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BP buys 'oil spill,' related Internet search terms to manage message
BP is paying for prime placement when people search for 'oil spill.'

 12:18 am on Jun 10, 2010 (gmt 0)

I don't see what BP has done other than outbid everyone for paid placement. Am I missing something?




 12:24 am on Jun 10, 2010 (gmt 0)

I hope they get crucified for this. I really do. I have friends on the Gulf Coast. Hell, I was just down there a few years ago.


 7:17 am on Jun 10, 2010 (gmt 0)

The author of “New New Media” says he has never been comfortable with the idea that information placement was for sale on the Internet, adding, “Google ought to rethink its policy.”

I would ignore this. It's fairly obvious that the person who made that statement is very naive.

Forgetting about where the blame for this incident lies I see no wrong in this action. Aren't they just trying to ensure that they can keep people informed?


 1:08 pm on Jun 10, 2010 (gmt 0)

I think BP should be crucified as much as anyone (though some crazies would argue otherwise [bloomberg.com]) and I think all oil use must end anyway -- either by choice [www8.nationalacademies.org] or because we exhaust the supply, coincidentally rendering the whole planet inhospitable for life.

But that's another subject. BP buying ads to describe its response seems pretty normal and hardly controversial-- when I started reading I thought they were buying out competing Web sites and redirecting them to propaganda-- but there's no such thing mentioned. Instead it quotes people demanding that Google stop displaying advertising?!


 11:17 am on Jun 11, 2010 (gmt 0)

Actually the media ise quite misleading here. I have read about this on various websites, and even the ones that know that BP is simply buying advertising choose to describe it like BP has actually bought the top stop in the Google Search Results and not the Top Spot in Google Adwords.


 11:49 am on Jun 11, 2010 (gmt 0)

Google made it possible, and makes bucks off it. BP is only playing the game as google provides. Nothing wrong. Nothing to see. Move along...


 9:53 pm on Jun 11, 2010 (gmt 0)

The article fails to mention that environmental groups such as earthjustice.org have also bid on these search terms to get out their very anti-BP messages. So their paid ads and links appear right next to the BP ads.

What I don't get is that if a professional journalist wants to bash BP, why do they think they have to manufacture news? There are certainly plenty of hard-facts that they can use to work that objective. This is hardly newsworthy as it is no different than if they bought some TV ads. It is a vehicle for lazy journalists and television talking heads.

Also, when you do the search for any of these terms you will find thousands of links to very negative statements about what was wrong with what BP did and didn't do, and what is wrong about what they are or are not doing. But you won't see very many (if any) links to statements about constructive actions they have taken or are taking. What is wrong with them trying to make sure that at least a few people are aware of those actions? Are they not allowed to say anything about this?


 12:39 am on Jun 12, 2010 (gmt 0)

statements about constructive actions they have taken or are taking. What is wrong with them trying to make sure that at least a few people are aware of those actions? Are they not allowed to say anything about this?

Of course they are, if that is in fact their intent. This could easily be read as PR spin though, which is how I'm seeing it.

The Deepwater Horizon rig went under April 22. Since then up to 800,000 gallons of crude have been pouring into the gulf waters daily1. It's now June 11 and they still haven't stopped the leak.

They've used dispersants (They bought the keywords "oil spill dispersants" as well). Dispersants that were as toxic as the oil itself, further polluting the Gulf Coast, and that the EPA required them to change.2

BP's announcement that they're taking responsibility for the response to the Gulf of Mexico oil spill, not for the accident, sounds more like they're patting themselves on the back. BP CEO Tony Hayward said Monday they are dealing with the cleanup and compensation to those affected, and while they have been dealing with it, their initial efforts also highlight that they're ultimately looking out for themselves. The company offered settlements to coastal residents of no more than $5,000 if they give up their right to sue. This extends to out-of-work fisherman they've hired to help with the clean up. BP has since removed the language from the contract, once they were criticized for the move. They also initially attempted to downplay the seriousness of the the spill, saying the rig was leaking 1,000 barrels a day when in fact it was leaking five times as much.3

Hush money and lies. Are they doing some good? Lets hope so. Our own government has neither the resources nor the expertise to stop this leak.

Apparently BP doesn't either.

1[newsweek.com ]

2[csmonitor.com ]

3[huffingtonpost.com ]


 4:01 am on Jun 12, 2010 (gmt 0)

John Stewart has got in on the debate in his Daily Show, zeroing in on BP's spin and mentioning the keyword buy in a video titled "We Are So <snip>."


[edited by: lawman at 1:24 am (utc) on Jun 13, 2010]


 1:41 pm on Jun 15, 2010 (gmt 0)

BP CEO Tony Hayward said Monday they are dealing with the cleanup and compensation to those affected....

"to those affected", by now that will be planet earth I suppose? cuz I haven't got a notification.


 2:01 pm on Jun 15, 2010 (gmt 0)

maybe they can take a break from all this BP bashing and look at the US company that actually owned the rig. whilst BP was offering Obama a blank check, this american company set about trying to use an age-old american law to kid everyone into thinking that a rig is really a boat, so they can get away with a piddly 27 million liability. this means that the near 600 million insurance payout they're getting for the failed oil-drilling deal will very nearly put them into profit. no one mentions that. they are all obsessed with BP bashing, which is why they're forced to spend out on a bit PR.

BP should spend some of their PR money on telling people who was actually working on the piece at the time it blew. and then they should spend some more on telling people who built the bit that failed -- two more american companies.


 8:06 pm on Jun 15, 2010 (gmt 0)

Assigning blame here is like trying to find the end point of a fractal.


 8:28 pm on Jun 15, 2010 (gmt 0)

BP seems to deserve the bashing... the evidence is stacking up that it's their fault in this case, and that the company generally has a terrible track record of cutting corners in protecting the common wealth against their oil spills, pipeline ruptures like the recent one in Alaska and well explosions such as this platform explosion. There's a good first-person presentation of the deepwater well rupture at [cbsnews.com...] that's well worth the time and you can decide for yourself.


 10:22 pm on Jun 15, 2010 (gmt 0)

So if I understand correctly - if the oil spill is BP's fault then they are not allowed to purchase ads on Google. But if it isn't their fault then it is okay for them to purchase ads. Did I get that right?


 12:54 am on Jun 16, 2010 (gmt 0)

To me it doesn't matter whose fault it is. Assigning blame is for the politicians and they've refined finger pointing to a fine art so I tend to stay out of that part of it.

I'm not BP bashing per se. I'm oil spill bashing. I'm polluted wildlife sanctuaries bashing. I'm dead birds bashing. I'm "how come after all this frikkin' time it's not stopped yet" bashing.

We can send a man to the moon but we can't put a stinkin' plug in a pipe?

If they fix this and they clean up the mess and they make appropriate financial amends to those who have been impacted by this, I will be the first in line to salute BP as being a company who did what they said they were going to do. They'll enter a group of select few. It would appear they're going to do this. They're stepping up and I admire that. So long as they hold to it.

Recent emails that have come to light tend to suggest BP already knew this rig had problems.


 1:09 am on Jun 16, 2010 (gmt 0)

the problems will continue. Those who are really to blame are us. The ones who whinge and wring our hands when gas goes above three bucks a gallon while most of the rest of the world is paying double, triple those prices (the UK pays $7-8 a gallon).

we need to wean ourselves off a highly damaging energy source and do it, as obama said tonight, NOW because doing it in 20-30 years when the wells run dry is too late. Countries that stop their oil addiction are going to be the economic giants of tomorrow.

As the oil runs out and the BPs of this world have to go to ever more dangerous and inhospitable places to suck up our latest million barrel fix, these things will happen more and more often.


 1:54 am on Jun 16, 2010 (gmt 0)

And the 800,000 gallon a day was apparently a bit underestimated:

Oil leaking up to 2.52M gallons daily [news.yahoo.com]


 5:02 am on Jun 16, 2010 (gmt 0)

There seems to be two lines of logic weaving and dodging in this discussion... BPs right to advertise and whether they caused the full-pressure rupture of their oil well.

Of course BP has the right to take out ads to speak their peice, as much as it is anyone else's right to read what they publish and criticize it. The responsibility for the disaster is fairly plain too, beyond any reasonable question, yet their unending tenacity in working to stop the hemorrhage is greatly appreciated as hurricane season bears down.


 11:52 am on Jun 16, 2010 (gmt 0)

They need Bruce Willis. He drilled a hole on that asteroid that was going to destroy the planet. Send him down there, it'll be sorted in just over a couple of hours.

Back to the OP though, I agree that this is another case of the media not really understanding technology (and business) again.

They should stick to reporting about the real, important issues. Like Big Brother.



 7:47 pm on Jun 17, 2010 (gmt 0)

Lawman, it sounds like you've been reading Nassim Taleb's "Black Swan". Great book, and highly relevant to this "outside-the-box" sequence of events having such disastrous consequences.


 11:59 pm on Jun 17, 2010 (gmt 0)

Nope but it sounds like an interesting read. Several years ago I saw a a TV show with Arthur Clarke on fractals. Sorta stuck with me.


 5:58 am on Jun 18, 2010 (gmt 0)

I'd highly recommend reading it on the topic of disasters like this and the topic of Web publishing, the success of which is itself a Black Swan. The author goes into ideas of his mentor Benoit Mandelbrot, the mathematician who developed fractal geometry, and links the fractals in abstract to real-world risk while disproving risk-analysis ideas that are common in business and academia. He really shreds a few Nobel prize winners in economics. Here's about the author and book if interested- [en.wikipedia.org...]

Regarding the oil well, here's a great discussion board covering the subject. It includes several oil industry/driller contributors and this harrowing speculation of what might going on:

Hopefully he's overthinking it, but it would fit nicely Taleb's theory of how Black Swans unfold.


 2:04 pm on Jun 18, 2010 (gmt 0)

Re petrol (gas)prices in the UK. We are currently paying an average of 1.20 GBP per litre which works out to 6.72 USD at today's exchange rate. However I expect after the emergency budget next week we will be paying rather more.

I am a bit disappointed with Obama's attitude to BP. It is not "British Petroleum" as he has been calling it, it is simply "BP" the name was changed because of the international aspect of the business with assets all over the world - including the USA. As has been mentioned before, we hear BP being blamed for this disaster but no mention of the culpability of the American contractor and the American manufacturer of the drill bit. It is accepted that BP at the top of the chain must take full responsibility and that is fair enough. However when the two American companies that actually caused this disaster seem to have got away with this scott free, it does seem to me a bit like jailing the priest because two of the choirboys went out shoplifting.

It also appears unseemly for a US president to be behaving in this psuedo nationalistic almost anti-British way when there is a US company which, nearly 6 years after the event is still not accepting full responsibility for a disaster caused on their watch (as BP have already done with this oil leak). I refer to the Union Carbide pesticide plant Bophar disaster.

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