On my German blog I posted some information about the most popular China-related online scam. I often get emails from companies or private customers of scammers who ask for assistance after they got ripped off. Normally there is nothing you can do after transferring the money. Just do not send them anymore.

Here is a short summary of the most popular methods

  • cheap branded articles or electronic articles are offered on online shops with a very professional layout. The support seems to be great, too. The contact happens via phone, skype, email. The prices of the products are often just 30% of the marked price in Europe or the US. After you did the payment, the scammer will ask for another payment, using some excuse like the goods are hold back by the customs. Or the special offer suddenly expired or their supplier needed more money. Whatever.  If you paid per Western Union, there is normally no way to get your money back. You wont find any company under the address mentioned in the imprint of the website.
  • Domain registration is also very popular scam. You will get a message by an “official domain name registrar” who received a request by a company who wants to register a domain name like “” or “”.  Just move those mails into your spam folder. Their only goal is to sell you an overpriced domain registration with their company
  • Forwarding payments or goods to China: This is also very popular. A Chinese company seeks represantatives in several countries. Your job as representative will be to accept payments by their customers and forward them to China. Of course they will never delier any goods. They just need your account to create trust because many of their customers will hesitate to transfer money directly to China. You will get paid by cheque. The cheque is a counterfeit. Or sometimes they will ask you to accept orders of goods and forward them to China. They do not pay those goods and after a few weeks you will get trouble with the supplier
  • Sudden contacts to potential business partners: A Chinese company contacts a western company and invites them to negotiations about a huge contract to China. They will ask you to pay for hotel fees, food, give them expensive presents. After the “negotiations”, they will suddenly disappear.
  • Sales of academic titles: You can “buy” them online or even at the side entrances of universities in China. Those titles are worthless of course, even if you do some “academic work” to get them.
  • Orders per cheque: A Chinese company contacts a Western supplier and orders goods. Payments will happen with counterfeit cheques from third parties (who have no idea about any payments). Sometimes the bank clerk will credit the cheque and the goods are delivered. After a while the third party will bounce the cheque and your goods are lost.

Microsoft is about to launch its search engine bing soon:

I wonder why the first word which comes into my mind is “disease”. Probably it has something to do with the Chinese character for disease, “病” which is pronounced “bing”.

Of course there are more than one characters with the pronunciation “bing” in Chinese language, but I really wonder what a Chinese native speaker thinks about it.
Whatever, I am sure, “病” will be a great success story in China.

Validating RSS-feeds can be quite difficult, espacially if you have a website with user generated content and people use some strange characters in their own language, for example “ä” (ä) . If this HTML-entity is saved like this : “ä” in your database you have  a problem because  XML only has 5 predefined entities.

If your document is read by an XML parser that does not or cannot read external entities, then only the five built-in XML character entities  can safely be used.To get your RSS-feed valid, you need to write a function to encode and decode and I found a nice one here:

We’ve upgrade wordpress to latest version. Please leave a comment if you find anything unusual.

It has a new interface for admin panel and I think it’ll take sometime before I get used to it. The upgrate-function of wordpress is great, one click and its done if you dont make any manual changes.

We postponed this for some time, but now I also upgrated the theme of wordpress and its finally possible to handle widgets in the sidebar.

Recently there were some updates on the agenda: typo3 has a new version with a lot of improved features, phpBB3 had to be updated, dolphin and of course wordpress. The wordpress update is finished now and I have to admit that it will take some time to get used to the new backend. But in general it feels looks like a big improvement.

Typo3 is a bit annoying because you often have to update the extensions and sometimes change the extension-templates after updates. Fortunatly we did not too many changes in the source-code.

I am often asked this question but actually sometimes I wonder if I even know how to do SEO for Google. They do not publish their ranking criteria of course; they only give some hints in their Google guidelines for webmasters.
If you follow those guidelines, you can’t go wrong with your site.
For Baidu, the most popular Chinese search engines, there seem to be some differences to Google:

  1. the filename and domain name seem to be more relevant for Baidu than for Google
  2. Except of the title-tag, the meta-tags are not important for most western search engines, for Baidu, they are still more important
  3. Internal links and the linktext in those links are more important for Baidu than for Google.
  4. For Google incoming links from other websites are the most important ranking criteria. For Google, the quality of those incoming links is more important than for Baidu. For Baidu, the number of links is more important.

Somehow it seems to me, that the Google algorithm is more advanced and for Baidu you have to do more “old-fashioned” SEO.

Some more hints for foreign companies, which want a Chinese website:

  • Most important: Don’t save money by hiring an inexperienced translator. Do a professional translation of your site and let it proofread again and again by an expert in your business field
  • Use a cn-Domain for your website. Also foreign companies are allowed to register cn-Domains without having a Chinese admin-c (in Germany, you need a German administrator for your de-Domain, if the owner does doesn’t reside in Germany
  • Host your website in China if you only target the Chinese market but don’t try to save too much money on web space. Many companies I know spent thousand of Euro on their website but are not willing to spend 10 Euro more per month for a good server. Beware that your website might be slow from outside China. If your website also has an English version, this should not be hosted in China but in the US or Europe.

After a two week hiatus, Youtube, a Google-owned video sharing network, is back online.

There is no official answer as to why Youtube was blocked for a two week period by the Chinese internet regulators. Speculations have narrowed the filtration to either the 17th National Communist Party Congress, which is China’s most important meeting of political leaders that discuss the future of China held every five years, or the unveiling of the Taiwan version of Youtube. The YouTube Taiwan site is also accessible in China.

More on chinaorbit news

Okay, I am not sure, if this is really worth a news – but because it is quite annoying, I will mention it in my blog: Wikipedia seems to be censored again. At least not available from Beijing.

Here you can find an interesting interview with Matt Cutts about SEO in China. Good to know, that he loves Chinese food.

Interview with Matt Cutts on Search and SEO in China

If I build up a website, I make it user friendly but also search engine friendly. The goal is to get

a) visitors
b) make the visitors becoming real customers

A few days ago, I had a meeting with a potential client about their website. It seems, that they invested some time and money in building it up, it was a website with great flash animations, I really liked the design
There where just a few problems

  1. The website was 100% in flash, which means, not very search engine friendly. If you make a flash website, at least the text should be in normal HTML. You can use flash animations for websites, but if you really want to get customers with this website and want to be found in search engines, do not make the website 100% in flash.
  2. The target group where foreign customers, the website was hosted in Hong Kong. From Germany, it took about one minute for each page to load, because each time, the browser had to load some flash animations again. Even if they use adwords for this site, I don’t think, many customers (with a very fast DSL-connection) are patient enough to find the contact information.
  3. The funniest thing was, that to load the flash design on the main page, the graphic designer used java script. Search engines can not follow java script links, which means, for search engines, the website had no content at all. When I turned off java script to demonstrate, how google sees this website, the result was an empty white screen and the marketing director of the company was not very pleased, about this, I think.

Anyway, the graphic designer did a great job, the website looked great, but I think, the company can only use it as addition to their offline marketing material like flyers, namecards, but for sure, nobody will find this website with search engines (allthough, the client told me, that this was the goal of the website). Even if they use paid advertisment, to get visitors, I do not believe, that they will get many inquiries. To be successful, they actually have to rebuild the whole website.

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