Friday, February 23, 2007

EU hijack of Baidu domain

The press release was a nightmare for bloggers and journalists. Without checking the source, you would believe that the Chinese search engine organisation Baidu was going to start in Europe. But this is not true; in fact there is no relationship between Baidu .cn and It looks like a vulgar case of domain hijacking. (without the dog's paw logo) is a starting company, which intends to be active in search engines. The founder, Mr Peter Ufkus, could not care less about a searching machine. He pretends to have people working on the software, but all eight students are freelance. He also claims to have an agreement with an unnamed German company for the development of the search engine.

In the meantime the company Baidu Europe bought Baidu Television ( Baidu Europe plans to launch a service with the domain name with which you can upload (and view) personal, funny, interesting, special, strange, incredible, family, musical, crazy films, free of charge. In short, everything you would like to share with the world. In fact, you are your own TV broadcaster! No date has been set yet for the launch of the website.

Mr Ufkus researched the brand Baidu and noticed that the Chinese company had forgotten to register the domain in Europe. So Mr Ufkus went after it and succeeded in getting the domain registered. He also got hold of the domains for the Benelux (Belgium, Netherlands and Luxemburg).

But Mr Ufkus makes no bones about the fact that search engines like Google can be compared to money printing machines. The advertisement tariffs in the search engine world are too high, he says. But as search engine development is costly, the company hopes to interest investors and content providers. The European Baidu search engine should be in the air within two years. does have a point about the high tariffs of Google. In the Dutch interactive marketing world a discussion has been started up on the blog (in Dutch :)), claiming that Google Adwords will become not payable or rather not profitable.

But in my opinion the statement about the tariffs of Google is just a smoke curtain. The young entrepreneur has put his hopes on selling the domain name to and hopes to cash from the transaction. Personally I believe that he will not make it legally, if Baidu starts sueing. Yes, he builds up or pretends to do so with the domain name; so he does not sit back and waits till the Chinese come to court. But in court the young entrepreneur will have to demonstrate that he is building up a serious business and that he is not window-dressing. Besides he will have to show that he started earlier than Baidu in China; but with a suffix .eu everyone knows that he strted from 2006 onwards; light years later than Baidu. So, it is a question of time when comes to the Dutch courts to claim its domain.

Blog Posting Number: 673


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