About 4 weeks ago, as written about by my colleague Daniel, Baidu increased the indexation volume of Weibo feeds to accept Sina Weibo comments. Now for any popular terms, Baidu Search Engine Result Page (SERP) will show Weibo feeds in a scrolled-down frame in the same way Google uses to display Twitter feeds.
This new feature is now much advanced when compared to 5 months ago, when Baidu was experimenting with the integration by only using the Weibo data from its own Open Platform, as now both Sina and Tencent Weibo share their API’s to the Baidu spider to collect Weibo content.
However the issue is that Weibo’s only get indexed by Baidu when people query “popular terms”!
For most Weibo feeds with search terms less popular than, for example, “林书豪伤停(Jeremy Lin injury)” (with average 900 queries per day) and “北京金隅夺冠 (Beijing Jinyu Won CBA Champion) (with average 1200 queries per day )”, they hardly stand a chance of appearing in the Baidu SERPs.
It is therefore a common goal for both Sina Weibo and Tencent Weibo to gain more presence with their Weibo feeds being indexed by Baidu.
Interestingly on March 31 2012, both Sina and Tencent Weibo disabled their blog-like commenting features, which was said to comply with the government authorities for 3 days. However, technical opinion is that disabling the commenting feature forces Weibo users to forward (retweet) the content
Since retweeting is easier than commenting to be indexed by Baidu, both Sina and Tencent Weibo temporarily forbid the commenting feature, so that more Weibo feeds could appear on the Baidu SERPs. In these circumstances, Sina and Tencent have an incentive to permanently forbid the commenting feature at the expense of their users experience.
Now the three days disabling of weibo commenting is over, and Sina and Tencent Weibo have revived the commenting feature. It’s hard to say whether Weibo will ban that feature in the future, but one thing is very certain, i.e. Search and Social Integration is not going to stop.