Microsoft Paying Bloggers To Write About Internet Explorer

Update: Microsoft says they’re suspending the program in a statement: “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.”

Why in the world is Microsoft (through an agency) trying pay bloggers to write about Internet Explorer? Do people still do this? And given my position on paid posts, why would they think I’d be willing to participate?

This is just layers of stupid.

Here’s the link in the request below. Here’s the hashtag (#IEbloggers) that they’re requesting people use, so I’m guessing anyone using that is getting paid.



74 thoughts on “Microsoft Paying Bloggers To Write About Internet Explorer

  1. Wonder how much your invoice can be.

  2. Roy Goldenberg says:

    I believe it will be easier for them to pay users to use Internet Explorer

  3. yuhong says:

    I wonder what does the linked page look like.

  4. Joxean says:

    Does it count writing about Internet Explorer vulnerabilities? Asking for a friend…

  5. Mat says:

    Step 1: spam a blogger
    Step 2: get a reaction posted publicly, albeit negative
    Step 3: press picks it up & #IEbloggers starts trending
    Step 4: …
    Step 5: Profit!

  6. The most important paragraph is disclosure. As long as it’s disclosed as a sponsored post I have no issue.

    “For every blog post you complete on behalf of a SocialChorus program, you must include a logo for the brand and disclosure code. These codes can be found on the blogger hub for the program you are participating in. Once you include this code, you do not need to include any further disclosures.”

  7. Not sure if you’re still using IE and that’s why you got pitched…but I think you’d much prefer our Epic Privacy Browser and we positively won’t pay you if you write about us (sorry can’t resist an opportunity to plug, nor to send belated thanks for the aggressive questioning (as usual) of Tech Leaders last year about NSA surveillance).

  8. a5849103 says:

    Wow, shocked! Nobody’s doing this! Neither Google, nor Samsung, nor anyone else! Just evil Microsoft!

    C’mon, don’t be an idiot. In this situation it’s you who’s bad because your published this chat without permission of the man who wrote you.

  9. Tony Hue says:

    “Go Techcrunch!”

    My sides.

  10. james says:

    Is your post for real? Its 2014. Lol

  11. AMR says:

    Mike, What if it’s just a prank message to make some fun of you – well, more than you, fun of MSFT & IE?

  12. rajesh says:

    In India, they have been running these 100% paid content with media sites like your story. this is a standard practice it seems by microsoft.

    but are they so dumb that they haven’t yet updated this unbouncepages landing content? that’s microsoft – the update will go through a few levels.

  13. Rob Boerman says:

    I can’t believe you’d be willing to miss out on all the “fun prizes” to be won. If that doesn’t convince you, nothing will!

  14. Daniel Su says:

    Welcome to the 21st Century Michael. You’re clearly too stupid to understand the advertising business

  15. Tim Acheson says:

    This is blatantly fake.

    It’s not even a convincing fake. E.g. The features listed as new are all pre-existing features. I find it incredible that a TechCrunch journo would not notice that and point it out, if he thought the story is noteworthy.

    Which PR agency? What name was given? Why didn’t he contact Microsoft to validate the story? What about the fact that Microsoft’s policy does not allow this practice? What about the incorrect list of new features? These are among the extra layers of stupidity added by the blogger himself.

    The blogger’s attempt to take the moral high ground on tech journo benefits is ridiculous. He knows that Google and Apple routinely pay for free flights, hotels, gadgets and other things for loyal opinion leaders, e.g. Charles Arthur the editor of the tech section of the world’s most popular newspaper website.

    This spurious story has all the hallmarks of a Google negative PR stunt,and the journalist is too eager to make.a sensationalist headline out of it without asking the most obvious questions that would make it less noteworthy.


  16. Tim Acheson says:

    The “RethinkIE Blogger Network!” is entirely fictional. One phone call to Microsoft could have settled that. But why let inconvenient obstacles like truth and common-sense get in the way of a great story?

    No PR agency has ever or would ever invite invoices in this way without agreeing a figure up front — effectively offering a blank cheque. I do not think it is beyond the journalistic capabilities of Arrington to see through this.

    Despite the ridiculousness and inaccuracy of the hoax and the obvious comedy value of the wording, a degree of effort has gone into the quantity of copy involved — both the email and the suspicious web URL. The most.obvious suspect is Google.

  17. Tim Acheson says:

    It’s well known that MS bashing, and IE bashing in particular, has long been a popular sport for Apple, Google, and certain tech commentators. This hoax and the willingness to let it pass without question takes the pathological browser wars to new depths of dirty tricks.


    • zato says:

      “It’s well known that MS bashing, and IE bashing in particular, has long been a popular sport for Apple, Google”

      That’s a good one, coming from the Tech Internet’s #1 daily basher of Apple.

      As we all know, propaganda is job-one at Microsoft. I thought that removing Ballmer would stop this kind of sleazy, a-hole behavior from MS, but it continues. It needs to stop. All the outstanding rotten Ballmer BS needs to be buried in a very deep hole forever, if MS wants to be respected.

  18. IE must be hemoraging users for Microsoft to do something this desperate!

  19. Sven Neuhaus says:

    It worked! You wrote about it. 😉

  20. aqilaqamar says:

    Reblogged this on Iconography ♠ Incomplete and commented:
    Despo marketing hahaha

  21. Sergey says:

    I hope everyone knows how long Google has been doing this in many ways.

    • Tim Acheson says:

      Nobody notices when Google does something like this, then when Microsoft allegedly does it for the first time ever it’s a big deal. The double standards of the industry.

    • Tim Acheson says:

      Ironically, the reason why tech journalism is so silent on the transgressions of Google and Apple, and the reason why Microsoft is subjected to such scrutiny, is probably precisely because Apple and Google do routinely reward loyal and embedded journalists and opinion leaders while Microsoft has a policy against it.

  22. Robotech_Master says:

    I like how even in their response they continued to be tone deaf. “Go TechCrunch!”

    Really? The people who tossed Arrington out on his ear? 😛

  23. Jeremy Bray says:

    I’m not at all surprised as I had a similar relationship with Microsoft a couple of years ago. When they contacted me, they were putting together a program called the Microsoft Student Insiders where they found (or more accurately, they had a marketing firm find) students who were influential in the tech space who would be interested in sharing stuff about various Microsoft products to their communities. Since I had a semi-popular blog, tech news podcast and twitter accounts with thousands of followers, they approached me about the opportunity and I accepted (I was really hoping there was a chance it would lead to a job with them but it never happened). However in the case of the Student Insider program, we were never paid money for our posts, but they flew us to Redmond a couple times as well as to various Microsoft conferences like PDC and MIX. We also got all kinds of goodies like a netbook, Flip cam, backpacks, free software and a ton of other stuff. It was definitely a fun program until a new lady took it over and ran it into the ground until they basically killed the program without telling any of us who were in it. In hind sight, I’m not sure I should have done it because while it was an incredible experience, I hated the pressure I felt to write positive things when I really didn’t want to and I feel it hurt my credibility. Live and learn I suppose.

    • Tim Acheson says:

      Google and Apple routinely reward loyal journos and opinion leaders with free flights, hotels, gadgets, and more. Some are quite open about it, e.g. Charles Arthur the editor of the tech section of the world’s most popular newspaper website.

      • Michael Arrington says:

        Google does. I’ve never heard of Apple doing this. Apple does blacklist anyone who writes anything slightly critical of them though.

  24. Jason says:

    Given the years of abuse web devs have taken under IE over the years, it presents Microsoft, as the newly reformed parent, with a really difficult problem of trying to get their estranged kids to talk to them again, long enough to given them another chance.

    Whithout condoning the paying bloggers, they have so much bad will saved up, it seems like a hopeless situation to try and get ppl to try ie again long enough to change opinions

  25. Alin says:

    “Go techcrunch!”
    They knew they were going to served.

  26. Alin says:

    “Go, Techcrunch!”
    They knew they had it coming.

  27. Funny how he talks about how he loves your “aesthetic and blogging style,” and then follows up with a “whoops, didn’t realize that was you.” Classy.

  28. mhenders says:

    Love how he appreciates your “aesthetic and blogging style” and then follows that up with an, “Oh whoops, didn’t realize that was you.” — Classy.

  29. People are still doing Social Media without knowing their audiences, bloggers and journalists. No matter where: there are people doing the same thing here in Brazil…

  30. JJ says:

    Not sure what the big issue is. 1) They point out that it’s a sponsored post. Most blogs do this, and mark it clearly that it’s a sponsored post. 2) You could do it and give an honest opinion. Their is nothing in their document that says you have to write a specific thing, just that you need to write about your experiences.

    Mountains and molehills.

  31. Nick Ker says:

    How misguided! Does IE really need search traffic? Do people actually search for a web browser?!

  32. Paul d'Aoust says:

    What I find puzzling is that IE10 and 11 are quite exceptional — innovative, even — so they shouldn’t need to give anyone incentive to write about how they’ve changed. The surprising quality of the product should be its own incentive, because it’s pretty newsworthy. (I got paid $5 for saying that, by the way.)

    Yet I don’t see a lot of articles about it, and my browser stats still say they’re struggling behind Chrome, iOS Safari, and even Android Browser. I wonder why. (I know I don’t use it except for compatibility testing, and I hope MS won’t take their $5 back if I say that.)

    • runej says:

      I will say one good thing about IE in newest incarnation, actually IE10+.

      It is now possible for me to develop web sites in Linux, which actually seems to work in IE, and without hacks. This means I do not have to install Windows just to test my web sites, and I find that a big plus, especially considering the horrible new Windows8 UI.

      Rest of my opinion on IE is not so good, but if Microsoft pays me, I will refine it and make up some good stuff. I suppose, since Microsft are experiensed in lying, that they can help a little too.

  33. Dobrev (@p_dobrev) says:

    How do you know it’s not a double bluff? They just so “happen” to send you the email, knowing you’ll bring the whole thing up in a media as big as TechCrunch and that’ll get them the attention they need. For the cost of, well… nothing.

  34. Costa K says:

    I’m always suspicious of exclamation marks.

    “Spread the word on the new IE browsing experience!”

    They seem to be a sign of desperation rather than excitement.

  35. “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.”

    Bullsh**. More than half of their workforce is made up of “vendors” or V- employees. That vendor was working for an FTE (full time employee) who probably put the program together! What a bunch of malarkey!

  36. iphone domo says:

    Wow this is crazy, Vendors is working for a FTE? this reminds me of aristas directed shares program by ceo

  37. youtube says:

    Befor you know it they gonna start blogging about fake stuff en people gonna follow these bloggers offcourse I say this because IE is unsafe… You rule michael 😀

    • Tim Acheson says:

      @Arrington You seem unduly surprised by this, considering that it’s common knowledge that other companies (not Microsoft) do this routinely.

      I don’t recall you or others expressing such outrage or comedy when Google has done it.

      In fact, not only has Google been called out for sponsored posts, on at least one one occasion for extra comedy value their own algorithm penalized it! I don’t recall you or most of the others even mentioning it:-

      Highlighting this story, while ignoring others who do it, and even acting like nobody else is doing it, exposes this entire story as little more than run-of-the mill MS-bashing and browser-wars.

      • runej says:

        Oh… you mean like… when Microsoft makes a Scroogled campaign telling everybody Google is stealing personal data, when Microsoft is doing the exact same thing? Skype anyone? How about the smart search in Windows8? And that little thing about DNT, you remember that? Your big selling point in IE9… which you now do not even comply to yourself, if you read your own EULA?

        What is the bloddy differense, when you’re both thieves?

        Microsoft is a bunsh of liars and they tries to hide it, with very little success. Google doesn’t try to hide they’re using personal data for ads. They tell it to everyone who wants to listen. Microsoft hides their data stealing, by accusing Google of doing what they do themselves.

        It’s a thief accusing another thief of stealing and it’s stupid if anything is. I NEVER saw or heard anyone at Google making such campauigns against Microsoft. Google always focus on their own products, not your sh***y ones.

        I trust Google way more than Microsoft for that one reason. I simply cannot take Microsoft seriously anymore. It’s a joke company.


  38. Peter Comaish says:

    Aren’t you sad they won’t pay you? They don’t seem to have much knowledge of what rivals do better & why many of us prefer their rivals for browsing the internet. Have they found a better way getting you to your opinions about their latest offering?

  39. I love it! It is almost like when he says “I’m not sure how you wound up on the list. Go TechCrunch!” he is saying to himself “whoops this is completely the wrong person to email about this offer”. And their cover was blown.
    It really does blow my mind how a company of this size can run a campaign and yet not know what the campaign is doing. They should have contractually agreed on every aspect before it happened.

  40. I always use Internet Explorer to find Google!

    [invoice for $100 sent to Redmond]

  41. Seriously? No one can do this unless they are desperate to be popular

  42. Tim Acheson says:

    UPDATE: “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.”

    This story was at most a rogue PR agent involved in actions which were not authorised by Microsoft. This was always the most obvious explanation.

    It’s a non-story, in contrast to the official sponsored blog posts and embedded journalism strategies routinely employed by both Google and Apple which nobody mentions let alone hypes in the way this story has been.

  43. CS Guru says:

    If this is true, and I repeat, IF this is true, rather than paying bloggers to write good about Internet explorer, Microsoft should launch one crazy witch-hunt to stop ultra creative Meme artists.

    A picture is worth 1000 words and in case of meme its 10 folds more. The memes have done more damage to IE than IE made it to itself.

    Look here for example:

    MS would not need to pay bloggers if these guys are on MS side 🙂


    PS: I got 100$ to give this very vital suggestion 😛

  44. Sarah Gotheridge says:

    This happens all the time but I’m glad Microsoft ditched Internet Explorer in Windows 10.

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