Thursday, January 27, 2011

public relations: addendum


Looking at the statistics for my blog yesterday I noticed the following:

Number of Entries: 3
Entry Page Time: 26th January 2011 02:35:07 AM
Visit Length: 2 hours 20 mins 41 secs
Returning Visits: 0
Location: Apo, Armed Forces Europ, United States
IP Address: Kellogg Brown & Root Ltd (195.59.102.18)
Entry Page: the-tarpeian-rock.blogspot.com/
Exit Page: the-tarpeian-rock.blogspot.com/2011/01/public-relations.html
Referring URL: No referring link

Number of Entries: 1
Entry Page Time: 26th January 2011 11:25:27 AM
Visit Length: 0 seconds
Returning Visits: 0
Location: Houston, Texas, United States
IP Address: Kbr (161.51.3.235)
Entry Page: the-tarpeian-rock.blogspot.com/2011/01/public-relations.html
Exit Page: the-tarpeian-rock.blogspot.com/2011/01/public-relations.html
Referring URL: No referring link

Number of Entries: 1
Entry Page Time: 26th January 2011 12:22:34 PM
Visit Length: 0 seconds
Returning Visits: 0
Location: Houston, Texas, United States
IP Address: Halliburton Company (34.1.69.54)
Entry Page: the-tarpeian-rock.blogspot.com/2011/01/public-relations.html
Exit Page: the-tarpeian-rock.blogspot.com/2011/01/public-relations.html
Referring URL: No referring link

Number of Entries: 1
Entry Page Time: 26th January 2011 04:35:38 PM
Visit Length: 0 seconds
Returning Visits: 0
Location: Houston, Texas, United States
IP Address: Kbr (161.51.3.234)
Entry Page: the-tarpeian-rock.blogspot.com/
Exit Page: the-tarpeian-rock.blogspot.com/
Referring URL: No referring link

So I guess many corporations have bots crawling around the internet to alert them whenever someone mentions their name? And I guess someone who works for them has the job of going around and reading what's been said, perhaps to gauge public opinion, or, more likely, to see if anything needs to be passed along to their lawyers...

Also, after looking at the edit history of the Jamie Leigh Jones Wikipedia article, I noticed this:

3 (3/0) 161.51.11.2 (anon) 2008-03-16 16:13 2008-03-16 16:14

Three edits by an IP very similar to one of the ones I had listed for KBR (161.51.3.235). I ran it through a program and sure enough:

NetRange: 161.51.0.0 - 161.51.255.255
CIDR: 161.51.0.0/16
OriginAS:
NetName: KELLOGG-BROWN-ROOT-INC
RegDate: 1992-05-27
Updated: 2005-01-14
OrgName: KBR
OrgId: KBR-3
Address: 4100 Clinton Drive
City: Houston
StateProv: TX
PostalCode: 77020
Country: US
RegDate: 2004-11-15
Updated: 2007-02-21

I know this kind of things happens all the time, but it's still interesting. And of course I have no idea what they edited (it was innocuous: see comments section), but it seems wrong for anyone involved in an ongoing legal case (on either side) to be able to edit the Wikipedia page that concerns it.

I wonder to what extent certain companies are involved in writing their own Wikipedia entries? Luckily for now, the encyclopedia is still publicly funded, which will help keep moneyed interests at bay, but I imagine this might change one day (long after people have come to think of Wikipedia as being fairly reliable).


3 comments:

Purslane said...

If you're really curious, you can compare the WikiPedia entry pre- and post-KBR intervention. Click on the time code and date of the entry in the revision history that seems suspicious. Then click on "diff" under the pink box. You'll find that the revision was in fact a helpful addition. Note that many people at KBR are not unfriendly to Jones.

Tyler said...

Thanks for the info. Looking through KBR's edits of the Jones and KBR articles, I am delighted to see that Wikipedia seems to be policed much better than I anticipated. My main concern, however, was that a day will come when this is not so. I've gone on to edit the above post to note that KBR's change to the Jones article was not abusive.

Yes, I'm sure plenty of friendly people work for KBR and Haliburton and regret what happened to Jones. But both companies have been involved in numerous immoral goings-ons, and the people who continue to work for them are likewise stained. One cannot remain inculpable and cash a paycheck too. If employees of KBR want to express true kindness to -- and solidarity with -- Jones, they should leave the company upon hearing about the abuse and the way it was handled. It is my belief that the fear of losing one's job is responsible for much of the misery in the world.

Purslane said...

But if they all leave, who'll be emailing Assange the goods?