Baidu Launches “Brand-Link” Advertising Product

Baidu announces its new advertising product called “Brand-Link” which will generate content based on brand-related search phrases. Brands that subscribe to this new product will expect to find their listings among news, product information and promotional announcements, Baidu said.

I see no similarity with this new product with other search engines. If you search for “IBM” or “Nokia” in Google, search results will not exclusively display press releases, marketing campaigns or featured products relating to those brands.

“Baidu’s new Brand-Link demonstrates that an innovative search engine can become an increasingly important channel for showcasing brand images,” said Haoyu Shen, Baidu’s Vice President of Business Operations. “Baidu’s cutting- edge technology and focus on understanding our users allow us to develop the most efficient and relevant advertising products for our expanding base of brand advertisers. We believe that our innovative integration of search and brand advertising will provide an effective marketing means for our customers.”

While I think this move will further strengthen the stranglehold of Baidu in China, which now corners about 68% of the market, people who are aware of the way ads are laid out on Baidu search results will not find this amusing at all. Baidu has the tendency to display paid ads across first page results, leaving organic search results further down to the bottom or on subsequent pages. Is this how they define cutting-edge technology?

Overall, I believe this is a good move for Baidu although obviously it remains to be seen how this product performs as Baidu has become the platform of choice for advertisers targeting Chinese consumers.

“Brand-Link represents the latest addition to Baidu’s existing suite of breakthrough Internet advertising products, including contextual advertising, behavioral targeting and Baidu TV,” Mr. Shen added.

About Baidu, Inc. is the leading Chinese language Internet search provider. As a technology-based media company, Baidu aims to provide the best way for people to find information. In addition to serving individual Internet search users, Baidu provides an effective platform for businesses to reach potential customers. Baidu’s ADSs, each of which represents one Class A ordinary share, are currently trading on the NASDAQ Global Market under the symbol “BIDU.”