Tuesday, June 8, 2010

BP buys search engine phrases, redirecting users

Just one brief glympse into how corporations control the flow of information. Of course, ABC News has no room to talk.

    ABC News -

    Be careful where you click, especially if you're looking for news on the BP oil spill.

    BP, the very company responsible for the oil spill that is already the worst in U.S. history, has purchased several phrases on search engines such as Google and Yahoo so that the first result that shows up directs information seekers to the company's official website.

    A simple Google search of "oil spill" turns up several thousand news results, but the first link, highlighted at the very top of the page, is from BP. "Learn more about how BP is helping," the link's tagline reads.

    A spokesman for the company confirmed to ABC News that it had, in fact, bought these search terms to make information on the spill more accessible to the public.

    "We have bought search terms on search engines like Google to make it easier for people to find out more about our efforts in the Gulf and make it easier for people to find key links to information on filing claims, reporting oil on the beach and signing up to volunteer," BP spokesman Toby Odone told ABC News.

    But several search engine marketing experts are questioning BP's intentions, suggesting that controlling what the public finds when they look online for oil spill information is just another way for the company to try and rebuild the company's suffering public image.

Read it all.