Beijing have launched a new internet regulation for search engine providers regarding information classification, urging search companies to clearly identify and label regular paid adverting from regular search results.
The Target : Baidu
This internet regulation is prompted by the tragedy which happened to a young college student who was diagnosed with a rare form of cancer. The family sought treatment from an ad on Baidu’s search engine. Unfortunately, this ad was misleading and they were thus not able to get the appropriate treatment in time. Baidu was widely questioned and criticized for its corporate moral standards and the ethics of its search engine service because of this tragedy. For this reason, the Chinese state started an investigation into Baidu Inc. after announcing the new online regulations for search engines. The regulator has given Baidu a deadline of May 31, 2016 to comply with the new changes, this includes classifying search results, marking paid ads and limiting ads to 30% of each search page while offering a fairer platform (less money involved) in terms of the results shown.
According to the Wall Street Journal, “the Cyberspace Administration of China announced that search companies must offer “ objective, fair and authoritative results” which should not harm the rights and interests of nation, the public and other legal organizations”.
Cleaner Search Engines in China !
This regulation will significantly impact the advertising industry in China that is now worth more than $40 billion a year. Also, the behavior of search engine users will be different from before as they are empowered by this new regulation in filtering useful information on searching results. Search engines companies including Baidu, Google, Bing, Sogou, and other search engines will need to be prepared for this new era in digital ads market.