The company is purchasing terms such as “oil spill”, “Deepwater Horizon” and “Gulf of Mexico”, so that when a user types these words into the search engines, the results prominently feature a “sponsored link” to BP’s official page on its response to the spill.
Critics have described BP’s move as unethical. Maureen Mackey, a writer on the Fiscal Times, an online news site, said: “What it effectively does is that it bumps down other legitimate news and opinion pieces that are addressing the spill… and \[BP are\] paying big money for that.”
LONDON (Reuters) – BP Plc has bought terms such as “oil spill” from search engine providers including Google Inc (NASDAQ: GOOG – news) to help direct Internet users to its website as it attempts to control the worst oil spill in U.S. history.
A spokesman said BP would pay fees so its own website would rank higher or even top in the list of results when Internet users search on terms such as “oil spill,” “volunteer” and “claims.”
BP did not say how much it was paying for the service but President Barack Obama has criticised the company for spending $50 million on TV advertising to bolster its image during the crisis.
BP said it wanted to help people who were trying to access information on the BP website to find it more readily, rather than intending to draw away hits from other sites.
“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.
The largely green and white BP.com website has a large red button at its centre highlighting the “Gulf of Mexico Response.” The right hand side of the response site has a list of buttons advertising information on claims.
BP is trying to control oil spewing from a ruptured well on the seabed in the Gulf of Mexico by using a containment cap.
(Reporting by Tom Bergin and Sarah Young; Editing by David Holmes)
15:18, Wednesday 9 June 2010
The federal agency responsible for ensuring that an oil rig in the Gulf of Mexico was operating safely before it exploded last month fell well short of its own policy that inspections be done at least once per month, an Associated Press investigation shows.
Since January 2005, the federal Minerals Management Service conducted at least 16 fewer inspections aboard the Deepwater Horizon than it should have under the policy, a dramatic fall from the frequency of prior years, according to the agency’s records.
Scientists studying video of the gushing oil well have tentatively calculated that it could be flowing at a rate of 25,000 to 80,000 barrels of oil a day. The latter figure would be 3.4 million gallons a day.
“The Gulf of Mexico is a very big ocean. The amount of volume of oil and dispersant we are putting into it is tiny in relation to the total water volume.”
Approximately 325,000 gallons of dispersant have been deployed so far in BP’s effort to break up the spreading oil slick before it hits the fragile Gulf coast, and over 500,000 gallons more are available.
The company acknowledged Friday that it had completed the final cementing of the oil well and pipe just 20 hours before the blowout last week.