ScienceBlogs, a widely read website about science sold advertising space to Pepsico disguised as just another science blog...Under pressure from readers and contributors, the ScienceBlogs editor finally gave in and backtracked, but this, along with Pepsico popping up in the latest US obesity report to inform us of Pepsico's concern with people's waistlines, says a lot about the new strategy of big food in taking over the science and academic space. Below an extract from a Guardian report on the issue.
"Much consternation over at the home of science blogging, ScienceBlogs. The forum for the brilliant Orac, Pharyngula, Molecule of the Day, and countless other insightful, funny and informative blogs has decided upon a bizarre new strategy in sourcing new posts. As of yesterday, the platform will host a new blog written by food giant PepsiCo, all about the company's specialist subject of refreshing sugary drinks and their benefits for dental and dietary health.
Sorry, no, PepsiCo's scientific staff will be writing about nutrition on the new Food Frontiers blog. I'll give you a moment to get back on your chair.
ScienceBlogs editor, Evan Lerner, writes:
As part of this partnership, we'll hear from a wide range of experts on how the company is developing products rooted in rigorous, science-based nutrition standards to offer consumers more wholesome and enjoyable foods and beverages. The focus will be on innovations in science, nutrition and health policy. In addition to learning more about the transformation of PepsiCo's product portfolio, we'll be seeing some of the innovative ways it is planning to reduce its use of energy, water and packaging.
Underneath the introductory post, a growing list of comments is already slamming the decision to let PepsiCo onto a blogging platform that has rightly built a reputation for allowing scientists to say exactly what they want. And, boy, are they saying it. Craig Holman comments:
A corporate-sponsored blog has no place in ScienceBlogs.
It can't be taken seriously and drags down the legitimate blogs by association.
If this blog is not closed prompty, I hope the other blogs leave ScienceBlogs as quickly as possible.
Shame on you.
Shame on the ScienceBlogs management.
I visit ScienceBlogs for viewpoints on science from scientists. I do not come here for information about all the awesome things Pepsi does. I receive that data from advertisements, which is what this blog promises to be, only made to look "scientific" by SB's unfortunate cooperation.
Pepsi can have its own blog where it can wax rhapsodic about all the good it does to counter all the junk food it peddles. With this move, SB has really damaged its credibility with me."