Original URL: http://www.theregister.co.uk/2010/01/21/google_china_ads/

Google explains China Syndrome by advertising - on Google

As China ring-fences internet spat

By Joe Fay

Posted in Media, 21st January 2010 13:20 GMT

Google is serving up an explanation of its China syndrome difficulties amongst its sponsored search results - but has apparently balked at the idea of pouring its marketing budget into Bing or Yahoo!'s pockets.

Searchengineland spotted that users tapping 'Google China' into Google will see the usual slew of results, as well as a sponsored link to the blog posting that kicked off the whole Google/China/hacking/dissidents firestorm last week.

This is fair enough - Google has to make its point somewhere, after all. It might help if its PR department actually returned journalists' calls, though.

However, the firm appears to have limits on exactly who it wants to get its message out to, and users of lesser search engines are not on its radar.

The same search terms on Bing show no sponsored results on the main search page, though the shopping results do serve up some sponsored results. These included florists and valentines in China, though we suspect Google won't be availing itself of such services for a while.

The cupboard is equally bare over at Yahoo!, though a search on China does offer some sponsored links to holidays there. Something else we don't imagine Google top brass doing anytime soon.

Alternatively, it may be that Yahoo! and Microsoft have turned down the Google shilling to tell it to do its own shilling.

Meanwhile, China has played down the impact of its falling out with Google on the broader relationship with Washington. State news agency Xinhua, quoted Vice Foreign Minister He Yafei as saying: "The Google incident should not be linked to bilateral relations, otherwise that would be over-interpreting it."

He added that relations between China and the US had been "basically stable" since Barack Obama took the presidency. He also repeated Beijing's position that it welcomed foreign internet companies, as long as they observed Beijing's laws, and/or Beijing's interpretations of same.

The comments - which could be construed as either emollient or threatening, depending on your point of view - came ahead of a planned speech by Secretary of State Hillary Clinton on internet freedom. ®