Late last month, as the controversy
over the Gulf oil spill
was just heating up, BP tussled
with the folks behind a popular spoof Twitter feed
. Now comes word that the PR
department at BP has forked over a healthy chunk of change to control the way Web users view the company. According to BP reps, the company has purchased a range of popular search terms – including "oil spill" – from Google, the most popular search engine in the US.
So what does it mean to "purchase" a search term? Well, it certainly doesn't make all the negative results go away. Today, for instance, a Google search for "oil spill" returned a range of results, including a Huffington Post article and a Wikipedia entry on oil spills.
But the very top result is a shaded advertisement from BP, trumpeting the company's clean-up efforts. "Learn More about How BP is Helping," the advertisement reads.