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Baidu May Be Set for Costly Changes [online.wsj.com]
Following criticism from Beijing, Baidu is facing pressure from Internet users to clearly differentiate sponsored links from unpaid search results, which, unlike Google, it doesn't do currently.
The company has begun testing a new model for advertising that will place paid advertisements on the right-hand side of its page.
Sorry, it's a Wall Street Journal link. A subscription is required to read more.
They've already taken a $20 million revenue hit [brandrepublic.asia] due to this and other factors.
The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) responded to a complaint filed last year by consumer advocacy group Commercial Alert alleging search engines use deceptive advertising practices. Eight major search engines were accused of "placing ads in search engine results without clear disclosure that the ads are ads."
Wow, this is like so 2002 an issue.
Baidu doesn't operate under US laws or regulations aside from their public listing and compliance with the SEC for disclosure, etc. It also seems that they are making this change voluntarily. What does that say?