Microsoft has broken the first rule of journalism: they offered writers an undisclosed sum of money for positive reviews of Internet ExplorerPaul Stamatiou, a popular blogger, designer for Twitter, and TechCrunch guest writer, tweeted the following:

The offer email was also sent to TechCrunch founder and past editor Michael Arrington, apparently by a third-party vendor, working on behalf of Microsoft.

Since the email was sent, TechCrunch reached out to Microsoft directly. A Microsoft spokesperson said the "action by a vendor is not representative of the way Microsoft works with bloggers or other members of the media." Since then, the program has been suspended. 

Internet Explorer isn't as crappy as it used to be, but this is certainly not going to help them reclaim their place as the most used browser. So if you read anything overly fawning about Internet Explorer, particularly between now and July 10, you should consider the possibility that it's sponsored content. (For the record, The Wire does not accept payment to write any posts about technology products or services.)