Yesterday, a seemingly official Microsoft Twitter accounted fooled popular blogs and mainstream news sites to write that Microsoft would introduce a new Zune platform in June. But the account wasn’t from Microsoft.
Allegedly, David Z from Haklab set up the account. I e-mailed Haklab today asking:
I love guerrilla marketing, and know how to recognize it, which is why I didn’t get sucked into the vortex like other bloggers and journalists. But it’s confession time. Who are you really, and what are your objectives? Not that I’m sure I will believe you. But try me. I want to blog on the problem of Twitter and shoddy journalism. You’re the case study.
This afternoon, I got a response. David claims to have exploited a Microsoft mistake—that the Twitter feed from Microsoft’s Office 2010: The Movie Website went to an unclaimed account. So he registered the Twitter account, @officethemovie. My suspicion: There was a typo on the page, and the account should have read: @office2010movie, as it does now.
David Z writes:
Ok, all the news sites are so clueless they don’t know what really happened.
1. Microsoft launched a new site at http://www.office2010themovie.com/
2. I noticed that the twitter linked to http://www.twitter.com/officethemovie, and that @officethemovie twitter account wasn’t registered.
3. I registered the twitter account @officethemovie and people thought I was Microsoft.
4. I made a tweet that said: “June 2009 will be an important month for Zune lovers.”
5. Later people @replied me asking for more info, and I made another tweet saying: “@Gilly2468 @Chimerica @clubdirthill @serenecloud New product launch, that’s all I’m allowed to say. Hold off from buying an iPhone/Pre. :)”
6. A lot of people saw that tweet and lots of tech blogs thought that I was the official Microsoft and they thought Microsoft is releasing a Zune in June so they linked to my Twitter feed and spread the news across the interwebs (http://www.techmeme.com/090512/p75#a090512p75).
7. After I saw that a lot of people started thinking I was Microsoft I took the opportunity to make a post at Haklab.com http://www.haklab.com/2009/05/apple-needs-to-work-on-improving-iphone.html and make sure to get my point against iPhone piracy across to people and hoping that Apple would see it. I made a tweet that said: “I pwned all the tech blogs because I wanted to get this message across: http://www.haklab.com/2009/05/apple-needs-to-work-on-improving-iphone.htmlm“.
A lot of people saw the message and now I hope Apple did too. Apple needs to take action against piracy but they don’t do anything since they keep making money from iphone apps. I’m trying to make it apparent to Apple they need to take action but they simply don’t care otherwise they would have at least done something. I’m just one person so I can’t make that difference, only big blogs like CNN or NY Times will make a difference. Making that tweet allowed me to reach a lot of people but it turns out that I pissed them and now I’ll be ignored. 🙁
This is David’s story, which reads like someone caught up in events out of his control, improvising to use circumstances for another purpose. You can believe David or not. In my original e-mail, I cautioned that I might not. I haven’t verified his identity to my satisfaction, but the story is believable enough for me.
In the previous post, I indicted the new news media’s misreporting. But there is one question remaining, posed by David. Is there rampant iPhone application piracy? Isn’t that what the App Store is supposed to prevent? I ask developers to pipe up with answers in the comments. Is there a problem with iPhone piracy? Is it any different from other mobile platforms, like Android, Symbian or Windows Mobile?