Sunday, October 08, 2006

Microsoft Apparently Rescinds MVP Award

It certainly has been an interesting week. It began with the sharing of the excitement and thrill of the newly awarded and re-awarded Microsoft MVPs. Shortly thereafter, everything seemed to go on a downward spiral over the awarding of MVP to the developer of Messenger Plus!.

Messenger Plus! in and of itself is a well-designed add-on to Messenger. The problem the members of the security community (myself included) have is with the "optional" sponsor program. Unfortunately, that sponsorship leads to some not-so-pretty additions. It has been well documented what the results are when accepting the sponsor install with Messenger Plus! so I won't go into that here.

The understandable argument is that the sponsorship itself does not need to be accepted in order to install the software. Although this is true, unfortunately, Messenger Plus! is extremely popular with teen and preteens. With adults known to not read (and freely admit not understand) EULAs (end user license agreements), how would 11-17 year-olds be expected to do so? In addition, those under 18's are anxious to install the software that their friends have on their computers. Taking it a step further, accepting sponsorship (read advertisements) is certainly not the same as the actual end result.

Would those involved in the MVP selection process even realize the severity of the effects of the documented sponsorship? Not likely as they are adults who are familiar with EULAs and would not have been checking the sponshorship box. Remember, Microsoft is a huge corporation with multiplie disciplines.

Did this and perhaps other information that we have no way of knowing about result in a mistake being made by Microsoft? It appears so, at least based on the the apparent necessity for Sandi and Paperghost to post, respectively, "
The saga of Patchou and his short lived MVP award" and "Caught in a Crossfire Hurricane" with links to a forum thread entitled "Patchou Lost MVP Status :(". (Note: Registration is required to access the referenced link at msghelp.) Sadly, those supporting Patchou have resulted to mud-slinging and bad-mouthing others.

Edit Note: The thread at has apparently been deleted (or relocated to a private location since portions of it have been quoted elsewhere.) A better action would have been moderating the foul language and locking the thread.

A new week has begun. I hope that the turmoil of the past week can be put behind us.

9SEP06 Update Note: The following was reported at Microsoft Informer:

"Cyril Paciullo was awarded with MVP status this year on the basis of his technical expertise and strong community contribution. However, his active MVP Award status was revoked as soon as the extent of the connection between his application and spyware was made apparent to the MVP Program," the company said in a statement.
It was published at (which I understand is the official site for Messenger Plus!) :
dwergs says:

When Patchou last week proudly announced his freshly acquired Most Valuable Professional (MVP) status, the news spurred so much criticism from fellow MVPs and security experts that Microsoft decided to take back the award on Friday. The whos, whats and whys can be found eg. here and here.

It needs to be clearly understood that the Microsoft MVP Program is wholly managed by Microsoft, not the MVPs. There are approximately 2600 MVPs worldwide. Out of those 2600 MVPs only about 145 are WIndows Security MVPs. I hardly think that small a minority could have such an effect.

Suzi Turner posted an excellent summary and reflection of my opinion in "MVP awards, Messenger Plus! and adware -- a good combination?" at ZDNet.

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