You have probably seen this elsewhere on the web, read me go on about it on Twitter, or something, but I thought I’d go through what I find to be some weird and provoking marketing strategies from Microsoft recently.
Not sure in which order these came, but let’s go through them:
We’ll start with tengrandisburiedhere.com. Ignore the pathetic HTML validation errors, that it redirects you to a Microsoft URL and such, and just read the message.
You could only take part in the competition if you were using Internet Explorer 8, otherwise you weren’t eligible. Let’s skip over the sentiment that it’s completely against the open nature of the web, and a manner that have gotten them into trouble many times over the years, and instead focus on the fact that they do not only exclude people who want to use other web browsers, they also outright insult people on other operating system where Internet Explorer isn’t even an option (apparently all other major serious web browser vendors can offer a product for multiple platforms, but never mind…).
The text has now also been rewritten: the initial version mentioned Firefox about five times, that it’s “old”, that the user should dump it and that it’s bad for you. Probably someone got a serious scolding for that, but my guess it wasn’t because it dissed Firefox in an unprofessional way, but rather that they mentioned (i.e. acknowledged) another web browser’s existence at all.
And oh, if you wanted to find the treasure, with any web browser, please visit tengrandisburiedthere.com instead.
“Get the facts”
Please read through those two web pages – the gist of it is that Internet Explorer is the best at everything. Interestingly enough, the text there has also changed, and the first version had some more cocky statements and claims. For instance, initially only IE was checked for having the best developer tools, and now Firefox is in there as well.
And I know, I know, it’s marketing, and their job is to sell the product. But some of the things are subjective, some are more or less outright lies, and what gets me most is that there’s nothing to back it up. Therefore I hope, probably in vain, that anyone who reads it will demand real tests, facts, testimonies from a large user group etc before they actually believe it.
Naturally, this campaign also has a counter-part in Get the facts STRAIGHT…
Browser for the better
While the above are annoying, the one that really gets to me is Browser for the Better. It’s a campaign that will donate meals to the Feeding America charity organization, to help people from starving. BUT, it will only give any gift IF you download Internet Explorer 8.
And, as always, there are numerous campaigns, many of poor quality, to make people download your product. But I find this completely tasteless, to imply that other people will starve unless you download IE. What will they do next? Show ads on the TV with a gun to some child’s head, threatening to shoot them unless people download 10 000 copies of IE right now?
Microsoft, listen: if you have the means to contribute to charity, do so _ I appreciate and encourage companies and people helping others in need. But never ever draw a connection between your company’s success and the well-being of other human beings.
What is happening?
Lately, honestly, I have really tried to cut Microsoft some slack. They do some good things, their products are improving and they’re not the last one out with some features anymore. But, with with poor marketing strategies like this, and some even disgraceful, everything they have built up lately is soon gone again.