Scandal Puts A Hurtin’ On Baidu

What Lies Ahead?

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BaiduYou may have heard that China’s number one search engine Baidu has been the subject of some scandalous accusations lately. As a result, stock has plummeted, and so have advertising revenues for the company.

A Little Background

Unlicensed medical outfits were allegedly selling bunk treatments and paying for high rankings on Baidu. People went to these destinations to buy their medicine at ridiculously high prices, presumably thinking they would be getting legitimate results on the top of the search engine, but were conned into paying for meds that didn’t even work. This inevitably led to the results mentioned above.

Now What?

Robin LiBaidu has now promised to "overhaul" operations. Baidu CEO Robin Li has been quoted as saying:

"Baidu employees who are found to have been involved in the scandal will be penalised … We have already fired people who helped fabricate documents for unlicensed suppliers.

"We have removed the key words of all four clients mentioned in the report and have begun to double-check the licenses of all other hospitals and pharmacies on our client list."

What If?

It is interesting that the blame seems to be placed squarely on Baidu’s shoulders. Could something like this happen to our own number one search engine?

"I doubt Google validates the medical licenses of doctors who advertise for medical terms," says Barry Schwartz at Search Engine Land. "But at the same time, this would not necessarily be a legal issue for Google – or would it? To be perfectly honest, I am not sure why Baidu is taking such heat for this? Maybe because they place their paid ads directly into the organic results? I would do some tests on this but my Chinese is less than adequate."

Baidu may have taken a hit from all of this, but it is likely still secure as China’s leader in search, with over 60% of the Chinese market share according to Guardian. Google is second, but not close. Although, if Google continues its efforts to improve international search, it could eventually add China to its basket of eggs one day. Particularly if Baidu suffers from more scandals in the future. For now, the throne is Baidu’s to lose.

Scandal Puts A Hurtin’ On Baidu
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  • Phil Goodwin

    This is too silly for comparisons. Unlike Baidu, Google doesn’t do paid rankings, period.   Google’s paid search-associated slots in the page margins are a totally different thing.   Any users confused by Google’s search presentation have to be dense to see frequent off-topic Viagra ads there and not figure out that the margins are used soley for advertisement.

  • Guest

    baidu is much much different search engine compare to google. google is way better then that bitch. baidu mix all the advertising with search result together. so when u search in baidu that first result always the advertising. so when u not using it u shouldn’t believe what that company owner said.

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