Qihoo 360: No Mixing of Paid and Organic Links in Our Search Results Page

Willis Wee
8:00 pm on Aug 29, 2012


Photo: whicdn.com

We have been questioning Qihoo 360’s (NYSE:QIHU) representatives multiple times on its 360 Search algorithm since last week when its search service was launched. The company kept quiet, even during rumors of rival Baidu taking legal action, until today when it sent out a fairly long Chinese release to share more about its search techniques and about its story. An English version of the release is in the works, a company rep informed us.

But in short, search has always been in Qihoo 360’s long term plan, it says. The company claims to be have been working on its PeopleRank search algorithm for seven years, ever since it started in 2005. And its search effort hasn’t stopped even though its main business was initially anti-virus related products. The search research team also remained intact all the while. Today, Qihoo 360 claims to have 13,000 servers, crawling over one billion pages across the web.

Qihoo 360 also says that the Chinese market — both users and advertisers — aren’t too happy with the current search services as it is dominated by a monopoly. Qihoo 360 didn’t state who the monopoly is, but it’s pretty obvious who it is pointing to.

In the Chinese announcement Qihoo 360 also claimed [UPDATED with official English comment from Qihoo]:

Paid links are mixed with organic search results and that misleads users. And often, fraudulent websites occupy the first page of the search result page as search results are often manipulated manually, which has a major influence on the ranking of search results.

While I’m not sure if Qihoo 360 really did spend seven years researching its 360 Search, I do enjoy watching the ongoing search war. I’m also glad that Qihoo 360 plans to monetize the “Google way,” by not mixing organic, paid, and fraudulent links in a search results page.

Innovation Works’ boss, Kai-Fu Lee, briefly weibo-ed that this search war is bad for users. I disagree. Monopoly is almost never a good thing in a market and having some competition is always good for users. It brings about choice for users and also forces all the players to improve their products. Though it surely must be a stressful few weeks for players in the Chinese online search arena, as companies probably feel a little uncomfortable having the notorious Zhou Hong Yi as a competitor.

  • Peter Cao

    Kaifu Lee is not a man with integrity;

    Kaifu Lee used to betray his former employers of both Microsoft and Google, and he had even ensued legal battle when he suddenly left Microsoft for Google in 2005. And again Kaifu Lee suddenly abandoned his former employer Google China when he started his own business in 2009, soon after he could take away all the Google stock. A really treachery type.

    Kaifu Lee had placed himself above the average Chinese people and he had been routinely offending dignity of Chinese people; And Kaifu Lee had left an image of immoral villian to Chinese society when he mobbed his weibo followers to attack innocent Chinese citizens over and over; his morality and credibility are seriously questioned by Chinese people over times; all of which make it really hard to say — “Kaifu Lee has been a great bridge between China and the US”

    What’s more, Kaifu Lee had invovled into a series of fascism crimes which related to Stanford student May Zhou’s death and an unsuccessful plotted murder on me, and that case had not been clarified so far.

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