Bears won't have Baidu.com (NASDAQ:BIDU) to kick around anymore. Shareholders this morning approved the company's new name of Baidu, Inc., so shorts will need to reprint those practice targets.

What's in a name? More importantly, what isn't in a name? Stripping the dot-com from its official name isn't necessarily a shift in strategy. It's not like Apple Computer's move to rechristen itself as Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) as it pushes into iPhone and iPod sales, since Baidu has no intention of easing up on its Internet-tethered stronghold as China's leading search engine.

This isn't even a timely change. Plenty of companies with "dot-com" stapled to their names went for the snip after the Internet bubble burst seven years ago. There's little reason to change in or out of dot-com clothing at this point.

The move isn't even a trend in China. Online-gaming pioneer NetEase.com (NASDAQ:NTES), Web portal Sohu.com (NASDAQ:SOHU), and leading travel site Ctrip.com (NASDAQ:CTRP) still proudly flash their "dot-com" appendages.

For Baidu, though, it may simply be about a change of scenery. The stock has been under fire since being called out for its sponsorship practices last month. The company has cleaned up its act, even if the scrubdown is part of the reason Baidu recently talked down its current quarter's revenue guidance.

You also have the example its stateside peers have set. Google (NASDAQ:GOOG) and Yahoo! (NASDAQ:YHOO) don't go by their namesake website URLs. Of course, they don't need to. Everyone knows where to find Yahoo! and Google. However, the same can be said for Baidu, which enjoys market dominance in China similar to Google's domestic dominance.

Even though Yahoo! and Google were ultimately accused of following the same questionable advertising practices that Baidu is distancing itself from these days, it's probably about time that Baidu followed the example of its larger Western peers.

What's a dot-com between friends, anyway?

Other recent Baidu headlines:

This article represents the opinion of the writer, who may disagree with the “official” recommendation position of a Motley Fool premium advisory service. We’re motley! Questioning an investing thesis -- even one of our own -- helps us all think critically about investing and make decisions that help us become smarter, happier, and richer.