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Chinese & American Online Searchers …

I enjoyed an article today about the search habits of Chinese and American youth. The short story is that the search stats for product information are incredibly similar:

Give advice to others about products/services purchased
*

Chinese 18-34       **Americans 18-34

 Regularly            Regularly

 Search Online        Search Online

Regularly          56.1%                53.8%

Occasionally       42.5%                43.9%

Never               1.4%                 2.3%

Source: BIGresearch, *China Quarterly (Q2 2008), **SIMM 12 (Jun 08)

What was not a shock to me, but might interest the folks who most read this blog (56% from the US)  was the way they shared information after they secured what they were looking for online: where American young adults prefer to pass information person to person or via email, Chinese Netizens text message, or call each other. So, that’s what is going on in most classrooms in China: They are not sending the exam answers to their buddies, they are just doing SMS reviews of that new i-BOD or i-Fone at the local electronics speakeasy.

As seriousness aside, it is a shock to a first-time visitor to see how prevalent SMS texting is here. I pampered myself a few weeks go with a movie and a pizza. It costs about 20%  more here (and 60% if adjusted for cost of living) for that combo than in the states–and we want them to quit buying 60 cent DVDs, but I digress. At Pizza Hut I guestimated that  2/3 of the people within view were either on the phone, sending a message or playing a game. And later, IN the theater, about 10% of the crowd there for Kung Fu Panda appeared to be glowing in the dark from ambient light coming off their cell phones.

What I found when i was teaching was that a rumor, truemor, or current event release could travel to every student residing at the far reaches of the campus faster than any Public Address system. Smart application designers are going to learn how to leverage that power in the very near future. I look toward mobile entrpreneurs to find ways to effectively deliver viral ads in the body of messages.

Me? I am still looking for a cheap James Bondian style pen that will jam non-emergency calls on the train, at restaurants and movie houses and broadcast parental style admonitions to the offending parties.

The more authoritative post is here:

Both Young Chinese & American Online Searchers Spread the Word but Differ in How They Communicate Findings, According to BIGresearch – MarketWatch

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It is OMBW’s Free Degree Day!

Tired of no respect? Weary of fellow Airport Security officers ribbing you for taking vocational education all five years of High School? Do you think George Bush could beat you on Scrabulous? The answer for you is here today on OMBW!

Get instant respect from the Jiade school and for no money!!!

There is one small catch. You need to pass this simple test:

1. What stands out in this picture from an Internet advertised English Training school (移动英语—沟天下 易如反掌) I discovered today on the Chinese net (YES, REALLY!): MOBILE SCHOOL

Harvard Faculty

If you answered, “David quit dyeing his hair!” you are on your way to a new and profitable career as a China fake-goods spotter. That alone will save you tons of dough on eBay and Craigslist!*

Now the tough one:

2.What is unusual about the school’s certificate of appointment from Harvard University?

Fake harvard diploma

If you answered, “There weren’t three Decembers in 2004!” you are almost there!**

Last question: Why do they call it the Mobile training center?

And if you answered, “Where the hell is stuff I paid for?” you can download your Jiade diploma right now:

FREE Jiade diploma!! Click Here!!!
This post was the result of the 175 spam emails I relly recieved from Hong Kong Scammers this month (posing as Nigerian Scam artists posing as sons of deposed rulers in some overthrown African country) all phishing for fools. This issue was discussed recently on Josh’s Blog and I just had to chime in.A friend living in Macau actually had her website bandwidth hijacked recently and used as a phony front for HSBC bank. She is lucky as has her site back and I can only hope they slammed the bad guys. But, cyber-crooks are getting more and more sophisticated: The graphics, phishing techniques and quick transfer of your cash or credit card balance is frightening. I had an online bookstore several years ago bilked of thousands of dollars via medical textbooks that were being bought with stolen credit cards and then resold to nursing schools country-wide. The ending to that story is mixed: I helped authorities nab the bad guys, but never got the money or books back.Do you think you are good at ID’ing phonies? If so, try McAfee’s SiteAdvisor test: It is 10 questions designed to test whether or not you can spot “phishing” attempts to steal passwords and other personal information. I scored a 9/10 which means I am still vulnerable!–They all aren’t as easy to spot as the site above. Here is the test and some hints on how to not get got: SCAM …. They pulled it from the site just yesterday after we tested it, but their blog still has it listed ( a scam re-direct to the security advisor download :-))…. Or maybe they were hacked….They do have up a spyware quiz: SWQ

*Harry?

**Chinglish in the citation…and Harvard has a Principal?

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Cinderella Teaching in the Greatest Monkey Show on Earth

China economy

An open letter to my students:

Two men recently completed a controversial recreation of Mao’s Long March. At every point along the march, people stared at them and puzzled over their purpose. On one particular occasion, a rural farmer walked up to the travellers and asked, “are you here to do a monkey show?” The historian-marchers, having long ago tired of explaining their journey, wearily assented. “Oh,” the farmer replied. “So…where are the monkeys?”

One of my colleagues (your teacher) a year ago told me that there were two types of expatriate educators in China: performing and non-performing monkeys. It was his feeling that neither administration nor the student body understood any of the reasons he elected to remain in China as a teacher.

Any of you who have been my students in the past two years have seen the movie Cinderella Man. Many of you remember two of the questions I asked following the movie: who would you most like to be in the movie, and who do you think I would most like to be? A few of you knew immediately what my answer would be. It’s the same answer I would expect from anyone who has devoted their life to pedagogy. Some of you wanted to Jim Braddock, champion of the world, devoted parent, and courageous cum-victorious underdog. Others of you would be happy being the rich, yet hardly kind, fight promoter. And a small group of you were comfortable, as I was, picking Jimmy’s trainer as our role model.

I’ve been fortunate enough to have great successes in my life, but my greatest pleasure comes from seeing any one of my students succeed emotionally, personally, financially, or professionally.

Some doomsayers think that China’s spectacular growth is a fairy tale and doomed to a tragic end. If I believed that, I wouldn’t be here. But I believe that some of your notions about education, teachers, and Western culture must change or this will be a very short chapter in book 4,000 years in the making.

Many of you know that my expectations of you in class are different than some other foreign experts. I expect you, for the short time you are in my classroom, to behave as though you were a guest in a foreign country. I expect you to rehearse new patterns of behavior and to make a paradigm shift in your thinking about business and culture in order make to more effective global citizens and international businessmen.

I returned this week from a vacation of sorts, as I spent most of it reading and researching Chinese history and culture in order to better integrate myself into this society and to become a better teacher.

I can probably never expect to be more than a shengren, an outsider who one day you may come to know and trust as more than just an acquaintance. I know that I already view many of you as shuren, or as zijiren, special people for whom I will always have a place in my heart, and for whom I will always make time should you need me.

Here are some of the things I learned:

  • I learned that if your country’s explosive growth continues at its current rate for the next 28 years, your economy will be as large as that of the United States. While this sounds impressive, the reality is that you will still have only one quarter the spending power per capita at that time as your counterparts in America.
  • Your country, as estimated by UNESCO, will be 20 million college seats short of its needs by 2020.
  • In fields like engineering, only ten percent of your current college graduates, because of a lack of resources (including high-quality foreign teachers) and an advanced curriculum, will be able to compete with their global contemporaries.
  • China invests seven dollars of research and development money for a return of one dollar in new production output. Conversely, America’s ratio is one to one.
  • Your economy has doubled in size every six years, and 250 million people have been pulled up out of poverty. You have the second largest foreign reserves in the world. You made 25% of the world’s televisions, 60% of the world’s bicycles, and 50% of the world’s shoes and cameras.

Sun Zi’s 36 strategies have served you well to this point. You have used offensive, defensive, and deceptive strategies to create the most enviable economy in the world. But to sustain your growth, you will need better knowledge of your enemy. As you know, Sun Zi said,

“Know your enemy, know yourself, and you can fight 100 battles with no danger of defeat. When you are ignorant of the enemy but know yourself, the chances of winning and losing are equal. If you know neither your enemy nor yourself, you are bound to perish in every battle.”

Business is war. Were I still a military man, I might be guilty of giving aid and comfort to the enemy. It is my bounden duty to prepare you for battles in negotiation, acculturation, and professional assimilation. To further drag out this metaphor, I am the training officer who will ultimately be responsible for your campaign successes and failures.

For me, statistical data like that above isn’t much more informative than astrology in that it instructs you in what you can and should avoid. You can change a timeline that hasn’t yet been drawn.
I’m neither a performing monkey nor do I have a troupe of them for your enjoyment. I’m a teacher and a foreign who spends nearly 24 hours, seven days a week learning about and adapting to a China I’ve come to love dearly. All that is asked of you is that you honor my commitment and the commitment of other foreign teachers who take their jobs and their place in this society seriously. On one hand, a few hours a week against the rest of your life is a small sacrifice if you learn nothing. On the other hand, if it creates in you a kind of mental muscle memory that secures your position in even one future negotiation, it was time well spent.

With congratulations to recent graduates. I will always try be your cornerman.

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SEO SECRET….

SEO SECRET

I started an Search Engine Optimization (SEO) series a few months back and then abandoned the effort: Feedback from regular readers, most of them blogless and not looking to adopt, read, “I’m bored senseless!” It seems that only members of the China shoe-money society really read things and then they pissed and moaned: “It’s too simple,” or “Explain how to put an image in my post that doesn’t blow out my sidebar” were some of the two emailed questions….And then there was the uproar created by comments on a blog that used my posts to generate traffic by calling Fili and I “Greedy Superficial Bloggers” for discussing Search Engine Optimization (SEO) methods on our sites. It even got people taking sides and nearly cyber-rioting before he kind-of admitted it was just a scam meant to coax more readers to his site. But, I digress…

One of the deservedly best-loved sites on the planet is Post Secret. The trouble with being public and popular is that you are open to spoof. (Dear Sinocidal, I am still waiting for next April 1st….

The picture above was blatantly ripped off a very funny parody of Post Secret. Now, a lot of it is out loud funny, but a bit of it will only be understood by Fili, Ryan and others like the ass-hat. You can take a peek at it by clicking on the picture above. The photo references Matt Cutts, a paid stooge for Google whom I parodied hereon the site,  a few weeks ago. Anyway head over to the comedy and have fun. REMEBER to click on the links below the pictures for more fun….

PS: Speaking of Fili: Head over to his blog as that greedy, superficial blogger living in China’s latest province is actually offering free SEO help (There must be a catch :-)…) to anyone who wants to bring in traffic via sound and in-offensive methods.

Another SEO stunt in the works can be found by the hit-grubbers at Hao Hao and Chinalyst :-). They are sponsoring the 3rd-failed annual China Blog Awards. If you have already have a fave site you can vote for them and, more importantly, you can visit some of other blogs that you may not have cruised through yet. There is a terabyte of great stuff out there!

China Blog Awards

PPS:
pkblogs.com

Above is a way to view Blogspot (Thanks J) if you live in places like I do….One site you need to get to:

Free Oiwan Lam

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Study in America: Study in US Guides

From The China Dreamblogue

Head over to BOD for recommendarions on where to study in the US, UK and Australia….

Study in America: University study in US

For anyone dreaming of university study in America: The China Dreamblogue has posted pdf guides on how to study in America, in both English and in Chinese…

Study in the US part 1

This is a guide to undergraduate study and educational opportunities in the US. You can find Arabic, French, Spanish, and Russian versions of the text: Study in America: American undergraduate Study.

Study in the US part 2

This guide explains the process of applying for and preparing for graduate study in the US. It includes information about admission, types of institutions, degrees, course loads, and grading systems. It will also discuss the different academic culture in the US and the US academic environment. It also covers specialized programs of study in the US: US nursing school, American law schools, US veterinary medicine, and American dentistry. You can find versions of the text in Arabic, French, Spanish, and Russian here: Study in the US: US Graduate Degree.

Study in the US Part 3

This guide provides thorough descriptions of short-term study options in the US, such as: high school exchange programs, work and professional exchange programs, vocational and technical programs, short-term university study, and professional study. You can find versions of the text in Arabic, French, Spanish, and Russian here: Study in America: Short-term US study.

Study in the US part 4

This guide provides important details on preparing for study in the US, such as obtaining a visa, predeparture information, housing in the us, and travel to the us. You can find versions of the text in Arabic, Chinese, English, and Russian here: Study in the US: US Visas, arriving in US, and travel to the US.

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SCMP Live!

Christopher Axberg, publisher of the south China Morning Post (SCMP), wrote to me this morning saying that “they” liked OMBW (Christopher, I bet you say that to all the bloggers…) and included a free, albeit short-term, subscription to the online edition. He included a link to one of the funniest marketing videos of the year that begs to go viral:

All kidding aside, I think it is more than just a great marketing move on the part of the SCMP: It is a chance for them to help disseminate information that might not otherwise make it into citizen media reports–especially from the likes of starving bloggers and educators like me.

Thanks Christopher.

Related:

Fons over at China Herald chides the short-term nature of the offer….

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What would Buddha do?

Buddha in the sky with diamonds

Several years ago, attending a Jimmy Buffet concert with a Catholic priest (Indian trail, NC, not Margaritaville) , we were discussing ways to raise money for his new parish. In neighboring Georgia a woman was drawing huge crowds claiming to see incarnations of the Virgin Mary. So, we laughingly concocted a never-to-be scheme that involved catching and releasing a trout on the church property that we would say bore some saint’s likeness on its its tail. We would then put donation baskets all up and down the creek. It was sacrilegious, but damned funny anyway.

A few years later I visited Shingo, Japan where they claim to have Christ and his brother buried on a hill above town. Jesus, according to local mythology, let his brother take his place on the cross and then went to rural Japan and retired to a happily married life in the sticks. Surprisingly, there was no marketing involved anywhere near the grave site.

Please bear with me as this all comes together for you in the usual intuitive flash at the end…

I just read a delightful book first printed in 1999 entitled What would Buddha Do? by Franz Metcalf. The pocket-sized tome is rife with well thought out answers to a host of everyday questions, some that made me laugh out loud:

1. What would Buddha do if his credit cards are maxed out?

2. What would Buddha do when making a salad?

3. What would Buddha do to avoid burnout?

4. What would Buddha do about trusting the media?

The answer to last question can be found in the Buddhist writing Undanavarga 22.17: “One’s ears hear a lot; one’s eyes sees a lot. The wise should not believe everything seen or heard.” Buddha must read the China Daily too, where I found the picture above. It seems Buddha hung around for about an hour on Heibei’s Zushan Mountain, but unlike the manifestations in Georgia, he didn’t impart any wisdom to the local tourists.

In another book I reviewed recently, One Couple, Two Cultures, there was a story about a British man and his Chinese wife discussing behavior common in each other’s country. The wife seemed to have no trouble commenting on behalf of the entire 1.3 billion residents of China, while the Brit’ demured on speaking for the whole of England. I can with absolute certainty say that had the Buddha appeared in Stone Mountain Park, Georgia, that every redneck (remember before you shoot that my father hailed from Harlan County, Kentucky), instead of burning him as a heretic would have tried to sell him on Ebay. I still remember the eerie glow-in-the-dark St. Joseph that watched over me as a child sleeping in the dark.

Now I’m not sure what made them think it was Buddha and not Mother Theresa, Confucius, or Steve Irwin. But I continue to digress…

What surprised me the most is that nobody is now selling watches of Buddha waving from the peak or claiming to have private chats with Gautama himself. Another missed marketing opportunity for China. David and I are thinking about sorting through seaweed potato chips until we come up with  some that look like Sun Yat Sen or Lao Zi. We promise to donate all proceeds (and extra chips) to charity.

So what would Buddha do if Buddha were alive today? I’m pretty sure he wouldn’t be standing around in the Heibei fog, though he might possible blog a few meditations–using a wordpress platform, of course. So I’m off to see if WWBD-in-canton.com is taken. This way, we can answer the pressing questions like:

1. What would Buddha do if someone stole a taxi out from under his nose?

2. What would Buddha do if someone took the food from his plate at a Cantonese buffet?

3. What would Buddha do if he found out he were watching a bootleg copy of Seven Years in Tibet?

4. What would Buddha say if his disciples kept commenting on his weight and skin color?

Now I’m getting ready to read Metcalf’s answer to “What would Buddha Do about that Coffee Habit?” If this post isn’t a call for my spiritual rehab or caffeine detox, I don’t know what is.

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Bamboocycles!

Bamboo Bike

I have been blogroll diving again! There is a new one in town Responsible China (No, it is not an oxymoron!) and it is worth your attention: Erica Schlaikjer, a trained journalist (She has had paltry internships at: The Chicago Reporter, Crain’s Chicago Business and National Geographic. But, she has never written for OMBW, so….) one of the producers for Entrepreneur Magazine’s online radio show, The China Business Show, hosted by WS Radio, is the author.

She has a bunch of great posts up now and I picked one to showcase that I thought was interesting:

The article is on Bamboo Bikes. It caught my attention because I helped a company create a prototype of a Bamboo baseball bat last year, but it proved too durable and they opted for something that Barry Bonds could break–even off the juice. But, I digress….

According to Erica, China is home to 450 million bicycles and 4.21 million hectares of bamboo and it make sense to combine the two into something good for the environment. And it appears that designers Liakos Ariston and Jacob Prinz, who started Daedalus Custom Bamboo Bikes two years ago after drawing up designs on a napkin, feel the same. The problem is the bikes will be for Laowai or well-heeled Chinese as they cost about $1,250 each. For $1250 a Cantonese would want it to float, double as a shelter, act as a fishing rod, stand-in as an eating utensil and play bootleg MP3s and DVDs. If the truth be known, I wouldLOVE to have one of these, but at my salary it would take three months of starvation.

“The raw materials are sustainable, so potentially make less of an impact on the environment, the designers say. But that’s not the only appeal.”

‘We’ve gained a lot more respect for the material we work with because we’ve had a few accidents on them and generally riders and bikes have come out unscathed,’ said Ariston, 25 . . . .” I get the unscathed bike part, but I wonder how the rider gets a break (no pun intended) from injury.

If it gets cheaper to make it could have a future in China as Erica reports that China’s Ministry of Construction wants to restore bike lanes to their old glory.
Here are some links she posted to bamboo related projects and designers:

Bamboo Bike Project
“The project aims to examine the feasibility of implementing cargo bikes made of bamboo as a sustainable form of transportation in Africa.”

Brano Meres Engineering & Design
“This is my second home-made frame. This time I used bamboo rods connected with carbon composite joints.”

Calfee Design
“Beginning as a publicity stunt in 1996, Craig’s bamboo errand bike evolves into a well-tested new model for the general public.”

Thanks Erica and welcome to the Sphere!

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We need an Olympics in China EVERY Year!

Censorship China

WordPress.com is unblocked! Wikipedia is free (albeit a teeeeenie bit censored for individual items like the two “T” words…), Technorati is out of the closet!

It is almost like being back home–Well, on dial-up during a storm with a Commodore 64….But I digress….

Now if we can only get Typepad, Blogspot and a few others out of cyber-purgatory….

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C-MBA Programs: Trans-Pacific Crossings….

China MBA Education

I had the pleasure to accompany the Cal Poly MBA Program’s learning tour through China yesterday with Professor Chris Carr, professor Jay Singh and a gaggle of new graduates and ongoing students.

One of the cultural differences, of an enormity of variations, that struck a few of the visiting MBA students was the inability of Chinese learners to move between departments. Students enroll for a major and are not permitted to transfer to another department. This is common at most schools like the one we visited and others that remain comfortable teaching via traditional Chinese methodologies.

However, both East and West are looking to each other to fill in gaps their respective time-honored traditions have created. Within twenty-four hours of our tour, I noticed online advertising for three of America’s top business schools now actively recruiting in China: Harvard, Duke, Lingnan, and Maryland. Conversely, American curriculums now have programs structured to focus on China. International business leaders, Chinese or American, know that cooperative negotiations often yield better results than competitive ones. I’m especially impressed with the program at Cal Poly structured to culminate in a four-credit business and cultural study tour of China. Cal Poly has beat Yale to the punch in the hope of internationalizing its graduates, but Yale’s president Levine wants every Yale student to spend time living or studying abroad as part of an undergraduate experience.

Wall Street Journal’s Jason Loew quotes the president of Yale University as saying, “the U.S. isn’t issuing enough work visas to the highly trained foreigners who graduate from U.S. universities each year.” He suggests raising the caps on visas for foreign-born holders of doctorate degrees in order to further capitalize on the sea turtle phenomenon I posted about recently. If Yale’s Richard Levin had his way, he said, he would “staple green cards, as permanent resident cards are known, to their Ph.D. diplomas.”

He cites our growing need for trained engineers and scientists in hopes to capitalize on their discontent with conditions in their homeland. If I had my way, the US Department of Education would be putting more money into developing our own crop of science-savvy graduates and further, we’d be developing more incentives for cross-cultural exchange in education.

If it is so important for us to bring in foreign talent because we are not able to supply it, I think the answer also lies in marketing in-country programs to the Chinese. Because according to Loew, Congress permitted 85,000 H-1B (stay behind) visas to be issued this year, of which about 20,000 are reserved for foreigners with a graduate degree from the U.S. Loew writes, “There were so many applications this year the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services stopped accepting forms one day after it started the process.” It signals something is amiss either in the social or educational structure extant in China. Even though China is offering incentives to returnees, the odds of getting rich here are much greater than those in America, and Sinophobia is fast returning, they are still opting to travel and stay abroad.

Employers and of course universities continue to put pressure on Congress to raise the visa quota, but last year’s immigration bill failed to go through. “Companies want it. The universities favor it,” Mr. Levin said, according to Loew.

Loew’s article reminded me that a handful of schools are beginning to adopt Western liberal arts approaches to education, likely as a way to preclude students’ dissatisfaction as much as gain competitive traction in the global marketplace.

Two of China’s top ten universities, Fudan University and Beijing University, are taking small steps towards liberalizing their curriculum in hopes of advancing innovative thinking. Around 10% of students at Beijing University can explore a variety of subjects for the first three semesters before focusing on a major. At Fudan University, all freshmen are now being integrated into a liberal arts-based curriculum.

Educational innovators in the United States and the UK need to seize the day and begin offering courses at home and abroad that integrate the best of East and West. England and America have long ago industrialized education but managed to maintain high standards and the majority of the world’s top 100 rankings for schools. They have sacrificed quality by industrializing their educational system so rapidly, so this is one case where they have more to learn from us than we have to learn from them. But, with the Chinese government throwing huge dollars toward overseas education in hopes of even getting a small return, and with educational institutions beginning to functionally adopt workably good methodologies, it’s time other schools follow in the footsteps of Cal Poly, Lingnan, Duke, Harvard, and Maryland.

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Beware the Dragon…..

Back in the days of Ziggy Stardust and Woolly Mammoths I paid part of my college tuition by being on my College’s speech team. I have a house full of trophies and medals, oh ya, and a diploma to show for it….Did you ever notice how those big trophies slowly come to life and unscrew themselves over time? But, I digress…

I recently received an email from a Ben Brofman of the Weiser Group in New York, America. His company does consulting for other companies “at critical points in their evolution.” The explanation of that process then reads on their web page like a euphemistic way of saying euphemism.

Anyway, Ben sent me a description of a Oxford style debate series they sponsor using very expensive talent to variety of issues. He thought I might be interested in their organization called Intelligence Squared U.S..

He says they are working to “remove the rancorous tone from America’s public discourse.” Short of a one-party system I think they have their work cut out for them….

Anyway he told me that last month’s expensive debate was entitled, “Beware the Dragon: A booming China spells trouble for America.” I would love to see the rancorous titles they discarded.

So, I played along with the viral advertising and took a look.

Debaters included Bill Gertz, John J. Mearsheimer, and Michael Pillsbury, Daniel H. Rosen, James McGregor, and J. Stapleton Roy. The names will resonate with you if you have read any books on China like “One Billion Customers.” James Harding, business and city editor of the Times of London, served as moderator–I told you this cost a fortune–and how much do they pay Ben to write those emails?

Anyway, Intelligence Squared polls its audience on each motion before and after the debate. At the start, the audience favored the motion that China spells trouble for America by 41%, with 37% against and 22% undecided. By the evening’s conclusion, only 35% supported the motion, with 59% against and only 6% undecided.

Very few people have viewed the videos on YouTube and that is a pity. Some of these guys couldn’t win an argument over taxi rights with a Cantonese woman, but worth every second of your time is the Wall Streets Journal’s former China bureau chief James McGregor. His plain talk, powerful knowledge of internal China and his 20-years as an expat here in the Middle Kingdom quickly got my attention. He handles the opposition–The Chicken Little Corps of Academics- with ease and doesn’t sound like he had to Google a bit of his argument. Enjoy:

YOUTUBE

China Business,China Business Consultant,China Editorials,Chinese Internet,Chinese Media,In the news,Intercultural Issues,Internet marketing China,Videos,中国

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Blog of Dreams



The Dream:

Our dream is to travel in 2007 to every mainland province in China. During this journey, it is our intention to chronicle the everyday lives of ordinary Chinese citizens. Our motivation for the trip came from a group of women known as the League of Extraordinary Chinese Women. The LOECW was comprised of 5 women from various walks of Chinese life—wives, semi-professional women, a bookkeeper, and a student. The one thing they had in common was advanced-stage HER2 breast cancer. These women, with little access to formal education and less information from outside sources about the disease they had contracted, naturally and courageously combated their disease with friendship, enthusiasm, meditation, and what medical care they could afford.

One member of the original group has survived, and a newer, younger member has been added recently—a 22-year-old student who lost her leg to bone cancer. Both of the survivors lack the financial wherewithal to apply standard medical treatment to their illness. We devoted time and energy from our blogs and lives to raise money for members of the league. As a result of our initial efforts, we were able to extend the life of some members, and we enabled the student to purchase a prosthetic leg.

During this first effort, we began to think about other Chinese people left behind in the wake of this huge industrial growth. Around this time, we also met Thomas Stader and Laurie Mackenzie, two expats who have devoted their time, talents, and treasures to Chinese, educationally and economically left behind, by giving them access to life-changing education. Our meetings sparked Yanzhi Liu’s interest, as he was (and still is) a board member for the US-based group The Reading Tub. Because we are educators and bloggers actively involved in search engine marketing optimization and education, we sought to find a way to organize the entrepreneurial energy of the people we met and turn it into a force that would help us, and other people, realize the dreams we now hold dear.

We decided to experiment, via the Blog of Dreams, by asking students in our global internet marketing class to take a hands-on approach to global marketing by contributing to a positive world awareness of China while aiding worthy causes. Students immediately drove a brand new blog to the number 23 position (out of 75 million) in the Favorites section of Technorati, the premiere blog aggregator in the world. Students ensured that one of our blogs was nominated for and eventually won Best Asian Blog in the Annual Weblog Awards. This blog already held dozens of top ten slots in search engine slots for keywords related to China business. So, with this kind of early momentum, student commitment and huge volunteer support, we knew we could create a project that would make a difference in other people’s lives via the Internet.

The Dreamblogue is a simple concept. We will contact people through PR Web, Blogger News Network (BNN, for whom we write), Google News, Social Networks like Facebook and our volunteer network. We will also promote an Internet MEME that asks people be to share real dreams for themselves or someone else. After a specified period of time (maybe once a month or once a quarter), we’ll select a contributor who will win a prize donated by one of our charitable sponsors. We hope to give away vacations to China, scholarships for study abroad, equipment, Software and cutting edge gadgets that will appeal to our broad demographic. We want to attract a Postsecret-type (http://postsecret.blogspot.com) interest in our blog that will drive enough traffic that we can generate advertising revenue to give to educational and medical concerns. We also plan a book about China for expat and business newcomers.

The blog will use Feedburner and Blogads as its primary advertising revenue resources. The number of ads that we allow will be limited: no more than 1 ad in our feed, 1 ad in our posts, and 1 ad in our blog ads. All of the money generated from these sources will go directly from Feedburner and Blogads to the charities we support—we will never directly handle the money.

The other advertising that we will be present on the site will be for other corporations and institutions that sponsor our adventure, and those ads will be top listed display ads in the sidebar of the blog of dreams.

Any educational concerns that join us as sponsors for the trip will have direct links on our site to translated pages or individual websites that will advertise to Chinese students and more importantly, their parents. We will do all of the search engine optimization and translation and ongoing support for these.

The Blog of Dreams will have videocasts, podcasts, a China picture contest (to be turned into a coffee table book) , a weekly Chinese horoscope, weekly Chinese recipes (also to be a book), and most importantly, the daily dreams of people from around the world. In all, the Dreamblogue has been created to be a tool of understanding and a place where dreams can be spoken into reality. We also plan a book bout

Click on the stamp above and head for the Dreamblogue. The first thing you can do to help is favorite them in Technorati and then link to them if you have a blog.

ABOUT US:
Who we are:

Lonnie Hodge is a writer, educator and SEO consultant with over 20 years of experience working and living in Asia. He is a past recipient of America’s highest honor given to a poet: A National Endowment for the Arts Fellowship in Writing. Because of the Unsinkable Ms Yue’s constant inspiration via, her courage in battling cancer, Lonnie, along with David, were compelled to create The China Dreamblogue.
Lonnie has done SEO for corporations and bloggers large or small. His work for non-profit groups is done without charge. To date his clients hold over 30,000 keywords indexed in #1 positions on major search engines worldwide.
Lonnie has been a lecturer worldwide on topics related to Humor and Wellness, psychoneuroimmunology, Psychopharmacology, Personal Communication, Asian Culture, International Trade, Search Engine Optimization, Marketing, ESL and Personal Growth and Development for Universities, small and large businesses, The Kellogg Leadership Program, The Fetzer Institute and more…
He is a Professor with over thirty years of teaching experience at Universities worldwide including: Baylor University, The University of North Carolina, The U.S. Army Academy of Health Sciences (while he was a soldier during a few of the Vietnam years), The University of Maryland and Business/Technical Colleges in Asia.
He is currently one of China’s leading Trade Specialists and Consultants. He is one of only two peer- reviewed and accepted SEO specialists in China.
David DeGeest is a teacher, blogger, and educator in China who regularly assists in the editing and writing of OneManBandWidth. He holds a degree in mathematics and English from Grinnell College. He came to China as the recipient of a prestigious fellowship from Grinnell’s Office of Social Commitment. In the past year, he has edited a motivational memoir and an international Bonsai book. He has devoted his time to learning Chinese, language and literature, Martial Arts and SEO while promoting the Dreamblogue.

More information will follow tomorrow.

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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.
Continue Reading »

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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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Blogroll Diving: OMBW now more commenter friendly….

The info flood

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!

Ya, Ya. Sorry….

Blogroll Diving,China web 2.0,Chinese Internet,Chinese Media,Internet marketing China,Seach engine Optimization,Search Engine Marketing,SEM,SEO,Seo China,The Internet,Top Blogs,中国

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The Screaming Meme II

Internet meme

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.

3) Add 5 Blogs that you’ve just added to your Technorati Favorites to the “My New Faves” section. Remember to also add the “Fave Me” link next to your new blogs (i.e. http://technorati.com/faves?sub=addfavbtn&add=http://www.fave.com)

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:

FAVE ME!!!

And this one needs real attention as it is associated with the Charity trip across China:

Travel China-r-us the (Fave the China Dreamblogue)

Cartoons-r-us by Shtikl (Fave it!)

Bollywood’-r-us Miss Bolly (Fave it!)

Indonesia-r-us Adriantai (Fave it!)

Gay-r-us Scott-o-rama (Fave it!)

Asian-girls-r-us Stone Camel (Fave it!)

哈哈-er-us Sinocidal (Fave!)

Singlish-r-us at East Coast Life (Fave!)
And let the games begin!

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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….

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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

SEO China 101

David DeGeest

Generally for an SEO Tutorial I would begin with a post on tags and titles. But, after reviewing some of the sites that expressed an interest in this SEO series I opted to start with image tweaking for more traffic. Since I have given myself a year to tell you all I think know about SEO, I will get it all in and the whole picture will come to you in a big intutive flash at the end. Note: Never expect a poet to be a linear thinker. The lights haven’t been on over the left side of my brain for years now. But, I digress….

This series will begin with extremely basic material and move to more sophisticated information. The date will become more and more China-centric as we go…I hope even the seasoned pro can get a little something out of this….And I am very up for learning from the likes of Fili who keeps very current on all aspects of SEO in China….

Over the last six months with the use of proper tagging of my photos my traffic has increased by 34% due to image searches.

SEO CHINA

Generating traffic solely from keywords has become more and more difficult. The term “China Blog” on Google yields 243,000,000 returns! In contrast there are only 152,000 image results returned for the same keyword. Most blogger/webmasters just do not take the time to properly optimize their pictures, so you should!

Much of the traffic you will get probably will not sign up for your feed or take time to comment, but they will score as a hit for the search engines and improve your ranking. And some of the visual travellers might just take a liking to what they see in addition to the image and hang around for a bit. I receive hundreds of visitors a week because of image searches done on Google and Yahoo!.

Image optimization is easy to do properly and is standard practice for serious SEO professionals. Search engine (MSN, Yahoo!, Google, AOL…) targeted image references should contain these 5 items:

A src The URL of the image
A width The width of the image in pixels
A height The height of the image in pixels
An alt attribute that describes image content
alt titles that display information for browsers when the user places a mouse cursor over the image

I had some fun optimizing an image this last week to demonstrate the power of tags. I attempted to get an an unrelated image to display in any of the engines for my colleague David DeGeest. Here is the picture again:
David DeGeest

Aside: At this point you all are aware that it is not a good idea to anger your SEO guy, right? Instead, buy him Coffee Cola to keep him working for you into the wee hours….

Here is the way the text appears in XHTML: <img src=”http://onemanbandwidth.com/wordpress/wp-content/uploads/2007/03/daviddegeest1.jpg” alt=”David DeGeest” title=”Esl Teacher David De Geest” /

You can see how we did (using a pretty low ranked site) here: David DeGeest

The “title” tag is probably the least important of the additions above while the “alt” tag is essential to Search Engine rankings. Sites low in content on the main page can use the alt tags to carry keywords to the engines.

Be sure to make the tags descriptive. I keep my tags true to the nature of the picture, but you do not have to. To use a creative term that is related to the picture, and may bring in more traffic, is certainly your option. “Cute Chinese Chicks” for a picture of Easter hatchlings might be a stretch, funny, but….

Anyone primarily looking to monetize their site (and I am NOT one of them so there are few examples on site to show you ) should make sure that Google adwords and other algorithm driven ads are placed close to where the images will appear. The people coming to see the picture might not hang around, but they may see a product they want to buy that is related.

China Business,China web 2.0,Greater Asia Blogs,Internet marketing China,Seach engine Optimization,Search Engine Marketing,SEM,SEO,Seo China,The Internet,Top Blogs,中国

7 responses so far

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