20 reasons to hate Baidu

 

Baidu is the world’s leading search engine in mandarin, and it was recently ranked number 4 on the “BrandZ Top 50 Most Valuable Chinese Brands 2013 Report”

Baidu is the essential platform for everybody who wants to reach its 600 million internet users, or the 420 million smartphone users.

Although the market is now witnessing more competitors, with a new company called Qihoo, which took 10% market share since august 2012 (according to Qihoo).

 

Baidu :

–          Is the leader search engine in China

–          Gets 80% revenues of search engines in China

–          Represents 40% of total advertising spending in China

–          Represents 6 billion searches every day, more than any search engine in a national market

–          Has 100 million users of the mobile app “Baidu search”

–          Is the 5th world’s most visited website

 

Why is Baidu hated?

 

1. Priority to Chinese websites

Baidu discriminates foreign websites, hosted in foreign countries. This means that most results come from Chinese sources.

Moreover it censors some sensible results for the Chinese government.

 

2. Baidu is complicit in the censorship

Baidu works with the Chinese government in order to censor a maximum of websites and special requests. It also gives data to the Chinese government about internet users.

 

3. Baidu mixes natural results and paid results

Baidu is smart, and mixes natural and paid results on competitive requests. There is a small « 推广 » which indicates advertising while it’s so small that very few people will notice that.

baidu

 

4. Baidu only brings forward his own platforms

If we analyze the majority of the traffic’s results, we see that Baidu’s websites take the first page’s results:  Baike (the Wikipedia) and Baidu Zhidao (Q&A), Baidu News, Baidu Jingan (experience), and now Baidu shopping. A study had shown that 23% of Baidu’s traffic was redirected to these websites, monopolizing the results.

résultat-monopolisé-par-Baidu

 

5. Baidu punishes his competitors

For example Taobao and Tmall totally disappeared from the results since Baidu launched its own Baidu shopping.

See this example with the keyword “mobile phone” :

baidu-Shopping

 

6. A random trust rank

Baidu evaluates the websites manually and often randomly. It is difficult to know how Baidu rates the websites. Many Chinese SEOers talk about a possible corruption of the rating managers, or fake results if you launch an advertising campaign via Baidu.

7. The Baidu Brandzone make the brands pay

Brands already appear first on their keyword, and Baidu developed a special available zone for these brands, which you need to pay. Of course the results are better, most users looking for a brand being more likely to buy products or stay on the website.

When you do marketing for a brand, you are then stuck: all the other brands and the competitors pay this service, so you don’t have a choice and thus you have to pay too.

Another fact important is that there is no fixed price, no pricing list: the richer and more famous you are, the more you pay.

Baidu-Brandzone

 

8. Advertising on brand’s name is authorized

Most companied advertise on their competitor’s name.

For example local companies do Pay Per Click on the “LV” keyword:

baidu-LV

 

The first shop offers LV bags at very low prices: 1960 Yuan instead of 10 000 Yuan.

It is hard to know if they’re fake or not 😉

LV88bags

 

The second shop offers bags from other brands, Gucci for example in the case the customers are undecided.

 68ag1

 

It is not unusual that even big foreign brands advertise on their competitor’s names.

For example for the “Dior” keywords, we also see ads for Guerlain, which is not very fair play!

baidu-dior

 

One reason for that is that usually SEM campaigns of big brands are managed by Chinese companies, who don’t act like luxury brands should act.

With this kind of methods, Baidu forces brands to buy Baidu Brandzone (very expensive), and to pay SEM campaigns on their name, in order to stop the competitors from buying their keywords. This makes the prices get higher, and generates revenue for Baidu.

Baidu was by the way punished by the government, which published in the press the abuses of Baidu who let rogue marketers advertise.

 

9. Very few indexed pages

Very few pages of ordinary websites are indexed by Baidu, which forces websites to pay advertising in order to have more visibility.

Most of the indexed pages are indexed from the homepage. That is why chinese homepages have thousands of links, and that you need to scroll all the time.

See sohu website

 

10. Very long time of indexation

Baidu takes a long time to index your website, from 3 to 6 months for a website hosted in a foreign country. This forces the website to pay advertising, because advertising makes the indexation faster.

 

11. Baidu services trust most first pages

Is Baidu really a search engine? Sometimes we can wonder when we see that his websites trust the first positions. This manipulation enables it to limit the effects of the SEO, and force the brands to pay advertisement in order to appear.

The last creation Baidu Travels lvyou.baidu.com/ trust the first results of travels (of every country).

This platform is a new way to force the brands to pay to appear.

Baidu-lvyou

 

 

Needless to mention the websites owned by Baidu

When Qunar was bought by Baidu, the website was immediately put forward. It trusts the positions on hotels and flights. Ctrip went seriously down.

hotel.qunar.com 

Example on “hotel” keyword

baidu-hotel

 

12. The results are not natural at all

When we look for general keywords, Baidu is not pertinent, and the results are not natural.

For example for the keyword “French red wine” 法国红酒, we see:

  1. Chinese Wikipedia
  2. Baidu Q&A
  3. Baidu images: dishes, cognac and bottles with strange labels
  4. Baidu shopping: 3 wine packs and Baijiu
  5. And finally the website Guillot wine, which is probably a copy of the French wine seller Guillot Vin (website)

vin-français

When we search for results it is difficult to find pertinent results, even for Chinese. In fact Chinese people are used to search for 4 or 5 keyword groups before finding what they want.

Then usually Chinese not often check Baidu websites, and usually scroll the results in order to find the website they want.

 

13. Baidu, king of copying

Baidu is the king of copying. There is a joke in China that says that everything God created on earth, Baidu tried to copy it.

There exist:

–          Baidu map

–          Baidu mp3

–          Baidu videos

–          Baidu forums

–          Baidu Wikipedia

–          Baidu Zhidao, which looks like Yahoo Q&A

–          Baidu experiences, how to

 

14. Baidu leaves naked girls pictures in its results

Baidu gives priority to Chinese forums pictures, which lets appear strange pictures.

For example, when you search for the “mop” keyword (biggest Chinese forum), here is what you find:

image-baidu

15. Baidu the harasser

Do you know that there exist in China thousands of Baidu employees who call companies all the time to offer them advertisement on Baidu? When you register your company in China, your phone number is sold to Baidu, which will call you every week to offer you to use Baidu ads in order to develop your business.

 

16. Over ranking

Baidu decides manually of the trust rank of a website. So Baidu algorithm overranks Chinese government’s websites, which are usually not the most reliable information.

Then press articles are under ranked, appearing on the 3rd or 4th page.

It should be apparently possible to pay Baidu employees to have a better trust rank.

Here is an example:

Baidu-V

17. Baidu music, no copyright

Baidu put online millions of songs without paying any copyright.

 

18. Baidu abuses of its leading position

There is a war between 360 and Baidu. 360 and Soso could be dangerous for Baidu’s leading position. But neither Google.cn nor Yahoo or Microsoft were able to take the leadership. Even the Chinese government doesn’t bare anymore Baidu’s leading position. It is also making war to Baidu.

 

19. Baidu is only interested in money

Most critics say that Baidu only wants money: it limits the natural results, limits the website’s pages, lets every company do advertisement for anything, forces the brands to pay to appear, puts forward its own websites…

 

I am sure I will find another reason to hate Baidu in the comments!

 

However Baidu remains the leading search engine in China…

See also :

 

Olivier

Marketing China