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Microsoft Ads on FOSS Sites
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| Recently, when this same site âlaid offâ practically their whole
| staff and greatly reduced their content, the issue of Redmondâs
| ads came up again, with many expressing the opinion that Microsoftâs
| money was behind the move. I can certainly see how it might smell that
| way, but my experience working at radio stations and newspapers has
| taught me that odors can be deceiving.
| Microsoftâs money very likely had nothing to do with the layoffs.
| Even so, this incident has caused me to change my thinking on the
| subject. The problem is one of perception. Although the actions taken
| by the site were probably relatively innocent, based on necessity brought
| about by a weak economy and lack of cash flow, the
| always-suspicious-of-Microsoft readership was immediately more than
| willing to jump on the bandwagon and proclaim âthis is what happens when you
| crawl into bed with Microsoft!â This is a dangerous position for a news
| organization to find itself in, for when you lose the trust of your readers,
| youâve lost it all.
| This loss of trust isnât entirely unfounded. Even those of us whoâre
| inclined to defend the site canât be absolutely positive that Ballmer & Company
| isnât calling at least a few of the shots from behind the curtain. I have
| experienced first hand the undue influence a big spending advertiser
| can have, both in print and in broadcasting.
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