UPDATE 1-GMO group steps up social media push for U.S. consumer acceptance

Tue Feb 11, 2014 5:49pm EST
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By Carey Gillam

Feb 11 (Reuters) - A group of biotech companies battling to increase U.S. consumer acceptance of genetically modified foods is increasing paid advertising efforts as it expands a social media marketing website it started last year.

The paid ads will seek to drive traffic to the www.GMOAnswers.com website, started last year by agrichemical industry players that want to allay concerns about GMO foods, according to an executive who helps to run the site.

The Internet campaign is part of a broad strategy by the biotech industry to try to beat back growing calls for GMO food labeling and for tighter regulation of the biotech seed industry in the United States.

A consortium backed in part by Monsanto, DuPont , and Dow AgroSciences, a unit of Dow Chemical, launched the website in July. So far, the site has logged more than 650 questions from an array of interested parties, chiefly focused on the impact of GMOs on health and nutrition.

A pilot project for the new web effort was completed recently and the expansion is being rolled out now, Dow AgroSciences spokesman David Sousa said. He said the ad campaign should raise the profile of the website for individuals searching for information about GMOs on the Internet.

The group is promoting the site with Google Adwords, www.google.com/AdWords, and Outbrain. www.outbrain.com.

"There will be continuous updates to the website itself, Sousa said. "It's not about advocacy. It's about transparency."   Continued...