BP Spinning the Oil Spill with Keywords for Website?

By Clint Boulton  |  Posted 2010-06-09 Print this article Print

However, the company declines to discuss advertisers who buy keywords without their permission. A Google spokesperson told eWEEK:

"Google AdWords allows companies, political candidates and advocacy groups to get their message in front of consumers who are searching for relevant information, via paid search ads sold through our AdWords auction; BP has the same access to these platforms as every other advertiser."

However, those who pay for "sponsored links" advertising on Google (or Bing and Yahoo) are a matter of public record.

Users can do a Google search for various terms and if a BP ad appears in the shaded box (with the 'sponsored link' indicator) above the search results, or on the right-hand rail of the search page, that indicates that those terms are part of BP's Google AdWords campaign.  

Neither Bing nor Yahoo responded to comment about BP's keyword purchases, which many in the industry view as spin control.

Search and marketing experts told ABCNews it was a smart, shrewd move on BP's part to control messaging around the company at a time when BP is most vulnerable to scathing critique.  

When asked if BP's paid keywords showed the oil company was trying to help or control its image in the wake of an unflattering accident, Search Engine Land expert Danny Sullivan told eWEEK:

"I'd say it's much more PR. It's not hard to find BP without the ads."

The top article on the BP response Website is flattering for the company. The June 8 press release notes that it will donate the net revenue from oil recovered from the spill to create a fund to restore and protect wildlife habitat along the coastline of Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama and Florida.

"The creation of this fund is over and above BP's obligations under the Oil Pollution Act of 1990," the statement adds.


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