Who’s Editing Your Boilerplate?

V-Fluence Interactive PR President Jay Byrne, formerly Monsanto's executive
director of government and public affairs, shared his online PR horror stories
at the June 15 PR NEWS Strategic Online Communications Seminar. In one, Monsanto
was characterized in a Google directory as "a major producer of genetically-modified
food (not to mention pesticides!) and an advocate of genetic modification."
How'd that happen? Through Netscape's "open directory" project, known as "DMOZ,"
(http://www.dmoz.org). It feeds information through
Google, AOL, AltaVista, HotBot, Lycos and hundreds of other search engines and
online directories. DMOZ indexes some 2 million sites and relies on roughly
24,000 volunteer "editors" to create content descriptions for listed sites.
The DMOZ editor assigned to Monsanto was a self-described "vegan, trans-humanist,
socialist....[with a] rather unconventional aim in life of setting up a world-class
alternative news and information service on the Internet in order to challenge
the dominance, dogma and mind-numbing nature of most of the existing media."
Monsanto contacted Google directly and had the descriptor changed.