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China: Baidu's new scandal.

CCTV reported that Baidu, referred to as China's Google, had accepted money from illegal medical companies and placed their Web links on top of search results. Baidu’s marketing employees were also reported to have the knowledge of these.The service is called page-rank bid and accounts for more than 80% of the company’s revenue. The company’s business model, “which inserts ads in the natural search result without notice, has long been criticized for destroying the integrity of the search engine,” adds China Daily.On previous milk scandal, Baidu was said to have censored news in exchange for payment from dairy companies, said ChinaSmack. CCTV reports page-rank bid of Baidu. The price of Baidu has lost 37.5 percent after the state TV reports that companies, including unlicensed medical firms and hospitals, pay Baidu in order to appear around the top of keyword search results. However, Beijing News viewed CCTV's reports from another aspect:

有时候很难分别企业是不是合法,因为非法企业可能伪装得很好,蒙骗了央视或者百度。央视对百度的曝光,从某种意义上说就是两家企业竞争广告市场份额。在百度未兴盛之前,央视等传统媒体的广告份额很大,网络的兴盛使得百度这样的企业也能从央视抢广告份额。所以笔者看来,央视曝光百度很容易理解,这至少有两个方面的好处,一是作为媒体的功能所在;二是降低竞争对手的信誉以便争取市场份额。

Sometimes it's hard for CCTV or Baidu to pick out illegal companies because of their “excellent camouflages”. In a sense, CCTV's action to expose Baidu actually reflects their market share competition. Before Baidu grew into a search giant, traditional media like CCTV controlled a large share of the ad market, while as the internet thrived, shares were reallocated. Therefore, CCTV's intention to expose Baidu's scandal is easy to understand in two ways: first, as a media, CCTV is under “obligation” to expose information. Second, CCTV can reduce the credibility of its competitor in order to fight for more market share.

After CCTV reports, Baidu unveiled its response quickly in a conference call with analysts last night and promised to design a new system that more clearly separates its paid links from ordinary search results.China Journalreports.

“We are doing this because we care. It is important to us. We want to be a responsible corporate citizen,” said Baidu chief executive Robin Li.

Tianya blogger 阿杜在线 updu.com.cn calls for regulations to supervise powerful companies like Baidu.

只有一只独大,才会导致垄断、才能取得话语权、定价权,才有恶意屏蔽的资本。但是一支独大的现象是不可避免的,因此就更加需要媒体的监督,也需要相关法律法规来制约。

Only unilateral power can lead to the monopoly status that enables the company to obtain the monopolized right of say and pricing, and have the strength to screen what it dislikes. But the occurrence of such  power is inevitable, so there should be more supervision of the media and restrictions by relevant laws and regulations.

常平changping has another comment.

很多网站都是从纯商业起家,尽管它们从一开始就发挥着信息发布、观点讨论的功能,却没有传统媒体职业规则的负担,可以相对单纯地考虑商业运作.

Many websites starts from pure business. Although they have always played a major role in publishing information and organizing discussions, they seldom take the responsibility of traditional media but more focus on simpy running their business.

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