I have been a it under the weather this week and busy permanently wrapping up work. So, I ask your pardon for the light postings of late. I will be back tomorrow (the first day of Golden Week) in full cyber-voice.
In the interim: I intermittently check my site status with The Great Firewall of China a site that will determine if your URL is banned in Beijing. I have found though that the site often shows me as on the outs with the censors when, in fact, my friends tell me (sometimes to their chagrin) I am still alive and well in China.
Another site that so far has been accurate in letting me know if I am being deflected by the Golden Shield is Website Pulse and their free tool.
Give it a try if you have a western based blog or website. And know that I may not be visiting you for stretches of time due to your unavailability and my desire to reside lawfully her behind the Great Firewall.
One thing I do miss about America is the grand amount of community and continuing education available to virtually anyone and much of it for free. I was stumbling through Illustratrator’s newest release on MAC yesterday and bemoaning the fact that even a book on the subject would be hard to come by or too expensive to ship or pick up in Hong Kong.
Coincidentally, two colleges contacted me about the possibility of low-residency Masters and Doctoral programs and Continuing Education. One school is based in the UK and one is in the US. Both have good reputations and a comprehensive offering of courses. Both asked me if I thought they could be successful in China with the expat community. I answered honestly that I hadn’t a clue, but that I would ask you.
Let me know your thoughts and please feel free to add a response or two to the poll.
Matt recently finished an interview with Zac on China SEO and Google that was started in September of 2006. Actually it was done much sooner, but got caught in Zac’s gmail spam filter, but I digress….
I have, via the magic of the Internet, figured out Matt’s answer algorithm and inserted myself and Matt’s probable answers into the interview: Zac: First of all thank you for doing this interview with me, I believe it will be very helpful for SEOers and web marketers in China.
There are currently lots of misunderstandings about SEO in China. The first thing that pops up in mind is “spam” when people hear the word SEO. Some say “SEO is shortsighted and is like suicide”. From search engine’s point of view, is that true? Is SEO hated, allowed or encouraged by Google? We’re talking about whitehat SEO here.
Matt: I hate pop-ups. Google consides it spam. It’s a common mistake to think that search engines don’t like SEO. The fact is that SEO within Google’s quality guidelines is okay. It is even better if you follow party policy. That includes things like making sure that your site is crawlable, thinking of words that users would use when searching and including them naturally within the content of the site, and doing things like making sure that page titles and urls are descriptive except for stupid things like democracy .
What Google (and other search engines) don’t like is when someone tries to cheat or take a short cut to show up higher than they should. When a site violates our quality guidelines, Google calls that spam. When I do it we call it marketing.
Zac: Google announced its official Chinese name “Gu Ge” (Harvest Song) in April 2006 however the majority of Chinese users do not seem like the new name. It sonically sounds like 哥哥 which means big brother and tian-anmen knows we have had enough of that!
According to China Internet Network Information Center, CNNIC, Google is losing market share from 33% last year to current 25.3%.
Matt: Liar Liar pants on fire! What was the question? We spent 190 million on market research and Baiduble 1% of that. Maybe we should outsource to India.
Zac: I noticed there are Chinese employees in Google headquarter. Any idea how many Chinese in Googleplex now? How are they doing? Any advice for Google fans who want to join Google?
Matt: We do have many Chinese engineers at the Googleplex. The ones not under investigation by Homeland Security are doing great.
ZAC: Let’s talk about duplicate content, which is a hot topic recently.Let’s talk about duplicate content, which is a hot topic recently.I see much more content copying on Chinese web sites. Many Chinese webmasters like to “gather” (wink, wink) contents from other web sites, either using software or by hand, then publish on their own web sites. Does Google penalize these sites full of contents you can see everywhere? Is there a percentage or threshold, exceeding which penalty is applied? In other words: just how much can we scam you before we get busted?
What should the original author do so that the original is recognized as so?
Matt: We have noticed that some Chinese web sites have a lot of duplicate content. Users like to get different search results, so Google is looking at how best to provide diverse results. Our algorithms already have some ways of removing duplicate content, and we will continue to look for ways to improve. As of today we have no way to filter out Chinglish modifications of content, so….
The original author should consider imitation the greatest form of flattery–I made that up just now.
Zac: Some web sites use multiple domains with exactly same content , for example, domain.com and domain.com.cn. Is this risky? What’s the best way to do it?
Matt: Use Google adwords. Ad don’t forget that creativity can really help. You could hire some Americans for that. For example, there was a site that made industrial blenders, which sounds like a very boring subject. But now go watch this video at: YouTube and you’ll see something amazing. They threw all kinds of different objects into the blender to prove how powerful their machine was; however, I am easily amused and don’t watch Letterman so I did not catch the duplicate content.
Even things like newsletters, blogs, information about an industry, or other resources can serve as a reason for people to get interested in your site and link to you. Porn sells well. Continue Reading »
I had an online row with a sports writer who used racist language (or a racist who uses sports lingo) and crude anti-China rhetoric to ostensibly protest the NBA moving into China and not Vegas. He did not seem to follow my logic that the 300 million players here in China (that is a 3 with 8 zeros) could well push back some of the trade deficit dough to us with their enthusiastic support. They love NBA-Ball here!
He basically accused me of being a bigot hater and said that made me a bigot. Neener, Neener. So, I wrote back to tell him I did not hate sports writers as a class of people, just him. I think he needs to follow in the footsteps of other sports writer that have stepped outside of their normal areas of expertise and written books. It could be a treatise on his views of the world outside the borders of his blog: he could call it Tuesdays with Moron*.
In the “What the hell are we gonna do after the Olympics?” department comes a true story from Reuters about a real government year of the pork barrel stunt: Chinese tourism authorities are spending money and looking for more investors so they can build the the world’s first “women’s town.”
This is kind of an Asian remake of Amazon Women on the Moon: Men would get punished for disobedience ( I am guessing that leather is optional here) in Longshuihu village in the Shuangqiao district of Chongqing. The “rule” of law in the municipality, also known as “women’s town”, is the alleged inverse of the Chinese norm and new-age frontier justice: “women rule and men obey.”
The tourism bureau plans to invest between 200 million yuan (20 million bucks) and 300 million yuan in infrastructure (stocks, muzzles….) roads and buildings. And they are looking for foreign investment. I see the stockholder cert’s now: Mistress Belladonna, Madame Lash, Mistress Scary….
According to Reuters:
“When tour groups enter the town, female tourists would play the dominant role when shopping or choosing a place to stay, and a disobedient man would be punished by ‘kneeling on an uneven board’ or washing dishes in restaurant, media reports said.
The project, begun in the end of 2005, was expected to take three to five years to finish.”
It would be done in two, but the men headed there as construction workers have refused to ask the women for directions.
Simon Montlake wrote recently in the Christian Science Monitor about Macau’s “exhilarating” growth of late. Imagine yourself in a town where the GDP rose 17 percent last year and the law mandated that the highest paying of the thousands of new jobs must go to you, a local resident. Desperate casinos are hiring college students before graduation and they are easy to spot as they doze off even in the midst of exams.
One the face of it Macau, with salaries 3-6 times higher on average than the mainland, has re-nationalized and re-located the American Dream Eastward. And land values have increased some 30% this year and restaurants and service sector shops are packed most days.
But, there is life in the darkness beneath the fresh sod of success: Thousands of illegal aliens, mostly Filipino domestic helpers, Chinese mainland construction workers and Russian showgirls and prostitutes, work for under- the-table pay while living in overcrowded apartments. For every undocumented worker deported there are dozens, from the over 200 million migrant workers creating China’s new skyline, waiting to take their place. And there is no shortage of employers desperate to fill critical shortages or other local needs who are willing to bend the rules for a profit.
Last week a man from Wuhan in Hubei province, reportedly despondent over gambling losses, jumped to his death from a terrace inside the Sands Casino. He landed amid players queueing up for a free million HK dollar pull on a house slot machine. The Sands, who made profits staggering enough to pay off all their debts in only a few months, is building a new 3,000-room Venetian Macau at a cost of $2.3 billion and will likely retire that debt in record time. Mainlanders lose the money that comprises more than 60% of the revenue that has already outstripped the take of Las Vegas. Changes in anti-gambling Beijing’s hands off policy could affect the country’s bottom line and leave a populous, vocationally training to need gaming demands, without a fall-back plan. (Like my Irish mom, who likely spoke Yiddish in a previous life, “You need something to fall back on,” but….
It is not the first time someone has taken their own life after yielding to gambling urges and the mainland authorities, this time, have taken some token measures to curb addiction: Visas issuance, according to an official source in Guangzhou, have been limited in number due to the recent suicide. While I am sure this will do little to stem the tide of players it may be a warning shot fired at the captains of greed steering Macau into waters dependent on the very people Macau scorns with governmental controls. It may well cut down on monetary traffic for the upcoming Golden Week holiday.
The increase in real estate prices has taken place despite a huge surplus of available rental space. Thousand of high-end dwellings are gather dust on their price tags as the asking price is far too steep even for most newly affluent Macanese. Affordable housing for newcomers and is hard to come by and the 9-10 Macanese and Hong Kong families that control the bulk of Macau’s property holdings. The rampant land speculation is making decent housing unaffordable.
In an effort to slow real estate speculation the Macau government abruptly stopped its program that allowed outsiders to invest in homes and then qualify for citizenship. Of course, only non-Chinese qualified anyway unless mainlanders bought a passport from an African, Carribean or South American country selling citizenship. Now, many mainlanders are out the cost of an apartment and a fresh nationality. And real estate developers selling space in dozens of new luxury high-rises are owed millions in unpaid commissions now that the lure is gone. What is most troubling is: the new policy does not look like it will lower prices as the moguls have plenty of cash to park in land holdings while betting on the come of outside cash.
Macau has already surpassed Hong Kong as the top tourist destination in the area, but a quick search for the number of people checking on line for lodging in the area shows Macau getting 2/3 less look-ups. Macau is a Gambling Disneyland and good for a day trip, but not a vacation destination.
The homey, cheap places to eat are giving way to gourmet fare at tourist prices as local restaurateurs cannot afford the rent or compete for service workers with the casinos. The Sands starts their toilet attendants at a salary twice that of a mainland college teacher. Area entertainment magazines, paid for by casino ads, laud the explosion of new chefs and high-dollar meals, but the young, and the low-budget, daytripping retired folks think otherwise.
Right now, Macau is a safe bet for locals. But, as always, for someone to win at the tables, someone else must lose.
I am not at the top of the rankings as a Martian Search Engine Optimization (SEO) expert in the universe, but I might be after this post! The algorithms that govern what is and is not registered by search engines like Google and Yahoo! are shape-shifters: They catalog combinations from blogs and websites that can mystify, amuse and swindle you. For example, I am #1 in Google for Adult Pampers Makers even though I can’t remember mentioning diapers on this blog. I am too old to remember using them and too young to worry about them just yet. I believe, like Robin Williams, that diapers are like politicians and should be changed frequently because they are both full…
Some SEO “Experts” list some of the keywords they claim to have earned in Google’s top ten rankings. They claim that these listings attest to their prowess, and they use these words to convince you that they can move your blog, site or company into a position where you will get more hits and gain international fame and fortune. Most of the words are like the ones above: once in a Martian moon sighting you will get a hit. Some seem remarkably credible like “UK SEO Expert.” He sounds, or can make himself sound, like the marketing go-to guy in England–that is, until you do some research on Submit Express and discover that on any given day there are ZERO searches for that term.
Far too many Chinese SEO firms prey on clients using this strategy. And most businesses, woefully unaware of SEO methods, are bilked out of thousands of dollars every year. The cost for a “hot word,” one with search results in the millions (think “Buddha,” “free buffet,” or “online video game”), is staggering: the top ten in Google is 20,000 RMB a year ($2,500 USD). A “cold word” with low search returns (think “delicious rat recipes” or “Japan learned everything it knows from the Tang dynasty”) will pull 10,000 RMB ($1,250 USD) from your wallet.
So “UK SEO expert,” at 2 million returns, would cost you 20,000 RMB and bring you absolutely no traffic. I’m always suspect of the word expert anyway: in bomb school, an expert was laughingly referred to as a “former drip under pressure”–never a good thing in explosives. It was a surefire way to tell someone was not what they purported to be.
If you are really interested in a legitimate search engine marketing provider, drop me a note at [*firstname.lastname@example.org *]–spambots, eat your heart out (thanks R)! I’ll turn you on to the likes of Fili, Ryan, CWM, or someone else who will be able to get their hands out of your Paypal pockets at some point. And if you’re considering marketing to Martians anytime soon, you know where to look…
FYI: I am doing SEO work or global marketing lectures free for nonprofit groups or companies who agree to donate my normal fee to the China Dreamblogue project.
By the way, with this many links in a post, doesn’t it look like Dan Harris wrote it?
Thomas Stader has a vision to build libraries for children living in orphanages and rural areas around Asia.
Stader, is one of those rare people who come to China with big plans and a bigger heart. He came to help and began to put his plan into action in 1993. To accompany Stader’s big heart, is a well organized plan rife with several clever ideas. Instead of trying to organize all of the complex processes that would be required to build libraries, Stader uses pre-existing supply chains and forms cooperative agreements with local NGOs and corporationg for funding and logistics. These tactics, combined with the lower overhead costs in Asia, allow him to build libraries for $150-$300 USD each–without comprimising the structural quality or integrity of the libraries. Welcome to an age when quality NGO work combined with smart marketing and good business sense can transform a philanthropic daydream into a sound reality.
The Project has made remarkable progress. In 2006, Stader was able to create two libraries for approximately $300 USD and some help from Aston Education, JinaLive, and the Dalian Charity Federation. In 2007, The Library Project will expand to do work in Xian and Jinan. By the end of the year, the project plans to create 15 new libraries to schools and orphanages with a total project cost under $15,000 USD.
Here’s a list of the typical costs from one of the recent library projects:
Hard cover book, 100 pages: $3
Soft cover book, 100 pages: $2
Harry Potte Series: $15
Color comic book: $1
Black and white comic book: .5
Book shelf: $25
Table and chairs: $50
Plants, posters, mats: $25
The Library Project plans to have 80 libraries running in China, Cambodia, and Vietnam by 2009. You can help by clicking here.
Am I ever glad there are people out there who help you tread water in this time of information flooding. I discovered two great plug-ins while blogroll diving today because I chanced upon a blog called Scribble on the Wall(Great name, huh?) that translates blog geek-speek into some engaging reading while providing info’ on some new and exciting tools.
I just activated two plug-ins she recommended for word-press blogs. She actually had a hand in getting one of them created.
The Comment E-mail Responder allows me to email a commenter not subscribing to comments (I just installed that plug-in at long last) to selectively email them the response you make to what he/she has written. It is a fantastic way to let folks know you value their input!
The second Do-Follow plug-in removes the “robots no-follow” command on comments. This allows your friends with sites/blogs, who take the time to respond, to get a little love with a link back via their response. If someone deliberately spams or scams you it is easy to remove the link-back before publishing the comment.
Thanks to, in her own words, the”‘old broad with a bunch of kids, a husband, a pit bull and an insatiable appetite for interesting stuff on the Internet” that has turned her into a real gourmet. I love that this pit bull bytes!
When the Oiwan Lam controversy began I predicted four things:
Support for her cause would be hard to muster because people might feel as though Oiwan invited trouble by publishing a picture that she knew might provoke the ire of Hong Kong Censors. Civil disobedience is not as cherished as it was in the past;
Support would quickly wane as the matter did not seem as urgent or foreboding as the Hao Wu case. Oiwan is facing 12 months in jail, a costly defense and a hefty fine, but she is not incarcerated at the moment;
Bloggers might not pass the torch, or the hat, because the issues are complicated and Hong Kong specific;
People would find it hard to empathize with Oiwan: Hong Kong is part of China and censorship is expected here.
Oiwan did not invite this kind of response. She put her journalistic foot in the water and was dragged below the surface by the well-mapped but unpredictable undertow that is the Hong Kong Television and Entertainment Authority (TELA) and the Obscene Articles Tribunal (OAT). These are the same forces that roiled against a Hong Kong University student newspaper for a ridiculously benign sex survey, Michelangelo’s David in a 1995 magazine ad and Cupid and Psyche on a book cover at the most recent Hong Kong Book Fair.
The charges against Oiwan created a tremor in the blogsphere , but the aftershocks are so imperceptible that we have gone about life as usual. Some Hong Kong bloggers are taking up the cause by posting other classic art works as an act of protest and solidarity. The rest of us should also act on her behalf.
I met with John Kennedy of Global Voices Online today and he spoke again to the issues involved in Oiwan’s case that affect all of us:
He thinks, and public opinion in Hong Kong backs him up, that the Tribunal and the TELA are antiques in need of dry storage and replacement (my sorry metaphor, not his). He thinks the Tribunal, which operates independently without reliable standards and accountability, should be elected officials that have to answer to the public.
He feels, and again is far from alone in his opinion, that a legal and reliably quantifiable definition of “obscene” or “indecent” should be adopted.
The latter is important to all of us as it would prevent dissidents from being punished at the whim of judges with personal or political agendas.
IF blogger’s rights can be upheld in Hong Kong it can instruct and inform governments and lawmakers everywhere about the need for free speech legislation and reform. Oiwan, who has no desire to be a martyr, is every man and woman who wants to speak their mind or read another’s in cyberspace. And, as Rebecca McKinnon has said so well in her blog, Oiwan is a writer who has devoted herself to the non-profit sector most of her adult life, so she has few financial resources to assist with what will be a costly and important court battle.
Help Oiwan and help yourself with a little link love to her cause blog (Banned in Mainland China), a posting of the banner below (feel free to use my bandwidth) and by, please, donating a few dollars to her legal campaign by clicking here:
Attended Cathedral Chorister School, Durham with Tony Blair ?
Who was awarded the Laurence Olivier Theatre Award for Best Comedy Performance in 1982 for the 1981 season?
Who once crashed his MacLaren F1, a supercar valued at more than $1,000,000, into the back of a stationary Mini Metro, valued at around $600 USD (the damage was not severe)?
Who was one of the guests at Prince Charles and Camilla Parker-Bowles (you would have to have a sense of humor) wedding ?
You know you have been an expat too long when you can discuss, in detail, such trivia about the above referenced English comic, and revered Black Adder member, Rowan Atkinson.
And he has a new movie out:
Ms Yue, a child of the revolution, does not know who the Beatles were, my students would not know Winnie the Pooh from the Pope (he looks like a really old bear, but with a hat, ae?), but even teenage girls would trample Justin Tiberlake enroute to getting a look at Mr. Bean’s mole-like mug. I am headed to the movies tonight to see what all the new fuss is about despite being offered the DVD version by every Chinese person I know. I might even do a review.
I once wrote, in a now lost post, about the Chinese sense of humor. Yes, it has its subtleties in speech (They love and study word play), but good physical stunts are valued over a talented tongue (sinocidal: hands off!).
And it is not just because of language (or my not being real funny) that I have to exaggerate body language or vocal tone to get a class to smile. Here are some examples of some pictures from that lost post that have endured on the net because they still tickle the national funny-bone here in China:
I have been teaching Global Internet Marketing this term. It has been more of an education for me than for the students in class. They have stepped up to the cyber-plate and created a host of amazing blogs and websites and some already generating popular content on subjects from Chinese Cooking to Study in Macau.
One of our brainstorming sessions involved how to bring new readers to a blog still digging in the sandbox. The “sandbox effect” is geek-speek for an unknown newcomer who cannot get a good ranking in Google even if he is popular until the blog has achieved a certain maturity. It theoretically keeps link-buying cheaters from playing with the big kids for a time.
So, we searched Technorati (banned in the mainland) for ideas and discovered that the top blog (Boing Boing) has 27,000 other blogs linking to it. The blog last on the top 100 list has some 3,000 plus links coming in. It is a big sandbox over at Technorati!
But, the top favorited blog ( Engadget) has about 1,700 people tagging it as a fave while the #100 site has less than 200 cheerleaders. So, in a school where students have scores of friends it should be easy to get folks to catapult you into celebrity, right?
Well, it seems, after reading a post at the fine Singaporean blog East Coast Life (nominated for “hottest mommy blogger” in the Blogger’s Choice Awards), that our class was not the only one to notice this disparity and bloggers are taking a multi-level marketing approach to upping their visibility. Here’s the hot momma’s (she is really attractive) take on the MEME and the challenge:
“Most of these Top 100 Favorited Blogs are Internet . Are they really your favorite? Technorati has become the marketing and ranking tool for these marketers, hasn’t it?
Well, I would probably incur the wrath of the Internet marketers and I have nothing against them. This is ‘Survivor in Blogosphere’ – You outwit, outplay, outlast other bloggers. Everyone is entitled to a little shameless advertising. I’m grabbing mine! hehe…..
For every blogger who clicks my Technorati Fave Button, (Please leave a comment so I would know. Thanks, dearie.), I’ll return the favor. Fair?
It’s gonna be harder to get into Technorati Top 100 Favorited Blogs due to the tremendous promotion going round the blogosphere. Only the early birds would catch the worms!
I know there will be many who won’t be bothered with these link love exchange thingy, but please Fave Me! I want in!
Keep the train moving!
***Start Copying Here:***
Here are the rules:
1) Write a short introduction paragraph about what how you found the list and include a link to the blog that referred you to the list.
2) COPY the Rules and ENTIRE list below and post it to your blog. To avoid duplicate content and increase the amount of keywords your site can accessible for, go ahead and change the title of the blog. Just don’t change the links of the blog.
4) Add Everyone on this list to your Technorati Favorites List by clicking on “Fave the Site.” Those who want good kharma will fave you back. If not, you will for sure get the benefits of faves from the bloggers who continue this list after you.”
Here ’tis (and yes, I will fave ayone on my roll who just asks). And no, there is no penalty for non-participation:
This is to Fave Onemanband:
And this one needs real attention as it is associated with the Charity trip across China:
Yahoo’s lame excuse to-date has been that Yahoo its own employees in China would be endangered if it did not follow Chinese law (“Ve vas just following ze orders”). If THIS were the most visited website in the world, as is Yahoo!, I doubt I would be shaking in my corporate wingtips. If mean, if a hack like Drudge can bring about the impeachment of the president of the world’s biggest economy….
“Those passing familiar with Jesus’ teachings know He taught that the path to the Father led through the ordinary. Those who prefer other metaphors may wish to think of a heterogeneous universe, where meaning and love imperishable exist side by side with cruelty, horror and absurdity. And we must choose whether to try and understand it all or create and defend a bubble in which love and meaning truly do exist.
For these somewhat fanciful reasons I hope that the blogosphere will become less a cockpit of argument and ideas — though it will always be that — and more a forum for action: a place to facilitate meetings between real people, develop actual applications and accomplish physical tasks. There never was a flower, a glass of beer or a child’s laugh that was ever truly futile. Et in saecula saeculorum. Amen.” The Belmont Club
This blog has always endeavored, albeit circuitously at times, to be a forum for aid and action. And I endlessly question the efficacy of anything I write toward those ends. Despite attention-getting attacks I am nurtured by comments of encouragement, links to posts that are calls for compassion and email reports back to me that something good came of this hobby cum-obsession.
Today, one of the charities featured in recent weeks received a small donation that will further their work and the combat soldier in Iraq who had to take out loan to pay for his father’s funeral is now a bit nearer to paying back his debt.
Net Neutrality is essential to the propagation of charitable and humanitarian ideas. Should a handful of companies ever control access to information, mediate content, mandate who gets paid for what politic and then how their site will rank in search engine findings because of what values they espouse, then cyber-facism will rule. China’s attempts to roadblock lanes on the information super-highway will look like child’s play.
By the time this article is posted I will have removed all Google ads on the site. I will wage my one-man boycott of all things Google for all they have done in recent months to warrant suspicion, fear and anger in anyone living as I am in the midst of repression and a growing concern that the waves of censorship do not begin here, but instead are washing inland in increasing magnitude. I am no Internet Robin Hood: I don’t believe ill-gotten gain, even through some imaginative alchemy, becomes anything than ill-gotten by giving it away–even to the most worthy of causes.
Google has gone public thus making its well-known mantra “Do no Evil” a laughably outdated jingle. Said better by OhGenki: “This is what happens when good companies go public: the principles that made them good, even necessary, to the point of inspiring a romantic loyalty among their customers, are whittled away at until only those principles which are profitable remain.” Google told investors at their IPO filing: ”
Don’t be evil. We believe strongly that in the long term, we will be better served as shareholders and in all other ways by a company that does good things for the world even if we forgo some short term gains. This is an important aspect of our culture and is broadly shared within the company.
That sound to me like a High School Debate question: Do the ends justify the means? Google took a Machiavellian affirmative on that one.
Google recently acquired the well-known and despicable browser hijacking, malware giant Doubleclick for $3.1 billion dollars. The deal incidentally was challenged by The Electronic Privacy Information Center, Center for Digital Democracy, and U.S. Public Interest Research Groups who petitioning the FTC to block the merger until concerns over Google’s data collection and storage were addressed. Google was accused of unfair and deceptive trade practices, and failing to follow the standards set by the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development, the watchdog of consumer privacy standards . And all of this was on the heels of the YouTube purchase that had them employing an army of lawyers to fend off Intellectual Property suits.
Google is an active participant in the censorship that is so often associated with China’s repression of the Internet so often vilified by bloggers, and other media and at the core of much sinophobic rhetoric:
Note: Going to Google.cn from a U.S. computer will NOT yield you the same results that a mainland Chinese user will get. I live here, I know. So, any great finds you think you see from your side of the ocean are probably illusory.
In addition to homophobic threats, Google has now said they will penalize sites that sell ad links on their site. It seems nobody is supposed to make a buck except Google. Google’s Matt Cutts even has a guide on how to rat out offenders. And while Google no longer recognizes links coming from powerful Wikipedia they let Matt’s high-flying blog dominate the top of the search engines rankings in thousands of keywords, pushing out long-suffering and deserving experts, in many a field.
Now, Feedburner.com, who is sleeping with Typepad and just acquired Blogbeat, is looking at a merger with Google. That would give them huge advantages in advertising and RSS. It would enable them to dump adwords/adsense into RSS feeds on hundreds of thousand of blog posts. Thread Watch.Org says it perfectly: Being a near Monopoly is expensive and since Google doesn’t do ads all that well control of the competition is the best short-term answer to their problems. In future post I will try to facilitate exchange and help on new “Open Source” ad networks that save advertisers money and help support citizen journalists, webmasters and bloggers.
If you can read the Google blog’s explanation for their yield to censorship without laughing, gagging or punching your screen I need the name of your pharamacist. “Filtering our search results clearly compromises our mission. Failing to offer Google search at all to a fifth of the world’s population, however, does so far more severely. Whether our critics agree with our decision or not, due to the severe quality problems faced by users trying to access Google.com from within China, this is precisely the choice we believe we faced”
What good is a search that doesn’t really search? China has Baidu and others for that and it seems that the Chinese prefer their own search engine anyway because Google keeps losing market share here.
So, like being a little bit pregnant, Google is trying to convince us that being a little bit evil is OK.
The Apprentice is off the air now in the U.S. or so I hear. But, they reworked two words that will remain permanently inscribed in the American lexicon. And it pleases me to use them here for Google: “You’re Fired”
Check out Asia Sentinel and Rebecca McKinnon on this issue as well….
Many years ago, as a scoutmaster in Germany, I was privileged to direct a troop of precocious preteens. They were sons of the physicians and administrators at the hospital, where I worked as a behavioral science specialist in inpatient and outpatient psychiatry, and they had an mean IQ higher than most of my current colleagues–present compsny included.
One new “Tenderfoot” once balked at introducing himself to the entire group (he was 11) and asked me, “What should I say?” I told him that anything was fine–mind you, this was in 1978–and he quickly said: “My name is Tom and I don’t believe the Alpha Centauri system can support life.” I went home to bone up on astronomy and Tom went on to law school at Georgetown, but only after joining the chorus of collective wisdom that, in perfect pitch, generally corrected me on topics ranging from conservation to zooology with unfailing accuracy.
It was, truly without a doubt, one of the best times of my life. There is nothing a real teacher enjoys more than intellectual challenge–unless it is summer vacation, but I digress…. When a student, or group of students, puts a willing teacher to the test, well, everyone benefits.
I have a long list of moments in my life where I made Mr. Bean look like Lawrence Olivier. From declaring to a class that Sherlock Holmes was a cocaine addict only to find out later that he was fictional, accidentally shooting the hero in a professional melodrama production, and once asking America’s Cup winner Dennis Conner at the Tokyo airport “Where have we met before?, I have had my share of slapstick moments. And I would not take back one of them. I stand with Churchill who said: “Success is the ability to go from one failure to another with no loss of enthusiasm.”
This week was no exception. I met a much revered academic and a psychology dean at a small, ambitious college that rightly aspires to great scholarship. I was applying for a job, or so I thought, as a generalist psychology professor with ancillary duties in Neuropschology . In fact, they were looking for someone well primary and well versed in neuropsychology. They had hoped during the interview to extract information from me that I assume did not make the jump from short-term to long-term memory and likely fell between the synapses somewhere during graduate school–back in the days of Peter, Paul and Pterodactyls. For the first time in an academic interview I was asked to define a series of terms. I simply had to say, “I don’t know.” to a host of questions one would likely find on a Psych’ 101 final.
As in my other days of Holmes and humility, I likely will re-read the yellowing pages of my graduate textbooks and Google myself silly as penance. In the end I am still be a teacher and pretty good at articulating what I do know. Having been a lecturer at some of the world’s top conferences and schools I don’t doubt my abilities in other areas. But, I have some work to do. And I promise I won’t nearly be like Goethe, who was taken from a library in a frothing stupor after trying to absorb all the information then transcribed in books. I”ll just add to my knowledge base and will never-the-less enthusiastically fail some other time in pursuit of other successes.
Maybe they have an opening for a lecturer in Nineteeth Century British Fiction.
ANZAC Day – 25 April – is probably Australia’s most important national occasion. It marks the anniversary of the first major military action fought by Australian and New Zealand forces during the First World War. ANZAC stands for Australian and New Zealand Army Corps. The soldiers in those forces quickly became known as ANZACs, and the pride they soon took in that name endures to this day.
It seems more like an upcoming visit from a head of state than a corporate CEO as China expects to host Microsoft Corp chairman Bill Gates from April 18 to 21. Even Philippine President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo wants to “squeeze in” an audience with him during her 12-hour visit to China. She reportedly wants Gates to assist her government in setting up VOIP services. You can bet China Telecom (Mao Bell) whose shares keep skyrocketing, won’t be asking because they are still trying to find a way to ensure profits by blocking Skype,QQ, and MSN Messenger-type voice communications.
The influence of Gates was made powerfully evident last week when China President Hu Jintao opted to dine at the home of Bill Gates. I wonder if GWB was invited.
Even so, Timothy Chen, corporate vice president of Microsoft and CEO of the Greater China Region, said, according to a press release from the Shanghai office of Microsoft China, that he hoped Gates’ trip would help improve the relationship between Microsoft, the government and industrial communities in China. He said greater cooperation would help advance innovation and allow more people to benefit from information technology. Note: As long as they remember not to type the word democra*y on their blogs. (And no, ongoing corporate sponsored oppression is never old news)….
Gates is expected to deliver keynote speeches at a Microsoft forum for Asian leaders to be held in Beijing and at the Boao Forum of Asia in China’s Hawaii, Hainan Province. Note: Hainan Island is to Hawaii as Windows is to Linux.
Gates will also visit the Tsinghua University and Beijing (Peking) University during his tour. Pirated versions of Gates will speak at colleges that cannot afford him: