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The Great Firewall Test: Is your site blocked in China?

censorship

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.

Back soon…..

cartoons,Censorship,China Cartoons,China Editorials,China SEO,China web 2.0,Chinese Internet,Chinese Media,Human Rights,In the news,The Great Firewall,The Internet,中国

9 responses so far

Goolag

google censors

Thnaks to DMP for this and to The Cult of the Dead Cow folks who have given permission to you to use this on any medium you choose.

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SEO CHINA Part XXXI: Matt Cutts on Chinese Food, Adwords and Mom

GoGu

Matt Cutts works for Google and has a blog about how to court their search engine; so, when Matt flaps his blog wings in America there is a tsunami on the far side of the Internet.

This is a spoof on his recent interview on SEO in China….

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%.

http://www.linuxworld.com.au/index.php/id;836499436;fp;2;fpid;1

What do you think of the market share drop?

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.
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The Wild, Wild East: Women’s Town

Womens Town

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.

Thanks again Dave….

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Dying to win in Macau….

macau gambling

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.

China Business,China Cartoons,China Editorials,Chinese Festivals,Confucius Slept Here,Holidays,In the news,Macau,Personal Notes,Travel in China,中国

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# 1 Martian SEO Expert

will this seo martian pron get me locked up Oiwan

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…

But, I digress…

I know about this listing because someone searched for the term, and my analytics program identified from whence they came. There are other authentic one-hit wonders for which I rank highly, though I am clueless about why people searched for them or why I showed up tops. They ALL beg for an aside, but I am resisting, thinking that you can use your imagination: Pocket Fisherman Diagram, Moscow Prostitute, Pig League Facials, Plentiful Breast Pictures, Professor Asshat, China Olympic Athlete Blog, There is the sex that americans admit to, Hairy Chinese Women, Wedding dress Market Report in China, I had my hepatitis shot, but the test says I have no immunity, Naked nurse teaching in China, Anais Nin commerative coin, American Prostitute Self, Naked nurse teaching in starbucks china, quota of America to China, You Tube Hong Kong Free Sex Video, How culture affects the way we use utensils, and Cartoon Photos of a man being massaged among hundreds of others…

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.

I have many great search results I’m proud of, but were someone to actually come to them, I would worry about their mental health or my ego. I am number one for “American professor” in Google, hands down, and I frequently use this in lieu of a business card when I forget one. I am also in the Google China top ten for “American blog” (out of half a billion returns) and number 1 for “handsomest American in China” (move your Canuck ass over, Da Shan!) and ridiculously #1 for America’s Best Blog. In all humility, I found I rank quite high for “China blog about nothing” and “Lonnie isn’t exactly the sharpest guy in the world,” which isn’t exactly what you’d want when you are trying to build up your China business consultant site that’s already number 1 for “china business consultant blog” in Google, Google China and Yahoo.

If you are really interested in a legitimate search engine marketing provider, drop me a note at [*santini47@yahoo.com *]–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?

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Happy Earth Day From China

Happy earth day

Asia,cartoons,China Cartoons,China Humor,Environment,Humor,In the news,中国

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Yahoo!!!!

Yahoo! is getting sued in two separate cases: The wife of a jailed dissident writer and by a human rights/anti-torture group.

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….

yahoo censorship

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Google’s New Motto: Do a Little Evil…

google

“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:

censorship

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.

No.

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….

cartoons,Censorship,China Business,China Cartoons,China Editorials,China SEO,China web 2.0,Chinese Internet,Chinese Media,Human Rights,In the news,Intercultural Issues,Internet marketing China,Seach engine Optimization,Search Engine Marketing,SEM,SEO,Seo China,The Great Firewall,The Internet,中国,中文

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Clueless in China….

DUMB BLOGS

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.

Asia,cartoons,China Cartoons,China Humor,Chinese Education,Macau University of Science and Technology,Teaching in China,中国

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U.S. Geek-in-Chief to Boot-Up Two Conferences in China….

The Real Bill Gates

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:

Gates FakeKnockoff Gates Bootleg Gates

Asia,Asian Humor,Censorship,China Business,China Cartoons,China Editorials,China Humor,China web 2.0,Chinese Internet,Chinese Media,Humor,In the news,Photos,The Great Firewall,The Internet,中国

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When you drink water remember the source…

JapanA few years ago my Korean Taekwondo master, with another American and his very young Korean teacher in the room, spoke to me in perfect Japanese. He proceeded to tell me that I should be wary as there was conflict between the two men. Then he winked and told me, again in Japanese, not to reveal the extent of his linguistic skills to anyone else. He had known for years prior to this day that I was fluent in Japanese, but had remained silent.

A day or two after his disclosure I asked him why he had kept it such a secret. He explained to me that to speak Japanese was to call to mind the days of his youth and the Japanese occupation of Korea. He had been forced to abandon his family identity by taking a Japanese name, forbidden to study Korean martial arts, and was witness to the arrogance and brutality of the Imperial army. I guessed his motive in revealing his secret to me came out of the then daily news on the continued Sino-Japanese-Korean animosities at that time: This was the oblique way a proud, accomplished man could release some long-held pain.

It was not long after our talk that he and another icon in Taekwondo encountered a man in an elevator in a Seoul hotel. The man asked, in his native Japanese, if they were also from Japan. The two men, ordinarily gentle and soft-spoken, emerged from the elevator while the visiting businessman remained aboard, having been rendered unconscious.

And only a week after the elevator event, Korea demolished an extraordinarily beautiful building in Seoul that had been erected during the occupation by the Imperial army. The Koreans did not just tear it down: they smashed each brick individually. The enormous collective pain of a nation had bled into every emotionally permeable membrane.

Japan has made half-hearted attempts to heal a divided Pacific rim community that still views Japan as unrepentant and inexorably tied to its militaristic past. Haruki Wada’s Asian Women’s Fund for comfort women, sexually used and abused by Japanese soldiers, is one of Tokyo’s most telling gestures.

The fund basically was meant to give the appearance of an apology without angering a large segment of Japan that viewed restitution as a loss of national face; hence, disgraceful.

fund did do some good for a fraction of the tens of thousands affected. A few hundred women from Taiwan, the Philippines and elsewhere received about $16,000 US Dollars from the fund (not the government) and a personal (not official) apology from the Japanese Prime Minister. Chinese women in the mainland received nothing as Beijing refused to set up an official authentication system for the victims. Other money from a relatively tiny fund went to hospital bills, retirement homes and medical facilities that benefited some women.

The latest round of reconciliation talks between Beijing and Tokyo are bound to evoke old memories for many in Korea, China, Taiwan and the Phillipines again. And forgiveness is unlikely to be forthcoming as long as the guilty party is still asking others to apologize or intervene on its behalf.

Beijing has been using water analogies throughout this process: China has called for the melting of ice and building a bridge over a sea of peace between the two countries. But, I doubt there will be much water flowing under non-existent metaphorical bridges until the leadership of Japan claims ownership for a destructive past, corrects false and state sponsored historical teachings, and begins tending to the living souls of its neighbors instead of conjuring the spirits of atrocity via visits to Yasukuni Shrine.

A Chinese Proverb: 饮水思源 (When you drink water remember the source)

China Cartoons,China Editorials,Chinese Proverbs,In the news,Intercultural Issues,Japan,Korea,War,中国

7 responses so far

SEO CHINA 101.3

World Wide Web China
Fili’s World did a great primer on Chinese Search Engine Basics and I with his permission I opted to use it as a springboard for this week’s post:

“The SEO rules for the Chinese Internet market are a bit different than that of any other country. The Internet market works differently due to various social, political and technological reasons. It’s quite remarkable that Google has so far failed to take over the Chinese search engine market which is still dominated by Baidu – maybe the only company in the world still beating Google in their niche.”

I consulted with a funds manager in New York about a year ago. He did not want to believe my prediction that Google would NEVER overtake Baidu and would keep losing ground. He expplained to me that Google had outspent Baidu 10-1 on R&D in the Chinese market and doubted Baidu could stand up to that. Gee, if it were only about money.

Baidu succeeds in spite of itself because it is Chinese!! Google shoils have spent a couple of hundred bucks taking to my students who make it really simple to understand: “Baidu has what we need” (mp3 downloads, Chinese language games…) in Chinese without forcing students to dig through the rubble of hard to grasp Google info in English. They don’t care that most of the top ten slots in Baidu are paid ads and are not highlighted as such. And they don’t care that the results may be censored or politically skewed. Google’s honesty policy (clear marking of ads) gets lost in translation. Everything is for sale in China and students and netizens here know it and accept it: you buy everything, cyberspace included, with money, guanxi (relational advantage), or political favors.

“Most of the website’s incoming traffic comes from search engine queries, so Google is extremely important for any site out there that’s interested in getting traffic, and the Internet is full of SEO experts and advice on how to help Google better understand your site, hopefully resulting in higher Google rankings and increased incoming traffic.”

About 95% of SEO companies that I queried in China use Google adwords to get you on the first page of a search engine listing. They know little else beyond that. Because Chinese businesses are not Internet savvy they buy into appearances. Looks are inordinately important here in everything: food, physical attractiveness, website bells and whistles (makes SEO harder that they adore flash heavy sites) and where their site appears. It does not matter to them that you can show them statistics proving only 20% or less of visitors come from the right (paid) side of a search bar.

“Baidu’s dominance in the enormous Chinese online market holds a whole new world of challenges and opportunities for websites. Asking online-colleagues and browsing through the Internet it’s quite surprising how little information is available on the topic in English. Most western SEO professionals I know assume that Baidu’s behavior is just the same as Google’s, but I always felt that’s just the easy response and probably far from the actual truth. I had a chance to rethink this subject when discussing “English Taiwan : The websphere, the blogosphere, traffic, SEO and the need for a profound change” and the lacking connection between the Chinese and English bloggers and blog readers in Taiwan and China. ”

What I am hoping is that this becomes a running discussion between Mark, Fili’s world Gemme, Alex , and OMBW. we all have different strengths and could stimulate a lot of learning and dialogue.

“Content : Baidu is extremely sensitive to some information, so totally avoid mentioning or writing adult content, pornography, or Chinese government forbidden keywords. Having any of those will not only affect the page the content is on but also the entire website.”

My site has been blocked 6/10 times I have checked it this month. I am extraordinarily pro-China, but I cannot seem to always fly under the censor’s radar.

Content description : Naturally, optimize your page title, your headings and keyword density in pages (5-8%), same as Google.

Check your tags with free, simple tools like Submit Express. They will let you know what you need to change and where. Type in my website address for your first analysis as we will use it as a learning tool. This service will also tell you keyword density and frequency (I will do a whole post on that later) and even highlight any negative issues with your outbound links.

Use Chinese words in your title and description tags, but check the length of encoded symbols so you do not exceed acceptable limits. Avoid using the name of your blog or website in the title and description tags unless there is a good reason. Once you are a branded name like Amazon, Boing Boing or (god forbid!) Perez Hilton, and people are actually coming to your site, you can always add it in.

Note that you can always add title and desription tags in your header that are different than what appears on say a wordpress blog. Check out the source code on my site and you will see that it does not match the description (tagline) generated by wordpress.

Google tends to see the title as most important for the engines and the desciption as part of your content while Yahoo and MSN give more weight to the description tag. As an example: I rank higher for the term American Professor (#1 out of 100,000,00 or so…) and lower for SEO CHINA in Google. I am only #25 in Yahoo! for Ameican Professor and #11 for China SEO. In MSN I am in the top 6 for both terms. If this was a blog meant to supplement my income I would need to alter my tags accordingly as American Professors are a dime a dozen (Sorry Chris) while good SEO specialists in China are harder to come by…

“Links : Anchor-texts for incoming links are, like in Google’s case, a very important SEO factor, but it seems Baidu attributes a little more importance to internal anchor-texts. Note that unlike Google, Baidu still doesn’t have a very advanced authority mechanism, so there’s less importance to where your anchor-text is coming from, and you can imagine the consequences of this.”

Ask your friends to place links to your sites, stories and pictures using relevant keywords. The bestest, smartest, and handsomest seo specialist in China is just fine for me, OK? Nothing elaborate.

Make sure for paid text ads that your key words are in the links if possible. And remember that Google, Yahoo! and MSN give extra points for ads on monster sites like theirs. Imagine that: you get more juice by paying the big boys for links…

Jump on the fact that Baidu doesn’t give extra credit to powerful sites because it will not hurt you in the other engines.

Watch your outgoing links carefully: If you looked at my site report in submit express you saw that I have too many outgoing links:

“This page contains too many URLs.
This tag contains 561 urls. Some Search Engines have problems with more than 100 urls on a page. ”

Blogs are always going to read out worse than conventional websites, but be a bit more careful than me. And try to minimize outgoing links to extremely weak sites, or sites that do not return links to you unless you have a good reason to do it. I generally repay sites that link to me in some way: I either add a blogroll link to sites I like or mention them in a post. If you do the same remember that some engines/sites with ranking systems give more power to front page links than buried links and more power to links in posts than to links on blogrolls.

As a rule I don’t give the time of day to sites that are overly stingy about links or credit sharing on their sites. I do have a few listings on my blogroll of sites that may never repay the nod, but they are important reads and should be tauted. But, don’t give away your power to the sites that don’t warrant it via content or elitist attitude just because you think you have to or operate under the illusion that they will one day abandon their ego.

My attitude is simple: we are in this together. Promote the valuable sites and help your friends, big or small, as much as you can without serious injury.

I am only 1/3 through Fili’s article. More soon…

Added Note on the Body Language post:

I showed this in class to non-English majors and they loved it…It provided great entertainment and a jumping-off place for discussion on “authentic” body language issues…

China Cartoons,China web 2.0,Chinese Internet,Chinese Media,Internet marketing China,Seach engine Optimization,Search Engine Marketing,SEM,SEO,Seo China,The Internet,中国

17 responses so far

Spiderman in China….

Movie Geek

I admit it! I am one of those geeky fans who waits in line at Midnight for the opening day of new movies. At least I was until I came here and there were no new flicks….

Unless the Bush administration’s decision to slam new tarrifs on the Chinese queers the deal with some new tit-for-tat retaliation, film goers are in for a change. I expect I will be in line to watch the Premeire of the new Peter Parker Peril Pic’ in China!

Arguably, the Motion Picture Association of America says believes they “lost” $244 million to DVD pirates in China last year and Chinese film studios failed to realize $2.5 billion because of IPR theft. Whatever the number, I think this upcoming pre-emptive strike is a smart manuever and I am anxious to track the box-office numbers.

“Spider-Man 3” will premiere in China on May 3, the day before it opens in North America, China’s top overseas film import official said Thursday. The move is designed to secure a strong opening at the boxoffice before pirated copies have a chance to flood the market.

From the Hollywood Reporter: “Yuan Wenqiang, president of state-run China Film Group’s Film Import & Export Corp., said that releasing Columbia Pictures’ “Spider-Man 3″ in China first — during the peak moviegoing season around the weeklong national holiday that kicks off May 1 — was a testament to the growing importance of China’s theatergoers in the eyes of Hollywood.” Whatever…

I am sure that there are already $.60 studio copies, complete with Chinglish subtitles, out there somewhere, but I am fluffing up the sleeping bag and stocking up on Snickers bars in anticipation just the same….

Click here or on the cartoon above to view the trailer

Just for the synchronistic record: I took the Superhero online quiz today and (I am not kidding) here are the results:

You are Spider-Man

Spider-Man
75%
Batman
65%
Hulk
60%
Green Lantern
60%
Catwoman
55%
Superman
55%
The Flash
55%
Robin
52%
Iron Man
35%
Wonder Woman
30%
Supergirl
25%
You are intelligent, witty,
a bit geeky and have great
power and responsibility.


Click here to take the quiz

Asia,China Business,China Cartoons,China Editorials,China Humor,Chinese Media,Humor,In the news,中国

4 responses so far

Addicted to Mediocrity: The Educational System in China

ENGRISH TEACHERS

One of my students gave a short speech yesterday on the person who had most influenced her life. Like many others she named her mother as her personal hero. It was a great impromptu speech and I applauded her for her candor about one issue in particular: She lauded her mother for giving up a high paying managerial job to take care of her as she grew up. But she lamented that her father was “only a professor” and unable to support the family in the style to which they had become accustomed while mom was bringing in disposable income. That, and a generalized genuine lack of enthusiasm and respect for even the best teachers here caused me to ponder the problem.

First, it brought to mind the old joke: One day in heaven, God decided he would visit Earth. Walking down the road, he met a peasant who was crying. God asked the man, “Why are you crying, my son?” The man said that he was blind and had never seen a sunset. God touched the man who could then see and was happy. Later, god met another man crying and asked, “Why are you crying, my son?” The man was born unable to walk. God touched him, he could walk, and he was happy. Farther down the road, God met yet another man who was crying and asked, “Why are you crying, my son?” The man said, “God, I work for the Chinese school system.” And God sat down and cried with him.

While average salaries for a professor in the US and Japan hover around six figures, the average Chinese senior college educator can expect to nail down $800-1,200 US dollars a month. A new faculty lecturer can expect to pocket about $360-400 US dollars and will toil in conditions that inner-city teachers in America would riot against. The system is so horribly flawed that I don’t expect the students to think much differently than they do now. Government figures show over 4 million college students graduating (a 22 percent increase) while the labor market will cough up less than 2 million jobs (a 22 percent drop) this year. And salaries are falling with demand: More than 40% of new graduates will earn a monthly salary lower than $190 USD a month. A migrant worker can earn from $99-148 a month in larger cities.

Academic standards in mainland China are decidedly weak compared to the west or even Macau or Hong Kong: many teachers can begin an academic career with a bachelor’s degree and garner full professorships without advanced training. They are appointed and promoted because of longevity, party connections or friendships within the school’s hierarchy. Foreign experts, a dreadful misnomer in many cases, are often hired solely for their ability to speak English or the color of their skin. While the government has made schools aware that the “experts” are essential to teaching managers how to become more internationally competitive as prices level out worldwide, they do little to encourage recruitment and retention of qualified foreigners. Only 1/6 of University level teachers have even a few weeks of English as a Second Language (ESL) Training. And those who are qualified and want to stay here cannot. You must be at least an associate professor with five years of tax-paying residency to even apply for a green card. And even then, the US government, in the wake of 9-11, will hand out more green cards in four days to Chinese immigrants than the Chinese government will part with annually for ALL foreign nationals combined. Just ask Dr. Janice Engsberg an American who has been working in China for 15 years, teaching in the mass communication department of Xiamen University. She was recognized by the Chinese government with its pretigious annual “Friendship Award,” and still is dreaming of a day when she might get a green card.

And a new term, the “industrialization of education,” has bred manyt new universities that only profit hunt as opposed to teach any functional skills. Investors, smart businessmen with no business being in the education business, are reaping huge profits by short-changing Chinese youth. Most of the teaching staff at these new schools are so unhappy with their poor salaries, large class sizes, and fossilized administrative mechanisms in place that they save their energy for second jobs and just go through the motions of teaching. Students are rarely taught transferable skills, especially in English, and employers hiring graduates know it. The students know as well that they have a snowball’s chance in hell of getting a good job upon graduation and they act accordingly. Pass by many classrooms and you will find students text messaging, sleeping, chatting or reading something other than a textbook. It is hard to blame them or the the public who has a long way to go in accepting teachers as a valuable part of societal development and social improvement.

An older article translated by EASTSOUTHWESTNORTH points up the attitudes held by those nostalgic for the days of Mao: “The rat is one of the ‘Four Pests’ in China. Today, there are ‘Four New Pests’ in China, and they are respectively: 1. Public security/procuratorate/court of law 2. National and local taxation 3. Doctors/teachers 4. Organized criminals Actually, while the organized criminals are bad, their damage is much less than that from the preceding three groups. In that bygone era, “public security/procuratorate/court of law” and “national and local taxation” were both imperfect, but they did not persecute people. In fact, public security was even a very respected occupation. Today, “public security/procuratorate/court of law” and “national and local taxation” are disaster areas for corruption. In that bygone era, “doctors and teachers” once assumed the role of victims. The synopsis of that era may be “If you have to work with a knife, you are better off being a butcher than a surgeon; if you have to manage a herd, you are better being a sheep shepherd than a school teacher.” But today, even city workers cannot afford to send their children to university, as education expenses have become a huge family burden. If you are sick, you won’t dare visit a hospital because it isn’t big news if a few days of stay cost you a few hundred thousand yuan.”

A recovered post from a few months before the crash…

Asia,China Cartoons,China Editorials,Confucius Slept Here,Intercultural Issues,past posts,Teaching in China,中国

9 responses so far

A chicken in every pot and a computer in every Chinese home…

China already has more than 60 million bloggers within the ranks of the 150 million or so Internet users. That number may look small soon thanks to Lenovo (the  company that bought IBM) and American based Dell.

IBM China

Michael Dell has announced development and sales of a new computer with a starting price of about $335. He plans to market it in China first and then move on to lesser populated India and finally Brazil. The machine, designed in Shanghai will be customizable and can cost up to $517 USD.

Dell’s “EC280” model is looking to cash in on volume demand in the world’s second largest market and beyond. Smart thinking. It is good to see the West adapting to the China market instead of floundering like Google, Yahoo and others have done here using strategies unattractive to the Chinese. The Internet in China may well be the last real entrepreneurial frontier for a while and economic trend setters like Dell know it….Many companies have stayed out of the market because profit margins are low. Well, zero percent of nothing equals….

To compete with Dell, Lenovo, one of two companies with a firm grip on the PC market here, is partnering with Microsoft Corp. to offer a computer model that a consumer can buy via time payments. The up front cost for the PC is about $150. The rest of the buy will be financed by a bank loan. The loan gets paid back as the consumer buys usage cards that buy time on the machines, eventually paying it off–use it or lose it.

The market is about to heat up. Apple where the hell are you?

Now if we could just make food and medicine affordable….

China Internet

But I digress…

Asia,cartoons,China Business,China Cartoons,China Editorials,China web 2.0,Chinese Internet,In the news,Internet marketing China,The Internet,中国

4 responses so far

SEO China in the News…

I will be posting on Saturday about SEO Techniques, but in the interim I thought you’d find this amusing: Yahoo! has an ad posted for an SEO specialist (Chinese).

Yahoo in China

The job requires the employee to get high search engine rankings in GOOGLE….

With a hat tip to: Webmaster World

Asia,Asian Humor,cartoons,China Business,China Cartoons,China Humor,China web 2.0,Chinese Internet,Humor,In the news,Internet marketing China,Seo China,中国

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Maybe it was the Chinese tea….

Chinese medicine

China Hands, the expats who have spent several years here, all have one or more stories about questionable medical care in China. One visit to a traditional hospital and a diagnosis of “Palpitation of Hyperactivity of Fire due to Yin Deficiency,” or “Deafness Caused by Exogenous Wind-Evil,”or any other kind of malady for which you might be prescribed snake bile as a cure, is enough to spook any newcomer.

I have long been an advocate of Mind-Body and Non-Traditional Medicine. The iatrogenic (In short: and illness caused by the treatment of an illness) issues caused by many Western drugs had me looking for other solutions. After reading, in Surgeon-Writer Richard Selzer’s book Mortal Lessons, about the uncanny diagnostic abilities the Dalai Lama’s personal physician, Yeshi Donden I was, and am, convinced that there are a great many Eastern healers with skills we sorely need to learn.

But, for all the stereotypical Hollywood hype like Kung Fu: The Legend Continues and its sixty-second healings of fractures, poisonings and such China has a long way to go to return to its traditional roots. Medicine, like everything, has industrialized and mediocrity and greed are more easily diagnosed than illness.

The unsinkable Ms Yue was told that her X-ray showed no abnormalities and they prescribed some herb to help her with some lymphatic pain they attributed to one of the four elements or Feng Gunk or something…. But, a month later she visited the formidable Zhongshan University Hospital in Guangzhou and was told that her X-ray revealed major calcifications indicative of late stage breast cancer.

Another friend nearly died last year when told that his double pneumonia was a simple cold while I was diagnosed with “fatty liver” (they think most westerners only have bad liver scans due to excessive drinking) when I actually had contracted Hepatitis A. In every instance we paid for useless medicines in addition to the questionable diagnostics. With the new industrialism has come cut-backs in medical funding and socialized health care benefits, so the doctors and clinics are looking for ways to make the rent. And they are doing creative diagnostics and treatment for big bucks while many average Chinese are considering suicide in lieu of expensive treatments.

Reuters, via China Digital Times has a great story about the decline of routine Chinese medical care. “A group of Chinese reporters came up with a novel idea to test how greedy local hospitals were — pass off tea as urine samples and submit the drink for tests.

The results: six out of 10 hospitals in Hangzhou, the capital of the rich coastal province of Zhejiang, visited by the reporters over a two-day period this month concluded that the patients’ urinal tracts were infected.

Five of the hospitals prescribed medication costing up to 400 yuan ($50), the online edition of the semi-official China News Service (www.chinanews.com) said in a report seen on Wednesday. Of the hospitals, four were state-owned.”

Me? I see a western MD in Guangzhou then go to Hong Kong to stock up on tried-and-true medications (many of the ones you buy in stores in Guangzhou are fakes) and make sure my medical evacuation insurance premiums are paid up….

For those of you interested in a medical text that does a good job of integrating Eastern and Western approaches take a look at Traditional Chinese Medicine by Professor Chen Keji, MD.

Asia,Cancer Journal,cartoons,China Business,China Cartoons,China Expats,Chinese Medicine,Expats,In the news,Personal Notes,The League of Extraordinary Chinese Women,The Unsinkable Ms Yue,中国

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SEO CHINA

SEO CHINA

As many of you know I have been doing search Engine Optimization and Search engine Marketing for about six years. It started as a harmless hobby and now has a life of its own: running and screaming naked down information highways in search of higher ranks for all manner of search terms like: Professor Lucky Pants, The Handsomest Poet in China, Blog Prostitute in Guangzhou American Professor…..

I began blogging when Andy Naughton, the genius behind Cyberglass, told me that I had to quit clogging his box with long-winded emails. He convinced me that I was in desperate need of a blogging forum. That was the start of OMBW and my experiments with weblog SEO. OMBW, early on, was a platform for web trials, but now that it is back to being my writing refuge, I would like to pass on some of what I have acquired along the way to to those of you in search of an audience or a product customer base.

Unlike some SEO information give-aways there is no hook here: I won’t be asking you to sign up for a newsletter, buy my book on the Internet According to Khan or anything designed to MAKE MILLIONS WITH A HOME COMPUTER!!!! It is just a chance for me to download to the blog page a bit of what I have learned via a virtual school of hard knocks. I won’t scoff at offers of business, but I do get a fair number of calls as I am (more seriously) listed–as should be YOUR SEO consultant–in several engines for SEO work in China: China Blog SEO, SEO Consultant China , Seo China, SEO Specialist China, and so on…. I have done work for small and large concerns ranging from Shell Vacations (#1 in Family Vacation Club and 200+ other keywords), and Altec Corporate Training (#3 after three weeks for Corporate Training China), to smaller concerns like Blogger News Network (#1 out of 100,000,000 for Blogger News) , and Yangshuo Mountain Retreat (Now #1 in dozens of keywords such as Outdoor Team Building China)….

This will be the start of an Internet Marketing Tutorial for those doing general cyber-business or blogging in China. I will do a post a week for the next year about how to build traffic and high search engine visibility. I will start with U.S. engines like Yahoo! and Google and then move on to China. Feel free to ask me any questions along the way.

SEO services in the U.S. and China are vastly different. Chinese companies usually charge by the keyword. A top ten listing for a “cool word” (one with low result returns in Google) might cost you 8,000 RMB a word per year; a “hot” word/term like English School China with 85,000,000 returns could cost you 20-30,000 RMB per year. If that were the case for me I would have someone ghost-writing this blog and I would be having my feet massaged in first-class on Singapore Air.

I hope I save you a ton of money and aspirin…

MAKE MONEY ON THE INTERNET

Next week I will introduce my first lesson.

Asia,Asian Humor,cartoons,China Business,China Cartoons,China Editorials,China Humor,China web 2.0,Confucius Slept Here,Greater Asia Blogs,Guangzhou China,Humor,Intercultural Issues,Internet marketing China,New Blogs,Seo China,The Internet,中国

20 responses so far

Egao (恶搞): The evil work of humor…..

The times they might be a changin’ on the Chinese Internet.

The Chinese, long lovers of Three Stooges and Mr Bean-like visual laugh making, are taking plunges into the deep end of the humor pool and everyone seems to be loving it, save the censors.

Picked up via the China Digital Times: “China’s Southern Metropolis Weekly magazine recently reported this shocking news: The central government created universal health care for the country’s 1.3 billion people, wiped out bribery and reduced the country’s wide income gap. And Migrant workers in the southern city of Guangzhou, notorious for its sweatshops, were “happy” and “respected,” the magazine reported in its print and Web editions.

Of course, it was political parody and all untrue.”

It is the start of a new Internet fashion. Not everyone enjoys the freedom to thumb their pens at the central governmeng like brilliant Hong Kong cartoonist Harry Harrison at the South China Morning Post:

Yahoo censorship

Harry, who hammers Beijing and Washington with equal force, is in for some grass roots competition.

Sardonic wit is the new censorship survival, escape and evasion tool of the masses. Its new name, pretty sarcastic on its own, is “egao” or “evil work” in literal translation.

The mainland’s traditional artists ( I love this site!) have gotten a bit bolder of late:

Chinese Cartoon

But their political humor, fantastic as it is, remains chiefly aimed at America and Western targets or generally accepted social problems. That would, of course, be a self-preservation move. You won’t last long on a newspaper staff drawing the hand that feeds you:

Chinese Cartoon
The word egao describes “a subculture that is characterized by humor, revelry, subversion, grass-root spontaneity, defiance of authority, mass participation and multi-media high tech…” was a definition that appeared in China Daily recently.

With aggregators, bulliten boards and instant messaging the ordinary citizen is braving consequences by not adhering to the government censorship of all media. Movies, cartoons and viral e-mails are slicing and dicing up everything that the Chinese find troublesome in the Middle Kingdom.

I cannot wait to see a copy of “Crazy Stone,” that friends and media reports have said is a pie in the face to about everything sacred in China. At one point “The movie targets Chinese officials in a scene where the main character realizes the ornament has been stolen but decides against calling the police.’The police?’ he asks as he drags on a cigarette. ‘If we call the cops, we’ll lose everything. They’ll just mess things up.'”

I am certain this will not slow down bootleg sales of Mr. Bean or other slapstick, but it is a move in a promising direction…The shortest distance between two people is definitely a smile–even a wicked one!

FYI: Onemanbandwidth seems to be back in the websphere in China. It was on and off blocked over the last few days in various parts of the country. Here’s to my release from Cyber-hold!

Long Live Egao!

Asia,Asian Humor,cartoons,Censorship,China Cartoons,China Editorials,China Humor,Chinese Internet,Humor,In the news,Intercultural Issues,中国

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