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Microsoft busted trying to pay bloggers to write nice things about Internet Explorer

Updated Jun 18th, 2014 12:37PM EDT
Microsoft Internet Explorer Bribery Scandal

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Microsoft has been making a lot of smart moves lately, but this is a blunder that brings back grim memories of the Clippy era. TechCrunch founder Michael Arrington has posted an email that he received from a Microsoft PR person asking if he’d want to take part in a new “sponsored post opportunity” regarding Internet Explorer. What it boils down to is that Microsoft told Arrington that they’d pay him to write nice things about their web browser.

“In this program, we are looking to spread the word about the new Internet Explorer web experience in a cool, visual way, which is where you come in,” Microsoft’s representative wrote. “If you accept our invitation to work on this program, we would like for you to write a blog post on July 10th… compensation for this post is available.”

Arrington replied to this email with a hilarious one-sentence response: “Is this for real?”

The PR rep then apologized and said they weren’t sure how they got on the email list, while adding a halfhearted “Go TechCrunch!” at the end of the message.

So if you happen to see a lot of pro-Internet Explorer posts pop up on your favorite tech blogs on July 10th, now you’ll know exactly what’s up.

UPDATE: Microsoft has now emailed Arrington to let him know that “this action by a vendor is not representative of the way Microsoft works with bloggers or other members of the media” and now says that “the program has been suspended.”

Brad Reed
Brad Reed Staff Writer

Brad Reed has written about technology for over eight years at and Network World. Prior to that, he wrote freelance stories for political publications such as AlterNet and the American Prospect. He has a Master's Degree in Business and Economics Journalism from Boston University.