Baidu and 360s seven year outstanding case recently sentenced: search engine war, clarify the rules

 Baidu and 360s seven year outstanding case recently sentenced: search engine war, clarify the rules

The case was adjudicated on August 7, 2014, and Baidu won the case and was awarded 700000 yuan. However, during the trial of the case, 360 filed a counterclaim, saying that Baidus use of robots agreement is to restrict 360 search and to maintain its market monopoly position, which is malicious and discriminatory.

The result of this counterclaim was that 360 won. The court ruled that Baidu constituted unfair competition and compensated 360 with 200000 yuan.

However, the tug of war is protracted. Many years after the first instance judgment, in July this year, the Beijing Higher Peoples court finally made the second instance judgment, upheld the original judgment and rejected Baidus appeal.

The significance of this judgment has gone beyond the commercial dispute of 3B war, but has played a role in clarifying the rules of Internet search business.

828 night war starts

The 360 search engine was launched on August 16, 2012. Before that, 360 completely changed the Internet security market by relying on the free strategy, and then launched the 3Q war, which made Tencent, the Internet giant, extremely passive. This time, the Internet search overlord Baidu can not help but for the tiger body a shock. Sure enough, 3B war started instantly.

In other words, only 10 days after the launch of 360 search engine, it seized one tenth of the search market, and let Baidu lose nearly 6% of the market share.

A famous 828 night war in the history of domestic Internet development has started. At about 9:00 p.m. on August 28, 2012, baidu began to test in a small scale: when users visit Baidu know, encyclopedia, post bar and other services through 360 comprehensive search, they will forcibly jump to Baidu home page.

360 then launched a counter attack. When users use 360 comprehensive search in 360 browser, click the search results from Baidu related services, and they will be directly taken to the webpage snapshot page. According to the time prompted on some pages, these Baidu page snapshots should be stored in the evening of 360 search.

The roots of these initiatives are the robots agreement. Because 360 search is not included in the white list of robots agreement by Baidu, 360 search can not crawl the massive content in Baidu know, encyclopedia and post bar. Although at that time, 360 search claimed that it has more than 13000 servers, the huge spider crawler system captures more than 1 billion web pages a day, and the engine indexes more than 20 billion high-quality web pages..

360 search has gone beyond the robots protocol and directly provides users with a snapshot of Baidus web pages. At that time, Zhao Minghua, a Baidu engineer, said in his microblog that 360 search wantonly grabs Baidu data regardless of the robots protocol, which is a kind of behavior that does not comply with the basic internet protocol. It will threaten the privacy and security of all netizens, and also destroy the complete search experience of netizens. 360 was denounced as a partner of stealing data (thief), hijacking user (robber) and cheating (fraud) (mainly Small and medium-sized stationmaster).

What is robots protocol

To understand 3B war, we need to understand what robots protocol is.

The full English name of robots protocol is robotexclusion protocol, which is translated into robot exclusion protocol, also known as crawler protocol and robot protocol. It refers to a text file set by the website owner in the root directory of the website, namely robots.txt u3002

In order to improve the efficiency of network users to obtain information, search engine appears, but at the same time, it also brings new problems

One is that the network robot grabs the same web content too fast or repeatedly, which leads to the server overload of the visited website, affects the normal operation of the website, and reduces the efficiency of crawling;

Second, some network robots grab the internal information, temporary files, CGI scripts and other information that have no use value for network users.

These problems show that it is necessary to establish an interactive mode between the visited website and the internet robot of search engine. In this way, the website owner can prompt the web robot which web content is not necessary to grab, so as to guide it to grab useful information for network users.

On June 30, 1994, some internet robot designers and enthusiasts reached an agreement on Martijn Kosters proposal in the webrobot e-mail group forum, and formed a written document standard for robot exclusion, which states as follows: it is not an official standard filed by standards organizations, nor does it belong to any commercial group Weaving. It has no enforcement power, and there is no guarantee that all current or future Internet robots will use it. It is a general tool provided to the Internet community by the designers of network robots, which can protect servers from unnecessary disturbance of network robots

If a website wants to prohibit any search engines Web robot from crawling, the websites robots.txt The document is written as follows:


In 1997, Martijn Koster submitted to the IETF (Internet Engineering Task Force) an Internet draft called method for web robots control robots.txt Further explanation is given in the paper.

IETF is the most authoritative international organization in the field of Internet. Its main task is to formulate technical specifications in the field of Internet. The vast majority of Internet technical standards come from IETF. Anyone can submit Internet draft to IETF, and it will become an industry standard or specification only if it is adopted by IETF.

However, the IETF has not yet adopted the draft.

On August 7, 2014, baidu won the first instance of the case of 360 unfair competition and was awarded a compensation of 700000 yuan. But the court in this case shelved the rationality of Baidu robots agreement to refuse 360 search.

(on August 7, 2014, baidu 360s unfair competition dispute case was adjudicated by Beijing No.1 Intermediate Peoples court)

In this case, Beijing No.1 Intermediate Peoples court held that 360 search engine directly linked to Qihoos webpage snapshot interface when Internet users click the search results originally linked to Baidus specific webpage, and its behavior obviously exceeded the reasonable scope of webpage snapshot. This behavior constitutes unfair competition.

Baidu has asked the court to ban 360 search from grabbing Baidu websites, but it has not been supported by the court.

In fact, according to the judgment issued by the Beijing High Court in July this year, Beijing No.1 middle court has left room for the reasonableness of Baidu robots agreement: in view of this case, 360 has filed a separate lawsuit on whether the robots agreement set by Baidus website related columns is legitimate, and the website service provider or owner has set up robots agreement to restrict search engine crawler robot capture The scope of the reasonable reasons for the dispute shall not be commented on, but shall be determined in subsequent cases after the parties have fully clarified their opinions on the reasonable grounds.

3B war continues today

After the 828 night battle started in 2012, yisou CEO Wang Xi believed in an interview with the media that 3B war would be a long-term war of knife scraping meat, which is different from the 3Q war, one out of two and quick decision.

Its true. 3B war caused a number of lawsuits, both sides win or lose each other, and continue to this day. In October 2013, 360 sued Baidu for unfair competition, and the case is still in the second trial.

However, 360 sued Baidu robots for unreasonable protocol settings, which raised the level of 3B war from commercial war to Internet rules.

The dispute focus of this case is: whether Baidu restricts 360 search engine from grabbing relevant web content by setting up robots protocol, which constitutes unfair competition.

In the legal field, there is a completely opposite view: some people think that how to set up robots protocol is Baidus business freedom, while others think that the original intention of robots protocol is to promote information sharing, and should ensure the openness and fairness of the Internet. In the end, the Court adopted the latter view.

In the judgment, the court cited an example of image.

The purpose of the notice board is not to restrict the normal visiting activities of tourists, but to guide tourists to visit more effectively by reminding them which areas are non visiting areas.

The contents of the notice board should be treated equally to all tourists. If a certain type of people are to be prohibited from visiting, there should be reasonable and reasonable reasons. For example, people without civil capacity should be prohibited from entering the tour for safety reasons. In the absence of reasonable and justifiable reasons, it is obviously unreasonable to prohibit a certain group of people from visiting a museum open to the public.

First, it affects the normal operation of 360 search engine. Baidus setting of robots protocol makes 360 search engine unable to capture the web content of its related websites, which makes the function of 360 search engine unable to play its normal role, which directly affects the online experience of 360 search engine users, and may lead to the loss of 360 search engine users.

Second, it damages the interests of relevant consumers. At the same time, it forces the network users who have relevant information retrieval needs to replace other search engines, thus affecting the decision-making power of network users independent choice and increasing the selection cost.

Third, it will lead to the trade opportunities and competitive advantages between 360 search engine and Baidu. Users give up using 360 search engine, which weakens the trading opportunity and competitive advantage of 360 search engine, and increases the trading opportunity and competitive advantage of Baidu search engine to a certain extent.

In fact, the reason why some important international organizations, including the Internet Engineering Task Force, refuse to adopt robots protocol as an industry standard is that a few industry giants may take advantage of the loopholes of robots protocol and use it as a monopoly tool.

Fourth, it violates the principle of fair competition and disrupts the normal order of Internet competition. Baidus use of robots agreement is to treat other operators differently. This kind of targeted and discriminatory setting method violates the principle of fair competition. This kind of behavior is not consistent with the principles of openness, equality, cooperation and sharing that are generally followed in the development of the Internet. If it is allowed to develop, it may lead to the imitation of the operators in the same industry, which will damage the social and public interests.

21st century economic reporter found that at present, 360 search has been able to search and open Baidus web content.

After the battle, in a fair and open competitive environment, baidu still firmly occupies the largest share of the domestic search engine market, 360 search has been effectively developed, and new search products are constantly emerging.

AI media consultings 2018 China PC search market special report shows that Baidu still accounts for 56% of the traffic share, and 360 search traffic share of 35.2% is the second. According to AI media consultings China mobile search market operation monitoring report from 2019 to 2020, the user share of Baidu mobile search is 71.1%, the user share of Shenma search and Sogou search is 40.3% and 32% respectively.