January 9, 2005
What does Ken Lay's website, Google and Yahoo Have in Common?
Is this a first? Many a celebrity defendant has used the web to tell his or her story but no one has paid search engines for preferential placement. Until now, that is.
Ken Lay, former CEO of Enron, is using paid search engine listings on Yahoo and Google to get people to visit his web site so his legal team can plead his case to the general public. Talk about being a "21st century defendant!"
Kay Flood of the Houston Chronicle reports:
"Put the search words "Enron scandal" or "Ken Lay," or even this Enron reporter's name, "Mary Flood," into any of the above search engines and one of the first things you will see is www.kenlayinfo.com. If you hit on Lay's Web site from there, then Lay pays between roughly 5 cents and 12 cents."
So I followed Kay's instructions and sure enough the URL for Ken Lay's site pops up first. To confirm this I clicked on the link which, dagnabit, took me straight to the site. Recalling what I learned about the scientific method, I repeated this experiment several times on Yahoo and Google to prove to myself that none of this was a fluke.
Ken Lay's website includes everything that would be characteristic of Everyman's site: articles, interviews, op-eds, press conferences, videos, court files and biography information.
Alas, it is not a well-rounded, balanced collection of materials.
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