Tuesday 10 Oct 2006
Greetings from inside the SEOigloo!
I’ve noticed a lot of chat recently about ethics in the forums and blogs I visit. Personal ethics, business ethics, etc. Internet marketers and SEOs frequently make mention of clients’ needs to protect their public reputation and image. A campaign that gets ‘friendly’ sources related to your business into the top 10 positions of Google so that people saying your CEO is a creep get pushed down the ranks is not an unheard-of tactic. But if the CEO really is a creep, where are they finding marketers and SEOs who are willing to help them promote a brand of propaganda that makes their slant on things seem more trustworthy because, after all, it’s in Google’s Top 10, and after all, Google’s motto is ‘Don’t Be Evil’?
We need look no further than Monsanto’s website to see that someone with Photoshop was willing to work for a company that all environmental organizations, most of Europe and much of Asia view as basically the devil incarnate. Yes, good old Monsanto, who have brought to you Agent Orange, carcinogenic pesticides, pcbs, bovine growth hormones and best of all – genetically modified food. It would be hard to think of a company that has done and intends to continue doing more harm to the Earth’s inhabitants than Monsanto.
But take a look at their website at monsanto.com. We see lush crops, sentiments about the traditions of farming and a heartwarming story about African schoolchildren singing their troubles away, thanks to Monsanto. Of course, what we don’t see is the fact that the African schoolchildren will all be starving if Monsanto manages to push their Terminator Technology suicide seeds on the world. They promised back in the 90′s that they would never do this – but now they’ve realized how much dough they can make if they can. Basically, how it works is that they sell farmers sterile seeds. Because the seeds from this year’s crop can’t be saved for replanting next year, because they won’t produce anything, the farmers will be forced to buy seeds every year from Monsanto. If U.S. farmers are flipping out over this dirty trick, how do you suppose the plan will effect the folks down in Mexico, South America and over in Africa who depend on seed saving to be able to feed their family at harvest time…never mind trying to sell their crops? Sorry, no money, no seeds, no food. Thanks Monsanto!
It’s truly horrifying to me that most of the foods Americans eat, brought to you courtesy of Monsanto, are considered unsafe by Europeans. They are calling our children the guinea pigs over there. Are you eating foods from any of the following companies: Aunt Jemima, Duncan Hines, Nabisco, Pillsbury, Pepperidge Farms, Campbell’s, Hershey’s, Nestle, Wonder, Kelloggs, Quaker, Kraft, DelMonte, Hunts, Heinz, Pace, Keebler, Healthly Choice, Weight Watchers, Lean Cuisine, Morningstar, Lipton, Uncle Ben’s, Rice-a-Roni, Coke, Pepsi, Gatorade, Ocean Spray, Tropicana, or V-8? If so, you are eating GMO foods that have been proven to cause serious, scary defects and diseases in animals.
And what about in humans?
Well we don’t know that yet, because nobody around here required Monsanto to find out what this stuff would do to us before all of these big brand companies bought their pitch. Basically, Safeway, or whatever conventional supermarket you shop at is a GMO warehouse and we Americans are the scientific experiment.
But why doesn’t it say on the label of all of these famous brand-name foods that they contain GMO garbage? Because we have no law requiring that you be informed of what you are eating. Japan made a law out of this, and because of it, no Japanese companies would use GMO ingredients, because noone wanted to eat them.
Altering the food sources that humans have been dependent upon for thousands of years will have a huge effect on mankind. We’re going to see this in our old age, and our children are going to be dealing with the legacy of it. I’m currently reading Charles C. Mann’s book 1491 which is basically about how the European explorers and pilgrims depopulated North and South America by bringing smallpox with them to the ‘new world’. The book goes into fascinating detail about the original inhabitants of the land and talks about the 4000 year old farming practices of Central and South America. It is believed that the cultivation of corn enabled these regions’ ancient civilizations, which rivaled Rome in their complexity and opulence, to exist. There are farms in Mexico that are hundreds, if not thousands, of years old. They are still producing excellent crops because of the natural, sustainable agriculture practices and Mexico is still totally dependent on corn.
But now the pollen of Monsanto’s GMO corn is blowing across the Americas, infecting every crop it touches, making it unfit for human consumption. And Monstanto knows this. And Monsanto doesn’t care.
What sparked this tirade of a blog post is the fact that I read an interview with a Monsanto rep who says they have a ‘PR issue’ that needs to be overcome. They need to win public trust for their toxic products. They’ll use TV for this, they’ll use their website for this. As an SEO, I live in a world where everyone is trying to promote whatever they have to sell. Realizing that search engine optimization is available to companies like Monsanto makes me want to throw my laptop out the window. Realizing that the skills I use to promote someone’s mom & pop gift shop are the same skills some totally unethical SEO is using to promote Monsanto’s dangerous, and yes, I will say it, completely evil message just burns me up.
You need look no further than the fact that Coca-Cola runs a Google Adwords ad that is brought up by the search term ‘lawsuit killer coke’. Why are they doing this? Because Killercoke.org is campaigning to bring awareness to their claims that Coca-Cola workers in South America have been kidnapped and murdered for trying to form labor unions. So, Coca-Cola is proudly displaying their Adwords ad to the effect that the killer coke lawsuit was dismissed. Why? Because of their need to promote a shiny public reputation.
Who can you believe? Who can you trust? Clearly, I’ve been convinced by GreenPeace, the UN and a number of other well-known organizations’ propaganda that GMO foods are a disastrous idea. If I were working for Coca-Cola, who uses GMO products, would I have completely opposite beliefs? Perhaps, if I worked for Coca-Cola, I’d think it was fine to murder South Americans who are asking for labor rights. When we start talking about ethics, I have to ask the question, whose ethics?
Mine? Monsanto’s? Monsanto’s web designer’s?
What it seems to all boil down to is that everyone is trying to sell you something on the Internet – be it an idea, a service or a product. My job as a web designer/SEO is to help those business owners present their idea to the public. And though I’m a woman whose concerns about ethical behavior might be considered extreme or idealistic by many people, and on account of my beliefs, our company has turned away a lot of work over the years because we haven’t felt right about promoting the aims of various individuals, I would never set myself up as the SOURCE OF ALL TRUTH AND KNOWLEDGE. Rather, I want people to be smart and judge for themselves, in all things.
Be wary of what your read on the Internet. Remember how propaganda has been used by our country and by other nations to convince whole populations that a certain outlook on things is the one right outlook. Don’t be taken in by top rankings, claims of altruism or brand name recognition. In the words of Saint Paul, Test everything; retain what is good. Refrain from every kind of evil.
See a more complete list of GMO foods and non-GMO Foods at True Food Now!