Repeat after me: Don’t pay people to write about your thing. Repeat after me: Don’t offer to pay people to write about your thing. Repeat after me: People will write about your thing if they think that your thing is cool, or newsworthy, so build things that are cool, or newsworthy.
Microsoft was called out last night for a program, executed through a third party, offering “compensation” for a “sponsored post [about] Internet Explorer.” Deadline: July 10th. The request also required “sharing links to the new Internet Explorer across your social channels,” according to a copy of an email sent to TechCrunch founder and past editor Michael Arrington.
Reached for comment, a Microsoft spokesperson indicated that the “action by a vendor is not representative of the way Microsoft works with bloggers or other members of the media,” and that the “program has been suspended.”
Oops. Even though this was something done by a third party, and promptly killed, it harms Microsoft. Whenever we read a piece that has anything positive to say about Internet Explorer for the next say, year, we’ll have to wonder if money traded hands. Not good.
Ironically, Internet Explorer has been steadily improving over the past few years, so why a third party decided that paying people to scribble posts about it is odd. Anyway, from now until July 10, treat any post you see on Internet Explorer from someone you don’t trust as suspect.