OG Mods of the Metaverse

Mike Pinkerton

As we celebrate the company’s 15th anniversary, we’d like to pay tribute here to three individuals who embody the spirit of ModSquad and were integral to our early success.

The basics of ModSquad’s origin story are well documented. As reported by the New York Times in 2011, Founder and attorney, Amy Pritchard, had a side job moderating message boards in which she struck up close friendships with other moderators. After introducing these moderator friends to the virtual world Second Life, she persuaded them to create avatars and hang out at a virtual sports bar called the Thirsty Tiger. From there, the idea of a remote company providing work-from-home moderators to staff the Metaverse was born.

But who were these moderator friends and other early pioneers of the commercial content moderation profession? First among them was Susie S. a/k/a Agent99 Tomorrow, a seasoned 13-year veteran of moderation projects, including CNN’s ground-breaking TalkBack Live, the first truly interactive television show incorporating online chat comments. She had also served as the moderator for the first-ever live online chat with a sitting U.S. President, guided online America through the tragedy of 9/11, and hosted online events for three U.S. presidential elections.

With a level head and cool wit on the clock as a professional moderator, Susie S., now a grandmother of thirteen, liked to blow off steam with her alter ego recreational avatar SundayPearl “Pea” Noel. Pea, along with her band of off-duty Mods, enjoyed testing the patience of Second Life’s club owners and bouncers with her snarky assessments and disregard for decorum, often being invited, sometimes forcefully, to please patronize other virtual establishments. Savvy enough to have never been banned from the Thirsty Tiger, her merry band’s antics did lead to the resignation of the bar’s waitstaff in the summer of 2007. Today, Susie S. is a Recruiting Administrator working in ModSquad’s People Operations, helping the company bring on the next generation of Mods.

Tera T. is another original Mod. She joined the operation shortly after the company began its inaugural virtual world effort, working as hosts and moderators of the Second Life experience connected with the American teen drama TV series Gossip Girl. A huge fan of The CW Network’s show, Tera T., along with countless others, had seen a TV advertisement for the immersive game and dropped into the virtual world for a chaotic initiation. After reaching out to the Mods with some helpful observations, Tera T. received a job offer and the team put her to work. Her duties included hosting parties, welcoming n00bs, enforcing the avatar dress code (“Skanky is OK, but parts need to be covered; half tops are fine, underboob is not”), and fielding fan messages to avatar Chuck Bass, the show’s billionaire bad boy of the Upper East Side. Today, after managing dozens of successful projects over the years, Tera T. works in Department X, helping to create the best workplace environment and experience for the company’s workers and clients.

Rounding out this trinity of original Mods is Michelle R., a message board enthusiast who had discovered the worst television shows (unlike Seventh Heaven) often made the best, or at least the most hilariously engaging Television Without Pity-style message boards. After befriending the message boards’ moderators, she joined the Mods herself, cutting her teeth on Warner Bros’ Gossip Girl project.  

She has since taken on leadership roles on other virtual world projects like Minyanland, a financial literacy virtual world for kids, and NFLRush Zone, a virtual world peppered with mini-games, sponsored by the National Football League for young football fans. A lifelong Green Bay Packers fan, Michelle R. was a perfect fit to lead ModSquad’s team of avatars in striped referee shirts greeting new players with high-fives and doling out pigskins, the game’s virtual currency. These days, Michelle R. works as a Recruiting Lead, speaking passionately with potential Mods about the exciting opportunities available with ModSquad.

With that background, please join me in raising a virtual beer from our simulated barstools to toast this amazing trio and all our original Metaverse Mods. It’s been a fantastic 15 years. We are the Mods!

— Mike Pinkerton, COO