back to article BP grabs 'oil spill' keywords on Google

BP is purchasing search keywords such as "oil spill" on Google, Microsoft Bing, and Yahoo! in an effort to spin the ongoing clusterf**k in the Gulf of Mexico. As noticed by the International Business Times and others, if you search on "oil spill" on Google, Bing, or Yahoo!, you may see a BP ad appear at the top of the results …


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  1. James O'Shea

    Hmmm... not around here

    I just checked. The lead items on Google are news sources: The Associated Press, the Washington Post, and the New York Times. Following that is a Wiki article. The only thing that even mentions 'BP' on the first page is an ABC news story about how BP released video under pressure, not at all the kind of sunny spin you mention. Bing has similar results. Yahoo, now, Yahoo has the stuff you mention. But not Google or Bing. Or at least, not around here.

    1. Notas Badoff

      Maybe they know you...

      are a greenie based on recent searches and so Google doesn't even try to pull a petroleum-based synthetic over your eyes? Anyway, I see it just like the picture shows.

      1. James O'Shea

        greenie? nah.

        Odds are pretty good that they know I'm in Florida and only Yahoo is stupid enough to think that anyone in Florida (except a certain Republican politician who is _not_ going to be re-elected) would believe one word out of BP's oral orifice. At least one local newspaper columnist has referred to BP as 'petro-terrorists'. Today I passed a BP service station which advertised fuel at 5 cents a gallon less than the Texaco station across the street from it; there was a line to use the Texaco station's pumps, and no-one, but no-one, was fueling up at BP. Gotta love it, I'm sure that Texaco and Mobil and Shell and Exxon already do.

        1. Anonymous Coward

          This has been going on for a while

          My US friends last year nearly threw a fit after I stopped at the BP at the A1/M25 service station to fill up. They had a point. This is no difference to the Alaskan incidents of a few years back. Appauling maintenance and safety equipment being in a state which is not fit for use. This was truly an incident waiting.

          In any case, this one has made me stop filling from their stations in the UK as well.

          1. Anonymous Coward

            Like that will make a difference?

            Do you think the likes of Sainsburys, Tesco etc have their own oil fields/refineries? No they just buy it from... err do you think you can guess??

            So its pretty hypocritical isnt it, if you want to make a stand then dont drive, buy anything made of plastic etc. etc..

            Oil companies only exist because we the consumers demand their products. We are in unfortunate times that we cant live without oil.

            I'd prefer to see the official report as to what happened and who was at fault. Shit happens and there isnt always a convenient "guy" to hang out to dry.

            1. Anonymous Coward


              Maybe no-one's to blame for this unfortunate accident, but that's not going to stop Obama trying to shaft British businesses by forcing them to carry the can.

              Obama should really be getting off his arse - and is high horse - and just sorting it out. Don't just wait for BP to clean everything up and sit there whining about how it's not enough. Put some resources into it. get the US military working on it. Anything. It seems he's happier to point fingers and play the blame game.

              Similarly, BP shouldn't be pissing money away with good will settlements to affected coastal businesses and the like. They should be ploughing it into the clean-up operation. If they want to take BP to court and they think they can prove that BP is somehow to blame for this spill, then that's entirely up to them. In the meantime, I just wish everyone could stop whining and start working together to get it cleaned up as soon as possible.

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Paris Hilton


          Happy to consume the gasoline that BP and the like supply and yet unwilling to accept the risks of its extraction and the environmental consequences of its consumption!

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Thumb Up

      Tinfoil hat back in the box, then

      Given the cynical nature of the "effort", regardless of details like existence, I'm inclined to think you don't count as target audience, James.

      I'm not being critical, Exxon would have had the same problem with me if the Bering Sea looked like the Caribbean.

    3. Steve Roper
      Thumb Up

      @James O'Shea

      Did you forget you had AdBlock turned on or something? The article image clearly shows the BP spin as an ad, not a search result. Can't blame you though - having had AdBlock for years myself I know how easy it is to forget that the Internet is actually a banner-and-Flash-ridden shitpit of marketing glurge without it!

    4. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      I get similar results to you James

      ...but I have a lot of Google's IPs blocked off. Alternately, they could be fishing the Reg and Fark cookies and have me tagged as a near-professional cynic, and therefore a waste of ad-money.

    5. ravenviz Silver badge

      Re: Hmmm... not around here

      Are you sure you're not defaulted fo Google News?

  2. ngcomputing

    Living Just North of Panama City Beach, FL

    No one clicks on google sponsored links, so, dunno what all the hoopla is about.

    I live a fast 45 minute country drive from Panama City Beach. Even with the spill in the gulf, from local polls, about 85%+ show that they still favor off-shore drilling.

    What is scary is that even a higher percentage of Americans favor nuclear power.

    Q. If we (Americans) can't handle a little crisis in the gulf of mexico, what will happen if we have a nuclear "boo-boo?"

    A. It depends. If there is a Republican president and administration at that time then they will find an excuse to invade another country. If not, then it seems Americans actually take a bit of self responsibility, work the problem, and find a solution.

  3. Deadly_NZ

    BP is purchasing search keywords such as "oil spill"

    Thanks but I am pretty sure the whole fucking world knows you did it!!!

    1. The BigYin

      I thought... was Haliburton (an USA company) that "did it"? And doesn't the USA have lax drilling regulation? Not trying to absolve BP of responsibility, just trying to point out that they may not 100% to blame.

  4. Anonymous Coward


    No surprise from the language that this tripe is penned by a merkin. Tell me, how much help are the US citizens getting from Haliburton or Transocean? I think you'll find it's none.

    Lets try an analogy. Lets say a Brit hires a Chevrolet from Avis while on holiday in the US. The steering fails in an area not visible for daily inspection (you do check you car over before you drive it don't you folks?). The fault is a known recall issue but either the driver failed to return the car to Avis, Avis failed to return the car to Chevrolet or Chevrolet failed to apply the fix correctly. The car veers onto the pavement and mows down and kills some pedestrians. Who is to blame? Judging by the hounding BP is getting by the merkin led media the Brit is wholly to blame because, well, he's the Brit.

    BP had raised concerns with Halabortion and Transocean over the BOP. Until you show me evidence that BP restricted the platform owners (not BP) or operators (not BP) from making a fix I reserve judgement on who is actually to blame.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward


      Also, 99% of the people involved in the original planning and incident were probably American. Although BP is a UK comapny, the majority of their emplyees in the US are, well, US citizens.

      So to blame the Brits is a bit like crashing a Ford car in the UK and blaming the Yanks for it.

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Quick everyone, click it

    Search for oil spill, click the BP ad, current average cost per click stands at £1.11

  6. AC-This-Aint-FaceBook

    Title Required

    You know what pisses me off about this oil spill coverage? Of course its a huge natural disaster, people are slaughtering BP over it but we are forgetting two things 1) It could have happened to any of the companies (Shell etc) and more importantly 2) 11 Poor bastards died in this incident - you never hear much about this, just the effect its having on wildlife and what not.

    It's terrible that it could wipe out wildlife and cause eco problems for years, but what's more terrible is that 11 people died.

    1. Anonymous Coward

      Dependency, Addiction...

      It's actually more terrible that the global community has been allowed to develop this terrible dependency on oil - to the extent that it will allow the destruction of the natural environment and everything in it to feed its addiction.

      Don't you see this is the root cause of many of the big problems of today? Being melancholy of sad about the symptoms will not serve any useful purpose...

      If you really give a damn about the consequences of big oil's activities then give up your car, lobby your local political representative on the need to finance clean, efficient mass transit networks, fly less, reduce the waste your consumption creates etc.

      1. Anonymous Coward

        Title Required

        You seem to have missed my point.

        It's the fact that 11 people were killed doing their job (no matter how well paid rig workers can be). This seems to be largely overlooked by the media. But then with Obama claiming he needs to find out "who's ass (arse?) to kick" this should be no great shock, because it makes for a better news story?

        I wasn't making any points about our need for oil and what we will do to satisfy our need for it - this is whole different discussion.

        1. ravenviz Silver badge


          Do they get paid so highly due to the shift work or the higher risk? Risk is risk, people are always shocked when risks are realised. Mitigation is mitigation, people are always shocked when mitigation doesn't work - and so they should be.

  7. Elmer Phud
    Thumb Up

    Ad Block is wonderful

    Not only do I not get the BP advert but the first thing that comes up is a link to Reuters about BP buying the keywords on Google.

    So, Google sells the ability for BP to try and wipe some of the dirt away and, because it's Google, the first thing that comes up is the story all about it - choice.

  8. Gordon is not a Moron

    Don't just drive passed BP petrol stations..

    use every search engine at your disposal and keep searching for "oil spill" if enough people do it, it should start eating into the marketing budget

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Meanwhile Union Carbide are grabbing ....

    "neonatal mortality"

    "Birth defects"

    "15000 dead"


  10. Andy 43

    Nothing to see here - literally!

    Anyone actually try going to For me it gives a blank page. Maybe BP just wish it would all go away ...

  11. moonface

    In the long run does oily mud stick?

    Once this is off the front page, I just wonder how long it will be before BP cynically changes its name and corporate image to something more appeasing to the American consumer. May be a variation back to the more US patriotic appealing Amoco.

    Unfortunately, if you have the power. Then bad reputations can be washed clean. A bit like the average punter's memory.

    1. James O'Shea

      It all depends

      Some of us remember that one of BP's distant ancestors was Anglo-Iranian Oil. You know, the boyz who got the CIA to install the Shah. Another ancestor pulled some right cock-ups in Burma. In both cases, when things got warm the names got changed.

      i see a name change in BP's future.

  12. Andrew Moore

    Dear BP,

    "Please stop helping the oil spill

    Best Regards,

    The Gulf of Mexico"

  13. The old man from scene 24


    Of course BP is trying to control the reputational damage and have their angle represented. This is hardly evil - it's common sense. What are we going to do next, condemn them for spending $1.5bn and rising on the cleanup and containment effort because it's just a cynical ploy to win our affections?

    Seriously, the motivations that need questioning are the ones behind the people who are reporting this "news" and manipulating the public to think that BP are evil as a result.

    That's not to say BP aren't evil, there are already allegations that their safety standards weren't very good, but this will all come out in the wash eventually and when it does we'll be able to rationally decide how honourably they've behaved.

  14. Anonymous Coward

    it's all American anyway

    * the contract was American

    * the contractors were American

    * the subcontractors were American

    * the platform was American

    * the failed blowout preventer was American

    * BP is now simply the brand name for a corporation which is 40% American (remember the Amoco merger anybody?) / 40% British / 20% others

    Still, don't let a few inconvenient things like facts get in the way of a handy little bit of xenophobic scapegoating, instead of accepting that the great American public's continued demand for ever-increasing amounts of cheap gasoline is entirely to blame.

    By all means boycott BP, but don't forget - it's your fellow Americans that you are ultimately punishing.

  15. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I just searched for it

    When I googled "oil spill" every search item returned was an article about how "BP buys oil spill keywords".

    Does this mean BP will now implode like if you google google

  16. Nigel Jones

    BPs reaction

    Quick to criticise what happens -- and sure there will be questions around procedures etc, but fundamentally this is driven by all major economies insatiable lust for oil, which also is a major cause of trouble throughout the world.

    How about more time discussing how to tackle a move to alternative energy sources & reducing of consumption.

    Today it happened to BP. tomorrow it could be SHell. Drilling for oil in deep water is risky.

    Quick to criticise, not quick to suggest proper long term solutions.

    And as usual much of the general press is jumping on the spill itself - yes this needs to be reported on, but let's bring the other issues to the table too rather than just "create news" to stiumulate viewing/reading figures.

    As far as BP's actions in terms of getting engaged with social networking, making use of google adwords, youtube etc, I actually think it's a good thing -- far more clear simple (and technical) communication rather than highly polished PR, and actually trying to re-engage with the population. After a initial pause they're right into it now, and I've been impressed with the content.

  17. Anonymous Coward

    I wonder if this is true?

    1. Anonymous Coward

      BP Knew of pressure failure before it the explosion happened!

    2. Geoff Campbell Silver badge


      Not a chance. Lawyers and the Great Amercian(*) Public involved, truth will be the very last thing we'll get.


      (*) No judgement here, the Great British Public are no better.

  18. tommydokc

    what';s google?

    use instead. uses a combo of bing and google sans the BS er.. BP propaganda

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