There are over 100 billion global searches done every month, and 93% of online experiences begin with a search engine. It is no secret that the big search engines of Google and Bing have risen to great popularity within the past few years, try to think back to when you found something online without using their services. Along with paid ads, which account for over half of mobile related searches, search engines are powerful tools for any business looking for promotion.
But recently, an international search engine has come under fire for not representing information that is in their country’s best interests.
Chinese search engine Badiu is under investigation by the Chinese government after one of its student users died from trusting its ads. Wei Zexi, a 21-year-old college student was diagnosed with a rare form of cancer, synovial sarcoma. When his treatment with his doctors was unsuccessful, he went on Baidu and searched.
He found The Second Hospital of Beijing Armed Police Corps, which was a paid ad on Baidu’s site. Whether Zexi understood this or not is unknown, but he went for treatment as they claimed to have a highly successful experimental treatment in collaboration with Stanford medical school. This was a false promotion.
When his treatment failed, Zexi blamed Baidu for not screening false medical information. He died April 12.
Wei Zexi’s death sparked pandemonium amongst the Chinese people. They threatened to boycott all of Baidu’s services, including music streaming and maps. They want Baidu to take responsibility for promoting false information, especially if they are paid ads on the first page of a search engine.
This incident was not the only time Baidu has been in the public eye when it comes to false medical information. In January, the search engine allowed an unaccredited hospital to host an online forum about hemophilia, and Baidu promoted their services while deleting comments that spoke negatively about the hospital’s credibility.
When dealing with digital marketing, is is important to find a consultant you can trust so your customers will not have to deal with unregulated information. Front Man Marketing is a credible service that specializes in PPC, paid search, and paid ads. Contact them today to get the word out on your company!