Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Searching for action

None of my four main tasks at the moment are ready for public consumption so I thought I'd say a quick word about searching for information on the baby milk campaign.

Type 'Nestlé boycott' or 'boycott Nestlé' into most search engines and not only is Baby Milk Action likely to be top of the list, but there is page after page of other sites with information about the boycott. I've just tried it now, and it reminds me of stories from the past few years we worked to put into circulation. Such as when Pulp, Dodgy and Ian Brown found themselves named in the British Medical Journal after supporting the Nestlé boycott. The flip side of this was breastfeeding and the World Health Assembly marketing requirements for baby foods received space in NME (the New Musical Express).

Even this blog has made it up on to the fourth page of the Google search. A lot has been written about how to achieve high placing in search engines, so I won't try to repeat it. The best advice for webmasters, bloggers and campaigners I think is to keep the site active with frequent and hopefully interesting postings. People then visit and most search engines seem to consider the amount of traffic to a site in their relevance calculations.

On Google if you search for Nestlé we are currently the third site on the list. After nestle.co.uk and nestle.com Even if people don't visit our site they see the text by the link: "Nestlç aggressively promotes its baby milks around the world, breaking a World Health Organisation code of marketing. It is subject to a consumer boycott in ..."

I hope this doesn't prompt Nestlé to try to nobble the listing. One little trick they have tried is with their anti-boycott site. In case you haven't come across it, the address is www.babymilk.nestle.com

The choice of address is no accident, I believe. Visit it once then when you start to type the Baby Milk Action website address www.babymilkaction.org on the address line, the first letters will prompt the browser to offer the anti-boycott website as a prompt. Coincidence? Perhaps. Or perhaps they paid one of their consultancy firms a small fortune to come up with that strategy.

If you do happen along to the anti-boycott site, you will probably notice that it is definitely not updated frequently with interesting information. When it was launched Nestlé had the intention of producing regular 'Code Action' reports showing its initiatives in implementing the International Code of Marketing of Breastmilk Substitutes and subsequent, relevant Resolutions of the World Health Assembly.

They are still there, archived on the site.

Number 1: October 1999

Number 2: November 1999

Number 3: January 2000

Number 4: April 2000
(They are starting to come a little more slowly now)

Number 5: August 2000
(Now more than a year to wait..)

Number 6: October 2001
(And if you can believe it, an even longer wait..)

Number 7: June 2003 .. the newest edition on the site.

Which may prompt you to think that 'Code Action' is not a fitting name for the report.

More accurate is that Nestlé..s continues to breaking the Code and Resolutions, which is not action it wishes to draw attention to. And producing regular reports meant it couldn't just keep quite when controversy blew up. It had to respond through the pages of its publication, which was being sent out around the world. It became an embarrassment. One I may just return to in the future. The result was the reports have dried up and possibly died.

Though you can never be too sure.

Any year now Nestlé may have some 'Code Action' it wants people to know about.

No comments: