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The Courier from Waterloo, Iowa • 7

The Courieri
Waterloo, Iowa
Issue Date:
Extracted Article Text (OCR)

4' wVrzv SUNDAY, MARCH 4, 2007 THE COURIER PAGE A7 Corporations combat insistent urban legends on Internet "No idea how this one got started There is definitely no lard or pig fat in the McDonald's Soft Serve.", McDonald's Australian Web site page of Starbucks' Web site along with several links to and other sites refuting that Starbucks doesnt support US. soldiers. Still the rumor has not died "We get it every few weeks," said Starbucks spokeswoman Valerie O'NeiL "Somebody will forward it to me and say, 'Do you know about this? Oh boy, do we." McDonald's does not have a rumor-response page for U.S. customers, but its Australian business has a site called wwwMakeUpYourOwnMindc that addresses everything from whether its Filet-O-Fish sandwich has shark or dolphin (not true) to whether its soft-serve ice cream has pig fat "No idea how this one got started," the site says of the rumor. "There is definitely no lard or pig fat in the McDonald's Soft Serve." In trying to kill a rumor, companies often enlist help from outside sources, including linking to other Web sites like, a well-regarded reference for sorting out myths and rumors.

That's' one way Procter Gamble squelched the rumor that its president had told a TV talk-show host that part of the Cincinnati company's profits go to the Church of Sataa That tale started decades ago and escalated with the Internet Procter Gamble spokesman Doug Shelton said He declined to say where the consumer products giant believes the rumor originated "One way to squelch a rumor is to refrain from refueling it when you believe it is largely behind you," Shelton said Starbucks went directly to the source of one of its most virulent rumors, which says the compa- of interactive solutions for the public-relations firm Edelmaa But software companies often use their Web sites to address every virus rumor, he said, because "it's important to tell the people who use their software not to worry." More-traditional businesses have picked up the habit too. Coca-Cola's Web site addresses so many rumors that they are categorized into separate myths and rumors pages one for rumors from the Middle East another for products and packaging, and a third addressing contests and promotions. For the Atlanta soft-drink company, it is more important to address rumors than to try to contain them, she said "When unfounded statements are repeated often enough," said spokeswoman Kerry Kerr, "they do start to cloud the truth, and people start to believe them." lie-relations firm Hill Knowlton. "Companies have to work harder to determine, 'Do we need to worry about this?" Overreacting can call more attention to a rumor than it gets on its own, Gidez said "I've had clients who wanted to respond to a problem with guns blazing and I say, 1 lold on a second. You might be telling a larger universe of people about a problem they didnt know The same medium that spreads rumors can be a gauge of how far and damaging they have become Most big companies spend a chunk of time watching blogs, message boards and other sites for rumors and to see what customers, shareholders and employees are saying.

Companies that are subject to lots of rumors should respond to the important ones, said David Dunne, general manager The Seattle Times SEATTLE Ever get one of those e-mails purporting that Starbucks doesnt support US. soldiers, or that Coca-Cola has randomly chosen you for a cash prize? How about the tale that there's pig fat in McDonald's soft-serve ice cream? Rumors fly fast and die hard in the world of e-mails and blogs, creating a dilemma for some corporations that face the never-ending task of setting the record straight Many have rumor-response pages on their Web sites and monitor what is said about them on sites like and Despite those efforts, the same myths and untruths can circulate for years. "Once it's on the Web, it's like taking the rods out of a reactor," said Chris Gidez, head of US. crisis management for the pub- ny doesnt support the war in Iraq or anyone in it That tale began with an e-mail from a Marine sergeant in 2003 or 2004, who wrote to friends that Starbucks had said so in a letter to Marines in Iraq who had asked for free coffee.

Several months later, the same sergeant wrote another e-mail apologizing and saying he was mistaken His mea culpa is not nearly as widely circulated as the original e-mail, but it appears on the rumor-response BRIEFS 5 If the weather kept you in on Saturday, use your Community Day coupons all day Sunday, March 4 it'll mnr Iff rN rs it ns mm mm ill iii ii it ill rYYM OfSlW i I I II I i 1 1 I I V7 1 J-t I k. I 1 1 V. TV. one aay saie Receive a Community Day coupon booklet with your $5 donation. communrty Inside you'll find: A $1 0 coupon to use on a single regular or sale price merchandise item of $1 0 or more throughout the store.

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Blackboard's ship may be excavated in 3 years RALEIGH N.C. (AP) A shipwreck off the North Carolina coast believed to be that of notorious pirate Blackboard could be fully excavated in three years, officials working on the project said. That's really our target" Steve Claggett, the state archaeologist, said Friday while discussing 10 years of research that has been conducted since the shipwreck was found just off Atlantic Beach. The ship ran aground in 1718, and some researchers believe it was a French slave ship Blackbeard captured in 1717 and renamed Queen Anne's Revenge Several officials said historical data and coral-covered artifacts recovered from the site including 25 cannons, which experts said was an uncommonly large number to find on a ship in the region in the early 18th century remove any doubt the wreckage belonged to Blackbeard. Three university professors, including two from East Carolina University, have challenged the findings.

But officials working on the excavation said Friday mat the more they find, the stronger their case becomes. Hundreds bid farewell as first Wendy's closes COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) -They came in droves, regulars and first-timers, children, parents and grandparents, to order burgers, fries and milkshakes at the first Wendy's restaurant, closing after 37 years downtown because of persistent lagging sales. Some called the decision corporate greed. Others shrugged, saying they could understand a business decisioa Dave Thomas, who died in 2002, opened the restaurant in a former steakhouse on a cold, snowy Saturday on Nov. 15, 1969.

He was accompanied by actor Danny Thomas, a longtime friend, and later became nationally known as the company's pitchman in television commercials for the nation's third largest hamburger chain. Stolen Rockwell painting in Spielberg's collection LOS ANGELES CAP) Schoolroom," a Norman Rockwell painting stolen from a gallery in the St Louis suburb of Clayton, Mo, more than three decades ago, was found in Oscar-winning filmmaker Steven Spielberg's art collection, the FBI announced Friday. Spielberg purchased the painting in 1989 from a legitimate dealer and didnt know it was stolen until his staff spotted its image last week on an FBI Web site listing stolen works of art, the bureau said in a statement After Spielberg's staff brought it to the attention of authorities, an FBI agent and an art expert from the Huntington library, Art Collections and Botanical Gardens in San Marino inspected the painting at one of Spielberg's offices and confirmed its authenticity. Early FBI estimates put the painting's value at $700,000, officials said. Spielberg will retain possession until its "disposition can be determined," the bureau said.

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