Do a search on terms such as "BP" "Deepwater Horizon" and "oil spill" on Google, Yahoo and Microsoft Bing these days and you're bound to see a sponsored link to BP Plc's Gulf of Mexico response Website.
The company that unleashed the worst oil spill in U.S. history in the Gulf of Mexico has purchased key search terms from search engines to ensure that searchers see its efforts to help however it can in the catastrophe it created.
BP's Deepwater Horizon rig, working off the Louisiana coast in the Gulf of Mexico, was rocked April 20 by an explosion that killed 11 rig workers, injured 17 more and caused the drilling platform to sink.
The explosion damaged the wellhead, and an estimated 5,000 to 15,000 barrels per day are befouling the Gulf. Birds surface each day covered in oil and the fishing industry in the Gulf has been incalculably impinged.
BP has capped the busted wellhead, but it is unclear how effective the measure is and the company's image has mightily suffered.
BP has been the subject of jokes and satirical Websites, including the sardonic BP account BPGlobal PR on Twitter. The company has also been derided for spending $50 million to repair its image in TV advertising.
The company purchased search keywords to ensure its response Website rides high on Google, Bing and Yahoo, which together command 95 percent of the world's search engine market.
BP admitted to paying for search keywords so its response Website would rank high in search engines when users look for terms related to the Deepwater Horizon oil spill.
While BP did not to respond for eWEEK's request for comment June 9, a spokesperson for BP told Reuters the company wanted to make it easier for people who were trying to access information on the BP Website to find it.
"We know people are looking for those terms on our Website and we're just trying to make it easier for them to get directly to those terms," the spokesman told Reuters.
Google, which has been tracking the BP developments with its Google Earth application and NASA satellite images, offers keywords for bidding to buyers through its AdWords program.