BP has bought the top advertising space on Google and Yahoo! search results pages for terms such as ‘oil spill’, ‘oil leak’, ‘oil disaster’ and ‘Gulf of Mexico’.
People using these search engines to look for such terms will find a link to BP’s ‘Gulf of Mexico Response’ website, which documents the oil company’s efforts to plug the leak and clean up the effects, as the top search result. The company is charged for each click on the advert, which contains the tagline: “Learn more about how BP is helping.”
During the UK general election this year, the Conservative Party also sponsored Google AdWords in order to promote its campaign.
A spokesperson for BP said that it bought the terms "to help drive the people most affected by the spill to our site to help them". It said that people can find contact information, claims processing data and information on how to volunteer on its website.
Although BP did not reveal how much it was paying for the sponsored adverts, US President Barack Obama last week criticised the oil company for spending $50 million (£35 million) on TV advertising to try to improve its public image following the disaster.
Meanwhile, an internal investigation by BP has revealed that serious IT failures played a part in the devastating Deepwater Horizon oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico.