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BP Buys "Oil Spill" Search Term

CmdrTaco posted more than 4 years ago | from the can't-say-i'm-surprised dept.

Advertising 439

technology_dude found an unsurprising but amusing little story that BP is buying keywords on Google and Yahoo for things like "Oil Spill" to help spin some damage control. I guess if you can't plug your spill, the least you can do is try to clog the flow of information.

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have they bought "Beyond Pitiful" yet? (3, Insightful)

swschrad (312009) | more than 4 years ago | (#32496366)

how about they concentrate their efforts a mile down instead?

Re:have they bought "Beyond Pitiful" yet? (3, Funny)

lennier1 (264730) | more than 4 years ago | (#32496554)

Before you know it they'll buy other applicable terms like "criminal negligence" as well.

Re:have they bought "Beyond Pitiful" yet? (2, Insightful)

Yvan256 (722131) | more than 4 years ago | (#32496700)

Don't give them ideas.

Re:have they bought "Beyond Pitiful" yet? (1)

Pojut (1027544) | more than 4 years ago | (#32496556)

It's all about the publicity.

Re:have they bought "Beyond Pitiful" yet? (1)

Kell Bengal (711123) | more than 4 years ago | (#32496792)

And there's no such thing as bad publicity, right?
...
Right?

Re:have they bought "Beyond Pitiful" yet? (4, Insightful)

Leebert (1694) | more than 4 years ago | (#32496698)

Good question. I mean, I hear that the janitors are still cleaning the toilets in BP headquarters! Where are their priorities?!

Seriously, they're a big company, they can focus on more than one thing at a time... It's like the Mythical Man-Month -- Just throwing resources at the problem isn't necessarily going to make it better, and could well make it worse.

Re:have they bought "Beyond Pitiful" yet? (3, Insightful)

Yvan256 (722131) | more than 4 years ago | (#32496730)

It's not that they're doing more than one thing at a time, it's that they're trying to get the top results for "oil spill" so that real news are pushed down the list of results.

Re:have they bought "Beyond Pitiful" yet? (2, Interesting)

PhilHibbs (4537) | more than 4 years ago | (#32496762)

How exactly can the PR and marketing department assist a mile underwater? Answer, they can't. BP has to survive as a company in order to be able to fix the problem and make amends. They could go bust, but how would that help anyone?

Who Cares (1)

MightyMartian (840721) | more than 4 years ago | (#32496374)

At this point does BP actually think they can buy their way out of this with good PR?

Re:Who Cares (4, Insightful)

qoncept (599709) | more than 4 years ago | (#32496452)

This is a pretty ignorant, if rhetorical, question. Along the lines of asking what good replacing a 100w incandescent light bulb with a 23w CFL is in the grand scheme of things. The answer? The single light bulb and the single PR marketing action make virtually no impact. Are they pointless?

BP obviously wants to continue operating and overcome this disaster. Regardless of what other actions they take, do you think that is possible WITHOUT trying to boost their image through PR?

Re:Who Cares (3, Insightful)

MightyMartian (840721) | more than 4 years ago | (#32496694)

I'm saying at this point I don't think they can boost their image. Wasting money on PR seems like throwing money down the toilet. There's a point at which you're so reviled that any attempt to make yourself look less despicable only feeds into the negative view the public has of you.

Re:Who Cares (1)

phyrexianshaw.ca (1265320) | more than 4 years ago | (#32496786)

Wasting money on PR seems like throwing money down the toilet.

what else can they do? (trust me, I'm not trying to support them, most of the global oil companies can go sit on the bottom of the ocean as far as I'm concerned.)

as a business, you can't just "suck it up and close your doors". you HAVE to move on. as much as people may not like the oil industry, they haven't ONCE said:
"buy from us. because if you don't, you can't f'in go anywhere."

Re:Who Cares (4, Insightful)

GameMaster (148118) | more than 4 years ago | (#32496466)

Yes. It worked, for the most part, for Exxon and Union Carbide. They'll, probably, just try to play by the play-book those two companies used. History shows that the public has a short memory/attention span.

Re:Who Cares (3, Interesting)

MightyMartian (840721) | more than 4 years ago | (#32496600)

The Valdez incident was in a fairly unpopulated part of a state with a very small population. Union Carbide was in India, and thus not only a long way off, but impacting foreigners.

This is literally happening in a very populated, economically important region of the Continental United States. I mean, these people still talk about Hurricane Andrew, so no, I don't think they'll be forgetting how BP poisoned the Gulf Coast.

Re:Who Cares (1)

phyrexianshaw.ca (1265320) | more than 4 years ago | (#32496818)

as much as I agree that people shouldn't forget these things:

we still depend on oil, and don't have the ability to mine/refine it ourselves.

people will continue going to work on monday mornings with a full tank of gas, and will soon forget about it.

Re:Who Cares (2, Insightful)

MightyMartian (840721) | more than 4 years ago | (#32496846)

Well of course we need oil. We need gold too, but would you just shrug your shoulders if they were mining it in your backyard and managed to poison your property with mercury? That we need various commodities doesn't mean that we should give companies free passes on damage.

I never understand the sort of equivocation posters like you put forth. What does that even mean? Oh well, we've got to put up with the destruction of economically important fisheries and tourist areas because WE NEED OIL! I mean, that's the justification of a drug addict, not of a sensible individual.

Re:Who Cares (3, Insightful)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | more than 4 years ago | (#32496482)

Given that they've been at the "warmer, fuzzier, more baby-seal-loving, oil company" PR game for something like a decade now(I'm guessing that they might be doing a little less advertising in National Geographic in the near future; but they were all over the place with their "Beyond Petroleum" spin) I'd assume that they have an entrenched internal culture that is convinced of exactly that.

Given the public's relatively short attention span, and the fervor of the ostensibly-libertarian-but-basically-authoritarian-corporatist wing, which blithely asserts that any state interference in the sovereign right of corporations to do whatever the fuck they want, or even say mean things when the inevitable consequences occur, is socialist fascism; they may well be correct.

Re:Who Cares (1)

cusco (717999) | more than 4 years ago | (#32496682)

Yeah, I think they do.

I heard the other day again the ridiculous meme that "the Internet will always be free" and "you can't control information on the Internet". Wrong.

Since most people can't find information without a search engine they're only going to find the information that BP wants them to find.

Re:Who Cares (2, Insightful)

MightyMartian (840721) | more than 4 years ago | (#32496754)

I just typed "gulf oil spill" in Google. What I came up with is three stories; one about Obama trying to deflect criticism about his handling of the spill, one about the confirmation of oil plumes (and once again BP is caught lying, BTW), and one about the fight to contain the oil spill to last months.

About the only really questionable one is a site obviously put up by BP called gulfoilspill.com, and it's a helluva laugh to read.

Google is not giving BP good PR. In fact, because of its news scanning, it's putting negative news stories at the top of the results.

Re:Who Cares (5, Informative)

delinear (991444) | more than 4 years ago | (#32496772)

You do realise that they've bought an ad space, they're not paying to bury all the other organic search results. It's one ad that appears in the clearly marked sponsored area and links to a page that gives some information about how they're trying (and failing) to do anything, with some webcams and a pitiful "have you got any ideas to help?" request. It's hardly preventing people finding the information they want, any more than Dulux are trying to destroy our cultural heritage by preventing us accessing information on the great artists because they show an ad when I search for "painting".

First Post... blah blah. (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32496378)

I was going to write something interesting and make an insightful and interesting first post, but then realised I had nothing to say on the topic... so this is my first post (which probably isn't first now that I've spent so long thinking about something interesting to write)

Sign Sign Everywhere a Sign (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32496380)

Maybe they should pay attention to their own rules: http://www.flickr.com/photos/therachelmaddowshow/4667450260/ [flickr.com] ?

Re:Sign Sign Everywhere a Sign (2, Informative)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | more than 4 years ago | (#32496584)

Hey, be fair! They didn't leave their pumps unattended. 11 of the attendees died.

Re:Sign Sign Everywhere a Sign (1)

hedwards (940851) | more than 4 years ago | (#32496628)

The problem is that they weren't leaving the pump unattended, they were interfering with what the operators thought needed to be done and skimping on materials. Had they just been leaving it unattended, we probably wouldn't be in the current mess. But then again BP has a substantial history of fucking things up, and has yet to actually learn anything from past experience.

What else? (1)

CasualFriday (1804992) | more than 4 years ago | (#32496382)

Did they purchase "gargantuan+fuck+up" too?

Re:What else? (1)

MalHavoc (590724) | more than 4 years ago | (#32496422)

I wonder if other folks can buy those terms for them? Is "colossal mistake" taken?

In the US. (4, Informative)

leuk_he (194174) | more than 4 years ago | (#32496388)

If i google "oil spill" here (Netherlands) it does not show sponsered links.

Re:In the US. (1)

markass530 (870112) | more than 4 years ago | (#32496440)

not for me, here in cali, i google OIL spill and nothing like thats mentioned, I even googled "BP Oil Spill" and no sponsored links

Re:In the US. (1)

alphax45 (675119) | more than 4 years ago | (#32496496)

Same here in Canada. I get typical search results. In fact the top result is a news story about how bad a similar spill would affect Canada's coast.

Re:In the US. (1)

Monkeedude1212 (1560403) | more than 4 years ago | (#32496674)

Also in Canada. Nothing on Google, but Yahoo has sponsored links.

Re:In the US. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32496776)

got them here in the UK

Re:In the US. (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32496558)

here in IL I googled "oil spill" and the two sponsored links were:
      1.
            BP
            www.BP.com/OilSpillNews Info about the Gulf of Mexico Spill Learn More about How BP is Helping.
      2.
            Latest Oil Spill Update
            google.com/crisisresponse/oilspill Watch live video of the oil spill cleanup effort.

copy/pasted without editing from google search.

The BP link has a ton of video links, including direct links to the ROV video feed.

If nothing else, this will be the best documented screwup ever.

Re:In the US. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32496724)

I'm in Florida and it is working as advertised. First sponsored link on google for "oil spill": BP
www.BP.com/OilSpillNews Info about the Gulf of Mexico Spill Learn More about How BP is Helping.

Re:In the US. (1)

kaptink (699820) | more than 4 years ago | (#32496810)

In the UK we get a link to www.BP.com/OilLeakResponse - quoted as "Info about the Gulf of Mexico Leak. Learn more about how BP is helping"

Actually, that's surprisingly competent (4, Insightful)

rwa2 (4391) | more than 4 years ago | (#32496398)

I'd have expected less of them... But I guess they're doing pretty well so far with their coverage on bp.com and using dispersants to keep most of the spill at depth and keeping away science vessels so they're free to misunderestimate the true magnitude.

Wonder what their PR budget is compared to their recovery budget.

Keeping Science Vessels Away (1)

Bananatree3 (872975) | more than 4 years ago | (#32496532)

I would have brought in a fleet of NOAA research vessels accompanied by a full-flotilla of Coast Guard or Navy accompaniment, just to show BP no-one owns the ocean.

Surprisingly Competant for an Evil Villain (5, Interesting)

eldavojohn (898314) | more than 4 years ago | (#32496560)

But I guess they're doing pretty well so far with their coverage on bp.com and using dispersants to keep most of the spill at depth and keeping away science vessels so they're free to misunderestimate the true magnitude.

Science vessels? According to Newsweek, it's photographers and people looking to document the damage [newsweek.com] that BP is turning away. Now that's some unadulterated bullshit "damage control."

I heard on NPR that some people looking to investigate beaches were turned away by policeman and when they asked the policemen who was paying them to do that the policeman said they were off duty police officers employed by BP. I don't know if that's true or if the people are lying but the stinks worse than crude if it's the truth and I hope the US AG criminal investigation [washingtonpost.com] gets to the bottom of that.

Re:Surprisingly Competant for an Evil Villain (1)

LWATCDR (28044) | more than 4 years ago | (#32496812)

Actually here is the NOTAM
http://tfr.faa.gov/save_pages/detail_0_2957.html#restrictions [faa.gov]
Yep flight restrictions from surface to 3000 ft.
But dudes that is what telephoto lenses are for.
3000 ft isn't that bad of a restriction but it is still a restriction.

Re:Actually, that's surprisingly competent (1)

lwsimon (724555) | more than 4 years ago | (#32496726)

I'm certainly no fan of Rachel Maddow, but I think she hit it on the head with the idea that BP is underestimating the spill amount minimize fines by the EPA.

I don't really have a problem with that, actually, so long as they hold true to their promise to pay for cleanup and lost business for those whose livelihood they've disrupted.

Re:Actually, that's surprisingly competent (1)

MightyMartian (840721) | more than 4 years ago | (#32496814)

The problem is that they're minimizing basically took a spill that apparently is puking out 12,000 to 20,000 barrels a day and claimed it was only 5,000 (we know now that they have it partially contained that the spill was at least over twice as much per day as they were claiming). They also, even as late as a week ago, were claiming that there was no evidence for vast plumes, and that too has been falsified.

BP has pretty much lied about everything from the very beginning. I can't see at this point how they hope to limit liability.

It may seem egregious and offensive (4, Insightful)

idontgno (624372) | more than 4 years ago | (#32496414)

but this really isn't news. Money has a voice. More money has a louder voice. Lots of money can shout out all other voices.

I hope the search providers enjoy their windfall. I hope the states, the Feds, and the individual victims of this disaster take careful note of how much money is being spent on non-productive spin control, rather than actually fixing the problem and cleaning up the aftermath.

Re:It may seem egregious and offensive (1)

sheph (955019) | more than 4 years ago | (#32496522)

Obama made this point yesterday as well. It's a rare occasion that I find myself agreeing with him, however in this particular instance I think he's dead on. If they're going to spend all this money on PR, then they better have no problem paying to clean up the mess and compensate those affected.

Some Perspective (1)

Anne_Nonymous (313852) | more than 4 years ago | (#32496766)

The last figure I heard for PR money spent was $50 million. The last figure I heard for potential cleanup costs was $25 billion (about the same as their 2009 profits). While spin control on a hideous accident may not be in good taste, I don't think advertising expense is what's going to stop them from fulfilling their remediation obligations.

Re:It may seem egregious and offensive (2, Insightful)

jeffmeden (135043) | more than 4 years ago | (#32496798)

If anything, every dime they put toward stupid commercials and other PR stunts should be matched (by them) and put into a "Future of the Gulf Coast" fund where it can be used solely for long term needs to be determined at a later date. Then, in 10 years when the fisheries still are in a terrible state and BP is in a legal battle over how the cleanup was handled and what government did what without BPs consent they will have a little money to put toward rebuilding the ecology of the coast.

Well said. (1)

FatSean (18753) | more than 4 years ago | (#32496630)

I share your optimism. I hope that the victims never tire of reminding us what happened in the Gulf. We as a nation have a pretty short attention span.

Re:It may seem egregious and offensive (5, Interesting)

LWATCDR (28044) | more than 4 years ago | (#32496636)

I hate to even ask but have you gone to the site they linked to their ad? http://www.bp.com/bodycopyarticle.do?categoryId=1&contentId=7052055&nicam=USCSBaselineCrisis&nisrc=Google&nigrp=Non_Branded_Crisis_Management-_General&niadv=General&nipkw=oil_spill [bp.com]
It isn't a terrible site. It is clearly marked as a BP site as well.
No Astroturfing just a site about what they are doing.
Totally expected and frankly people would be screaming if they had not done it.
They also have live feeds from the ROVs which seems pretty cool
This is so not a story but hey what do you expect?

Can't Even Boycott the Bastards (2, Insightful)

eldavojohn (898314) | more than 4 years ago | (#32496428)

The worst part of this oil spill is that you can't even boycott BP effectively without also boycotting the local gas station owner and the whole refinery chain. Say that this shady keyword purchasing damage control made you so upset that you went down and picketed the BP station in your neighborhood. Well, you might be affecting BP a little but you're having a much larger impact on the guy who owns that station. A huge impact if you're there all day appealing to people's empathy for the Gulf.

What can I do? Write my senator demanding what exactly?

Re:Can't Even Boycott the Bastards (2, Insightful)

oh-dark-thirty (1648133) | more than 4 years ago | (#32496512)

Perhaps demand your share of relief from this spill. This will have a ripple effect on the economy for years to some, and we will all be paying for it in some way or another.

Re:Can't Even Boycott the Bastards (4, Interesting)

batquux (323697) | more than 4 years ago | (#32496548)

What can I do?

Go to google, search for 'oil spill', and click on all the ads. Each click costs them money, and I'm sure they're bidding high for placement.

Re:Can't Even Boycott the Bastards (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32496562)

Create a bot that repeatedly searches Google and Yahoo for oil spill then clicks on the links.
Since you cant boycott them cost them as much money as you spend on them.

Re:Can't Even Boycott the Bastards (1)

clickety6 (141178) | more than 4 years ago | (#32496586)

use less petrol/gas

take public transport

buy an electric car/hybrid

get on your bike

car share

move closer to work

use less petrol/gas

Re:Can't Even Boycott the Bastards (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32496640)

Yep. The correct reaction is not a knee-jerk boycott that doesn't impact BP (they'll just sell to China for the same price, while you'll purchase your oil from another company that follows exactly the same practices), but rather to take a long run view of reducing your consumption of that resource.

No blaming the White House either... ever notice the same people blaming the White House for the oil spill are the same people that were blaming for gas prices increasing so they could drive their Escalades?

Re:Can't Even Boycott the Bastards (3, Interesting)

AdmiralXyz (1378985) | more than 4 years ago | (#32496604)

You could ask the owner of the local gas station to switch to a new franchise. Most of those places are run like fast-food chains: Joe Citizen signs a multi-year renewable contract with the Company X in which he gets to use their branding, in exchange for buying gasoline from them and forking over some percentage of his revenue. Abandoning the contract early would probably cost the owner a great deal of money, though, and those guys are struggling enough as it is with the wild fluctuation in gas prices (the more it changes, the worse off they are). It would all depend on just how angry he was at BP.

Not pretty, but convincing enough of them to switch would be the real way to harm BP. Just boycotting BP stations is pretty much useless.

Re:Can't Even Boycott the Bastards (1)

lwsimon (724555) | more than 4 years ago | (#32496610)

How exactly is their buying keywords shady? They are leading the cleanup/damage control efforts, as it is their responsibility. They're doing everything they can to get information out, to the point of paying for keywords to point you to their updates.

Say what you will about BP's operations, but their corporate communications seem to be top-notch. Those folks are doing all the right things.

Re:Can't Even Boycott the Bastards (1)

Fujisawa Sensei (207127) | more than 4 years ago | (#32496632)

The worst part of this oil spill is that you can't even boycott BP effectively without also boycotting the local gas station owner and the whole refinery chain. Say that this shady keyword purchasing damage control made you so upset that you went down and picketed the BP station in your neighborhood. Well, you might be affecting BP a little but you're having a much larger impact on the guy who owns that station. A huge impact if you're there all day appealing to people's empathy for the Gulf. What can I do? Write my senator demanding what exactly?

I don't know what the BP stations look like in your area, but around here they're as dirty and sleazy as they get. I didn't like getting gas there before the spill.

Re:Can't Even Boycott the Bastards (0, Troll)

FatSean (18753) | more than 4 years ago | (#32496650)

I don't see a problem with boycotting the whole chain. Each link contributes and each link takes profit.

I'm planning to move to natural gas for home heat. Yeah, there are still problems with nat gas drilling but over all much lower environmental impact than oil.

Re:Can't Even Boycott the Bastards (1)

DreamsAreOkToo (1414963) | more than 4 years ago | (#32496652)

Oh, come'on, what a lame argument. Your local gas station owner could always switch companies (especially if he's environmentally responsible). Also, he's probably a millionaire and can afford to lose some business. Finally, even if all of us "morally outraged" people quit buying BP gas, we're such a small segment of the overall population they'd only see a small dip in their profits anyways. Basically, you're demonstrating the classic example in psychology of a narcissistic personality, "If I stop buying gas from them, they'll go out of business." Also, you're acting like a victim. "There's nothing I can do about this that won't hurt me more than I'll hurt them."

Re:Can't Even Boycott the Bastards (1)

oh-dark-thirty (1648133) | more than 4 years ago | (#32496742)

BP owns many brands, including Castrol. They also own the 'am-pm mini mart' brand and some cafe chain that I can't remember. You'd have to boycott them too.

Re:Can't Even Boycott the Bastards (1)

mea37 (1201159) | more than 4 years ago | (#32496862)

"Oh, come'on, what a lame argument. Your local gas station owner could always switch companies (especially if he's environmentally responsible). Also, he's probably a millionaire and can afford to lose some business"

You're missing the point: Oil is fungible and is traded several steps up the supply chain from you buying gas. You cannot affect demand for BP oil. When GP says you'll have a minimal impact on BP, he's wrong; in fact you'll have none at all.

If your local station owner switched to a different franchise - in fact if every station owner did so - the impact on BP's oil operations would be... none at all.

See, it's not that the collateral damage to the gas station is to high; it's that the collateral damage is the only damage that will occur. The only way you can contribute a penny less to the fortunes of any given oil company is to use less petrol-based products.

Oh, and I find your assumption that gas station owners are swimming in cash amusing.

'Finally, even if all of us "morally outraged" people quit buying BP gas, we're such a small segment of the overall population they'd only see a small dip in their profits anyways. Basically, you're demonstrating the classic example in psychology of a narcissistic personality, "If I stop buying gas from them, they'll go out of business."'

So what exactly is your point? Just arguing for the sake of it? Because a minute ago you were saying his arguments against a boycot were bunk, and now you're saying a boycot is a dumb idea - which was his point.

'Also, you're acting like a victim. "There's nothing I can do about this that won't hurt me more than I'll hurt them."'

Funny, it read to me as "the things I've thought of won't work; what are some ideas that will?" Not sure how asking for ideas is "acting like a victim", but I guess it's easier to criticize than contribute.

Re:Can't Even Boycott the Bastards (1)

drachenfyre (550754) | more than 4 years ago | (#32496714)

The worst part of this oil spill is that you can't even boycott BP effectively without also boycotting the local gas station owner and the whole refinery chain. Say that this shady keyword purchasing damage control made you so upset that you went down and picketed the BP station in your neighborhood. Well, you might be affecting BP a little but you're having a much larger impact on the guy who owns that station. A huge impact if you're there all day appealing to people's empathy for the Gulf.

What can I do? Write my senator demanding what exactly?

Actually, odds are that none of the gas you are buying at a BP station actually came from BP. The stuff all comes from the same local distributors who pass it back and forth like it's water. Local stations (none of which in the US are actually owned by BP) just pay for the right to use the name. To boycott BP you'd need to track their shipments in and out of places and then find out where things went. Unless the local distributors boycott BP (not likely) there isn't anything you'll be able to do as a customer. And besides, if BP goes under, who then will pay for the spill.

Re:Can't Even Boycott the Bastards (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32496816)

They have ownership/assets that could easily be liquidated for massive amounts of money. The US should do that to send a message in no uncertain terms that major problems will be dealt with swiftly... er wait, too late for that.

Re:Can't Even Boycott the Bastards (1)

royallthefourth (1564389) | more than 4 years ago | (#32496824)

Tell your senator that you want more transportation options besides automobiles.

Re:Can't Even Boycott the Bastards (1)

Iyonesco (1482555) | more than 4 years ago | (#32496840)

Why boycott BP? Do you think the other oil companies would do anything differently? Do you think "I'll buy from those nice ExxonMobil people because they care far more about the environment than profit"?

It's a bit like boycotting a particular hard disk manufacturer because one of your drives failed. The exact same thing would happen with any other manufacturer so there's no point boycotting one when they're all the same.

That is, of course, unless we're talking bout Samsung. They really do make the most unreliable shit. I'd never buy any of their fucking drives again! Bastards! :)

Oh, I;m sorry, I didn't notice it... (-1, Offtopic)

PeopleMakeMeLOL (1717442) | more than 4 years ago | (#32496430)

You'll have to pardon my use Firefox with AdBlock Plus. ;)

Re:Oh, I;m sorry, I didn't notice it... (-1, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32496498)

+1

Re:Oh, I;m sorry, I didn't notice it... (1)

lowrydr310 (830514) | more than 4 years ago | (#32496564)

People need to learn how to properly use search engines and interpret their results. SPONSORED LINKS are exactly that - people pay to have their links appear when certain terms are searched; that's how search engines make money. Sponsored links aren't the best and most relevant result for your search (and are likely the exact opposite).

I have a friend who does affiliate marketing, and makes a lot of money off of people's dumb search habits, specifically their willingness to click sponsored links, believing they're actual search results that link to the retailer they're looking for.

Brings a tear to my eye... (3, Funny)

Psiren (6145) | more than 4 years ago | (#32496434)

Suddenly I'm proud to be British. God save the Queen!

Re:Brings a tear to my eye... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32496492)

Suddenly I'm proud to be British. God shave the Queen!

There... fixed it for ya.

Re:Brings a tear to my eye... (2, Funny)

lennier1 (264730) | more than 4 years ago | (#32496514)

Where's The Doctor when you need him?

Re:Brings a tear to my eye... (1)

drachenfyre (550754) | more than 4 years ago | (#32496788)

Time can be rewritten. He'll come back. Fix deepwater horizon, prevent the disaster and then none of this thread would have ever existed. I just wonder if my mod points would survive the change :)

Re:Brings a tear to my eye... (1)

Mercano (826132) | more than 4 years ago | (#32496804)

Taking Amy to art galleries, apparently.

Obligatory twitter quote (3, Funny)

jeffmeden (135043) | more than 4 years ago | (#32496446)

@BPGlobalPR

By the way, we made it so if you google image search "oil spill" or "bp" you'll see some great celeb sideboob pics. #bpcares

Ah, the fun we poke.

Not necessary.... (1)

d474 (695126) | more than 4 years ago | (#32496448)

I follow BP on twitter @BPGlobalPR to quench my thirst for oil spill info. Their latest tweet:

By the way, we made it so if you google image search "oil spill" or "bp" you'll see some great celeb sideboob pics. #bpcares

The Tubes (1)

outriding9800 (547724) | more than 4 years ago | (#32496458)

Are filled with oil... Nothing to see here just move along.

BP - "One of the World Leaders in Oil Spills" (3, Funny)

statusbar (314703) | more than 4 years ago | (#32496476)

BP - "One of the World Leaders in Oil Spills and Public Relations Damage Control"

Have you spilled oil today? Our P.R. team can help!

So... I can transfer money from BP to Google? (5, Insightful)

localman57 (1340533) | more than 4 years ago | (#32496484)

So let me get this straight... I can go to Google, type in "oil spill" then click on one of BP's sponsored links. And in the act of doing this, I can magically transfer money, real money, from a company that fucked up the environment to one that gives me free software like Chrome, and Google Earth, and Android?

Hell yeah!

Re:So... I can transfer money from BP to Google? (5, Interesting)

RivenAleem (1590553) | more than 4 years ago | (#32496594)

Now what we need is a press release from Google saying that all revenue generated from the BP add goes towards helping clean the spillage.

Then we can just sit back while BP goes bankrupt (though I suspect there's an upper limit to the cost of the add...)

Re:So... I can transfer money from BP to Google? (1)

RKThoadan (89437) | more than 4 years ago | (#32496660)

I've tried to get a sponsored link a few times just to do this and I can't get one. Where's my advertising?!

Re:So... I can transfer money from BP to Google? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32496662)

No they are BUYING the keywords. Meaning they are paying for it TOO google...

check out BPGlobalPR (1, Redundant)

RockGrumbler (1795608) | more than 4 years ago | (#32496490)

People should check out BPGlobalPR on twitter. It is some guy in his underwear parodying BP spin control. He posted this last night - "By the way, we made it so if you google image search "oil spill" or "bp" you'll see some great celeb sideboob pics. #bpcares"

Speaking of which... (3, Funny)

The MAZZTer (911996) | more than 4 years ago | (#32496502)

I guess if you can't plug your spill, the least you can do is try to clog the flow of information.

Related: http://digg.com/comedy/Massive_Flow_Of_Bull****_Continues_To_Gush_From_BP [digg.com]

Re:Speaking of which... (1)

The MAZZTer (911996) | more than 4 years ago | (#32496530)

Whoops, I suppose I should have linked to the actual article. Oh well, sorry about that.

I get 2 sponsored links right now (4, Informative)

Rockoon (1252108) | more than 4 years ago | (#32496510)

One is to:

www.BP.com/OilSpillNews [bp.com] "Info about the Gulf of Mexico Spill Learn More about How BP is Helping."

The other is:

Tar Ball Burner(tm) [sandman.com] "Collect free tar balls from beaches and turn them into unleaded gas!"

Please slashdot both of them.

Re:I get 2 sponsored links right now (1)

oranGoo (961287) | more than 4 years ago | (#32496644)

I wish I had mod points!

Btw, it is one down, one to go

Ha, jokes on them (4, Insightful)

harris s newman (714436) | more than 4 years ago | (#32496524)

Wait till they declare a profit this quarter. The whole country will draw and quarter them.

Apparently the only thing BP can plug up... (1, Funny)

Drakkenmensch (1255800) | more than 4 years ago | (#32496526)

...is the flow of information, amirite?

They really ought to save their money (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32496544)

they will come in handy when it's time to pay the bill for what they have destroyed.

Re:They really ought to save their money (2, Insightful)

ProdigyPuNk (614140) | more than 4 years ago | (#32496626)

You're out of your mind if you think they are going to get the bill for "what they have destroyed". I'm sure they'll be fined an amount that SEEMS like a lot to everyday joes, but is in fact next to meaningless to a huge corp. like BP. A big enough fine should preclude them from declaring any profit for that quarter - wait and see, I'm sure they'll be declaring plenty of profit...

Have they bought "Bitch Please"? (0, Troll)

webweave (94683) | more than 4 years ago | (#32496570)

The president should temporarily take over BP's Gulf operations. We have a national emergency on our hands. No president would sit by and watch a privately owned nuclear reactor melt down and the gulf spill is the environmental equivalent.

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/robert-reich/why-obama-should-put-bp-u_b_595346.html [huffingtonpost.com]

Clog the flow of information? (3, Informative)

mea37 (1201159) | more than 4 years ago | (#32496580)

Relax, dude, I'm pretty sure we can all find plenty of things to blame BP for without pretending that buying keyword impressions is somehow harmful.

Go google "oil spill". Sure enough, the top sponsored link will be the BP oil spill site. The other sponsored link will be... yet another partison point of view from someone who was willing to pay to get a message out. That's what sponsored links are.

Right below them - right where they always are - you still find the real search results. How that squares with the flow of information being "clogged" is beyond me.

I'd find more to complain about if BP wasn't trying to present a strong media presence. You know, saying "I'd like my life back" or something like that.

Somebody should buy BP (1)

dward90 (1813520) | more than 4 years ago | (#32496590)

For any company with an extra $40B lying around, a takeover of BP while trumpeting "We will fix this collosal disaster because BP can't!" would be a PR goldmine. Use BP's equipment and personel to keep working on the spill, then reap the massive profits that the company will continue to make after this mess is all but forgotten by society's collective ADHD.

How much does it cost BP when I click their link? (1)

wonkavader (605434) | more than 4 years ago | (#32496616)

Cause I have a mouse, here, and I could click it a LOT.

This Should Be A Fun Thread (1)

BJ_Covert_Action (1499847) | more than 4 years ago | (#32496618)

Hmmmm, a story combining the ever-inflammatory idea of censorship with the, 'greatest environmental disaster of our time,' delivered right to our internet front-door here on slashdot. I have my money on more than 400 comments in the first 4 hours.

This should be fun. =)

/popcorn

Its pretty straightforward actually (2, Interesting)

retardpicnic (1762292) | more than 4 years ago | (#32496642)

Completely BS writeup of the article. This is a straightforward and common tactic used by companies in situations like this. Yes, with all the band-wagoning and rhetoric surrounding the issue its not even a bad idea. The spill is obviously a tragedy of incredible proportions, which invites entirely too much disinformation, half truth and anecdotal evidence. No matter what BP did here they would be crucified for either having no strategy, or (like the poster did) assuming the strategy was a CYA move. Everyone is so busy hating right now must forget that BP was a darling until this happened. They gave 7 million to politicians last year, testified before congress, were given one of the largest tax breaks in history by the bush regime. we all helped create this monster. live with it.

How about they take that money (1)

CHK6 (583097) | more than 4 years ago | (#32496676)

I don't think Google and Yahoo need the money from the devastation BP has caused. There are so many better uses for that money than public spin. Do I really care if my oil for my gasoline comes from BP or some one else? No! I go to the gas station and fill up. BP has no PR issue with the public at large, they have a economic and environment issue they have to address. In the end BP is now hunched over the same oil barrel they profited from and Uncle Sam has the lube out and the politician line is forming in behind. And in our political climate, BP is a prime target for politicians to rip into.

Is this really news? (1)

not already in use (972294) | more than 4 years ago | (#32496686)

Yes, if you search for "oil spill" in google, there is a single sponsored link (and identified as such) before the search results. About 6 results down, there are image results with oil covered birds and such. Is it news that one of the most profitable companies in the world is spending a relatively piddly amount on damage control? It's not as if they are buying out search engines.

They should probably save they're money (1)

jimmyfrank (1106681) | more than 4 years ago | (#32496716)

Stop wasting it on stupid stuff like this and save it for the cleanup.

Cost them money!!! (1)

nweaver (113078) | more than 4 years ago | (#32496718)

Search for "Oil Spill" and then click on the ad, then close the browser...

Worked great for me (1)

sunking2 (521698) | more than 4 years ago | (#32496728)

Personally I thought it was great as it made it nice and easy for me to find their ROV camera page which I love. So what's the problem here?

they've been spinning this all along (1)

Locutus (9039) | more than 4 years ago | (#32496838)

they've been under estimating the leaking oil, telling us things are progressing fine and then telling us they failed, etc etc so I hope this bit about them purchasing search terms is not a surprise. They, like Exxon before them, plan on surviving this and moving on with business of making billions in profit every year from oil sales. They might have to change their name in the US though because the Gulf is not Alaska and it's likely that this could spread up the easter seaboard too. All area which are far more populated than where the Exxon Valdez mess occurred.

I don't think this will be the last bit of spin we'll be seeing from them. I've already noticed that their public relations people are spinning the leak estimation numbers as US government defined estimates. My guess is that if they put a real cap on this and therefore have a measured amount of flow, the numbers will have to be made public. Changing the perception that the under estimated values were government estimates cover there asses when the real numbers come to light. There's more spin to come.

LoB
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