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Baidu (Chinese: 百度) is the world's second largest online search engine and the main search engine used by the Chinese people after Google was outlawed in China in 2014. Baidu was founded on January 1, 2000 by Robin Li (李彦宏) and Eric Xu (徐勇).
Why It's Rotten
- It's just a Chinese rip-off of Google, only much less powerful and has more restrictions. (A famous joke: Baidu's engineers only use Google when facing technical problems.)
- Like most major Chinese enterprises, Baidu is driven by nothing but profit and have literally no regards for ethics.
- Baidu has nearly monopolized the online search market in China, with Google blocked by the Great Firewall and domestic competitors like Sohu and Qihoo each controlling less than 5% of the market not being in any position to pose immediate threat.
- Pay-For-Placement (P4P): Unlike Google, which mostly shows the most popular result every time you search, Baidu shows the result posted by people who'd paid them the most. This can sometimes make it very difficult for users to find what they want because the keyword system can bring up totally irrelevant results.
- This can also help subpar service providers to gain more attention by bribery, and is the partial cause of We Zexi's tragic death in 2016.
- Baidu has a long history of being the most active and restrictive online censor in the search arena. Their keyword searching function can even censor completely irrelevant content.
- They will never hesitate to hand over their customers' personal information to the government if they're told to do so. In fact, that's one of the reasons they trumped over Google in China.
- In 2009, it was reported that if one input words such as "chat" or "passion" in Baidu's Children Search, the search results will be mainly composed of links to pornographic sites. Baidu was forced to shut down its Children Search soon after.
- They have next to no quality control and will allow fraudulent information to be published as search results as long as they're paid.
- One example is in January 2018, a Sina micro-blogger made a post claiming that when he used Baidu to search iPhone repair, the first number that came up is "4006368800". After a call to that number that left the blogger suspicious, he visited Apple's site to find out that the official number is one-digit off: "4006668800". Many other posters replied later on that they've been cheated by this false Apple repair service.
- In July 2016, it was discovered that Baidu had been publishing links to illegal gambling sites from 11PM to 9AM.
- Their map service, Baidu Maps, only functions in Mainland China and Hong Kong.
- Their music service, Baidu MP3, is filled with pirated music content.
- They tried to commercialize their post bar, Baidu Tieba (百度贴吧), by selling the hemophilia online community to unqualified hospitals.
- The Baidu Homework Helper Scandal, but that's a story for another page.
- In 2017, Baidu deleted the Overwatch community from its Post Bar and forbid anyone from recreating it. The reason given was that the bar broke regulations, although many posters pointed out that the most likely reason was that one of the Overwatch administrators deleted several Baidu advertising posts.
- The worst aspect of Baidu is how they have always denied any responsibility. When We Zexi's death was publicized, Baidu pushed all accusations towards the hospital and never apologized for advertising an incompetent facility in the first place.
- When it comes to searching in Chinese, Baidu does a much better job than Google.
- Despite covering many fields, Baidu is not irreplaceable, even for Chinese.