Boycotting "Get the Facts" Advertisements

Posted by tadelste on Apr 1, 2006 3:38 PM EST
LXer; By Tom Adelstein
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Microsoft has engaged in a questionable practice of advertising on seemingly every Linux related article on the Internet. We may not have the ability to stop the advertisements, but we will look for alternate sources carrying similar story content. Because Microsoft crosses the line doesn't mean we have to fold our hand.

An editor can see more than a hundred story submissions daily. Reviewing each one for good information can seem rather tedious. With even a good story line we have to consider if a writer's work seems soiled when his or her publications puts Microsoft ads in the midst of content.

When reviewing articles we see an inordinate amount of "Get the Facts" advertisements in banners, skyscrapers, text, sponsored content and intellitext. Industry officials call their practice content sensitive advertising. I call it boycottable to coin a new word.

Whatever happened to good manners and stewardship? Many publications claim that content and advertising exist in two different departments. According to the publications a conflict will always exist. Oh really?

I guess offending publications have never heard of selling their soul to the devil. Claiming a conflict exists between advertising and editorial departments means the organization has no decision making abilities. Someone pulls the trigger and saying otherwise constitutes consumer fraud.

Using logic

Let's use an analogy to Microsoft's practice. For example, consider a medical journal that publishes a story about a study. The study suggests that Celebrex has a connection to increased cardiovascular problems.

How would you feel if Pfizer put an advertisement square in the middle of the text of such a story? Pfizer could make the ad gray in color and say "Get the Facts About Arthritis and Pain". You could then click a link inside the ad that takes you to one of the company's web sites offering a set of conclusions about how it may cut the risk of precancerous growths.

I truly cannot imagine such a scenario. Some things just seem incongruous to me. With a pool of unemployed American technology workers willing to work at a convenience store rather than starve, Congress has decided to allow more H1B workers into the US. Additionally, I also love seeing the flag of Mexico at protest rallies favoring guest workers.

Most US citizens come from the family of immigrants. My great grandparents, for example, migrated from Germany and Italy. Asking around, no one recalls them hoisting up the flags of the Deutschland after arriving here. The worse criticism seems to revolve around my great grandmother's pasta sauce bothering the in-laws.

American companies send jobs abroad while companies like Toyota open plants in the US and hire experienced auto workers and save money. How do people explain such anomalies? It reminds me of Lee Iacocca saying "Safety doesn't sell" when referring to exploding Pintos on the streets of America.

At what point does the almighty dollar become ones God? Does someones wife have to turn to salt before we wake up? I know, if you break your hand, you're just suposed to ignore the pain because the company will dock your pay. Tell that to the people who brought you maternity leave.

Where do we go from here?

In my latest issue of InformationWeek, I opened the cover and saw a two page layout. On the right page is a "Get the Facts" story so twisted that I wonder how that publication could allow it. The line that reads: Teleflora chose Windows Server (TM) over Linux and UNIX, and saved 35% in development costs.

If you read further, how does teleflora know that .NET technology saved them 35%? What factual evidence exists. Did they deploy Linux and then Windows and discover some truth? What factors played into their assertion?

For one, I'm discontinuing my subscription to InformationWeek. I'm also planning to boycott publications using Microsoft "Get the Facts" advertisements when I see them.

If you see such an ad in our newswire stories, let us know. We provide some readership and in the past have sent readers to offending publications. Let's see if we can put a dent in offending publications by refusing to carry their stories.

In addition, let me know about any Celebrex ads that might show up at C/Net. I'm looking for those also.

» Read more about: Story Type: LXer Features; Groups: Linux

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Subject Topic Starter Replies Views Last Post
What about the little guy? tuxme 9 2,662 Apr 6, 2006 5:34 PM
Boycotting? No way, man! wolfchri 7 2,583 Apr 5, 2006 4:21 PM
More on blocking jojje 3 2,699 Apr 5, 2006 4:18 PM
It's called competition. Live with it. the_it 3 2,414 Apr 5, 2006 7:10 AM
Effective boycotting SamShazaam 1 2,461 Apr 4, 2006 8:52 AM
Firefox + adblock NoDough 1 2,524 Apr 4, 2006 6:40 AM

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