about the SocialChorus invitation:

"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."

According to the SocialChorus Web site, Microsoft's Bing team is, or at least has been, one of SocialChorus' customers.

The link to the terms and conditions of the paid IE promotion has been removed from the Web. But according to the copy from that site, SocialChorus was operating a program called "RethinkIE Blogger Network."

There are not many tweets using that hashtag beyond those calling out the program, but I did see a few bloggers who seemed to be part of the program using the #IEbloggers hashtag for at least one post: Geek-news.net, DragonBlogger.com and PrettyOpinionated.com.

The SocialChorus RethinkIE site requested invited bloggers to send SocialChorus their "sponsored post rates," the dates the bloggers could publish their posts and general IE topics of their posts. The latest RethinkIE promotional offer required participants to post their blogs no later than July 10 and to use the hashtag #IEbloggers on two to three social networks.

"This will be a sponsored post opportunity and payment will be made out via check," the site plainly informed potential participants.

Many companies use promoted social-media campaigns. It's not illegal. Promotional posts, lined up on behalf of a variety of tech companies, can be found on a variety of Web sites. But if promotional tweets and posts aren't clearly marked as "sponsored," the slippery slope feels a lot more slippery to me...

Topics: Browser, Microsoft

About

Mary Jo has covered the tech industry for 30 years for a variety of publications and Web sites, and is a frequent guest on radio, TV and podcasts, speaking about all things Microsoft-related. She is the author of Microsoft 2.0: How Microsoft plans to stay relevant in the post-Gates era (John Wiley & Sons, 2008).

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36 comments
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  • IE11 is relevant enough

    Amusingly, I don't think they really need to pay for good press anymore... people just need to give IE11 a shot. I switched from IE to Firefox YEARS ago, but eventually ditched Firefox because of how poorly it managed memory. From there, I went to Chrome, and for a while it was great, but in seemingly typical Google fashion, it turned to crap. It's a resource hog, it SUCKS on touch screen interfaces, it doesn't support scaling properly, and I just got tired of Google's crap (thumbing their nose at Windows/WP 8+, for example).

    I've been using IE11 exclusively on my Surface Pro, and I've upgraded my work laptop to Windows 8.1 and now use IE11 exclusively on it. MS really got their act together with IE, it's not perfect, but it's back to being a browser I'm comfortable using full time.
    JoelS79
    • I test with it a lot

      but it doesn't yet score high enough on the HTML5 compat list to return to being my default browser.

      That said, yeah, I don't think they need to pay to promo it. The "IE doesn't suck anymore" campaign was useful two years ago, but the tech community is already aware that IE is back in the game, and they're the ones who drive adoption.
      Mac_PC_FenceSitter
      • Real question

        What HTML5 things is it missing that you use or need?

        I know a lot of people talk about HTML5 compatibility, as if it's sanctimonious, but nobody seems to be able to list the things they need that IE doesn't support right now. I'm not saying you can't, just asking.
        Michael Alan Goff
        • Well, useful case in point

          Date and time pickers.... built right into the spec and other browsers can do it out of the box. With IE, you have to painfully create some Javascript monstrosity.
          Mac_PC_FenceSitter
      • HTML Scorecards are not as accurate as they appear

        Be careful when you use something like HTML5tests.com to score a browser. The points are arbitrary and often weight toward early draft things. For example WebRTC carries a high weight, but is probably not a spec that is going to be the final implementation due to security issues. Yet Pointer support is low if scored at all, yet a very important API for modern devices.
        docluv62
        • This is a poor argument, really

          The HTML5 thing, at an official level, has dragged out from 2008 and will drone on until 2016.

          The W3C is taking years to actually finalize the spec, and yet we're all using it now. An element's functional usefulness is determined by its widespread availability. If IE is the only holdout on the implementation of something like WebAudio, then it can't take off - even if it should.

          I stand by my right to choose advanced and progressive browsers. I intend to, by my browser choice, reward early implementers with my patronage, and award it pride of place as my reference test browser.
          Mac_PC_FenceSitter
      • the browser you loved to hate

        I loved that campaign... They need to do more campaigns like that - the whole ragging on themselves while subtly slipping in the new improvements was brilliant.

        Every person I showed who hated IE all had the same response - first they forwarded a link to others they knew and then proceeded to download the latest version to give it a go again.
        aesonaus
        • That was a great campaign

          Everyone I know has seen it, too, so it had broad reach. It makes me wonder why they're still actively looking for sponsored content, really, as I think they've already done their job.
          Mac_PC_FenceSitter
          • they could do one for Surface

            "The windows tablet you used to hate" and have it go from someone being frustrated with a WinXP era Windows tablet to a new surface one, or something like that.

            And do a windows 8.1 one showing someone screwing around with just wanting to check their email and facebook in XP compared to how simples and efficient it is with the email and facebook apps on Win8.

            Oh ha ha just thought of yet another Windows 8 related one "The OS you loved to infect" and show how much more secure Win8.1 is compared to XP :)
            aesonaus
    • Memory, Web Development, Privacy

      Interestingly, the reason why I like Firefox over Chrome is how it handles memory. I generally keep my browser open and often have 20+ tabs open. I find that Chrome seems to crash and die often while this happens less often in Firefox. I work as a web developer and the only time I use IE is to make sure sites work there (and if there is a browser compatibility issue, its almost always IE). The inspect element feature in IE11 that developers use sucks SO bad. It's painfully slow and often just doesn't work. Chrome has a very good inspect element feature so I tend to use that for creating websites though Firefox is my default browser on my own machine. Also, from a privacy standpoint it seems Firefox > Chrome since Chrome collects user data and sends it back to Google.
      bimmin
      • same...

        I also switched back to FF full time since it crashes less and can handle more tabs than the other browsers - plus I'm probably a lot more nerdy than most people I know and like being able to customize everything, ie. choosing where UI elements go etc ;)

        I'm a web dev too, so have all browsers installed, but just find FF most reliable - and the odd time it has crashed, it's never failed to restore everything to where it was (I've lost my place due to crashes in other browsers too many times to continue using them for more than just compatibility testing).

        Yeah, I know, I'm constantly told by others that I have WAY too many tabs open - so I won't say how many I have open right now ;)
        iFX.64
    • you realize that microsoft is the king of thumbing their nose at others

      its only until recently when they have no choice. Windows phone has too small share for google to bother. Let me know when microsoft puts out IE for other OSs.
      Also I have never seen in all my years of using chrome across Mac, windows and various linux distros it "turn to crap". I'd blame windows for that if you are having such a problem. Windows always bogs down eventually.
      drwong
      • Not sure about that.

        I've seen my own Linux partitions turn to crap all while my Windows installation has been healthy.

        Of course, that may be due to the fact that I use the latter on a constant bases.

        I don't speak for everyone of course, but your mileage may vary.

        Besides, he stated the problems he had.

        It using more memory than it should isn't a Windows problem, it's a Chrome issue.

        The application itself is causing the problem, not the operating system.
        ForeverCookie
  • Kudos to MS

    But I have to wonder what SocialChorus' motivation was.
    John L. Ries
  • Well, you know, influence... flattery

    Looks like Microsoft has been inspired by Google
    Let's just not forget :

    http://searchengineland.com/googles-jaw-dropping-sponsored-post-campaign-for-chrome-106348
    Gee.B
  • Does this means some "usual posters" will go away?

    Just kidding....
    AleMartin
    • Unfortunately, Probably Not

      The paid positive comments may disappear but there's an ample supply of those who feel the need to post negative comments to counter even normal folks positive comments.
      robradina@...
      • Sadly, this is true.

        Whether there are paid-comments or not, there's nothing stopping fan-boys.

        This won't stop Microsoft haters from spamming Microsoft articles and vice-verse.
        ForeverCookie
        • Nor...

          ...will it stop MS-fans from demonstrating their eternal loyalty by spamming Apple and open source articles.

          But if people have something intelligent to say, they should say it, no matter what their preferred computing platform is. Whose side a poster is on doesn't matter in the slightest. The extent to which the points they make are valid and relevant is what counts.
          John L. Ries
          • I said vice-verse.

            Do you understand what vice-verse means?
            ForeverCookie