Print 23 comment(s) - last by dailydesi.. on Jun 11 at 5:41 PM

BP CEO Tony Hayward  (Source:

Company-sponsored links will appear first on oil-related searches

BP recently bought search terms like "oil spill" and other oil-related searches on Google AdWords and Yahoo in an attempt to "assist those who are most impacted and help them find the right forms and the right people quickly and effectively," according to a BP spokeswoman. 

BP has a lot on their plate right now with a number of failed attempts to seal the well completely over the past several weeks and even more trouble with the publicity they've received in lieu of this oil crisis. Buying the search terms will allow links to BP's oil response sites to appear first before any other websites' when terms relating to the oil crisis are typed into Google or Yahoo's search engines. 

"Most companies that are smart are buying relevant search terms to increase their visibility on the Internet," said Terry Heymeyer, a crisis management teacher at Rice University's Jones Graduate School of Management. "As long as they are providing factual and timely information in a transparent way and doing interviews with other media sources as well, I don't see any reason why they shouldn't be buying search terms."

How many search terms were purchased by BP and how much they spent is unknown, as Google and Yahoo refused to comment on the topic. But according to Rachel Carr, a Yahoo spokeswoman, ad words cost "as little as 1 cent per user click and can go up from there." The cost depends on the category of and demand for the search terms.

"In any crisis response situation, one of the first things you do is look at what's happening in Google -- it's a pretty cut and dry tactical move," said Kent Jarrell, senior vice president at Washington consulting firm APCO Worldwide who handles crisis management. "I do it with all of my clients, because if we aren't buying the terms, somebody else is."

In response to some websites saying that BP is buying the search terms to distract readers from bad publicity on other news sites, Heymeyer said BP's advertisement links are highlighted "sponsored links" very clearly, and if readers don't want to go to the site, they don't have to. Though, according to Kevin Ryan, CEO of Motivity Marketing in California, most people can't tell the difference between a sponsored ad like BP's and a regular news page. 

"If you look at it from BP's perspective it's a brilliant move," said Ryan. "The other option BP had was to just not do this and let the news interpret what's going on. But they're getting so much bad press that directing traffic to their own site is a great PR strategy."

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By TheBaker on 6/9/2010 12:30:46 PM , Rating: 5
Were the quotations really necessary? If people are looking for clear information from BP as to how they are to get the help they need, then this is doing exactly what it says. There's no need to belittle their efforts just because YOU think it's for PR.

"Journalism" at its finest.

RE: "Help"?
By AssBall on 6/9/2010 1:03:29 PM , Rating: 2
Hey, there is an oil spill! No one remembers the hurricane we leeched off of anymore, so lets take advantage of it at the expense of everyone else. - the media

If you wan't to live on a flood plain in a known hurricane hotspot without insurance, fine. But keep the federal government the hell out of it, please. And stop whining about it, FFS. - the rest of the country.

Using a tragic accident that led to a horrible disaster as a political or ratings tool is deplorable. But that's our journalists and leaders at work! - Me

RE: "Help"?
By Tiffany Kaiser on 6/9/2010 1:12:24 PM , Rating: 1
The statement is in quotations because it is a direct quote from a BP spokeswoman. That wasn't my opinion. No need to interpret it for anything other than what it is. I believe this is a well-balanced article because I was sure to add quotes throughout the story from people who applauded BP's move in buying the ad words in addition to mentioning that there are also others out there who DON'T feel that way. I in no way "belittled their efforts" or littered the story with my own opinions. The direct quotation was put there for authenticity from the head source (BP).

Thanks for your time.

RE: "Help"?
By Tiffany Kaiser on 6/9/10, Rating: 0
RE: "Help"?
By Morphine06 on 6/9/2010 1:50:26 PM , Rating: 4
you should buy the search term "bullshit"

RE: "Help"?
By JasonMick on 6/9/10, Rating: 0
RE: "Help"?
By The Raven on 6/9/2010 3:08:45 PM , Rating: 2
<Live studio audience> WhoooooOoooooooo! ;-)

Is this sort of thing allowed at DT? lol

But seriously, way to stick up for your co-worker.

RE: "Help"?
By AssBall on 6/9/2010 6:25:54 PM , Rating: 2
Jesus Christ, dude. His comment (morphine's) was also humorous. It was funny contextually. Don't dirty your diaper over it or fall off the failboat just yet.

Do you have anything productive to say, or are you just knee-jerk defensive?

P.S. I have nothing productive to say.

RE: "Help"?
By TheBaker on 6/9/2010 10:55:27 PM , Rating: 1
"If you think putting quotes around a QUOTE is "bullshti", you have some issues we can't help you with.*

*The above public service announcement also applies to the original op."

I think putting quotes around actual quotes is great, not bullshit. if you guys would do that instead of just using SINGLE WORDS in quotes to add your own opinion I wouldn't have any issues.

RE: "Help"?
By callmeroy on 6/9/2010 3:35:00 PM , Rating: 2
Seriously dude you are a frigging idiot and your comment was clear as day just for attention getting. Her post was well stated and made perfect sense to me.

RE: "Help"?
By kfonda on 6/9/2010 2:37:54 PM , Rating: 2
The BP spokeswoman also used the words, "oil", "to", and I think maybe "Google". Shouldn't they be in quotes also?

RE: "Help"?
By The Raven on 6/9/2010 3:06:13 PM , Rating: 2
BP Buys AdWords on Google, Yahoo for Oil Spill to Help Victims

Ok. Have your way. How does this sound? It sounds like BP is a bunch of frickin heroes. Putting it in quotes takes the journalist out of it.

And my personal opinion is that helping people regardless of intent is a PR move. If a politician kisses a baby because he really loves it, or if he's just trying to get votes, it looks the same to the PUBLIC. That's why this is a PR move regardless of the intent of BP. I'm sure this is a genuine attempt, but I can do without the stupid perfectly produced commercials on TV. Talk about tacky. A Bill Clinton type apology would seem much more sincere ;-)

RE: "Help"?
By callmeroy on 6/9/2010 3:38:24 PM , Rating: 2
Well there's a term for that too "cynic".

Some folks choose to not live such cynical lives..can't say I fault them for not wanting to get stressed over every single story or detail. Life is short.

RE: "Help"?
By The Raven on 6/11/2010 5:26:29 PM , Rating: 2
I'm not sure I understand you completely, but I am certainly not a cynic. I am merely saying that "Mother Teresa may have given selflessly; but it still made her look good." Does that better illustrate my point?

RE: "Help"?
By JonnyDough on 6/9/2010 3:20:18 PM , Rating: 2
I agree that quoting people is legitimate. However, quoting them to "balance" an article is the wrong reason to do so. Adding credibility to your story is the right reason. Any good writer/journalist knows exactly why quotes are used.

Regardless, my thoughts are that BP can pay for the cleanup themselves. They rake in billions, and this is their mess. We shouldn't have to give them money to be saving the environment when we already buy plastics and natural gas from them, trust them to drill off our coast, and spend billions on taxation to protect parks and wildlife from companies like them. Not to mention we use their gasoline every day and have no other viable alternative but to do so.

Give them what they want...
By acase on 6/9/2010 12:28:04 PM , Rating: 3
It seems to me that if it is going to cost them per click, all of the people that are wanting to protest BP should be getting everyone they know to do millions of clicks on their links. You would be taking money right out of their pockets, if I understand this right.

Unless of course BP is renting out ad space on their websites or something as well.

RE: Give them what they want...
By The Imir of Groofunkistan on 6/9/2010 1:06:22 PM , Rating: 3
I don't think taking money from BP by false ad sense clicks or clicks in protest is going to help them clean up the oil spill. In fact, if it does anything, it would hinder the progress.

By GuinnessKMF on 6/9/2010 2:01:43 PM , Rating: 2
I'd like to see Google and Yahoo (and Bing?) volunteer all the money from "Oil" search clicks put towards the cleanup. They're profiteering off of the disaster as much as the news agencies.

RE: Give them what they want...
By PrinceGaz on 6/10/2010 9:14:06 AM , Rating: 2
Compared with the amount this oil leak is costing BP already, the additional cost even millions of clicks on their ads would cost would be just a drop in the ocean.

Preferably not another drop of oil though.

Google Obama
By Wy White Wolf on 6/9/2010 4:37:31 PM , Rating: 3
How's that any different?

How may of our tax dollars are spent on it?

Ad filtering
By Divide Overflow on 6/9/2010 2:19:33 PM , Rating: 2
Use ad filtering and never have to see this kind of garbage.

And more
By YashBudini on 6/10/2010 12:15:09 AM , Rating: 2
Newsweek ran a story about how boycotting BP wouldn't help any.

Boycott sort of implies it coming to an end, doesn't it?
Hell if I ever again buy a BP product.

BP buying Google ads
By dailydesi on 6/11/2010 5:41:54 PM , Rating: 2
BP buying Google ads shows that giants such as BP are beginning to understand how powerful the Internet has become for brand building.

I feel that BP could be much more effective, though. If you search “oil spill” on Google you will see that BP gets only one ad spot on top of that page. BP could be paying a lot of money if everybody looking for that search term would click on their ad.

Google surely will donate the money made from the BP ad to help clean up the gulf region, won’t they ;-) and use it as a publicity stunt?

BP could get better results at less cost by occupying more natural search listings for the term ‘oil spill’ and many related terms, quickly establishing themselves as an authority in the field. Over 80% of all information seekers don’t click on ads, they click on ‘natural | organic’ listings. Natural listings are ‘free’, if you don’t count your time AND preserve your brand value at the same time.

There are several ways for BP to search engine optimise for the term ‘oil spill’ and related ones, namely article marketing and online press releases. The most obvious one is video marketing: Video marketing can gain top search engine rankings fast. Just see the two videos on Google’s ‘oil spill’ search results page.

Video can also work very well for brand building and reaches an immense audience. After all YouTube has already become the 2nd largest search engine.

Plus video allows you to market to the two second largest search engines at the same time!

This at a fraction of a fraction of what BT is spending now since BP has most of the ‘marketing’ material anyway, whereas a Google ‘oil spill’ ad, they need to continue to buy to make an impact.

Additionally social media would allow them to participate in ‘oil spill’ discussions in real time, thus reaching a much more targeted audience and being able to interact right then and there when opinions are formed – free.

BP facing even more financial and brand damage won’t help anyone, so besides cleaning up the gulf region I hope they will use the Internet even more to rebuild. I guess the better position BP is in, the more it can and will do.

Karl zu Ortenburg

"And boy have we patented it!" -- Steve Jobs, Macworld 2007

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