Reasons to like Baidu--but whose reasons are they?

Whoever wrote the comment, its laundry list of reasons users and especially advertisers might like Baidu is informative.

I was all ready to highlight what seemed like a very insightful comment on this blog by a co-founder of the advertising company CultureFish Media on the merits of Baidu, China's leading search engine. But then I remembered Rick at CNET Asia had asked readers for reasons to love Baidu. Lo and behold, the same comment appeared there under the name of a different CultureFish exec (and prominent blogger).

This wouldn't bother me at all, except that the comment includes personal reflection, such as this passage that appears verbatim in both posts: "Maybe I will get more bullish on Google when they get around to assigning someone to answer my phone calls or when their operator tells me that their marketing department does not have a phone number." A quick Google search didn't turn up any more copies of the same comment, but what's the deal guys?

The comment first appeared under Lonnie B. Hodge's name on Rick's Little Red Blog. Hodge is CEO of CultureFish and The Professor at Onemanbandwidth, a long-running China media blog. There, Hodge has criticized an article that painted Baidu inaccurately as an "upstart" engine and may have been inaccurate in its portrayal of Baidu's music search. (Mea culpa: By reporting on articles with similar material, I may have perpetuated inaccurate numbers, if they are indeed inaccurate.)

On Sinobyte the comment appeared under the name of David DeGeest, one of Hodge's coworkers. The comment was different only in that it fixed a few typos and was prefaced with a good rebuke of a xenophobic comment that had appeared above and managed to misspell "develop" while saying "men from the east" aren't that smart.

Whoever wrote the comment, its laundry list of reasons users and especially advertisers might like Baidu is informative. I just wish credit had been given to whoever was the original author. (Also there's a "next week" below that doesn't work on the second posting since it was more than a week after the first.) Here's the list:

  1. They now devote more than 10% of revenue to R&D.
  2. They are innovating at a terrific rate: They have instant messaging in the works, the Answer service similar to Naver/Yahoo, a developing financial section similar to Google, some new social media acquisitions coming that will modernize them and likely steal a load of Tencent's traffic.
  3. They have advertising solutions that can be tailored--as opposed to Google cookie-cutter stuff- for any biz.
  4. They have a 30% no-count rate for click-throughs on ads (Google is 10%) to fight click fraud.
  5. They have opened their API to new analytics companies (they will formally announce a partnership with Omniture next week)..
  6. Their bulletin board system just surpassed the 200,000,000 post mark.
  7. They dominate mp3 download searches and are leveraging that into BRANDED deals with music companies and artists. IF you took away ALL their mp3 searches that everyone ******* about, you'd only take less than 8% of their market share...
  8. They are not the Yuppie stuffed shirts running Google. I have access to decision makers at Baidu and don't have to wade through layers of people who think they are too important deal with me....
  9. They are open to new ideas: our company now has a strategic partnership with PRNewswire and are co-investigating a tool with Baidu that will change the face of online news releases....

After all, I find this to be a pretty persuasive list, though I won't likely switch to Baidu anytime soon, while they're still censoring large portions of search results, even though I realize that's not a top concern of many Chinese users. I had e-mailed CultureFish's public address hoping to get in touch with DeGeest to clarify some information before I discovered the repetition, by the way. I'd still be curious to find out about some sources, especially for the music downloading issue that I've written about.

About the author

    Formerly a journalist and consultant in Beijing, Graham Webster is a graduate student studying East Asia at Harvard University. At Sinobyte, he follows the effects of technology on Chinese politics, the environment, and global affairs. He is a member of the CNET Blog Network, and is not an employee of CNET. Disclosure.

     

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