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Google and the Gulf oil spill at BP’s Deepwater Horizon oil rig

I’ve recently been blogging (with some help) about the Gulf oil spill at BP’s Deepwater Horizon oil rig. When I started the blog, I was struck by the fact that there were no pay-per-click lawyer ads when I used Google News to search for articles. But that changed in a hurry. Within a couple of days the lawyer ads began emerging in an ever escalating war to sign up claimants. When mass tort ad campaigns such as this start, I’m usually either involved in it professionally or I follow the campaigns because I find them interesting and, sometimes, educational. As of the time that I’m writing this post, there are seven law firm ads displayed on Google News when you run a “BP oil spill” or “Gulf oil spill” search. Seven law firms and one almost unnoticeable ad by BP.

Perhaps it’s the technology geek in me, or my interest in Internt marketing, but I enjoyed comparing the ads. The lawyer ads all utilized the top line of the ad well, with large blue letters proclaiming something such as “Gulf Oil Spill Lawsuit” or “BP Oil Spill Lawsuit.” BP’s ad, by comparison, simply said “Spill” on the top line. It’s as if they are ashamed to be associated with it, and don’t want to admit which particular “spill” it is they are talking about. But if BP is too embarrassed to shout out its message in a way that competes with the lawyer ads, why even buy an ad on Google? And if BP, a company which had profits of $6.1 billion in the first quarter of 2010, wants to run an ad on Google, why doesn’t it bid high enough to rank higher than sixth out of eight ads?

Somehow the fact that BP is inept in handling its PR makes me even less confident of its ability and intention to clean up the mess it’s making in the Gulf. I’ve written more at about BP’s poor PR, including its waffling and refusal to commit to pay for damages caused by the Gulf oil spill. You can also follow my posts about the Gulf oil spill at Facebook and on Twitter @bpoilnews.

Top Google AdWord price in 2008? Mesothelioma for $99.44 per click

An Online Media Daily article reports that Google’s top-priced AdWord in 2008 was “mesothelioma” costing $99.44 per click. The article cites AdGooroo’s Search Engine Advertising Update: Q309. According to the same report, “mesothelioma” was also Yahoo’s top-priced word, at $60.68 per click. Rich Stokes, founder and CEO of AdGooroo, couldn’t say how many times the top keywords were clicked on each month.

Google contest offers $25,000 of free cable TV advertising. is reporting that Google is sponsoring a contest with a grand prize of $25,000 of cable television advertising.  Contestants create a 30 second or 60 second spot and upload it to the YouTube channel “TV for all contest.” You can even make the ad for free using  The deadline for submission is October 5, 2009.  Viewers will vote, and 3 winners will be announced October 30, 2009.

This appears to be a good way for Google to call attention to the TV ad service it now offers through its AdWords program.  A MediaPost article reports that Google has teamed with SpotMixer to allow advertisers to create video ads to be displayed on the Google Content Network.  SpotMixer’s platform automatically converts an advertiser’s existing AdWords text ad into a tailored video ad within the advertiser’s AdWords account.  Earlier this year, SpotMixer launched a self-serve video ad creation service for Google AdWords customers to produce and distribute cable TV ads via Google TV Ads.

Lawyers who have been tempted to dip their toes into the TV advertising pool now have a way of giving it a try on a limited budget.  But the chance of a lawyer ad winning the $25,000 grand prize?  I’m pretty skeptical about that.

How do pay-per-click ads compare with organic search results?

Years ago when pay-per-click ads were new, the first tests showed that searchers preferred to click on the links that appeared on the search page (“organic results”) rather clicking on than the pay-per-click ads.  I saw a recent comparison yesterday, when Gord Hotchkiss of Enquiro published an article saying results have remained remarkably steady over the past six years:  for commercial searches, about 70% of searchers click on organic results, while only 30% click on the pay-per-click ads.

This is important information for firms trying to decide how to allocate resources between pay-per-click campaigns and search engine optimization.

Attorney Advertising

No representation is made that the quality of legal services to be performed is greater than the quality of legal services performed by other lawyers. The hiring of a law firm is a serious decision that should not be based on advertising alone.