Haidian District People’s Court of Beijing announced on its official WeChat account on Thursday that it has found Shenzhen Woai Network Technology Co., Ltd., liable for interfering with the search engine algorithm and is required to compensate Beijing Baidu Netcom Technology Co., Ltd., a subsidiary of Baidu.
It is worth noting that this is the first case in China involving disputes over unfair competition particularly as it pertains to click farming platforms interfering with search engine algorithms.
Baidu Netcom Technology said that it invests a huge amount of resources every year in order to operate its search engine. However, it found that Woai had set up advertisements inducing netizens to complete tasks by clicking on the display ads. Due to its nature, the algorithm used in Baidu‘s internet search engine only considers a users click behavior, and allows it to occupy certain proportions of the algorithm. This bug presented an opportunity to Woai to induce users to create false click data and disturb the search engine’s original ranking system.
As a result, Woai benefited by withdrawing digital coins from users and generating traffic through unfair trade practices. This behavior has been deemed to disturb the order of competition and constitutes an unfair advantage.
After the trial, the court held that the plaintiff had legitimate commercial interests that should be protected and that those interests had been breached. Baidu.com, operated by the plaintiff, provides search engine network services and, as such, is responsible for the veracity and reliability of the data its displays. Since the company has legitimate commercial interests in that field, it is protected by the Law of the People’s Republic of China on Unfair Competition.