Google China: Congressional Praise; Microsoft Supports Tyranny & Google Eats Poo Cartoon

The reactions to Google’s partial withdrawal from China continue. Yesterday, there were hearings in the US Congress where representatives showered praise on Google while competitor Microsoft was said to be supporting tyranny. Meanwhile, there is a nice round-ups of reactions from China folks on the web, including a great cartoon of something you never see — Google being forced to eat shit.

CNN Money has the congressional rundown where Google received plenty of praise for its move. Representative Chris Smith, a Republican from New Jersey, called Google’s move:

A remarkable, historic and welcomed action.

Smith also had some harsh words for Microsoft:

They [Microsoft] need to get on the right side of human rights rather than enabling tyranny, which they’re doing right now.

Frankly, I’m feeling a little sorry for Microsoft. Google is still providing censored search results to its partners in China — and those partners combined probably have more marketshare than Bing has in China. So Google is probably supporting tyranny via censorship a heck of a lot more than Microsoft.

Meanwhile, Google remains in China overall. It hasn’t pulled out. It’s played a game where it still wants on the ground operations that will produce revenue that in part help support some of that tyranny that Smith is worried about. Despite all this, Google’s cashing in on some nice PR. Maybe that 1500% increase in Google’s government lobbying spending is paying off.

My post from yesterday, So Now Google Thinks Everyone Should Care About Chinese Censorship?, goes into more depth about Google’s half-measures in China. As I say in the post, I’m glad Google has ended most of its censorship. But if the company wants to be a poster child for the world, why doesn’t it fully leave?

As for Bing, China watcher Rebecca MacKinnon has a nice piece about Bing being in China. Rather than supporting tyranny, she seems to feel it has a tough road to walk trying to balance providing good information but complying with government demands. This is the same road that until two months ago Google was happy to walk.

MacKinnon also points to a great round-up of reactions from various Chinese netizens from ChinaSMACK. Some are positive of Google’s move, such as:

Compared to Google, Baidu is simply garbage.

Only knowing how to take money and put advertisements, with all the search results being advertisements for garbage.

The principle of web search is that what you searched for is what is, so manipulated search results is simply garbage.

We can all think, we don�t need other people to tell us what is right and what is wrong, we can collect information from various angles and judge for ourselves, only those people who have done guilty things would screen/filter information.


Google will forever be in my heart!

Some are negative, such as:

Google is only a company, it has no right to make irresponsible remarks about China�s affairs. Those who can observe China�s laws, China more than welcomes, but those who cannot observe, please find another place to go, we definitely won�t force you to stay. During this Google incident, Google has clearly overestimated itself, thinking it can hold hostage the governments of both China and America, only regretting that in the end it “tried to steal the chicken but lost the bait” [started out trying to hurt others but ended up being hurt], and allowed itself to dejectedly be swept out the door.


Google is simply insulting us, repeatedly saying it will withdraw from China, but now running to Hong Kong. Hong Kong is also China�s. This is truly insisting on being shameless. Without you, Chinese people will live on as usual. With you, it is extremely annoying. Hope you will never come back.

Perhaps some of the negative comments are why Google’s now added, as noted by the Los Angeles Times, a link to a statement in Chinese explaining why it moved from to this week. The home page link, as translated by Google Translate, says:

Welcome to Google search in China’s new home

Here’s where it appears on the home page:

The LA Times also noted that Google is running ads to get its corporate message across. For example, in a search for google hates china, I get this:

The ad leads back to the same statement as listed on the home page. Oddly, I don’t get this ad for the same search in Chinese. Similarly, I get it for google china in English but not the same in Chinese.

Google’s commonly run such house ads for controversial searches to explain its positions in the US, including for its initial announcement that it might leave China in January. Google Buys Search Ad In Response To The China Decision has more background on this.

Finally, back to that round-up of reactions. Among them was the comic that I highlighted with one pane above. Here’s the entire thing, apparently showing Google being tired of eating the shit served up by the Chinese authorities that it chooses to walk away from the table, leaving things to other players — Baidu, I assume, along with SoSo and Sogou.

According to MacKinnon, Google’s saying “Too f***ing stinky! I’m not f***ing eating with you guys anymore!”

I haven’t been able to track down the original source� of the cartoon — I’ll update that, if I can find it.

For related news, see Techmeme.

Postscript: I sent a few follow-up questions to Google. Here’s what I received back from Gabriel Stricker with their communications team.

Who exactly are the partners you�re still supplying censored results to?

We have over a dozen syndication deals with partners in China. We obviously have contractual obligations to them, which we want to honor. Over time we will not be syndicating censored search to partners in China, but we will of course fulfill our existing contractual obligations.

I�d like to better understand why you�re simply not out of China entirely. What do you really need on the ground? Why stay there at all?

The issue for us has always been censorship, and the lack of transparency around removals and take downs in China.�Whether we have a sales team or R&D facilities there is irrelevant to this central issue.

We believe that our new approach — serving mainland Chinese users via an uncensored service in simplified Chinese on–will meaningfully increase access to information for people in China.

I�m trying to still figure out how we got from Google gets hacked to this turning into an issue over censorship. It seems like you should just be out.

We do believe in engagement over estrangement–and we want to provide our services to as many people as possible globally. When we launched our service in China we did so in the belief that the benefits of increased access to information for people in China and a more open Internet outweighed our discomfort in agreeing to censor some search results. The recent cyber attacks and the surveillance they have uncovered � as well as attempts over the past year to limit free speech on the web even further � led us to conclude that we were no longer comfortable censoring results in China.

Google Maps To Add “Google Store Views”

I received a tip from a New York retailer named Oh Nuts, that Google came to their store to take pictures for a new Google Maps product named “Google Store Views.” I was told that they took pictures of the inside of the store, every 6 feet, in all directions. They also took pictures of products.

Google Store Views will allow people to essentially walk into the store, off of Google Street Views. So imagine you are looking at this store, and then you can click on the door to enter it, all on Google Maps. Then when you enter the store, you can wall through it.

Here are pictures of Google capturing the pictures from within the store:

Here is an embed of the Google Maps Street View of outside of the store:

View Larger Map

I have emailed Google for a statement on this tip and I will update this post, if and when I get one.

Postscript: A Google spokesperson sent us the following statement:

We are always experimenting with new features for Google Maps. We have nothing further to announce at this time.

Social Media Marketing Fatal Attraction: When Content Earns Your Brand the Wrong Type of Attention

You�re probably familiar with at least a few social media horror stories; those epic hate-bombing situations, where companies commit social suicide in one way or another and pay for it very publicly. One such company was Boners BBQ, who posted on their Facebook page a picture of a customer who had written an unfavorable Yelp review� and captioned it with a rant which included calling her�horrible names and accusing her of not tipping the staff�(see the full story by Scott Stratten at Unmarketing).

The fatal attraction I speak of is more insidious, less intentional, yet can chip away at your time and resources, effectively undermining your social efforts and hurting your ROI. Is your social content attracting the wrong type of attention?

TopRank CEO Lee Odden has spoken extensively � for years � on the importance of targeted content and truly understanding your audience. He wrote recently, �From an overall marketing and customer engagement perspective, all content is not created equal. Any kind of content isn�t appropriate in any kind of situation despite what recent content advocates would have you believe.�

True that. You can miss the mark on targeting by varying degrees and with a range of consequences. Here are just a few; these might also be clues that the audience you�re attracting to your social profiles is not the one you were after:

You�re Wasting More Time Moderating

Comments are coming in fast and furious, but they have nothing to do with your company or industry. Here�s one reason this might happen:

No, this ad isn�t for a hockey club of some kind. It�s for a dental clinic. Why would you try to attract hockey fans to your dental clinic Facebook page? Sure, you�ll get a few extra Likes, but the chances that your page visitors will become loyal customers and stick around once they realize you aren�t talking about hockey in your page content are slim. As a result, this company had some spam cleanup to do. Which brings us to the next consequence of fatal attraction:

You�re Wasting Social Ad Spend

Yes, it cost the dental company mentioned above money to attract the wrong people to their page. Whether they used CPC or CPM Facebook Ads, they paid for it and the results just weren�t there. Spend your social ad budget wisely by targeting people who may actually connect and become loyal fans, advocates and customers.

You�re Misleading Yourself With the Wrong Metrics

If your goal is to drive sales and increase revenue, Likes or Retweets are a means to an end, but not the finish line. Social metrics can act as great key performance indicators, but they do not indicate whether or not you�ve achieved your business goals. Attracting the wrong crowd can result in a high level of activity � especially if your content is engaging or goes viral � but it means nothing if you aren�t seeing an increase in revenue you can attribute to your social content.

You�re Making It More Difficult to Measure Your Own Success

How much time do you have to spend analyzing the performance of your social content in order to determine whether you�re reaching your goals? Creating content that might be popular with a large number of fans seems like a smart strategy, until you realize it�s not having the effect you want on your actual business. Are you in this to entertain, or to make money? Putting out a greater volume of targeted, engaging content is smart; putting out a greater volume of popular content that doesn�t lead to sales just makes it more difficult for you to tell which pieces actually paid off.

So how can you avoid attracting the wrong kind of attention with your social content?

Never again create a piece of content without an end game in mind.Think about the person you want to reach in your planning phase � where are they online, what type of content they prefer, what questions and needs they have and how your content can address their preferences in a way that inspires your audience to take action? TopRank�s Brian Larson has some great tips on becoming more customer-centric even if you aren�t 100% comfortable with personas and optimization quite yet.Stop trying to be popular and focus on being useful instead; take a page from Jay Baer�s book and focus on your �Youtility.�Optimize your content for consumption. Make it easily searchable, discoverable, and shareable.Understand how you will measure success before you get started. Ashley Zeckman explains this based on a recent presentation by TopRank CEO Lee Odden: �If the key performance indicators or KPI�s have been defined, the next step is measuring the progress being made to achieve those goals� It makes more sense to produce a smaller quantity of content that has a higher level of engagement than it does to produce a large quantity of content that elicits little to no engagement. Knowing the level of engagement customers expect can determine what they are going to deem quality. Once you know that you can then optimize for it.�

Avoid the temptation to put popularity over business sense or become dazzled by the wrong metrics. Most importantly, never boil your own bunny by going out of your way, or even spending money, to attract the wrong attention.

How do you ensure your content meets the needs of your target audience? Share your tips in the comments!

Image via Shutterstock.