Img 0126

(Click on image to biggify)

You'd be forgiven for mistaking the Hamster's Lunch as a lunch for hamsters. No, it's intended for human consumption. You can buy a box at Coco's in Los Angeles, where nearly every product on display includes a helpful explanatory note.

Hamster's Lunch $4.45
Rice crackers and a hyper realistic, mercilessly charming hamster figure.

Note: We would like to thank Microsoft Windows Mobile for sponsoring mobile posting on Boing Boing. In the coming weeks, we'll be using the system to post audio, images, text, and video.

Here's a little more information about the sponsorships and ads on Boing Boing:

-- Boing Boing's been running ads for years. It's a little surprising that so many readers are only just now realizing it.

-- This kind of sponsorship -- in the immediate case, Microsoft Windows Mobile -- is structurally no different from sponsorships and ads Boing Boing's done in the past.

-- In fact, Hewlett-Packard sponsored a series of audio posts just last year, no one made a fuss about them, and they certainly didn't affect what appears in Boing Boing (aside from allowing some of it to be an audio feed).

-- In further fact, this kind of advertising and sponsorship has also been going on for some time now in many other major weblogs. We repeat: it's a little surprising that so many readers are only just now realizing it.

-- The presence of major advertisers and major advertising campaigns on high-traffic weblogs is not evidence of a conspiracy to somehow buy off the online audience. Those high-end ad campaigns exist because the weblog-reading audience is now large enough to compete with old-media advertising venues like print magazines.

-- Finally, and most importantly, no advertising or sponsorship has ever had any effect on Boing Boing's content or editorial policies, nor will it influence them in the future. Our editorial content is completely independent of our advertising.

I hope that answers your questions. Thank you for reading Boing Boing!

-- Mark Frauenfelder

161 Responses to “Hamster's Lunch at Coco's in Los Angeles”

  1. Takuan says:

    Civil.

    Hokay, hows about this: don’t write anything you wouldn’t say to someone’s face?

  2. Teresa Nielsen Hayden / Moderator says:

    Comments are temporarily turned off while I clean up in here.

  3. Michael Brutsch says:

    Apparently, the people responsible for sacking the previous commenters, have themselves been sacked. Either that or they have been bitten by a Møøse. Hello? TNH? MF? Anyone home?

  4. ps says:

    not cool Zeus, not cool.

  5. Teresa Nielsen Hayden / Moderator says:

    I don’t suppose any of you citizens have noticed that this is NOT the first time a company has sponsored audio posting on Boing Boing?

  6. Paul says:

    Trust, especially when it comes to reviews and editorials, has to be earned on an individual basis. As someone who has enjoyed visiting and reading boingboing for the past several years, Mark et al. have earned my trust by being honest, earnest, and passionate. IF at some point in the future, a major conflict of interest emerges, ala the GameSpot debacle, that trust will be lost, and I will find other ways to waste time.

    In the meantime, if folks here are super upset about the corporate sponsorships, maybe we can organize a “Community Sponsored” tag, for posts that receive the most “Favorite This!” votes? I don’t have enough money to pay for ads on the site, but I’d chip in a few bucks for particularly awesome posts. YTMND does this, for example.

    GameSpot ref:
    (http://www.joystiq.com/2007/12/03/exclusive-gertsmann-speaks-about-kandl-review-future/)

  7. Anonymous says:

    If BoingBoing needs money, how about putting up a message board, ala SomethingAwful or Metafilter? I’ve paid for those, and I think a BoingBoing community would be a great addition.

    Also, the only way to cure the ick of a MS sponsored post is to do a critical review of an MS product. The sooner the better. I have no problems with advertisements or sponsorship unless they legitimately start to make me question the objectivity of the editorial content.

  8. Takuan says:

    OK, OK then: “BILL GATES IS AN ASSHOLE”
    “MICROSOFT SUCKS”

    ….no,nothing yet…….

    I’ll keep checking for you periodically.

  9. biffpow says:

    –If the ad in question wasn’t for M$ or some other company that BB had previously taken to task on occasion, would so many people be upset?

    –If the ad in question weren’t appearing embedded in the content box (and thus not able to be blocked), would so many people be upset?

    –Do 60+ comments really equate to “so many people” given the stratospheric number of BB readers?

    –If the answer to the previous question is “no”, do the first two questions even matter? What number of comments would make them matter? 100? 200? 500?

  10. spectre says:

    This comment brought to you by Microsoft, Shell, and the Nine Circles of Hell.

  11. Takuan says:

    I went to a garden party to reminisce with my old friends
    A chance to share old memories and play our songs again
    When I got to the garden party, they all knew my name
    No one recognized me, I didn’t look the same

    CHORUS
    But it’s all right now, I learned my lesson well.
    You see, ya can’t please everyone, so ya got to please yourself

    People came from miles around, everyone was there
    Yoko brought her walrus, there was magic in the air
    ‘n’ over in the corner, much to my surprise
    Mr. Hughes hid in Dylan’s shoes wearing his disguise

    CHORUS

    lott-in-dah-dah-dah, lot-in-dah-dah-dah

    Played them all the old songs, thought that’s why they came
    No one heard the music, we didn’t look the same
    I said hello to “Mary Lou”, she belongs to me
    When I sang a song about a honky-tonk, it was time to leave

    CHORUS

    lot-dah-dah-dah (lot-dah-dah-dah)
    lot-in-dah-dah-dah

    Someone opened up a closet door and out stepped Johnny B. Goode
    Playing guitar like a-ringin’ a bell and lookin’ like he should
    If you gotta play at garden parties, I wish you a lotta luck
    But if memories were all I sang, I rather drive a truck

    CHORUS

    lot-dah-dah-dah (lot-dah-dah-dah)
    lot-in-dah-dah-dah

    ‘n’ it’s all right now, learned my lesson well
    You see, ya can’t please everyone, so you got to please yourself

  12. CommieNeko says:

    Teresa 49:

    My story had nothing to do with business models and everything to do with trust between a publication and its readers. If the sudden appearance of non-ironic adspeak attached to a sponsership by _Microsoft_ in the body of a _Boing Boing_ story doesn’t seem even a bit jarring to you, then I’m not surprised that the point of my comment escaped you.

    For the record, Bill Gaines was _publsiher_ of Mad, and not the editor. There were several editors under Mr. Gaines over the years, but it was after his death that the magazine was taken over by the suits and it became just another funny magazine.

  13. Teresa Nielsen Hayden / Moderator says:

    Zikzak, I didn’t say they don’t need the money. They do. What I’m saying is that the site could still exist if it didn’t have a large and constant revenue stream. The same isn’t true of old-line mass media.

    BiffPow, all the comments matter.

  14. MattMcKeon says:

    I’m not at all a Microsoft hater, but this is getting ridiculous guys. Comments sponsored by HP. Categories sponsored by Honda. Posts sponsored by Microsoft. Boing Boing looks like a frigging NASCAR, and it’s a big turnoff for me. I appreciate the need to pay bandwidth bills, but I don’t think this particular way of going about it is working out very well.

  15. Teresa Nielsen Hayden / Moderator says:

    Takuan:

    #12, posted by Teresa Nielsen Hayden: “I’m turning in. It’s 0140 here, and I’m fried. Don’t anyone set off explosives until I get back.”

    #13, posted by Takuan: “****** (quoi?…… fetchez la vache!)*******”

    And no catapults!

    Panda (15), it’s always nice to get ads from “cool companies doing cool stuff,” but sometimes they’re not the ones who are buying the ads.

    As I understand it, the idea behind having MS Mobile sponsor the mobile multimedia posts was that instead of putting up an ad saying “Look what MS Mobile can do,” they sponsor having the boingers use MS Mobile to put up content of the boingers’ own choosing.

    Saying “this post sponsored by MS Mobile” is the opposite of an endorsement or an unacknowledged product placement. In effect, they’re saying “MS Mobile is paying us to use their technology in this instance. We’re not just using it because we think it’s swell.”

    Being willing to mess around with MS Mobile in a clearly labeled post is not what I would describe as “being willing to pimp MS Mobile,” and it most certainly doesn’t mean that they’re “willing to pimp anything.” In fact, that’s sort of offensive.

    Getting asked yet again whether you should expect to see “this post brought to you by the MPAA” makes me wonder whether anyone bothers to read the answers to their questions. On the other hand, this specific question hasn’t been addressed in this specific thread, so I’ll do it.

    The boingers have a longstanding policy of turning down advertising that promotes DRM’d content, copyright abuse, and similar issues close to their hearts. They’ve turned down some very large ad campaigns on that account. We’re talking significant amounts of advertising money, which they blew off purely on principle. They’re still doing that now, passing up ad campaigns that make them morally queasy.

    I wish Cory were here to explain this. It would come out much less fuzzy than I does when I try to explain it. Nevertheless, I can tell you flat-out that anyone who thinks Boing Boing ad space is up for sale to all comers is just plain wrong.

    Boing Boing is still unique. Come on — try and keep a straight face while you tell me that the first thing that pops into your head when you look at Mark, Cory, Xeni, and David, is “soulless corporate minion.”

    Quoderat (17), Microsoft has unquestionably done some creepy things, and Windows Vista is a wretched product. I will note that what’s being advertised here is MS Mobile.

    Michiel (18):

    “I’ve only just realized that some of the content I might be reading on Boingboing is actually an advertisement.”

    Nope. Absolutely not. If it was labeled as content, it was content. If there was anything else going on, that was labeled too.

    Sharkjumper (20):

    “bb just jumped the shark.

    I mean, really – Microsoft is a convicted monopolist, a DRM pushing dinosaur, the epitomy of anti-cool anti-fun blockheads. The fact I even have to post this makes me really really sad. Time to find another well as this one is poisoned. I won’t be waiting around for the Exxon and MPAA/RIAA ads.”

    Christ, you’re not winning any awards for perceptivity this morning. All this post tells me is that you haven’t previously paid any attention to the advertisements here.

    Also: is there even one drama queen in this thread who’ll come up with something other than the “Next you’ll be doing ads for MPAA/RIAA” trope? Come one, guys! Can’t you do better than that? Show a little creativity, for pete’s sake.

    For the facts on that one, see my earlier comments to Panda.

    Panda again (21):

    “If my “cool” stuff ever made it’s way to a maker faire or some other BB-type gathering and made the website, I sure hope it wouldn’t be sponsored by MS, since that would suck all the coolness from the main content.”

    I don’t know. That verges on Manichaeanism. You’ve got to believe that coolness is inherently a greater and more powerful force than Microsoft.

    “As for the original post, i think the hamster is cool (and very cute), and I also wonder what is on the shelf below? is it a monkey of some sort?”

    I’m big on hamsters myself, and that’s a good one. The item on the next shelf down is a mystery to me.

    Mr Josh (22):

    “I have no problem with sponsorship at all. I have had no problem with the sponsorship (that I’ve noticed) on here, either.

    I thought the wording of the “Note: We would like to thank” was highly obnoxious and counter to the entire BoingBoing atmosphere. It’s like opening up your favorite magazine and finding a pleasant little thank you to Microsoft Word for allowing an article to be written.”

    I think you’ve got a real point there. In fact, I think that little paragraph was half the problem. It’s written in advertising-speak. It should have read more like “Here’s the deal: Microsoft Mobile is sponsoring some posts in which we play with its mobile multimedia posting capabilities.” We all get our backs up when we hear magazine-speak.

    “First of all, Microsoft Windows Mobile is a product, not a person, you can’t thank it.”

    It’s also an organization, which is thankable.

    “Second, congratulations on suddenly gaining the ability to blog with mobility. Maybe you could put that in a separate post, explaining that blogging capabilities will be handled with Windows Mobile, rather than giving MS a big ol’ smooch on the butt right smack in the middle of the post content?”

    No. I’m sticking with the “bad introductory paragraph” theory. When Hewlett-Packard sponsored audio posting last year, it wasn’t kept separate like that, but the arrangement didn’t get up anybody’s nose.

    “The thing about web advertising is, when it’s done what I would consider to be correctly, you can ignore it. It’s easy to ignore that [lame] little Windows Mobile badge at the bottom of the article. It’s insulting to have such a “Thank you” statement stuck right in the middle of the post’s content. Bad form.”

    Given a time machine, you can bet that I would right now be testing different responses to different wording in that paragraph. (And then, duty done, I’d be off to the Cotton Library and the Missoula Floods; but that’s another story.)

    ted (23):

    “So what, our comments all got deleted?”

    It’s wonderful how you can write like that without being able to read. Someone should tell Oliver Sacks about you.

    Arkizzle (24): Is the “shoddy” us or Microsoft? I’m perfectly willing to say it about a MS product that only works with Exploder.

    Rutherford (25): Thanks. It’s been weird watching so many people credit Boing Boing with Machiavellian advance planning.

    Wendy (26): Oh, nonsense. In Boing Boing’s case, what they bought was a strictly limited and temporary sponsorship of a few posts, not the weblog.

    Your take on the appropriate attitude would be impossible to put into practice. All large organizations are a mixture of good and bad actions. That doesn’t mean you can ignore their track record; but where do you draw the line? If a Bertelsmann imprint publishes what I consider to be a pernicious book, I can refuse to review it or run ads for it. Am I also obliged to turn down all other titles from Bertelsmann imprints? It’s a big corporation.

    Pat Race (27):

    “I already weighed in on the ingrained advertising over in the Honda post.”

    Yes, and I already disagreed with you. Thank god, we can take all that as read and move on to the really important issues.

    “I just want to know if there are different Hamsters in every box.”

    Yeah!

    Unfortunately, I suspect there aren’t. The labeling suggests there’s just the one, and it’s already pretty elaborate for a lunchbox prize.

    Noen (28):

    “I don’t have a problem with this decision right now. I do want to note one thing though. Every TV station, every radio station, every newspaper and every cable channel says it’s advertisers have no effect on editorial policies. We are completely independent they say. Our advertisers do not control the content of our media publication.

    But it does, we all know it does. Not at first of course but slowly and over time it does have an effect.”

    I beg to differ! There are significant structural differences that are pertinent to this issue.

    Radio, TV, magazines, and newspapers all have a large investment in their means of production and their distribution channels. They become more competitive by having newer and more powerful equipment, but that means they have to amortize those costs by seeking larger and larger audiences. This chains them to their distributors and advertisers.

    It’s not just a matter of how much money the proprietors make. Without a steady stream of advertising revenue, radio, TV, magazines, and newspapers wouldn’t just be on short rations; they’d have to shut down operations entirely. But if Boing Boing lost all of but a handful of its smallest advertisers, it would still come out.

    That’s one of the joys of weblogs. They represent a huge change in the balance of power between Editorial and everything else.

    Don’t people understand that? Is this why they’re so nervous about weblog advertisers? Fear not! Weblogs can turn their backs on advertisers, and maintain their editorial independence, to a degree not seen since The Spectator and Poor Richard’s Almanack.

    If anyone missed the related thrash on the Honda thread, you can find it here. My favorite three comments in it are by Michael R. Bernstein, So-Called Austin Mayor, and me. Your mileage will undoubtedly vary.

  16. uwer says:

    Interesting. (Twirls Mustache)
    The poison has now been introduced into ze organism. Ve vill now find out, how it reacts zusly.

    Seriously, what were you thinking? This is so very crap, tears are squirting from my looking holes!

    No need to be defensive, either. Why IN GODS NAME would you pour THIS excrement all over this poor guy? This is nothing else but _sad_.
    Quote:
    ted (23):
    “So what, our comments all got deleted?”
    It’s wonderful how you can write like that without being able to read. Someone should tell Oliver Sacks about you.

    So what you’re saying there, is… wait for it…
    He is a dumb sh!t, he can’t even read. This is from a moderator, no less.
    Quoting Oliver Sacks within this context kind of defeats its own purpose. As they say in my country, “Don’t Sacks me, and I won’t Sacks you.” Do not wield the Sacks, unless you mean to wield the Sacks. ;-)
    It’s OK, though. I still like you. I have only stopped believing anything you say. It takes years, to build a reputation, it takes only one transgression to ruin it.

    _Please_ tell me, you were only kiding.

  17. vik says:

    A little surprising that my original comment got deleted – though brief and to the point, there was nothing offensive.

    There is the original issue here, which has been expressed quite eloquently several times. Then there is the response. Both in words and actions. The actions seem a bit panicked. The words seem arrogant. Unfortunately, even if the words were a consideration of the situation, or even a retraction, I think the line has been crossed and there is no going back. How do we know from now on that a review is unbiased, and hasn’t been paid for? Everything is temporary, though, and though it’s sad to say goodbye, others like you will rise from the ashes (eventually to fall…).

    In the meantime, I’ll have more time doing real stuff away from the computer screen :)

  18. Takuan says:

    maybe they are boring from within

  19. Teresa Nielsen Hayden / Moderator says:

    CommieNeko (68):

    “If the sudden appearance of non-ironic adspeak attached to a sponsership by _Microsoft_ in the body of a _Boing Boing_ story doesn’t seem even a bit jarring to you,”

    I’ve said it was at fault, more than once. Did you not notice? If not, why should I pay attention to the rest of your remarks?

  20. CD says:

    Please ditch the Microsoft sponsorship. It buggles my head.

  21. Sam says:

    I for one hope I never see ads for fox news on this site or I’m going to puke all over the next maker faire. You’ve got one strike and I can only count to 1.

    Got it?

    (Zero and one)

  22. fantasticpoison says:

    all this generalized griping about Microsoft is pretty rude, you guys.

    on the other hand, Windows Mobile as a specific product actually sucks. I had a Motorola Q and returned it as quickly as possible. terrible interface, frequent glitches, poor system performance and generally horrible usability. not just the motorola design, but using the Windows taskbar metaphor on a mobile screen is a bad, bad idea. switched to a Palm and life got better.

    that said, BB’s tendency in recent years to latch on and obsessively repeat some concept until they’ve run it into the ground is longstanding, might as well make some money from it. mashups, katamari, gama-go, steampunk, windows mobile… whatever. the value here is always in the incidentals.

  23. noen says:

    Well sure, everyone strikes their own Faustian bargain with the world. We are finite, limited beings and if we want to accomplish some things we may have to accept an ad from MS Mobile. You’ll get no argument from me about that.

    I guess to restate: “How do we keep this good thing we have right now?”

  24. mortis says:

    I for one welcome our Redmond Ovwerlords. Khakis and Xunes for everyone!

  25. mmbb says:

    OK, other than some new ads and sponsor-bashing that’s going on here, I really don’t detect any effect on the substantive quality of the Boing Boing posts. There are better and bigger things to whine about, people…

  26. cool says:

    Teresa, thanks for explaining.

    I’ll keep it short. Seeing Microsoft on BoingBoing is like nails on a chalkboard. Sure it can be done, and it does make a sound. But it ain’t music.

  27. zikzak says:

    @Teresa,#126

    Ok, so if Boing Boing does need the money from Microsoft then it stands to reason that, just like those embarrassingly unhip offline media companies, they’re dependent on their advertisers. And that obviously gives the advertisers a certain amount of influence over content, commentary, etc.

    Now, I read your post on the long tail, and I can see the counter argument already: Boing Boing does need the money, but they don’t need any particular advertiser. So if some advertiser gets controlly, Boing Boing can just drop them and get another one.

    But that implies that Boing Boing is independent enough that they get to play with advertisers they like, and give the finger to those they don’t. Which raises the question: why has Boing Boing chosen to play with Microsoft? The only reason I can think of they’d accept an advertiser like Microsoft is because they don’t have any other good options. Either that, or they’re big fans, which seems like a stretch :)

    Basically, it can’t be both ways. Either Boing Boing is dependent on the advertising – which introduces a sketchy influence over the content and commentary – or they aren’t dependent on the advertising – which means that Boing Boing has chosen to do business with a very pro-establishment and anti-information freedom company simply because it’s especially profitable. Or maybe for some other reason, I can’t really guess – but it’d have to be a pretty good one considering what Microsoft is all about.

  28. the specialist says:

    no body is perfect, but without mr. gates NONE of us would be here. you had all better hope MS and Honda stay solvent for a long long time. you see, competition drives innovation. my sw won’t run on apple, apple and linux can’t handle it, and i bet a lot of you are in the same situation.

    i for one hope the wonderful folks at bb makes TON$ OF MON$, and the more they get from MS and Honda and the likes, the happier i will be. you see, i sort of trust them, and wish them success in everything they do. it is fiscally prudent to have well funded, stable, long term sponsors. and i think we all want a fiscally prudent, well funded, stable and long term bb, now, don’t we?

    sponsors influencing content?
    submit a link.

    don’t like their choice of sponsors?
    log off.

    can’t tell the difference between ads and content?
    research.

    ch33z, some people are never happy unless they are miserable.

  29. prerus says:

    Where is this Coco’s Exactly?

  30. ted says:

    I think it’s a joke. Surely it’s a joke? This is a renowned haunt of freetards, and frankly that’s the only reasonable explanation. Looking forward to Cory getting back from paternity leave and having a good laugh about both the Honda and Microsoft gags.

    Suckers!

  31. Teresa Nielsen Hayden / Moderator says:

    Restoring the earlier comments has pooched the reference numbers in later ones. It’s a Movable Type thing; no help for it.

    After re-reading the earlier thread, all I can say is that there’s a phenomenal amount of silliness in it.

  32. dodger says:

    Advertising: Sure!

    Advertising from Microsoft: Please, say no!

  33. Beryllium says:

    You realize, of course, that this means Windows 7 is actually going to be called “Microsoft! Windows! BoingBoing!” …

  34. CommieNeko says:

    Teresa 70:

    You should feel free to not pay attention to anything I write. I felt that the owners and producers of Boing Boing might be interested in what a long time reader of the site might think of their editorial and advertising policies and how it relates to reader trust. To be honest I seldom look into the comments of a Boing Boing story and haven’t read your response to every one of the, now 71, comments. You responded, specifically to me, with the voice of a moderator, so I responded back to you as their spokesperson.

  35. arkizzle says:

    Teresa:

    As far as I can see, it isn’t only Safari, it seems to affect OSX too.

    Safari OSX – doesn’t work
    FireFox OSX – doesn’t work
    Safari Windows (OSX/Parallels) – doesn’t work

    InternetExplorer (OSX/Parallels) – works
    Firefox (OSX/Parallels) – works

    However, I’m gald to hear BB are looking into remedying this.

  36. daveL says:

    Children, Children. Please stop the tantrums. I have worked with just about every OS available for the past three decades and most of the hardware. There just ain’t that much difference. Certainly not enough to justify these temper tantrums. Face it, some people actually like Microsoft and their products. That doesn’t make them inferior or evil. Good lord, it’s a tool. Use one. Don’t be one!

  37. Teresa Nielsen Hayden / Moderator says:

    Face forward, pilgrims.

    Comments are back on. The previous thread still exists, but portions of it are going to be cleaned up. Most of it should eventually reappear. In the meantime, please note Mark Frauenfelder’s official statement, which has been appended to the main entry.

    Thanks!

  38. HarshLanguage says:

    TNH, I respect you and what you do for BB, but… some of your responses to comments here are coming across as rather nasty. I don’t understand why they’re written that way… some are basically personal attacks. I’m sure you’re fed up with the criticism, but I think it’s making the already-bad situation with the MS-sponsored posts worse.

  39. Takuan says:

    way too polite.

    Well, allrighty then! Just so long as you promise to have a secret voodoo doll of Gates that you take out every night and singe a little with a soldering iron.

  40. jipijapa says:

    Windows advertising?!?!?! Filth! May the Flying Spaghetti Monster have mercy on your souls! I am considering a boingboing boycott now.

  41. Takuan says:

    personal attacks? Where? Show me.

  42. Teresa Nielsen Hayden / Moderator says:

    Gdr (32): Thank you for letting us read your original fantasy submission, “Well, blogs are still strange creatures.” Unfortunately, your story is not quite right for our publishing program. We wish you the best of luck with it.

    Joel Johnson (33): I’d publish you any time.

    Hamish MacDonald (34): I’m not sure either. It’s not my field of expertise. I’m hoping someone else in this thread will explain it to you.

    Remmelt (36), they’re sneaky critters.

    Marshall (37): Do you suppose you could have read my notice before complaining about mass deletions? (Which, by the way, would be closer to being restored if I weren’t busy dealing with all the new comments.)

    I have no idea what you mean about running.

    DCulberson (38), which Firefox on what machine? I’m collecting field reports.

    Afo (40):

    “Thanks for the clarification Mark. It’s clear there’s nothing malevolent going on, and it doesn’t make a dent in my opinion of you and BB – but you could not have picked a worse company to associate with.”

    I don’t like to sound nitpicky, but Enron, Blackwater, and Bridge Publications are all still in business.

    Alephnul (41), we wish you the best of luck in your future endeavors.

    CommieNeko (42), the old MAD was a thing of wonder, but it was supported by the money you paid for your copies. Subscription models don’t work very well on the web.

    Also? I’ll bet that Bill Gaines could have made the four-color ad-heavy version of MAD work just fine. What you miss is the editor, not the business model.

  43. jitrobug says:

    It just strikes me as obvious that boingboing readers comment on the content of articles. When the advertiser is discussed in the content of the article, then the advertiser will get discussed in the comments.

    I think for technology-ish people to say “I’m using widget X for this” without saying “and I this is what I think about it..” feels odd, so that’s probably part of the reaction too.

  44. brian corcoran says:

    1) I’m all for BoingBoing getting loot, it’s perfectly clear that you all hustle and supply us with amazing free content on a daily basis.

    2) I’ve got no problems with the Honda sponsorship at all. Anyone that takes issue with it should read Joel Johnson’s response in the comment thread (it’s succinct, sincere and bad-ass – kudos Joel).

    3) I do take issue with BoingBoing being affiliated with Microsoft for two reasons as listed below.
    – BoingBoing has frequently been critical of MS in the past, either their DRM, delays/flaws of Windows and (I believe, though I haven’t checked the archives) some humorous bits about Bill Gates appearing in Teen Beat and Steve Ballmer going apeshit on stage at a MS rally.
    – Having used Windows Mobile in the past as well, I have to concur with previous posters, that it truly is horrible. Since when does BoingBoing support anything horrible other than Goatse?

    I have the utmost faith in all of the BoingBoing team that they will continue to stick to their guns and post whatever the hell they want (and we love) and I recognize that ad sales and editorial are suppose to be separated like church and state, but this sponsorship still represents a bit of a slippery slope for me.

    Regardless, I’ve still got love for BoingBoing and if this is what it takes to keep your babies momma happy and the tax man at bay – then I guess that’s just how it goes.

  45. JDubsMontreal says:

    Yup. MS sponsored Boing Boing posts make me feel squicky too.

    Why the sudden burst of corporateness Boinge Boinge?

  46. phreatic says:

    Unless I see any actual impact on content I’m not going to bitch about the sponsorships. If money from ads allows boingboing to continue to exist, and those who make it to be able to afford to continue to do what they do then I say go for it.
    Of course I can’t even see most of the ads anyways thanks to adblock plus…
    I am also guessing that the note at the bottom is not going to be on every post that is made using windows mobile, just the first.

  47. noen says:

    There are significant structural differences that are pertinent to this issue.

    You make a good point Teresa, I hope you are right that in the long run blogs won’t become as corrupted as traditional media has. I’m just worried. The pattern is very clear though. With technological innovations new media are at first fresh, vibrant, creative communities. It took a while for radio to reach a saturation point but when it did it became the life blood of the community. There was a time when the radio commercial jingle was on everyone’s lips. Now look at it. The same was true for TV. At one time you didn’t need ask “Did you see All in the Family last night?” because everyone watched just a few shows.

    In every case the creators and innovators embrace new media and make something new. Then along comes money and power and proceeds to turn everything into shit. I am not convinced the structural differences will be enough, I hope they are.

    The teleco’s will get their immunity and then will go on to create a tiered internet. So while you may be able to still publish without advertisers you will find yourself shut out from the larger more prosperous 2nd tier if you don’t “play ball”. All of that is years down the road but that is the direction that I see things going. Perhaps things will be different this time but I doubt it.

  48. QSD says:

    Hint: Use Firefox and the Adblock Plus extension… zappo! No more HP, MS, or Honda ads.

  49. Esquilo says:

    Does microsoft actually expect positive feedback from the readers of this blog? Little nutty, methinks.

    About the regular, old ads… they don’t work, people, let’s face it. The more tools we come up to block advertisement, the more agressive the companies get.

    I don’t give a damn about who advertises here, and I trust the bb staff to be too smart to jeopardize their content. It’s the only thing they got.

  50. Itsumishi says:

    Just to make sure.
    Cory will still be posting his long awaited review of Ubuntu?

  51. Teresa Nielsen Hayden / Moderator says:

    Takuan, I’m a Mac head who’s sometimes been forced to use Windows at work. I’ve been sticking pins in my Bill Gates poppet for ages.

  52. ted says:

    Apologies, Teresa, I thought my first post had been deleted. I think it’s a little odd to flame me and ignore the substantive point for repeating it under those circumstances, but never mind, I’m a kind and forgiving sort.

    Here’s another question. Here are a few anti-Microsoft editorial comments I’ve found on Boing Boing from the past. Is it really your contention that this kind of discussion will continue? Or that it won’t matter if it doesn’t? Or that Microsoft has changed?

    1 Microsoft’s fraidy-cat technology is suicidally stupid, and so are you if you invest in it.

    2 CC licenses are machine-readable and could, theoretically, be detected by Microsoft, if they cared enough about copyright to ensure that they were adhering to the license policies set out by creators.

    3 Microsoft is cutting its throat here. There isn’t a single Windows user who wants a version of Windows that lets her do less with her music and movies. Microsoft is also subverting copyright.

    4 Microsoft’s whole current business model is built around systems that take control away from users.

    5 At a time when American state governments are throwing away their Microsoft products in favor of future-proof open standards, Norway has no excuse for selling out to Redmond. Irony of ironies..

    6 Microsoft are now threatening end users of GNU/Linux (that’s you and me again) with lawsuits unless we pay them protection money. “Nice operating system you got there, it’d be a shame if something were to happen to it.”
    And yes, I think they’re all from Cory. I would like to see Cory post here himself and give his view on this. Has he been overruled, perhaps? Is he being held hostage in the basement and forced to eat Zunes?

  53. samrolken says:

    Very funny. I’m not believing the Microsoft sponsorship for a second. What next? “Know your neighbor” PSA’s from DHS? Anti-piracy ads from the MPAA?

  54. Takuan says:

    EX-cellent

  55. iandavid says:

    I should say that, as a Windows Mobile user myself, I think the whole idea of Microsoft sponsoring content created with the aid of mobile devices is actually pretty cool. What irks me, though, is that the link at the bottom of the post leads to a broken page for users of Safari and Camino, which is an unfortunate side-effect of the sponsorship. Which is not BoingBoing’s fault for agreeing to have the link placed there; it’s Microsoft’s fault for writing bad code. But then, what else is new?

  56. Downpressor says:

    Mark @139

    I stand corrected. Anyway its still a clever song about how we all gotta grow up sooner or later now innit?

  57. kashmir kong says:

    “…by taking the time answer a few questions, you can help us ensure that the sponsors we select match your preferences. (We have a policy of only taking “wonderful” advertisers in any case!).”

    Quote by Mark Frauenfelder, August 12, 2004 2:01 PM

  58. Takuan says:

    note quotes

  59. bazz says:

    From Note: “In the coming weeks, we’ll be using the system to post audio, images, text, and video.”
    I can accept Mark’s statements that BoingBoing’s accepting sponsorship from large companies, including Microsoft, will not affect editorial content.
    But in that case: please don’t use this sponsor’s Map-It links until they work on Safari (Apple’s Mac OS X web browser). I don’t remember BoingBoing containing technical Mac barriers in the past. Every other major online map service’s links work fine with Safari. At the very least, provide one of those beneath the Map-It link.
    It would be disappointing to see BoingBoing reduce the usefulness of their own site’s links in order to please a sponsor. I really hope I don’t see weeks of “Mobile Posts” containing the only map-links I’ve encountered in years that do not work on Safari.

  60. panda says:

    yay! the original comments are back!

    First I want to say that i really appreciate the fact that Teresa (and Mark and Joel and others from BB) actually take the time to respond to the generally anonymous snarky masses. Even tho i dont necessarily agree with what you are saying (in this case) i do appreciate that there is at least a discussion going on, and not just a big reader-echo-chamber.

    I think i made my main points just fine in my earlier posts so i wont belabor any of that. but I do want to respond to specific point from Teresa since it was in response to one of my earlier posts:

    She said: it’s always nice to get ads from “cool companies doing cool stuff,” but sometimes they’re not the ones who are buying the ads.

    Fair enough, then you go on (in a later post) to say: “What I’m saying is that the site could still exist if it didn’t have a large and constant revenue stream.”

    So I guess what I am saying, (and what i believe some of the other posters here are saying) is that if you have the power that the other media outlets don’t have (ie the power to hold out for ‘cool’ ads from ‘cool’ companies, even when ‘cool’ companies aren’t always buying the ads) why dont you exercise that?

    along the same lines Mark says: “Our editorial content is completely independent of our advertising.”
    But how is this possible when the ad IS the content (ie this post brought to you by: big advertiser) (‘the ad IS the content’ might be a bit hyperbolic, but it is embedded IN the content, and so is most definitely NOT independent from it.)

    that is all for now :-)
    Hamsters, Hamsters, Hamsters!

  61. agger says:

    Just a technical note: The Map-It link works fine with Firefox in Ubuntu. Obviously, it ought to work in Safari as well.

  62. Teresa Nielsen Hayden / Moderator says:

    I’m turning in. It’s 0140 here, and I’m fried. Don’t anyone set off explosives until I get back.

  63. Takuan says:

    ****** (quoi?…… fetchez la vache!)*******

  64. zuzu says:

    Doesn’t everyone use some kind of AdBlock / JunkBuster?
    Download Privoxy if you don’t.

    I bet you silly people complain about spam emails too.

    But whatever the rest of you are complaining about, I don’t see it. That’s why the web is setup as a paradigm of “You send me the data, but I decide how to view it.”

    Although one day all this JavaScript/AJAX stuff is going to completely ruin the web. Never forget that the web is fundamentally all about hyperlinks, not “web apps”.

  65. panda says:

    hmm.. I don’t disagree with the need for ads. Gotta pay the rent and all. But along the lines of #8, it seems like the ads are not from ‘wonderful advertisers’ so much anymore. Having read BB for a long time now, I am so used to the ads being from cool companies doing cool stuff (generally). With the honda and hp stuff, i was kinda irked, but the MS thing definitely pushed me over the edge (enough to comment anyway :-)

    Also, when i see a banner ad on the top of the page, or on the sidebar, i don’t think of it really as an endorsement, it is just and ad served up by some server. But when i see “this post sponsored MS Mobile” i take that as you guys saying to me the reader: hey MS Mobile is great! Now, MS might make some good stuff, but the Mobile product line aint it. (having used it myself) So then i think” if they are willing to pimp MS mobile, are they willing to pimp anything? should I expect to see ‘this post brought to you by the MPAA’.

    Anyhow, sorry to get so long in the post here, but i really really like BB, and change is inevitable, but i always kinda hoped it wouldn’t change to be more like the ‘other major weblogs’, and might try to keep some of it’s uniqueness.

  66. gadfly says:

    i don’t have anything new to add, just wanted to be another voice questioning this new sponsorship. i’d hate to use a mean word like sellout to describe one of my favorite websites, but MS sponsorship does reek of compromised values…

  67. aoxoltl says:

    For years now in Japan, you can also get a Penguin’s Lunch. Here’s a checklist:
    Penguins lunch
    They’re still on sale at the aquarium in Matsushima.

  68. quoderat says:

    With all the freedoms Microsoft has seized from the computing public, and all the companies they have destroyed, I’d be wary of taking their filthy money.

    Also, they released Windows Vista, the coup de grace.

  69. Michiel says:

    I’ve only just realized that some of the content I might be reading on Boingboing is actually an advertisement.

    I might have been living under a rock, but that doesn’t make me less uncomfortable with this.

    Honoustly, a large site like Boingboing that lives ONLY from its content doesn’t really have to infect that content with advertisements, does it?

    At least for me, I will now be more cautious when visiting bb. Also, thanks for ruining the idea that bb knows what it’s doing.

  70. panda says:

    The problem that I have with the MS sponsonship is that (as mentioned a few times above) MS Mobile is bad bad tech. I understand the need to pay for the site, and make some cash from your efforts. However, the reason people like myself visit this site is because I trust your opinions on what is fun and cool and as a result most of the things you post i find interesting.

    So, if you are going to sell out, then please sell out selectively. Try at least to get sponsors of products that aren’t the exact opposite of what this site is about. (ie new innovative and interesting vs poorly implemented, me-too and buggy)

    so sad.

  71. Xeni Jardin says:

    WON’T SOMEONE PLEASE THINK OF THE HAMSTERS

  72. HarshLanguage says:

    A lot of BB is ad-heavy and has been for a long time. That’s not a good argument for adding MORE ads, and ads at the top and bottom of an otherwise normal BB post. Would Mark or other BB posters really have added a giant Microsoft map link to any post if MS weren’t paying big bucks? No, they probably wouldn’t have. That right there blows Mark’s PR-style defense of the ads out of the water. MS sponsorship DID affect the content, and in ways that, as far as I can tell, hasn’t happened at BB before.

    Why is there a sudden need by BB to expand advertising even further, anyway? Just need more money? Has running BB gotten more expensive? I mean, BBtv has its own sponsors, which is fine, so that can’t be costing much, can it?

  73. Esquilo says:

    No Honda or MS vibes so far.

  74. Michael Brutsch says:

    You can only stare at those huge piles of money for so long…

    Seeing M$ adverts here is like running into PZ Myers in church.

  75. sharkjumper says:

    bb just jumped the shark.

    I mean, really – Microsoft is a convicted monopolist, a DRM pushing dinosaur, the epitomy of anti-cool anti-fun blockheads. The fact I even have to post this makes me really really sad. Time to find another well as this one is poisoned. I won’t be waiting around for the Exxon and MPAA/RIAA ads.

    There is such a thing as ethics, bb. shame on you.

  76. panda says:

    I feel kinda bad for Coco’s and the Hamster’s Lunch guys. Here is their big BB break, and they unwittingly get upstaged by being sponsored by MS.

    If my “cool” stuff ever made it’s way to a maker faire or some other BB-type gathering and made the website, I sure hope it wouldn’t be sponsored by MS, since that would suck all the coolness from the main content.

    As for the original post, i think the hamster is cool (and very cute), and I also wonder what is on the shelf below? is it a monkey of some sort?

  77. mr_josh says:

    I have no problem with sponsorship at all. I have had no problem with the sponsorship (that I’ve noticed) on here, either.

    I thought the wording of the “Note: We would like to thank” was highly obnoxious and counter to the entire BoingBoing atmosphere. It’s like opening up your favorite magazine and finding a pleasant little thank you to Microsoft Word for allowing an article to be written.

    First of all, Microsoft Windows Mobile is a product, not a person, you can’t thank it. Second, congratulations on suddenly gaining the ability to blog with mobility. Maybe you could put that in a separate post, explaining that blogging capabilities will be handled with Windows Mobile, rather than giving MS a big ol’ smooch on the butt right smack in the middle of the post content?

    The thing about web advertising is, when it’s done what I would consider to be correctly, you can ignore it. It’s easy to ignore that [lame] little Windows Mobile badge at the bottom of the article. It’s insulting to have such a “Thank you” statement stuck right in the middle of the post’s content. Bad form.

  78. ted says:

    So what, our comments all got deleted?

    Mine said, for the record, that I thought this was a joke, and that the BB crew would wait for Cory to come back from paternity to set us all straight.

    Still think that, there’s no way that this renowned home for freetards would go this route. And y’all are suckers for believing otherwise, whatever “clarification” gets issued..

  79. PukeBazooka says:

    What the heck, I’ll join the chorus of those grousing about the Microsoft sponsorship. Here’s hoping that it’s money wasted on their part.

    For what it’s worth, MS is also the top sponsor of OSCON 2008, but as far as I know that hasn’t changed the conference’s scope and intent in any meaningful way.

    If the Microsoft sponsorship is here to stay, can we please have Microsoft sponsor Cory’s long delayed “Switching to Ubuntu” post?

  80. arkizzle says:

    Re: The MapLink

    I can confirm: (YMMV)

    Safari OSX – doesn’t work
    FireFox OSX – doesn’t work
    Safari Windows (OSX/Parallels) – doesn’t work

    InternetExplorer (OSX/Parallels) – works

    S H O D D Y .

  81. arkizzle says:

    #44 TERESA NIELSEN HAYDEN / MODERATOR

    “Shoddy” was aimed squarely at a service provided by microsoft that excludes, by error or design, a percentage of it’s potential user base who happen to choose other OS/browsers.

    However, it was also a comment on the apparent situation: a service which BB chose to integrate into it’s web structure excludes certain readers. Again, because they choose an OS that doesn’t support, as you put it: Internet Exploder.

    Now, that may seem trivial, but the glaring point is, BB has chosen to partner, here, with a corporation who specifically promotes closed-systems, and this is just a small reminder of that fact.

    I’ve only done my own local research on the OS/browser issue, but if it is the case I stand by my judgement: shoddy.

  82. pugdaddy says:

    Gerbils vs. Hamsters
    why gerbils make nicer, easier, more engaging pets…

    * Gerbils switch off between napping and playing 24/7.
    * Gerbils are energetic and athletic and fun to watch.
    * Gerbils are social and live in pairs. Gerbils bond tightly and are great parents.
    * Tamed gerbils rarely nip. It is important to get gerbils that have been handled from a young age.
    * Gerbils are desert animals that produce little waste.
    * Gerbils have beautiful, long furry tails with a tuft.

    * Hamsters are nocturnal: they sleep all day.
    * Hamsters waddle around and run the wheel.
    * Hamsters are solitary and live alone. Hamsters will fight and are more likely to cannibalize young.
    * Hamsters are more easily alarmed and more likely to nip when alarmed, e.g., when awakened in the day.
    * Hamster tanks get very stinky very quickly.
    * Hamsters have short, stubby bare tails.

  83. kpratt says:

    Teresa–

    Three things:

    First, we all do appreciate having a moderator to reign in the more vitriolic and outlandish comments that the trolls leave us. Thank you for your behind the scenes work.

    Secondly, for me at least (and I suspect some others) this has moved past the issue of “ZOMG I hate Micro$soft!!!!111″ to how the backlash was handled. There is a better way to address the problem than deleting the comments, waiting an hour, and then posting Frauenfulder’s rebuttal.

    And finally, your comments. Many of the BB crew are astoundingly punctilious in replying to reader email, and that is always to be commended. I don’t believe this needs to extend to the comments: particularly comments that, as you note, have already been addressed by earlier statements. The reason many of us are readers of this fine establishment is that we are a reasonably intelligent cast of characters. Most of us are observant enough and shrewd enough to separate the wheat from the chaff. It’s not necessary to deal snark for snark on each of the comments: let the low-brow be seen for what it is and let it roll off your back.

    –Kevin

  84. Kaiser says:

    I really like you Mark but your response was a little condescending.

    - Boing Boing’s been running ads for years…
    I know BoingBoing has been running ads for years, no need to talk down to us. Up until now though you’ve never embedded a MS logo in a story. I notice it has now been removed. Nice job. But none the less, while it was there I had a huge problem mixing advertising with content. and I’m still a little wary of the whole Widows Mobile sponsored blogging thing.

    - This kind of sponsorship …
    I guess you could say that but I don’t exactly remember you taking your other advertisers to task for their draconian practices. Can’t you see that when Cory stands up against MS’s DRM and then you run an ad by them embedded in a story it seems like a conflict of interest. Just sayin’… Do a search for Microsoft on BB and there is page after page of stories critical of them.

    - In fact, Hewlett-Packard sponsored…
    Don’t know how I missed that but somehow I doubt there was an HP logo where the content should be. I’ll building a time machine right now so I can go back and complain. Happy?

    – In further fact, this kind of advertising…
    We freaking realized it already! But BoingBoing to me just isn’t just “another major weblog.” You guys are heros to me. You do great work and some of us out here really look up to you. Whether you realize it or not, your blog has taken a stance on things. Does open source ring a bell? A tad bit anti-DRM are we? I’d like to see you choose responsible advertising partners that share the same ideals, not just the one’s who sling around the most money.

    – The presence of major advertisers and…
    But that still doesn’t mean you can’t pick and choose responsible advertising partners. And you cite old media as an example, but I’ve cancelled my Wired subscription because it has become one big ad with a few stories in the back. Don’t you get it? People just don’t like to be advertised to. A mobile post sponsored by MS says to me, “Oooo look what you can do with Widows Mobile!” and detracts from the story you’re trying to tell, even if it is just a super-cute hamster snack toy.

    – Finally, and most importantly…
    Glad to hear it. But what will happens if you run an article critical of one of your major advertisers? Won’t the fact that you’re getting paid by them at least cross your mind?

    Questions answered Mark, but it is a little surprising you didn’t stop and think of the effect a MS logo embedded in an MS sponsored Widows Mobile story would have on your loyal reader base.

  85. brian rutherford says:

    I just got up and it seems I missed something. Ah well, … I think that Mark Frauenfelders handling of the Windows Mobile sponsorship was a bit cack-handed but thats part of the charm of Boing Boing. Its run pretty well but none of the contributers are cynical hacks with some Rupert Murdoch figure breathing down their necks looking at the bottom line. Also this blog is by far the biggest in the “blogospehere” (ahem). Way bigger than all the rest. Its inevitable that Mark et al will want to share in its success beyond getting a pat on the back from their friends. How are they going to share in its success unless they have some form of advertising or sponsorship? Getting sponsored by ‘Als natural grain store’ isn’t going to pay the bills or keep Corey in nappies. I could go on but I get the feeling that this has already been run over. Feel free to delete this post THN if its all old stuff.

  86. wendy says:

    About the difference in a sponsorship by HP or Microsoft:

    - one of them is a closed system
    - one of them tried to buy Yahoo and already owns quite some parts of the web
    - one of them has been sued more than once for forcing their way of making software on others
    - one of them does develop drivers for open source systems

    A lot of posts on Boingboing are about net neutrality, and how important it is to maintain this. Corporate internet is a reality and certain firms are less open than others. By choosing your sponsors, you as Boingboing are not neutral and innocent..

    I for one will not for example work for an oil firm or Microsoft, because of my principles.

    It seems to be a thin line that has been crossed. but the line is there (and the ads used to be on one side of Boingboing blog, seems that they have crossed a graphical line too).

    I totally love Boingboing, for the information about my rights as a internet user/surfer/content maker. But…

    As a totally free sofware mademoiselle, I’m having a hard time with this.

  87. noen says:

    Teresa @ 121
    Thank you for your comments, they do help with some of my concerns but I do want to point out one thing. You say:

    “Effectively, what you and the rest of the hand-wringers here are saying is that if Boing Boing fails to adequately please Microsoft and they withdraw their advertising”

    Please don’t characterize me as a “hand wringer”. I was simply expressing my concerns and even then they were pretty general and abstract concerns at that. I was in fact trying to steer the conversation away from a MS bash fest to something that was more interesting to me. I actually don’t care that much about this deal with MS. I hope it works out for BB. And having yet another “Microsoft is teh EVIL” thread would bore me to tears. What does interest me is the larger question “Will the internet be co-opted and owned the way all traditional media have been”? I wish I knew but I thought maybe it would be an interesting conversation to have.

  88. Pat Race says:

    I already weighed in on the ingrained advertising over in the Honda post. I just want to know if there are different Hamsters in every box.

  89. arkizzle says:

    #46
    “” no body is perfect, but without mr. gates NONE of us would be here. “”

    In what sense?

    He didn’t invent computers, or os’, or html, or the internet or the www, or browsers, or phonelines, or blogging, or … anything.

    He did a good job homogenizing the worlds taste to a not-particularly-good OS, but it was never the only choice and never the tech leader.

    If he didn’t do it, someone else would have (for the better or worse).

    oh wait.. maybe you meant existentially.

  90. Marshall says:

    #106 Teresa

    I did read your notice, thank you. The running bit is missing the word “ads” following the word “running”. Fast typing…

    And I wasn’t complaining. I’ll read into your choice of words as I feel like on that one. I was criticizing – as one blogger to a group of others, and their staff, I think that you guys fucked up several times in handling this issue.

    First the ads shouldn’t be in the posts, anyways – you don’t see magazines, newspapers or other written publications running ads inside of their articles, or having their articles sponsored by major corporations. It’s a credibility destroying move. You guys have enough dough/gumption to solve your moblogging problems on your own dime. Given that a prime area where BB has “issue credibility” is on copyright/DRM issues, the MS ad is a particularly credibility damaging choice.

    Secondly, by deleting (or holding) posts, you use a sledgehammer when a regular hammer would have done nicely. I have never seen a forum or blog that suddenly started wiping/hiding/mass editing user comments be better off, community-wise, afterward. You could have very easily put up a notice that you were going to clean up the trolls and then scalpeled them out, without dropping a bomb on the whole thing.

  91. mr_josh says:

    Oh thank you, thank you Windows Mobile, for allowing me to see a blurry camera phone photo of hamster-related human food the instant it was taken, rather than forcing me to wait until the person who snapped the photo got back to home/office. I don’t know what I’d do without you, Windows Mobile, you are quickly beginning to replace air and water.

  92. noen says:

    I don’t have a problem with this decision right now. I do want to note one thing though. Every TV station, every radio station, every newspaper and every cable channel says it’s advertisers have no effect on editorial policies. We are completely independent they say. Our advertisers do not control the content of our media publication.

    But it does, we all know it does. Not at first of course but slowly and over time it does have an effect.

  93. Joel Johnson says:

    #42: Mad was amazing, but it also had a revenue stream that let it work without ads. Boing Boing does not.

    Mostly I just wanted to note that comparing BB with Mad makes me really happy, even if that wasn’t your intent. :)

  94. Mnemesis says:

    Yeah. This is ridiculous. Microsoft? For christ’s sake…

    There is no rational explanation for accepting MS money except for the mere fact that it’s money, and you guys want it. Don’t try to defend it as anything other than a profit motive, because as has been said here, there are plenty of other advertisers….but then again, not too many with MS kind of dollars. So go ahead and embrace it, drop the denial. As the man said, “The best things in life are free, but you can keep ‘em for the birds and bees.”

    You know, the only thing that truly bothers me is that so you know many of your readers hate this company, guys. It’s sad to see that Bill Gates’ money is more important than your readers.

  95. TheG33K says:

    I also find it interesting that someone reinstated the Microsoft logo in the body of the text again after removing it. I take it that was a non-negotiable part of the sponsorship deal? Because, let me tell you, I’ve seen it in three posts so far and its presence certainly hasn’t got any less abrasive as the day’s worn on.

  96. susanisphere says:

    I wish BB loaded easier on my windows mobile phone.
    Principles are great, but a hacked iPhone’s not in my cards.
    BB hasn’t jumped squat.

  97. Takuan says:

    “Will the internet be co-opted and owned the way all traditional media have been”?

    too late

    doesn’t matter

    Die gedanken sind frei, and if they can have that much grace under pressure I’ll be fucked before I let a few commercials matter.

  98. PukeBazooka says:

    A couple of quick questions:

    What are the values that Microsoft demonstrates in the course of conducting its business, and are they consistent with those held by BoingBoing contributors?

    If those values are not shared by BoingBoing contributors, could somebody please explain why BoingBoing nevertheless might feel comfortable running advertising for Microsoft?

    The reason that the Microsoft sponsorship throws us into a tizzy isn’t because of advertising per se, but because we don’t think that the values demonstrated by Microsoft are consistent with those held by the contributors to (or readers of) of BoingBoing. Maybe we’re wrong, but we haven’t seen any explanation that really addresses those underlying questions that I asked.

    Hopefully this comment doesn’t come off as abrasive or rude — I mean it as a compliment when I say that I think a lot of readers here have high standards for the folks at BoingBoing.

  99. Chickie Pants says:

    Unless all you guys are going to start chipping in to support BoingBoing and keep it up and running (I’m talking to you, people who paid all of $0 for In Rainbows), just move along and let the rest of us get on with our hamster love.

  100. arkizzle says:

    #44 re: #54

    Gosh those all-caps look stark! sorry, I just copied and pasted your name from the comment-header..

    It looks like I’m being “stern” :) wuu!

  101. Andrew M. says:

    Sorry I’m late, someone froze the comment thread while they got rid of people.

    Now that I’m here…what the fuck are you people doing? You take money from Microsoft, and then, when people complain, you close comments and post a patronizing blurb about BB’s advertising policies that sound like what a spin doctor would produce to placate the “mob”. This is unconscionable, and it makes me wonder what has happened the blog I know and love.

    Yes, I’m angry. Very angry. After all the anti-DRM screeds, after advocating open source and free culture, you take money from a corporation that has done more to promote DRM and suppress open source, free culture, and innovation than any other force on the planet; indeed, I am astounded someone on here actually used “Microsoft” and “compete” in the same sentence with a straight face. Yes, they’re better than companies like Blackwater, but that’s like saying they’re less authoritarian then Franco.

    It’s a blatant conflict of interest; we don’t have articles on HP or Honda very often, but Microsoft is a company that comes up often, usually in a bad context. You say you’re editorially independent, but we’d expect you to say that; if you weren’t, what else would you say? “Yes, we’re corporate shills and ads influence our editorial decisions” doesn’t exactly encourage readership, does it? Nor, for that matter, do “explanations” that look like they were written by some PR drone.

    You say that, by nature of the online format, you’re much more independent than TV, radio, or print media. To this, I would say that you only have to look at what happened to Jeff Gerstmann to see how false that claim is. While working for Gamespot, he panned a game for which its publisher bought a major ad campaign on the site. The publisher got pissed, and Jeff was fired right before last Thanksgiving, after all the reviews were more or less wrapped up for the year. This kind of advertiser influence is endemic in much of the print media for video games and for many video game sites, especially those that do reviews.

    You’ll forgive me if I look upon some of the articles and writers here with more suspicion than I used to — mainly because I don’t know where you all stand anymore. Dropping the campaign and apologizing for making a bad call and insulting your readers would do a lot to show your good faith, but I’m not holding my breath.

  102. Sus says:

    Folks, please … entitlement, much? This is not our house. We come here a-visiting. BB staff don’t come round our house and give out about the new picture on our wall. Let’s be curteous. And let our brilliant hosts decorate their house the way they want to.

    No matter how very MUCH we despise MS. That’s not the point here. Hm?

    *ducks*

  103. Ministry says:

    I think Panda hit the nail on the head in #15.

    I don’t have a problem with advertising, and don’t have a problem with BoingBoing’s choice of sponsors. The problem is *how* the advertising has been presented recently.
    There’s a big difference between an ad appearing alongside an article and the article itself containing a “this posting is brought to you by…” message. It’s a dangerous blurring of advertising and editorial content. Personally, I trust BoingBoing’s writers not to be influenced by ad partners, but the new acknowledgements *look* bad.

    How about simply running ads next to articles without mentioning them in the text? Alternatively, if you particularly want to acknowledge sponsors, how about doing so in standalone postings, rather than in postings about other subjects?

  104. Tom says:

    You don’t even need AdBlock if you’re surfing with Firefox and NoScript (and if you aren’t why aren’t you? Do you like being vulnerable to cross-site scripting attacks?)

    I’m not running AdBlock, and have been wondering if the “sponsorship” means anything, because I don’t see any ads other than the one for FM at the top right of every page. NoScript is currently blocking… four sites, and frequently is blocking ten or more, so I guess that most of the ads are being delivered via javascript from other servers.

    A small number of print publications have been able to keep their integrity regardless of ad dollars, and there is no reason why boingboing won’t be able to do so despite taking money from a monopolistic producer of crapware that is currently trying to push an arguably unimplementable standard (OOXML) down the world’s collective throat via a standards body that seems to me to have been packed at the last minute with bought-and-paid-for Microsoft shills.

  105. Jeff says:

    You can hate Bill Gates all you want, for all sorts of reasons imagined or real. It would be like dislikeing Henery Ford for making cars, or Birdseye for making frozen vegitables. If Gates has been an super success it’s because he helped make a product that a lot of people seemed to want. And he’s worked his ass off. MS didn’t make a perfect product, and still doesn’t. BUT, perfection isn’t required in evolution, only satisfactory function is, enough to get you to the next generation. Show some respect for a cultural phenomenon that has changed the world for the better (we hope). In person Mr. Gates seems like a very nice guy. Besides, his foundation does great work.

  106. Gdr says:

    Well, blogs are still strange creatures. Some of us do no more trust official news sources, since their contents are nowadays polluted and contaminated by advertiser.
    Blogs were supposed to be immune from this kind of servitude, but things are changing also with this “medium”.
    When blogging becomes a full time job, you are supposed to be paid for it. But money DO affects the content creations.

    Now, BB may assure us that the money they are taking from M$ will not affect their contents, and probably they really believe that.

    But truth is, the money has already found a subconscious path in their brain. They won’t be supporters of M$ of any of the other sponsores, but their judgment has already been affected.

    Post will be less aggressive, less sarcastic, less… something else. They won’t do that on purpose, but they’ll do it, soon or later, even if they themselves don’t like the advertisers.

    It’s only a matter of time, than blogs (not only BB) will be stylistically different from newspapers, they will be more appealing, more friendly. But will they be still trust-able?

  107. musicman says:

    lol! start the slag fest. Let me be the first to say, Microsoft Windows Mobile makes me feel icky!

  108. pugdaddy says:

    Do all products running Mobile Windows take shitty pictures?

  109. Michael Brutsch says:

    So this:

    “…by taking the time answer a few questions, you can help us ensure that the sponsors we select match your preferences. (We have a policy of only taking “wonderful” advertisers in any case!).”

    has been replaced by this:

    “Those high-end ad campaigns exist because the weblog-reading audience is now large enough to compete with old-media advertising venues like print magazines.”

    I interpret those statements together to mean “we used to care what the readers thought about our advertisers, but, not so much, now that we’re big enough to attract the big bucks.”

    For the record: Microsoft does *not* “match my preferences”, nor do I consider them to be “wonderful”.

    Thank you for producing such wonderful content. I only wish my thanks could help pay your bills.

  110. Joel Johnson says:

    I just want to put back here that Microsoft often act like pretentious dickbags. Dickbags, I tell you! I run Vista and love my Xbox 360, though, so sometimes they make a good product. Well, not Vista. (Although it’s not as horrendous as some make it out to be.)

    Anyway: dickbags.

  111. dolface says:

    I’ll pile on; and that Microsoft Windows Mobile tag and link are gross.

  112. Anonymous says:

    Mercilessly charming. Best description Ever.

    P.S. I’m not digging the Windows ad.

  113. unclecheeseburger says:

    I purchased a Hamster’s Lunch several years ago. The snack was not especially good. However, the sleeping hamster toy I got was hilarious.

  114. Hamish MacDonald says:

    Sidestepping the issue of how advertising is handled, I’m wondering (as a Windows Mobile user) how exactly the platform is enabling posts like this.

    Much as I find the platform useful, support for blogging has always come from third-party apps, most of which have a skeletal, cobbled-together feel. At present, I’m using MobiBlogr, which is pretty good, but with the map link here, I gather Mark is using something else.

    Anyone have any insight into what’s powering these mobile posts?

  115. TheG33K says:

    I never thought I’d be saying “Hear, hear” to someone named Pukebazooka, but I’ve got to agree.

    I remember when the first ads came in a few years back. I thought, “Uh oh,” and waited somewhat anxiously, only to be reassured when it turned out that the banner ads were for things that I found interesting (or generally not distasteful, anyway).

    I remember when the HP sponsorship came in. That didn’t bother me overmuch because it’s a tech hardware company (yes, also a large corporation) that was sponsoring a section of a pro-tech website, and (by and large) HP aren’t universally reviled or repeatedly hauled out onto the carpet for their business practices.

    I saw the Honda sponsorship go up recently and felt a little bit of a queasy sensation in my guts because a global auto manufacturer was sponsoring sections of the website devoted to Safety, Innovation and the Environment and that seemed more than a little ironic, not to mention contrary to the general philosophy behind the website, but I just eyed it warily and let it pass.

    But I really have to wonder where the MS sponsorship is coming from. I know that Boing Boing needs money to survive and I realise that sponsorships are a good source of income, but MS is a corporation almost universally reviled by both BB posters and readers. TNH said earlier that without sponsorships from companies like MS, BB would survive, which then begs the question why this sponsorship specifically. I know she also said that the Boingers turn down tons of other sketchier sponsorship requests and I have no doubt that’s entirely true, but that doesn’t put aside the question “Why Microsoft?”

    And like Pukebazooka stated before me, I don’t think that question has been answered. There’s been some dancing around it, but nothing that has addressed the readership’s concerns directly.

    I love Boing Boing. I read it in its print version, I recently bought (and proudly wear) the Coop shirt and BB is for all intents and purposes the home page on my browser, and for those reasons I’d like to have a straightforward answer that will allay my concerns about this sponsorship. Thank you.

  116. dculberson says:

    Teresa, I’m running Firefox under Windows XP.

  117. Sam says:

    #34 Interesting question.

    I’ve use a windows mobile phone to try to post to my wordpress blog before and it was complete crap. In fact, it had a hard time displaying quite a number of web pages because the browser wasn’t implemented well at all.

    However I chucked that brick at a wall and got an iphone and can post to my blog as much as I please now. It displays web pages no problem! Cookies? Yes! Bank web sites? Yep. But that shitty windows phone, woof. It had all the bells and wistles too. In fact, if the actual phone had linux or android on it, I’d still be using it.

    And don’t even start talking about trying to get the damn thing to sync with my mac!

    Crap!

  118. Michael Brutsch says:

    Unicorn Chaser!

  119. arkizzle says:

    #60
    Jeff, my only comments on Bill Gates were dispelling the odd “without Bill, none of us would be here” comment made above.

    However:
    “” Show some respect for a cultural phenomenon that has changed the world for the better (we hope). “”

    Does it occur to you that some of us already don’t think it’s ‘for the better’?

    I’ll be holding on to my respect as far as that goes.

    And maybe calm down with the whole “show some respect” line, it’s getting old fast.

  120. Downpressor says:

    Not all the comments got restored, but I will once again attempt to compare this to a bar mitzvah for BoingBoing and offer my congratulations to them.

    Readers of a certain age may remember this bit from The Clash song “Death or Glory”:

    Every cheap hood makes a bargain with the world
    and ends up making payments on a sofa or a girl

  121. remmelt says:

    Look what that little hamster made me do! Made me view the BB webs all without my adblocks! I was UNPROTECTED THERE! For a while! At least!

  122. Marshall says:

    Mass deletion is bad form, dudes. And having running in the posts really eats at your credibility.

  123. Jeremy A says:

    Sponsoring Boing Boing seems like a poor decision on Microsoft’s part. All it’s doing is making everybody pissed at them. And everybody’s making fun of their product too. Negative attention all around.

  124. jonathan_v says:

    A Windows sponsorship REALLY worries me in light of BoingBoing’s MS coverage in the past

    According to search engines, there are 2,380 articles on BB about Microsoft; few of them are positive and many are critical of DRM and IP positions.

    Will we now see less criticism from boingboing?

    Will boingboing decline to run certain articles at all?

    Will there only be no ‘mobile posts’ of articles critical of MS as well? ( ie, no mobile posts of an anti MS DRM rally )?!?

    I think I seriously might need to start reading other blogs for tech ‘news’ from now on — taking sponsorship cash from a company you’ve been highly critical of in the past raises serious ethics concerns.

    When i subscribed to the BoingBoing lauded ‘Make’ magazine, and started to get nonstop snail-mail spam, I was angered — I signed up for that magazine, because the journal with strong online privacy concerns gave it amazing reviews. Then I found out my personal information was sold or rented.

    A MS partnership for most other sites would not be an issue – but with BoingBoing’s history of MS coverage… this is just above and beyond acceptable.

  125. ted says:

    I note that no-one’s answered my questions above about future criticisms of Microsoft. I would love to see Cory step away from the nappies for a minute to let us know what he thinks.

  126. RyanH says:

    I have to strongly agree. The stuff with Honda was one thing. Honda isn’t often featured here on BoingBoing, and when it is, it is usually a neat ad or robot or something else incidental to their main business.

    Having content directly sponsored by Microsoft undermines the credibility of this blog and everyone who posts on it. Microsoft is a big company, known for throwing its weight around. It competes heavily in several areas that this blog often comments on.

    it is going to be very hard to take the next iPod review or Apple news seriously when it comes with a ‘This post sponsored by Microsoft’ label attached. Same goes for anything involving Wii or PS3 news. Or Mobile phone news. Or anything involving Linux devices. Or DRM news. Or Google news.

    If they want to run ads, fine, let them buy ad space. Directly sponsoring posts of any sort is a much more questionable connection. If the site needs money badly enough to NEED this type of partnership, then how am I supposed to believe that the reporting will remain unbiased towards whoever is holding the purse strings?

  127. Andrew says:

    I guess everyone sells out eventually. Please tell us you’re fucking with us.

  128. dculberson says:

    Link works fine in Firefox here. Side note: Safari is an awful browser.

    Apple is just Microsoft with hipsters and a smaller market share. They’re just as evil. They’re just smaller. And better at what they do.

  129. Michael Brutsch says:

    @157: That’s because everyone knows that FM are soul-sucking corporate sellouts, and nothing can be done to save them. It’s BoingBoing that we care about. :)

    @159: There are plenty of names on the masthead, Takuan. I think they are big kids, who are fully capable of answering for themselves. In fact, I’m really only interested in what the BB principals have to say about this matter. But thanks for playing. :P

  130. pugdaddy says:

    ok… place your bets now on how long it will be until M$ moves to buy out BoingBoing.

  131. QSD says:

    TOM — I’ll have to check out NoScript ( https://addons.mozilla.org/en-US/firefox/addon/722 ).

    I really wasn’t sure what all the fuss was about with the ads, so I checked out the site in IE… yoiks! I had no idea there were that many ads on this site.

    Having used Firefox with some sort of ad-blocker extension for at least the last 2 years, it amazes me that so many boingboing readers are _not_ using such technology (either NoScript or AdBlock.)

    Doesn’t the clutter drive you guys nuts? Also, your download speeds would increase dramatically without all those ad javascripts and images.

  132. whoknew says:

    Yeah, I don’t get the deleting posts thing either, but I have to agree with SUS #30 above.

    I also agree with Joel — I’m stuck with Vista at the moment, and as a basic word processing, internet browsing, user, its serving me just fine!

  133. Thingamadad says:

    Why biggify when you can embiggen? I expect more cromulence from BoingBoing. Come on!

  134. Teresa Nielsen Hayden / Moderator says:

    Xeni, I frequently think of hamsters. For instance, here’s the mighty Chmurka on Valentine’s Day.

    For those who can’t stop thinking of that other thing: Upgrading from Vista to Windows XP.

    Kevin Pratt: Yes. And you’ll get bored before I will.

    Arkizzle: What we’re discovering is that the problem with Safari is that MSFT simply doesn’t support it. That wasn’t a choice; Microsoft didn’t tell us about it. One somehow feels they should have done so. We’re working on a fix right now.

    Noen, you’re looking at the wrong patterns. The reason everyone watched or listened to the same programs was because there were so few of them. What the long tail tells us is that we didn’t so much have a unitary culture as a narrowly concentrated production structure and a correspondingly narrow distribution channel.

    In order to attract a mass audience, you had to have the best talent and technology. That was expensive. In order to pay for it, you had to expand your audience so you had the viewer numbers you needed to attract big advertisers, who would provide the revenue stream you needed in order to generate the content that would capture your audience that would attract your advertisers. The system tended to produce a small number of heavily capitalized players, a tiered stars-and-sloggers hierarchy of content providers, a constant war for bigger audiences, and advertisers who had clout and knew it.

    At the moment, we’re living through epochal changes in the way all that works. The people who produce editorial content have more control than they’ve had at any time since Addison and Steele. Production and distribution costs are tiny, relative to what they were in the mass media twenty or thirty years ago. Advertisers have clout and will always have clout, but it’s not like it used to be.

    Effectively, what you and the rest of the hand-wringers here are saying is that if Boing Boing fails to adequately please Microsoft and they withdraw their advertising, it will be a painful blow. You know what? It won’t. There are other advertisers.

    It’s not advertising that corrupts; it’s the pressure exerted by advertisers. If they can’t exert pressure, you don’t get the same effects.

    Michael Brutsch: You’re of course free to think that. I’m free to think that it’s a seriously wrongheaded take on things. Do you actually think the boingers care less about their weblog, their readers, and the content that pours through them, than they did three days, or months, or years ago? Would a little advertising revenue buy your soul that easily?

  135. afo says:

    Thanks for the clarification Mark. It’s clear there’s nothing malevolent going on, and it doesn’t make a dent in my opinion of you and BB – but you could not have picked a worse company to associate with. I myself have grown quite fond of XP (I’m going to use it, like a favorite t-shirt, until nothing but translucent threads remain – then I’m switching to Ubuntu), but Microsoft’s insides are Pure Evil, no two ways about it.

  136. Takuan says:

    I prefer Honda to Microsoft, but this still ain’t my personal blog. Set up another down here, would ya?!

  137. alephnul says:

    I left the Digg community when they chose Microsoft as their exclusive advertising provider, even though I have used Ad Block for a long time now and didn’t actually realize that Digg had advertising until they mentioned it. As a result I found that Reddit fulfills my time wasting requirements quite nicely.

    Now that boingboing has jumped the shark I am sure that I will find another site to drop into the slot that bb used to occupy.

    Kind of a pity really. I first encountered boingboing while it was still a print zine. But then I was getting tired of all the self-referential boingboing TV and boingboing gadget posts anyway.

    Thanks for the entertainment over the years guys and girls. Best wishes in your quest for wealth.
    So long.

  138. Mark Frauenfelder says:

    I didn’t taste the Hamster’s Lunch, but the Coco’s proprietor claims it’s quite tasty.

  139. wastrel says:

    Somebody set up us another down here?

  140. Halloween Jack says:

    I remember similar mewling when MS threw a little money (well, little by their standards, it was about $150 million or so, I think) Apple’s way. I mean, what, they bought you a few smartphones or something? Hell, they used to throw a big shindig for mobile device bloggers every year, giving them smartphones and all kinds of neat schwag, and the world didn’t end. We’ll see if it affects your reporting, though.

  141. Tgg161 says:

    For what it’s worth — I almost never click on webads, but I was just talking about the Mobile Web during lunch, so the link turned out to be very useful!

    I hope MS paid you enough for 100 more years of Boingboing ;)

  142. cait says:

    I notice no one has mentioned Federated Media. They list Boing Boing among “Our Authors.” FM’s website claims it was FM that negotiated a deal with MS to support its “new mobile post technology” thereby making this technology available to Boing Boing and its other “authors.”

  143. bazz says:

    The Microsoft “Map-It” link does not work on Safari, Apple’s Mac OS X browser.

    BoingBoing: the “Map-It’ link is useless for Safari users. This lack of function alone should be reason for BoingBoing ceasing using this Microsoft service. The near-certainty that the site was explicitly engineered to not to work when linked from Safari, for craven corporate profit-oriented reasons, is apalling.

    Worse, the result of clicking on the “Map-It”
    doesn’t even tell you your attempt to view the location in the link has failed, instead leaves you vaugely confused. Safari 3.0.4 on OS X 10.4.11 produces the from the 210 character link. not anything anything about the actual location, or even remnants of the address, or city, we only see “Cocos’ in a confusing box:

    ===============
    Live Local Search beta
    ______________________
    [an empty text entry field]

    ____________Coco’s
    [_another_ text entry field, with pre-entered text "Coco's"]
    [button with magnifying-glass icon]
    [row of navigation tabs]

    Please type one or more search terms into the box and then click Search.
    =======

    Microsoft must have worked pretty hard to form a link + web site that works fine on Firefox, but which produces such a bizarre, useless, and confusing result on Safari. _Two_ text fields, one unlabeled, one barely labeled with an icon. Wow, just shoddy work. And the provided instructions don’t even tell you which of these two mysterious boxes you should type in! Gah! If this is not intentional, then at the very least we can say that MS never tested this once on Safari — strikes me as petty, ignorant, and not a little mean-spirited.

  144. CommieNeko says:

    When I was young one of my favorite publications was Bill Gaines’ Mad Magazine. One of the great things about Mad was that while it had ads, they weren’t real. They were part of the satire. To a kid growing up in the pop culture 60s Mad was a safe haven and even an antidote from Madison Avenue.

    Sometime in my late teens I stopped reading Mad every month, and soon seldom at all. One of the sad parts about growing up I guess. I would still sneak a peak at a current issue every now and then and see that many of the old “gang of idiots” were still hacking away. But months or years could go by between peeks.

    Then one day, I was in the bookstore with my brother. He approached me with a grim look on his face and handed me a copy of the latest Mad Magazine, pointing to an announcement on the cover. It said something about new policies for Mad. I turned to the publisher’s statement inside and my heart sank as Bill Gaines talked about paper costs and other production issues. He said that Mad would now start accepting advertising, but it would only be carefully selected and of the highest ethical caliber. And it would be limited to a small section of the magazine, starting on page such and such.

    I was literally stunned. A part of my childhood died. Santa Claus was dead. With a heavy heart I turned to the section and… It was full of fake ads of the worst possible type! Breast enlargers, work at home schemes, you name it. It was great. The Master had proved to me that he still had it. I could go back to my boring adulthood with the knowledge that Gaines-Sensei was still looking out for and benevolently corrupting this country’s youth.

    Now of course Bill Gaines is dead. Mad has full color stories, to support the glossy full color ads that infest the magazine. I don’t even notice it on the newsstands any more than, say, GQ. I’m sure it is still a financial success, and I wouldn’t even be surprised to find that it still had good, solid satirical content. But I can’t look at it and not remember what it used to be.

    I don’t think Bill Gaines would be pleased.

  145. blenderhead says:

    Being sponsored by Microsoft does seem to be antithetical to BB’s stance on the Free/Open Source Software community and openness in general.

    Makes it difficult to post about freeing software when the next or previous post is sponsored by MS, doesn’t it?

  146. theclar says:

    What I wouldn’t give to be mercilessly charming…

  147. Joel Johnson says:

    Heh, I just saw this. I was wondering why someone came over to Gadgets asking me if Microsoft was advertising over there, too. (For the record I checked and they are. It’s for Home Server, though, not Winmo.)

    Story time! The very first week I took over Gizmodo I posted direct links to some images of a woman riding a homebrew bike-powered dildo. (If came up through the seat, if you must know.) Microsoft had just done the biggest ad buy on Gizmodo that Gawker had ever had. I found out later that day — something like Day 5 of my new job — that Microsoft pulled the ad buy.

    A year later, after Gizmodo was gaining real traction, they invited me to interview Bill Gates one-on-one at CES.

    Point is, Microsoft, just like all companies, just wants to go where the customers are. And speaking just for myself, I have no problem taking their money to pay my bills as long as they don’t expect me to censor or change my opinion about them or, you know, anything.

    I think it’s totally reasonable to bristle at Microsoft in particular, though. They’ve been stupendous dickbags in the past. They also have made plenty of totally decent software and hardware, but still I understand why many people aren’t fans. (And Windows Mobile is my least favorite mobile OS, despite all its potential. I love that it’s easy to put any software on there you want, but the last thing I want on a tiny phone is a tiny version of Windows. If they gave the whole thing a new interface once-over it would help a lot.)

    Microsoft is beyond criticism, for sure. If they want to give me money for an ad I don’t have a problem with it (and I hope you’d understand why even if you wouldn’t make the same decision), but you guys should feel comfortable speaking your piece in the comments as long as you can keep it civil. (More civil than “dickbags” probably!)

    As per usual, just speaking for myself!

  148. noen says:

    “doesn’t matter”

    I think it does matter.

  149. tikal2k says:

    MERCILESSLY CHARMING

  150. Michael Brutsch says:

    TNH: I only know what the boingers say; from that, I must infer what they think, or care about. I don’t think BB will fail w/o M$ money; frankly, if you really *needed* their money to survive, I’d understand. In this case, I think it’s more likely that the *readers* will withdraw. But, assuming you still wish to select sponsors that match my preferences, then you need to be informed about those preferences. And if you still ascribe to the policy of only taking “wonderful” advertisers, then you needs must include M$ under that “wonderful” rubric. That causes me pain, which I have shared with you. Finally, I suspect that the M$ revenue from their “high-end ad campaign” is more than “a little”. I shall now take my leave, that you may roll, like Scrooge McDuck, in your ill-gotten gains. :)

  151. zikzak says:

    “But if Boing Boing lost all of but a handful of its smallest advertisers, it would still come out.
    [...] Weblogs can turn their backs on advertisers, and maintain their editorial independence”

    That’s very interesting to read, because it dispels the myth that Boing Boing doesn’t want to have advertising, they just have to in order to keep the site going.

    If Boing Boing could keep going without its advertisers, if it’s so financially independent that it can take or leave advertisements, why is it adding new, invasive advertisement?

    I think some people are more understanding when advertisement is a financial necessity to “pay the bills”, but when the advertisements are just an unnecessary grab for more money, it will understandably upset people.

  152. iandavid says:

    The link doesn’t work in Camino either. Sponsorship is one thing, but I would expect you guys to know better than to embrace technology that sucks. Give Microsoft their money back and replace the link with a Google Maps one that actually works!

  153. Teresa Nielsen Hayden / Moderator says:

    Joel, if they kept it civil, I wouldn’t have a problem with it.

    Here we go again …

  154. Antonio Silva says:

    I agree with most posts here. IMHO, this is crossing the line from advertising as a financial necessity to being a bit too cozy with advertisers. And sadly, this type of embedded advertising seems have become rather common lately with the Xeni/Dell adverts on BBTV, the current.tv ads on the right hand side that are not easily discernible as advertising, the Honda ads and now this “We would like to thank Microsoft Windows Mobile for sponsoring mobile posting on Boing Boing” (WTF?!). In small doses this kind of thing is ok, but I must say that this is getting a bit creepy…

  155. Mark Frauenfelder says:

    I think it’s *strikes* a bargain with the world. Is it?

  156. HarshLanguage says:

    Just noting that the comments that were deleted from this thread were no different than the criticism that has appeared subsequently. Heck, my comment was about how much space this bad sponsorship took up in the post and how unnecessary the Mobile Post and map link were (meaning that the MS ad deal had in fact directly influenced content of a post). I said that the map link, which doesn’t work for a lot of non-MS-using folks, was totally superfluous and would never have appeared in BB absent the sponsorship. That was worthy of a deletion?

    I simply don’t understand the decisions being made by BB about this. So defensive, so PR-style, it’s disappointing.

  157. Marshall says:

    MS? Huh? Sponsored posts are a big turn off.

  158. Takuan says:

    “no different than the criticism that has appeared subsequently.”

    so why does it matter?

  159. Anonymous says:

    windows mobile ad is lame… hope you’re making boucoup bucks, in which case well played

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