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MS advertorial slammed by mag trade body

Forbes and WSJ ads investigated under ASME code of ethics

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Microsoft has been castigated by the American Society of Magazine Editors for producing an advertisement for Microsoft Daily News that "looks like editorial", according to Marlene Kahn, the executive director of ASME. The advertisement appears as a sidebar at a number of Web sites, including Forbes, Dow Jones and the Wall Street Journal. All links in the ad are of course to Microsoft's Web site. Any intention to deceive is denied by both the publishers and Microsoft, but they would say that, wouldn't they? The ASME is launching an investigation under its code of ethics, and the original complaint seems to have come from The Industry Standard, which presumably was turned down by Microsoft as a place to advertise. ASME is affiliated to the Magazine Publishers' Association, which makes the national magazine awards. If Forbes & Co are found guilty of breaking the code of ethics and refuse to withdraw future advertisements, they could be kicked out of ASME and not be eligible for MPA awards. It was curious that Microsoft advertisements adorned the online version of a laudatory article about Gates in a recent issue of Newsweek. That was just a coincidence of course. Microsoft has been running the campaign for over two years, it says. ®

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