BP has bought Google and Yahoo search terms in a alleged bid to influence consumer’s views on the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico.

With BP buying the top position in paid search, it hopes to drive users to its corporate response page, which aims to portray the brand favourably.

Apart from the paid search listing in the results page, 95% of the listings are particularly negative. For instance a search in Google for BP oil spill results in negative reports of BP, including YouTube clips of the impact that the disaster has had on the local area and surrounding wildlife.

Some have argued that BP is trying to deflect attention away from damage that the oil spill has caused, while others agree BP is just giving internet users the information they are looking for; users are not forced to click on the paid search advert.

According to Matthew Whiteway, director of campaign management at Greenlight, BP’s buying up keywords in the big three search engines could be viewed by some as a PR masterstroke, but others may feel that it is just a desperate attempt to stop the public from finding out the true damage of the disaster.