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Paid Media Must Be Disclosed In Oracle v. Google

Soulskill posted about a year and a half ago | from the bring-out-your-shills dept.

Android 165

jfruh writes "One of the odder moments during the Oracle v. Google trial over Java patents came when patent blogger Florian Mueller disclosed that he had a 'consulting relationship' with Oracle. Now it looks like we're going to find out which other tech bloggers and journalists were on the payroll of one of the two sides in this epic fight. Judge William Alsup has ordered (PDF) that both parties disclose 'all authors, journalists, commentators or bloggers who have reported or commented on any issues in this case and who have received money (other than normal subscription fees) from the party or its counsel during the pendency of this action.'"

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165 comments

Interesting (0, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#40909763)

This will be very interesting.

Re:Interesting (0)

drinkydoh (2658743) | about a year and a half ago | (#40910013)

Not really. Everyone has a certain self-interest in things that, well, interest them. That Mueller was acting as consultant for Oracle should not come as a big surprise - he's good with tech and therefore has certain opinions too.

I don't really understand why Slashdot has got the hate towards him.

Re:Interesting (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#40910407)

I don't really understand why Slashdot has got the hate towards him.

Um, because he didn't disclose his relationship with Oracle until long after he'd started publishing articles despite his full knowledge of being cited by various mainstream media orgs like the BBC. He came clean in April of this year yet prior to that he is cited numerous times (example [bbc.com] ) taking an antagonistic position against Android all the while allowing everyone to remain blissfully ignorant of who was really paying his bills. The guy is a snake.

Re:Interesting (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#40910479)

Yeah, he puts an anti-Android editorial spin on his reporting, but outside of that, he's one of the few bloggers generally releasing information and facts about the cases, patents, etc. Most of the remaining tech press that even bothers to cover this stuff generally has little to nothing in the ways of facts, let alone content outside of the headline.

Re:Interesting (2)

oakgrove (845019) | about a year and a half ago | (#40910733)

he's one of the few bloggers generally releasing information and facts about the cases, patents, etc.

He wraps his "facts" in so much editorial spin to make them worthless to the layman which is what many of the media that cites him are directed towards. If you want facts about cases and patents it's all public record. The only thing he brings to the table is his opinions which are remarkably consistently wrong.

Re:Interesting (1)

viperidaenz (2515578) | about a year and a half ago | (#40910745)

So he increases his credibility by releasing facts other media outlets don't bother with, putting more traction on his anti-android editorials that Oracle pay him for?

Re:Interesting (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#40910949)

Is he paid to promote himself and his clients here? He has "many" sockpuppet supporters, including the people operating the bonch account. They spend considerable effort modbombing corporate-unfriendly opinions and upmodding other shill accounts controlled by their public relations firm, such as:

        DavidSell
        ByOhTek
        antitithenai
        Bonch
        TechGuys
        Overly Critical Guy
        CmdrPony
        InsightIn140Bytes
        InterestingFella
        HairyFeet
        SharkLaser
        jo_ham
        DCTech
        smithz
        HankMoody

By influencing the moderation process, these accounts influence the public opinion regarding the companies which employ them, such as Apple, Oracle and Microsoft, not only through astroturf blogging campaigns but also by censoring negative opinion.

Re:Interesting (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#40910409)

because he's spreading a lot of FUD and has a very bad track record?

Re:Interesting (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#40910471)

So, how much money did you get?

Re:Interesting (2)

chowdahhead (1618447) | about a year and a half ago | (#40910561)

Because he's not a lawyer or a paralegal. But he apparently believes that he's still qualified to be an "expert" on patent-related litigation, and much of what he writes on his blog is inaccurate, untruthful, and sometimes downright foolish. Furthermore, while he was once vehemently opposed to software patents, he's now bedfellows with Oracle and Microsoft--two of the most ardent supporters (and in recent time, abusers) of software patents. The guy has a major credibility problem.

Re:Interesting (5, Informative)

dell623 (2021586) | about a year and a half ago | (#40910761)

Have a look at this http://www.groklaw.net/article.php?story=20120724125504129 [groklaw.net]

The fact that he was loudly and incessantly and inaccurately criticizing Google throughout the trial while being a paid Oracle consultant and turned out to be completely hilariously utterly stupidly wrong about every single thing raised some eyebrows in the right places. Finally.

If you have the patience to trawl through some of his writings you immediately realize how biased he is. He has a deep unexplained hatred for anything Google and is constantly harping on how all Android manufacturers should just pay Microsoft to license their patents. Guess the other paid consulting relationship he revealed, yup, it's with Microsoft.

He claims he is conducting a study on FRAND patents for Microsoft, and he continues to write on the issue with a decidedly pro-Microsoft perspective (one appropriate for a company with limited standard essential FRAND patents but thousands of software patents). So his perspective on FRAND patents is exactly the same as Microsoft, he is doing a paid study on FRAND patents for them, and yet he continues to write on the issue like he is an unbiased commentator.

His pro-Microsoft leanings predate his pro-Oracle posts (because the consulting relationship with Microsoft is older). You won't find a scrap of writing that criticizes anything about Microsoft in his blog. When something happens that is embarrassing to Microsoft (like the B&N trail before MS gobbled them up), he completely ignores it. He sometimes criticizes Apple mildly but treads carefully, so I assume he wants to work for them but they haven't thrown him a bone yet.

He is a self proclaimed expert with no law degree. The reason he is quoted so widely is because he is known to email his blog entries to every single media outlet and until recently, there weren't that many people writing about technology patents. Yes, I find it infuriating to find him quoted exclusively in major media outlets. Imagine if there was a consultant conducting a Google-funded study on privacy writing about online privacy and how Google's practices are acceptable, and getting quoted by every single major media outlet.

Re:Interesting (1)

v1 (525388) | about a year and a half ago | (#40910377)

I was thinking more entertaining. Especially if the list is either (A) long, (B) contains some very high profile or normally impartial authorities, or BOTH.

Better go make some popcorn...

Uh oh (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#40909765)

That Pppprrrrrr sound is the noise of dozens of bloggers and self appointed media pundits simultaneously crapping their pants.

Re:Uh oh (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#40910211)

and that is the awesomes.

probably the best "from the X dept." line in weeks, if not months...

Re:Uh oh (1)

oakgrove (845019) | about a year and a half ago | (#40910427)

I hope this goes all the way through. It'll be better than when Anonymous threatened to out the Mexican cartel collaborators.

Corporate benefits (3, Insightful)

pushing-robot (1037830) | about a year and a half ago | (#40909807)

Every Oracle employee will now be provided a retroactive subscription to a collection of technology blogs and news sites. Don't worry, all expenses will be paid for by the company.

Re:Corporate benefits (1)

jyujin (2701721) | about a year and a half ago | (#40910059)

Indeed, wouldn't expect an AAA to let down their corporate property, errrr citizens, errrr wait that hasn't happened yet.

Oh. (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#40909825)

I want to make it totally clear that it must be some other Anonymous Coward who's been taking money from both sides.

--
I do not usually reply to gweihir (88907) either. So there.

Re:Oh. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#40910847)

I'm willing to have corporations give me money!

But it probably won't have a direct impact on what I say.

Now, can we get people who donate money for "issue" political ads to have to be revealed? And corporations who donate money to political ads, how about making them state WHO in the corporation decided on those donations for those ads?

Anonymous Speech, First Amendment? (1)

malx (7723) | about a year and a half ago | (#40909831)

Let's set aside the quibbles, and for the sake of argument just roll with the notion that these writers are mere shills for the Oracle and Google, respectively (after all, that's the notion that clearly lies behind this ruling).

Isn't the right to speak anonymously protected by the First Amendment? Doesn't that protection extend to Oracle and Google too?

(I know corporate speech isn't as vigorously protected under the First Amendment, but it is still protected somewhat. And this speech isn't advertising (as with most limitations on corporate speech), it's closer to legal/political commentary).

I would be most interested to see this in SCOTUS.

Re:Anonymous Speech, First Amendment? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#40909919)

Let's set aside the quibbles, and for the sake of argument just roll with the notion that these writers are mere shills for the Oracle and Google, respectively (after all, that's the notion that clearly lies behind this ruling).

Isn't the right to speak anonymously protected by the First Amendment? Doesn't that protection extend to Oracle and Google too?

(I know corporate speech isn't as vigorously protected under the First Amendment, but it is still protected somewhat. And this speech isn't advertising (as with most limitations on corporate speech), it's closer to legal/political commentary).

I would be most interested to see this in SCOTUS.

There is, in general, no right to anonymity.

Re:Anonymous Speech, First Amendment? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#40909955)

nevermind, i'm wrong.

Re:Anonymous Speech, First Amendment? (1)

Fwipp (1473271) | about a year and a half ago | (#40909939)

I don't think it's obvious that anonymous speech is protected by the first amendment.

Re:Anonymous Speech, First Amendment? (2)

Desler (1608317) | about a year and a half ago | (#40909985)

It's also a tough case to claim something is anonymous speech when you blog under your legal name.

Re:Anonymous Speech, First Amendment? (3, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#40910147)

I don't think it's obvious that anonymous speech is protected by the first amendment.

Well you're entitled to your opinion of course but by contrast the Supreme Court says:

"Protections for anonymous speech are vital to democratic discourse. Allowing dissenters to shield their identities frees them to express critical minority views . . . Anonymity is a shield from the tyranny of the majority. . . . It thus exemplifies the purpose behind the Bill of Rights and of the First Amendment in particular: to protect unpopular individuals from retaliation . . . at the hand of an intolerant society."

(McIntyre v. Ohio Elections Commission, 1995)

--
I don't usually reply to gweihir (88907) either. So there.

Re:Anonymous Speech, First Amendment? (1)

Desler (1608317) | about a year and a half ago | (#40910199)

How is this 'anonymous speech'? These people blog under their legal names not under some cloak of anonymity or a psuedonym.

Re:Anonymous Speech, First Amendment? (1)

vux984 (928602) | about a year and a half ago | (#40910335)

Read the whole thread. The thread topic had drifted away from this specific case, to the more general question of whether or not anonomous speech was actually protected.

He responded that anonymous speech was in fact protected.

He never said the specific case at hand with Google and Oracle is actually anonomous speech.

Re:Anonymous Speech, First Amendment? (1)

Fwipp (1473271) | about a year and a half ago | (#40910353)

Ah, that's good to hear. Thanks for pointing me at the right court case.

Re:Anonymous Speech, First Amendment? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#40910607)

Oh [pbs.org] , I [wintersoldiers.com] duhno [wikipedia.org] .

posting anon because I may or may not be a Founding Father

Re:Anonymous Speech, First Amendment? (1)

HarrySquatter (1698416) | about a year and a half ago | (#40909947)

How exactly is writing a blog post under your legal name 'anonymous speech'? Also, no, it isn't protected to write shill blog posts under while being paid by a corporation. The FTC, for example, in 2009 made explicit rules about bliggers having to disclose if a company is paying them if they do product reviews.

Re:Anonymous Speech, First Amendment? (1)

jhoegl (638955) | about a year and a half ago | (#40910017)

Bliggers, is that what we are calling paid pundits for shill corporations? :)
I wouldnt mind coming up with a word for these types of people. "Advertisement" is too nice.

Re:Anonymous Speech, First Amendment? (1)

jbeaupre (752124) | about a year and a half ago | (#40910007)

It would apply if they were anonymous. Google and Oracle know who they are. They paid them. And if they were paid, then there exists the possibility that the content (speech) was not entirely theirs, but Google's and Oracle's.

The judge is asking Google and Oracle for list of who may have spoken on their behalf.

Re:Anonymous Speech, First Amendment? (1)

v1 (525388) | about a year and a half ago | (#40910641)

This almost sounds like astroturfing, but instead of using shills for public supporters, they're using shills for public reviewers. Not really much of a difference is there?

Re:Anonymous Speech, First Amendment? (3, Insightful)

N0Man74 (1620447) | about a year and a half ago | (#40910019)

Whether or not it is protected, I don't think that Anonymous speech is the same thing as when a non-anonymous author being paid to give a biased opinion while hiding the fact that they are being paid to give that opinion.

Re:Anonymous Speech, First Amendment? (1)

sumdumass (711423) | about a year and a half ago | (#40910417)

Why wouldn't it be the same? Anonymous sources use the news media all the time to get a message out anonymously. It's really no different other then a dislike for one more then another.

I'm more concerned with assuming that someone receiving money in some way is automatically considered a shill. I have personally posted things to blogs anonymously in the past favoring employers I had not because they paid me to post, but because I supported what I wrote. I was paid for doing other things not associated with any postings.

I have also anonymously posted stuff that would pretty much make me unhirable from a competitor (my then current employer too) should I ever wanted to change jobs and remain in the same field. I ended up going to work for an advocacy group that mirrored my opinions of the matters. That did not make me a shill, it made me someone who stood up for what they believed in.

While I have been paid while working for people who benefited from my anonymous opinions, I have never received a dime to have them or make them known. I have about 6 online identities I can't use any more that if I did it right, no one can piece them together as the same person. I have many more waiting to be used too.

Re:Anonymous Speech, First Amendment? (1)

oakgrove (845019) | about a year and a half ago | (#40910493)

Why wouldn't it be the same? Anonymous sources use the news media all the time to get a message out anonymously. It's really no different other then a dislike for one more then another.

There is precedent for the FTC coming down on shilling [ftc.gov] . It could be argued in court that paying bloggers to whitewash a brand is a "testimonial". I'm not a lawyer so I'm sure a good one could dream up all sorts of ways to unmask the miscreants legally.

Re:Anonymous Speech, First Amendment? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#40910509)

I have personally posted things to blogs anonymously

It's a good thing you aren't a paid shill because you're not nearly smart enough. In your case you are posting anonymously. The judge is asking for the names of people that are explicitly not posting anonymously. He's not going after random commenters but people like Florian Mueller who haven't admitted who's paying the bills yet.

Re:Anonymous Speech, First Amendment? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#40910033)

For a start most people do not think corporations should have any "rights", they are legal fictions for the economic convenience of the country not people, there members have rights they have none or should have none. Secondly speaking or expressing your opinion publicly or privately and secretly bribing others (with existing respect and followers) to say what you like for commercial advantage are different things. If they had anonymous employees post on line you might have had a point, so long as the affect was to express their views not a deceptive skewing of the apparent consensus, they did not.

Judge William Alsup for Supreme Court! (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#40910079)

This may have nothing to do with anonymous speech. When "expert" opinions are being considered in court, they must be able to withstand scrutiny. Florian Mueller is not just some random interested party, he published an article claiming that he had evidence of copyright infringement.

http://www.fosspatents.com/2011/01/new-evidence-supports-oracles-case.html

If Oracle used his opinions in court, Google should be given the opportunity to cross examine him.

Either way, it is nice to see someone rubbing Florian's nose in it. Another great ruling by Judge Alsup!

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Florian_M%C3%BCller#Google_vs_Oracle_copyright

Re:Anonymous Speech, First Amendment? (1)

Cid Highwind (9258) | about a year and a half ago | (#40910129)

A judge can generally order parties to a case in his court to disclose all sorts of things that would normally be confidential.

Re:Anonymous Speech, First Amendment? (1)

vlm (69642) | about a year and a half ago | (#40910205)

Let's set aside the quibbles, and for the sake of argument just roll with the notion that these writers are mere shills for the Oracle and Google, respectively (after all, that's the notion that clearly lies behind this ruling).

Isn't the right to speak anonymously protected by the First Amendment? Doesn't that protection extend to Oracle and Google too?

Its to protect the profits of the corporations who are not hiring, not the people who they hire. Surprised? Shouldn't be.

I am no one's official spokesweasel (have you read what I write? no corp would be that insane). I can write something jury tamper-ish or jury influence-ish or stock price influencing and there's not a whole heck of a lot the judge can do about it unless I was served a gag order first or can prove I am revealing trade secrets or otherwise doing something shady. Basically if I'm not guilty of fraud/libel/industrial espionage I have to be left alone aside from SLAPP suits, which due to the Streisand Effect are not as powerful as they were 20 years ago.

However... what if I was a secret astroturfer... unless the judge lays down the law on astroturfers on both sides, the "good guys" need to "protect themselves" by hiring their own astroturfers. They have stock values to maintain, they have a financial obligation to try to influence the jury as much as the "bad guys", etc. Its an astroturf arms race.

Its just a huge mess where everyone has to hire astroturfers unless the judge protects the good guys by laying down the law. Its an arms control law aimed at the people in charge of hiring astroturfers. Not much to do with the astroturfers themselves, other than they get pissed off because they won't get hired by either side.

Re:Anonymous Speech, First Amendment? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#40910441)

Obviously, IANAL, and if I was, I'm certainly not *your* lawyer. However...

Isn't the right to speak anonymously protected by the First Amendment? Doesn't that protection extend to Oracle and Google too?

I would certainly hope not.

The right to express an opinion is (and should be) enshrined in law. This does not mean that all speech -- or ideas -- should be covered as "free speech." The commonly cited exception is shouting "fire!" in a crowded area and your culpability in any panic that may ensue, but the nuisance is just the trivial case. Imagine that you offend the sensibilities of a certain printing magnate. This individual then expends considerable time, effort, and funds to slander your reputation, but due to position, can do so without any personal attribution. When you (rightly) press charges, the judge tells you that the anonymity of the speaker overrides your right to live in an area without being actively harassed.

In addition, paid speech has never been protected as free speech. If a random individual says that the best cure for what ails you (Hepatitis B, let's say) is Viagra, that's just some dude's opinion. If Pfizer says that the best cure for HepB is Viagra, they've committed a fairly serious crime -- off-label marketing is not taken lightly.

CAPTCHA: misusing

Re:Anonymous Speech, First Amendment? (2)

Shompol (1690084) | about a year and a half ago | (#40910497)

And this speech isn't advertising

Paid speech isn't advertising? Well it definitely has a conflict of interest.. I heard about a court order in the past, that if a radio station is paid to play some song with the purpose of promotion it should state that "the following is a paid advertisement".

Being paid under the table while pretending to produce "objective" tech writer opinions is nothing short of deception. Luckily it was not hard to to figure it out [slashdot.org] even before the disclosure.

Re:Anonymous Speech, First Amendment? (1)

stephanruby (542433) | about a year and a half ago | (#40910773)

Personally, I'd consider this anonymous speech only if the "shills" themselves had been trying to be anonymous, or if the shills themselves had been representing the fact that the speech they were conveying was an advertisement coming from some anonymous sponsor.

In other words, if a paid "shill" really did use their own identity and their own personal/professional fame to misrepresent the fact your talking points was coming from them, and not you, then I'd say the corporation did a lot more than just try to anonymize its speech.

Also, I'm not sure this order from the judge will uncover all the paid shills out there. Many corporations use PR firms and ad agencies, and then those agencies are probably the ones that farm out the work to professional shills and journalists. And unfortunately, the judge's order doesn't seem to require those paid PR firms or ad agencies to disclose the paid consultants they've themselves hired.

Wait, what?! (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#40909849)

Florian Mueller paid schill?! Well smack my arse and call me Susan. I was not expecting that.
A veritable bolt from the blue.

Re:Wait, what?! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#40910073)

Mueller at least disclosed his employment with Oracle. It will be more interesting to see how deep the rabbit hole goes for Google.

Re:Wait, what?! (3, Interesting)

Grishnakh (216268) | about a year and a half ago | (#40910305)

Considering how easily Google won the case, and how ridiculous Oracle's claims were, Google probably didn't really need to hire any shills. There were tons of people right here on Slashdot taking their side with no payment at all, because it was plainly obvious that Google was in the right. It doesn't surprise me that Oracle needed to pay off some shills to take their side.

Now this doesn't mean that Google definitely didn't hire any shills, but it is my contention that it probably wasn't necessary.

Re:Wait, what?! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#40910307)

I know, right? Boggles the mind.

Pass the Popcorn (1)

Rob Riggs (6418) | about a year and a half ago | (#40909851)

Now this is going to be fun! Part of me would rather remain blissfully ignorant on this...

why? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#40909861)

why would the judge care other than for his own curiosity? what possible impact could it have on the case?

Re:why? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#40909977)

methinks perhaps the judge may have found some credence in groklaw posting about
auth... errr. shills attempting to influence this decision before it even hit court. maybe try to bend
a party from going through court and settle?

Re:why? (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#40910177)

Maybe he's curious about Groklaw itself? While IMO they're authentic freetards, they do take highly partisan pro-corporation views that extends beyond 'free software' issues.

Re:why? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#40910663)

Hey faggot. How many dicks you sucked today? Wipe your mouth I think I see Larry Ellison's cum dripping.

Re:why? (1)

Baloroth (2370816) | about a year and a half ago | (#40910035)

Because it might have relevance in appeals, which Oracle has shown a clear intention of pursuing. This judge has actually been very careful about creating a thorough result so that there isn't a lot to appeal, and this seems to be in that same vein.

Re:why? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#40910263)

maybe I'm naive to think that once it ended up in court it was to be decided by the jury based on the evidence, not by what bloggers and journalist may or maybe not have been paid to write

Re:why? (1)

oakgrove (845019) | about a year and a half ago | (#40910649)

maybe I'm naive to think that once it ended up in court it was to be decided by the jury based on the evidence, not by what bloggers and journalist may or maybe not have been paid to write

Yes, you are naive actually. Read [sbnation.com] the order to avoid any further confusion or just keep reading this post for the relevant bits.

The Court is concerned that the parties and/or counsel herein may have retained or paid print or internet authors, journalists, commentators or bloggers who have and/or may publish comments on the issues in this case. Although proceedings in this matter are almost over, they are not fully over yet and, in any event, the disclosure required by this order would be of use on appeal or on any remand to make clear whether any treatise, article, commentary or analysis on the issues posed by this case are possibly influenced by financial relationships to the parties or counsel. Therefore, each side and its counsel shall file a statement herein clear identifying all authors, journalists, commentators or bloggers who have reported or commented on any issues in this case and who have received money (other than normal subscription fees) from the party or its counsel during the pendency of this action. This disclosure shall be filed by NOON ON FRIDAY, AUGUST 17, 2012.

IT IS SO ORDERED.

Dated: August 7, 2012.

WILLIAM ALSUP

UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE

Now lets hope Apple joins them (4, Interesting)

fredprado (2569351) | about a year and a half ago | (#40909899)

It would be very interesting if it happens to Apple too. I can safely bet Apple is the technology company that has more "journalists" in their payroll.

precedent is here (1)

poetmatt (793785) | about a year and a half ago | (#40909941)

If the judge in the apple case is following this one from Alsup (one can hope), then I bet that will come up as well. The interesting part will be seeing which journalists, etc are on which payrolls in conjunction - as it's not hard to contrive that apple/ms/oracle has the same pundits on the payroll for all 3. We already have 2 of 3 confirmed by Florian.

Re:Now lets hope Apple joins them (0)

Desler (1608317) | about a year and a half ago | (#40910021)

You can safely bet that every major corporation have people on their payroll to make friendly articles for them.

Re:Now lets hope Apple joins them (1)

Jeng (926980) | about a year and a half ago | (#40910309)

You can safely bet that every major corporation have people on their payroll to make friendly articles for them.

Yes, corporate PR hands off press releases which then get changed very little and then printed.

Re:Now lets hope Apple joins them (1)

Bill Dimm (463823) | about a year and a half ago | (#40910391)

You can safely bet that every major corporation have people on their payroll to make friendly articles for them.

Yes, corporate PR hands off press releases which then get changed very little and then printed.

It's not really fair to assume that is due to money changing hands -- it's just easier/cheaper to reprint a press release than write something from scratch.

Re:Now lets hope Apple joins them (1)

Jeng (926980) | about a year and a half ago | (#40910447)

I'm sorry I did not make it clear that the reporter is not getting paid by the corporate PR, just that the reporter is lazy and the PR guy is getting paid to write the basics of the article.

While we are this topic.

If you ever want to promote a protest then fax and email every news publication in your area about it before hand and you will get coverage. If you are protesting and wondering why the press isn't there, it is normally because they don't know about it.

Re:Now lets hope Apple joins them (1)

sumdumass (711423) | about a year and a half ago | (#40910483)

Isn't that usually called a PR firm though?

Re:Now lets hope Apple joins them (1)

fredprado (2569351) | about a year and a half ago | (#40910879)

PR firms do not pose as neutral news sources and therefore cannot smear their client's competitors without consequences.

Re:Now lets hope Apple joins them (1)

fredprado (2569351) | about a year and a half ago | (#40910861)

Yes, but the money each one invests in that says a lot about them, and when those articles are not about making positive remarks about them, but about smearing the competition it makes them illegal in many places...

Re:Now lets hope Apple joins them (0)

thestudio_bob (894258) | about a year and a half ago | (#40910229)

It would be very interesting if it happens to Apple too. I can safely bet Apple is the technology company that has more "journalists" in their payroll.

Actually, I'm more curious about all of their competition's paid commenters (astroturfing).

Re:Now lets hope Apple joins them (0)

fredprado (2569351) | about a year and a half ago | (#40910909)

What makes you think there is more astroturfing against Apple than pro-Apple? Apple have proved time and again that it plays dirtier than any other company in existence...

Re:Now lets hope Apple joins them (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#40910529)

Probably none at all. That's not how Apple operates. If they find someone that they like, they'll usually just invite them to Apple events or have some one in the company leek them information. They might also be one of the few to get early releases of Apple hardware to write about.

No one is actually on the payroll, but you can be sure that people who are generally pro-Apple will see some benefits.

Re:Now lets hope Apple joins them (1)

shugah (881805) | about a year and a half ago | (#40910667)

Apple shills do it for free. That's why their called fanboys.

Re:Now lets hope Apple joins them (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#40910777)

It would be very interesting if it happens to Apple too. I can safely bet Apple is the technology company that has more "journalists" in their payroll.

More than Microsoft?

Ummm, I'm not so sure.

I think the SEC should be very interested in this (5, Insightful)

erroneus (253617) | about a year and a half ago | (#40909937)

After all, when these types of cases come up, it often has serious effect in the market. So when there are paid-for opinions which are believed to be independent, it alters the perceptions of shareholders and potential shareholders when they are deciding to buy or not to buy. One could conceivably bring meritless lawsuits against market opponents coupled with media doom (such as we saw with Meuller) and see a gain in market value long enough to make a tidy sum when you sell some of your shares at the right time... then buy them back when the truth comes out. The net outcome might be a loss for the company, but a huge benefit to majority shareholders.

Florian Mueller is a shill what a surprise! (4, Informative)

h4rr4r (612664) | about a year and a half ago | (#40909945)

Is anyone actually surprised Florian Mueller is a shill?

Did anyone not see that coming? Hopefully, the media will stop printing anything he says.

Re:Florian Mueller is a shill what a surprise! (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#40910101)

I think at least part of the implication is that many of those who reposted his posts had been encouraged to do so

Florian Mueller is essentially a whore. (2)

Frosty Piss (770223) | about a year and a half ago | (#40910189)

Florian Mueller is essentially a whore. I'm surprised that he can attract business anymore, it's well known by everyone (except maybe the mainstream media) that he's bought and paid for.

Re:Florian Mueller is essentially a whore. (1)

Grishnakh (216268) | about a year and a half ago | (#40910375)

I think your comparison is rather insulting, to prostitutes. Prostitutes (or "whores") are providing a service that their customers demand, and the only people possibly being hurt are the prostitutes themselves, and the customers themselves (and possibly the customers' spouses). Florian and other such shills, however, have a much larger effect, because the lies they spew influence so many people, as well as financial markets, basically they affect much of our society.

Also, prostitutes generally take that job because they're desperate and don't think they have any good alternatives. It's not a career many would choose willingly; the incidence of disease is high, they're frequently abused by customers and pimps, and they tend to have short lifespans. Florian, however, is smart enough and in a financial position that he could make a good living doing lots of other stuff besides shill writing. He's just plain greedy.

Re:Florian Mueller is essentially a whore. (1)

Frosty Piss (770223) | about a year and a half ago | (#40910617)

I think your comparison is rather insulting, to prostitutes

A prostitute might be a whore, but a whore is not necessarily a prostitute.

Biased media? By golly, however did that happen! (1)

jyujin (2701721) | about a year and a half ago | (#40910003)

Not exactly a surprise, but I'd sure like to get my hands at the statistics afterwards...

FUCK STEVE JOBS AND HIS LAWSUITS!!!!!111one (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#40910005)

oh wait, Apple has nothing to do with this...

This is great (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#40910075)

The tide is gonna recede and all the scums are gonna lay bare on the beach.

Do they have to disclose slashdot avatar too? (2)

140Mandak262Jamuna (970587) | about a year and a half ago | (#40910085)

Would be interesting if the judge had ordered the shills to disclose their slashdot ids too. Would be hilarious.

Re:Do they have to disclose slashdot avatar too? (1)

steelfood (895457) | about a year and a half ago | (#40910369)

Except it's easy to just go and make new ones.

Sure, no karma, no 4- or 5-digit prestige, but all it takes is for a couple of biased mods to get them the soapbox they need to do their shilling.

Good thing there are usually shills for the other side with mod points. Heck, I sometimes wonder if Slashdot's moderation system works as well as it does because the shills end up cancelling each other out, leaving only the impartial(er) comments and moderations.

Re:Do they have to disclose slashdot avatar too? (1)

oakgrove (845019) | about a year and a half ago | (#40910445)

The sweet taste of schadenfreude would still be satisfying for posters like Bonch, OverlyCriticalGuy, Westlake, RecoiledSnake, D'aldredge, et al to finally have to come clean.

Re:Do they have to disclose slashdot avatar too? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#40910383)

No Need. Its "Anonymous Coward". There we satisfied the Judge, now move along... nothing to see here...

Re:Do they have to disclose slashdot avatar too? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#40910819)

Would be interesting if the judge had ordered the shills to disclose their slashdot ids too. Would be hilarious.

Guys, regardless of pro or con any particular company, do you seriously believe that Slashdot comments are worth paying for? Really? It is good to be skeptical, but I'm afraid that is delusional about what kind of value we represent down here in this shrinking querulant corner of the web that once could boast about the Slashdot effect.

I see two versions of the shill claims. There's been a 'recent' spate of over-the-top early shill posts that, as have been discussed in many threads, are very clearly trolling to push peoples buttons (and succeeding). On the other side, I've seen people with long posting histories of Linux support or similar been quickly and with absolute conviction called paid M$ shills for a post just because someone disagree with it. In many ways it's the new Goodwin's law.

Wish we had seen this in SCO. (4, Insightful)

sconeu (64226) | about a year and a half ago | (#40910153)

I wish Judge Kimball or Judge Steward had ordered this in the SCO case.

Congress *must* pass the Rob Enderle act! (4, Funny)

jonabbey (2498) | about a year and a half ago | (#40910171)

Congress should pass the Rob Enderle act immediately to prevent out of control judges from assaulting the good name of IT industry analysts everywhere!

Slashdot accounts (1)

phorm (591458) | about a year and a half ago | (#40910185)

I wonder how many accounts on slashdot etc could be identified.
Most here I see tend to be shills for certain other tech corps, but I wouldn't be surprised to find some for Oracle/Google as well.

Re:Slashdot accounts and shills (1)

sensei moreh (868829) | about a year and a half ago | (#40910333)

I'm not a shill - the closest thing to a tech corp that I've ever worked for was a one-person consultancy that needed an extra semi-competent warm body. However, I have done a bit of Java programming. And I have a gmail account.

TechDirt, the EFF, (0)

cornicefire (610241) | about a year and a half ago | (#40910357)

This is going to be an interesting list... I know that Google funds a number of so-called non-profits to campaign for their needs. I wonder if they count as "media". They all have blogs where they take positions like these: https://www.eff.org/deeplinks/2012/05/oracle-v-google-and-dangerous-implications-treating-apis-copyrightable [eff.org]

Re:TechDirt, the EFF, (2)

oakgrove (845019) | about a year and a half ago | (#40910615)

Wow, if Julie Samuels [eff.org] is a paid Google shill then she sure has some 'splainin' [eff.org] to do. The next time you try to smear somebody maybe do a little research into what you're talking about.

i like this judge (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#40910547)

they ought to do this during elections

Huffington Post is terrible about this (1)

GodfatherofSoul (174979) | about a year and a half ago | (#40910637)

Leading up to a crappy Megan Fox movie release, they were flooded with articles (unflagged as payola) about every minute detail of her life. Even the bloggers were commenting about the unwarranted attention. Then, the promos started...

I've seen them do that with lots of other wannabe stars as well. That and funneling traffic to "gone viral" YouTube videos with ~1000 hits.

PR companies. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#40910703)

most of the bloggers will be paid through an external PR company so they will have 3rd party deniabilty. Nothing to see here. If oracle was paying directly to a blogger then they are dumbasses.

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