British Petroleum (PB) has purchased Google and Yahoo search terms in order to influence consumers' views on the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico.
According to Matthew Whiteway, director of campaign management (paid search) at UK-based independent search marketing agency Greenlight, BP's buying up keywords in the ''big three'' search engines could be viewed by some as a PR masterstroke.
Others may opine that the move it is just a desperate attempt to stop the public from finding out the true damage of the disaster. From a search perspective, this is the best move BP could have made to protect its image under the current circumstances.
Accoding to Whiteway, the oil giant is clearly trying to protect its brand image following the catastrophe of the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, turning to paid search in an attempt to present a more compassionate image.
"With BP buying top position in paid search, it hopes to drive users to its corporate response page which attempts to paint a more positive picture of the BP brand," he says.
Excluding the paid search listing in the results page, 95 per cent of the listings are very negative. A search in Google for ''BP Oil Spill'' presents the user with a number of listings that are being very cynical of BP, including YouTube clips of the impact the disaster has had on the local area and its wildlife.