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And so the next chapter begins…WPP’s Kantar Media to acquire CIC

I am thrilled to share the great news that CIC has agreed to be acquired by WPP’s Kantar Media. I look forward to taking social media and social business to the next level in China with our new partner.
More info below
 
    

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CIC’s Thoughtful Approach to Weibo

It probably hasn’t escaped your attention that right now, “weibo” is the word on everyone’s lips, as the microblog is the hottest property in China’s digital landscape. Celebrities, fans, brands and consumers are coming together in what is the fastest growing community in China’s social space.
As ever in the Chinese social media market, there is more than one platform vying to be the “Twitter of China”. Sina Weibo is expanding its services to such a degree that such a moniker grossly underestimates the ways in which the platform is increasingly allowing advertisers to exert their brand identity and effectively own a slice of social media.

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“Marketing Brands in China Through Weibo” at the American Chamber of Commerce Shanghai

 Personal 15 September 2011

CIC’s Sam Flemming will talk at the American Chamber of Commerce Shanghai’s Marketing and Media Committee on the subject of microblog marketing in China. The presentation, entitled “Marketing Brands in China Through Weibo”, will take place on Thursday the 22nd of September in the Four Seasons Hotel Shanghai.

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Tudou and “UGC 2.0″

 Personal 4 July 2011

The creative zeal of Chinese netizens is just one feature that sets this landscape apart from anywhere else in the world. A Forrester report highlighted the greater propensity for creating, sharing and responding to content amongst China’s internet population when directly compared to engagement inclination amongst American netizens.

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Putting the “Us” in Creative Ideation

 Personal 27 June 2011

In his 2004 book, “The Wisdom of Crowds: Why the Many Are Smarter Than the Few and How Collective Wisdom Shapes Business, Economies, Societies and Nations”, James Surowiecki opens his argument with a famous, turn of the 20th Century case. Francis Galton’s 1907 essay, “Vox Populi”, refers to a “guess the weight of the bull” game at a livestock fair and the surprising accuracy achieved by an averaging of the crowd’s answers. Arguments for and against this crowd sourcing methodology have rumbled on ever since.

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CNY greeting

 Personal 12 February 2010

Wishing everyone a wonderful Lunar New Year and best wishes for success in the Year of the Tiger!

SeeIsee Blog: 3 years and counting—the Greatest Hits (Part 2)

 Personal 11 January 2010

With January serving as the 3 year anniversary of the seeisee blog all about IWOM, last week I shared the blog’s ‘Greatest Hits Part 1.’ Here is ‘Greatest Hits Part 2, 2008-2009.’ Maybe I should call it “my favorite hits,” because I am not curating based on popularity but rather on what I think best represents CIC’s telling of IWOM and social media in China.

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SeeIsee Blog: 3 years and counting—the Greatest Hits (Part 1)

 Personal 4 January 2010

Three years ago this week, we launched SeeISee, the blogging platform for CIC which included both the Chinese blog and my English blog.  The goal was to share our passion and learnings on IWOM.  Of course there are others who I admire and even aspire to in terms of writing quality and quantity in the overall China blog space (hello Danwei , Imagethief and David Wolf), but I must say, after 3 years and well over 250 articles, we have done a pretty good job.

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Likemind Shanghai Friday 18th September

 Personal 9 September 2009

After the success of last month’s event where over forty people from the advertising, marketing and design industry showed up, we’re happy to announce that we’re holding it again on the 18th September from 8.30am-10.30am at Amokka.

For those who didn’t make it to the last one, Likemind is a monthly global coffee date held in cities like Mumbai, Sao Paulo, New York, Melbourne and now Shanghai, and is a place where you can treat yourself to an Amokka breakfast, drink coffee and chat about the future of advertising, marketing and design in China with likeminded friends.

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56minus1: chats | sam flemming

 Personal 27 February 2009

Another “Adam” post here: http://56minus1.com/2009/02/chats-sam-flemming/
Adam interviews me on everything IWOM and CIC.
Thanks, Adam

CNY greeting

 Personal 26 January 2009

Wishing everyone a very happy, safe and restful Chinese New Year. We are looking forward to a very exciting Year of the Ox!

“Shai” for the New Year

 Personal 2 January 2008

I am writing this on the first day of 2008. I am not going to get especially sappy or reflective; suffice it to say 2007 was an amazing year for me and for CIC. Both myself and the company have grown immensely and have learned so much. We have both gone places and done things I thought were never possible. It is continually challenging to run this company, especially in China, where running a business has its own particular challenges. Fortunately, I have surrounded myself with great people who are smarter than me (no seriously, they are) and help make things run amazingly well and help us grow.

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Interview with ThinkTech Hawaii

 Personal 28 December 2007

I was interviewed by ThinkTech Hawaii in the middle of October this year and actually just recently saw that it was posted online. You can view it on the site here or you can see on Tudou below (better for China based readers).
The interview serves as a good introduction to IWOM, net culture in China and a bit on CIC. After viewing it, my mom and dad said that they (finally) understand what I am doing.

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CIC receives investment

 Personal 10 December 2007

I am very proud and happy to announce that CIC has received a round of strategic investment. Since our start 3 years ago, we have seen substantial interest from investors in our technology, methodology and team. Choosing the right investors has taken considerable effort and patience, not unlike choosing a partner for marriage. I must admit that we have been rather picky in choosing our partner, but this investor team is very smart and we are honored to be working with them.

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3 pathways to net culture

 Industry Watch,Personal 13 November 2007

The article below is taken from my first column post on the newly launched iMedia Connection Asia. Would love to hear your thoughts.

Many marketers tend to think of internet word of mouth (IWOM) on blogs and BBS (online message boards) in China as scary stuff. They may recall the Dell Processor Gate incident where consumers complained on BBS that Dell had shipped a different processor than what was advertised. This eventually led to a class action lawsuit for false advertising. Marketers may also think of the CCTV9 blogger Rui Chenggang’s open letter to Starbucks, requesting the removal of one of its stores from the Forbidden City, which was later picked up by the Chinese media and even The Wall Street Journal. (Starbucks is out of the Forbidden City, by the way). While these examples demonstrate IWOM’s power to make a big splash, it would be a mistake to relegate IWOM exclusively to reputation management.

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Upcoming Speaking Event

 Personal 9 November 2007

I will be speaking at the upcoming Nurturing & Commercializing Online Communities Forum. Not surprisingly, I will speaking about IWOM, in particular, Understanding IWOM as a Strategic Element of Marketing Communications. Topics I will cover include: – Community Conversations as Consumer Insight for Market Research – Community Relationship and Participation as an Extension of Public Relations – Community Engagement/Activation as Marketing Drop me a mail on sam (at) cicdata.com if you are going and would like to meet up. Looks like a good line up of speakers.

Trip home to the US

 Personal 11 October 2007

During National Day “golden week” holiday in October, I finally went home to Alabama. It was the first time home in two years, and the first time to take my son Leo back. While it was not necessarily relaxing, it was great fun to see my family and introduce them all to Leo.
Highlights of the trip were watching my nephew play two football games (they won both), watching the Alabama football game (they lost, unfortunately, but Saban still rocks), going to the lake for a boat ride, and going to Vulcan (the largest iron cast statue in the world atop Birmingham’s Red Mountain).

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IWOM as a part of effective market communications on iTV

 Personal 20 September 2007

I was recently interviewed on iTV-Asia’s “Advertising and Marketing in China” program, hosted by Tom Doctoroff. Tom gave me an opportunity to talk about how companies are using Internet Word of Mouth (IWOM) for more informed and effective market communications.
The video can be a bit slow, but hopefully you will find it worth the wait.

On the conference trail

 Personal 8 September 2007

I have recently spoken a quite bit on the topic of IWOM, and it is looking like I will be speaking even more in the near future. We are definitely seeing a growing interest in what we do.
August 17th: Lnoppen 3rd Annual Competitive Intelligence China Summit
For a group of competitive intelligence professionals from Dow, Dupont and other impressive companies, I presented an overview of our technology and methodology for utilizing text mining of BBS and Blog messages for market intelligence.

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My first time being a “劳模”(Model Worker)

 Personal 5 September 2007

It made my day to see that I was awarded “Model Worker” by Danwei. Danwei is a great blog covering media in China, including IWOM media such as BBS and blogs. It is really an honor to be recognized by Danwei and to be included in the same company as Imagethief, MadisonBoom, and Digital Watch in the “Advertising, Marketing and PR” category as well as ESWN, Silicon Hutong, Billsdue and China Web 2.0 Review in other categories.

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iPhone in China? Nokia and Motorola dominate the IWOM

 Industry Watch,Personal 2 July 2007

Sage from Pacific Epoch, in his column for MarketWatch, deftly integrates discussion of CIC’s “Talk About Phones” white paper into analysis of Apple’s opportunity for marketing the iPHONE in China. The column is provocatively titled “Apple not a factor in China handheld market.” I wish I had thought of this angle when we released the paper last week.

Really Understanding Efluencers and IWOM

 Industry Watch,Personal 19 June 2007

We have been thinking a bit more about the concept of “efluencers,” our term for “online influencers.” My colleague Jason shares his ideas here (and my ideas on how this is reflective of CIC’s culture is here). Let me build on Jason’s ideas…. One of the visuals that we present to clients which can make a strong impression is the “80/20” rule of community content creators such as the one below taken from our upcoming mobile phone white paper. The paper, which covers Q1 2007 conversations, will be released this week.

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Food around CIC in the morning

 Personal 31 May 2007

Our office isn’t smack dab in the middle of the CBD in Shanghai, but it is pretty conveniently located. It is a 15 minute walk from Zhong Shan Park and from Jiangsu Road subway station. One of the more convenient things about the office is that it is right next to Changning Zhi Road, which is filled with cheap, delicious restaurants and other food vendors. These aren’t of the Xin Tian Di variety, but more representative of what my colleague Morgan refers to as Shanghai’s “long tang” (弄堂) culture, the kind often profiled on the blog Like a Local. Of course, these vendors serve different things at night, like Xiao Long Xia (cray fish, or “craw dads” as we say where I am from). Breakfast items range from about .5 RMB to 3-4 RMB. Below are a few pics.

Some Thoughts on CIC culture

 Personal 23 May 2007

One thing that really pleases me about CIC is the culture that has developed here. As a company which is pioneering an industry, we are constantly facing challenges, questions, and demands that we simply have to figure out ourselves. No one’s done it before in China, so it is on our shoulders. Fortunately, we have a great team culture here that enables CIC to really face the challenges head on. Case in point: between 3:44 and 3:46 PM yesterday, on May 23, I took the 4 pics below. It is basically the “view” outside my office window…totally unscripted. I saw it, grabbed my camera, and took the pics. Another thing about our culture: I often say that our analysts, in fact everyone at CIC, are “participant observers” in helping our clients understand Chinese net culture. I like Fred Wilson’s term “net natives“. With the exception of myself, we were all “born” on the Chinese Internet. We try to integrate or at least acknowledge Chinese net culture in much of what we do. One example is the use of BBS type avatars on our nameplates. We see the Internet, in particular, social media, as a haven for self expression, and we want to promote that concept in CIC as well. Here is Violet’s:

CIC quoted in CBS MarketWatch on “Old SKool” BBS domination for mobile phone

 Personal 28 February 2007

See the article here.
A Chinese translation can be found here.
A nice overview of the “alpha” customers the article mentions can be found in a Danwei translation here of a cover story of the latest New Weekly (新周刊).
Highlights of the article:

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CIC speaking at Marketing to Women conference

 Personal 28 February 2007

Our Client Service Director, Daisy Zhang, will be speaking at IQPC’s Marketing to Women conference in Shanghai on Thursday, March 1. See here for more info.

CIC/Chinese social media featured in podcast on Podtech

 Personal 13 February 2007

Jennifer Jones from Podtech (the company Scoble now works for) interviewed me a couple of weeks ago about social media in China. The podcast is now available here.

Jennifer is host of the “Marketing Voices” channel on Podtech and has some great interviews of some of the industry leaders in social media research and marketing.

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History and Evolution of CIC’s logos

 Personal 20 January 2007

As I mentioned in a recent post, we recently changed our logo. You can see the history of our logo below.

In the design of the new logo, we launched and internal “open source marketing” initiative, asking our team members to submit their ideas. Of course, their ideas blew us away. While the final logo was developed by a designer, the inspiration came from our team members. You can see their submissions on the left side of the green line, and the designers on the right side.

CIC watch: “You” – Time’s Person of the Year – also lives in China

 Industry Watch,Personal 19 January 2007

On the main SeeISee blog, we have placed an introduction and sample report for one of our services, CIC watch. You can check it out here.
The sample is a 6 month IWOM “greatest hits” sort of summary as it relates to marketing, PR and branding.
Hope you like it.

Our new company blog launch and other changes

 Personal 19 January 2007

I am excited to announce the launch of the CIC blog platform SeeISee. We have been working on this the last several months and we are thrilled to finally take it public. For over a year now, I have been blogging about Internet Word of Mouth (IWOM) in China on my blog www.samflemming.com. The truth is much of the content and insight on the blog came from the work of our incredible team of analysts who live and breathe blogs, BBS and everything related to net culture for our clients every single day.

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CIC in a couple of BusinessWeek articles

 Personal 19 January 2007

A sort of definition of ourindustry: China: User-Generated Content Takes Off
A few comments on IWOM and online video: Asia’s Funniest Home Videos—from Intel

Tagged: 5 things you didn’t know about me…

 Personal 19 January 2007

There is a blog meme going around that I have been tagged to participate. I don’t really use this blog to talk about myself so much, but I will give in to the greater powers of the MEME and share after Nathan Gilliatt tagged me.
1. I live in China, but I am from Alabama. This usually raises a few eyebrows and questions such as “How did someone from Alabama get to China?” or “I have never really been to Alabama, but drove through it once on my way to Florida” (a surprising number of Chinese tell me this). I don’t have a noticeable southern accent, but I do love BBQ and appreciate a good “meat and 3.”

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Blog maintenance—funky characters ahead

 Personal 13 December 2006

I am in the process of exporting this blog to another platform and this may cause the blog to have some funky characters or just overall look screwed up. Only temporary, and it is the first step of a new beginning.
More later…

Overview of International Social Media Monitoring

 Personal 10 December 2006

Nathan Gilliatt over at Net-Savvy Executive blog has been writing a series of very interesting posts about social media monitoring firms and approaches available outside of the US. An overview of the topic can be found here. His post inspired a page on New PR wiki which includes a nice overview of the topic as well as a comprehensive list of non-American companies that was originally started by Jeremiah Owyang’s post here.

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Moderating comments

 Personal 10 December 2006

I will be moderating comments for the time being until I can figure out how to minimize the spam comments that have been increasing at an alarming rate recently. I promise pretty quick turnaround.

Speaking about IWOM at IQPC Digital Marketing Communication China 2006

 Personal 26 November 2006

I will be holding a workshop as well as presenting on the topic “Utilizing Internet Word of Mouth (IWOM) for consumer insight” at the Digital Marketing Communication Conference in Shanghai. The workshop will be on Tuesday, November 28th. The presentation will be Wednesday, November 29th. You won’t see my name on the website because it has not been updated. To see latest agenda, click here (PDF).

Speaking at MobileMonday Shanghai

 Personal 11 November 2006

I will be speaking at MobileMonday Shanghai on a panel covering “Mobile User Generated Content – The Chinese Way.” To read more and to register (mandatory) go here.

Chinese Blogs, BBS and the Automobile Industry, Part 1: I-WOM Channels

 Industry Watch,Personal 31 October 2006

In the past two years, CIC data has been developing the technology and the expertise to help companies in China track conversations on BBS and blogs. We call the space we are in I-WOM: Internet Word of Mouth. Most recently, we have been focused on developing specific industry practices. One of those practices is automobile.

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CIC is growing: needs more people and space

 Personal 16 October 2006

As they say in my native Alabama, CIC is growing “like all get out.” As a result, we need people and space.
People: we are looking for both social media analyst and technology positions. In all cases, ability to read and write Chinese is a must. For now, positions are for Shanghai only. JD’s are located here (Chinese) and English (here).

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Media update: CIC in Amcham mag and Media

 Personal 16 October 2006

Recent mentions:
I comment on MySpace’s imminent arrival in China here.
Danwei, CIC and Imagethief among others quoted in an Shanghai Amcham mag piece on blogging here (PDF).

Even pirates need branding

 Personal 27 September 2006

Open Source Marketing is a fancy “web 2.0″ term describing interactive campaigns that invite the millions of consumers online to contribute ideas and/or content to a campaign or promotion. It is quite the buzz word with marketing types and many of the big brands have launched campaigns in 2006.

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Net stars featured in AdAge China

 Personal 22 September 2006

AdAge China did a piece on net stars and brands. See the full article here (PDF). You can also purchase the article yourself or year’s subscription on the site. (hopefully this plug will make them less angry about posting the article here).
See related articles:
Net stars dominate Chinese web searchesChina ‘net stars commercial trend continues

CIC data media and presentation update: Adtech, Amcham, CNbloggercon and Media

 Personal 15 September 2006

Media:
We were quoted in Media regarding Dell “processor-gate” here.
Presentations:

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The Liberating Internet

 Personal 31 August 2006

I am quoted in the recent article entitled “The Liberating Internet” from Guanxi: The China Letter. A PDF of the article can be found here.
The article does a pretty good job profiling the net culture behind and within BBS in China. It quotes Charles Zhang’s “internal research” to provide some impressive numbers about Internet use:

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Automobile: In China, the Chery Army sounds-off online

 Industry Watch,Personal 27 August 2006

Recently, US based Nielsen Buzzmetrics’ Bill Stephenson wrote about China’s Chery Automobile on his Automobuzz blog, saying that while there are few messages on BBS (online message boards) in the US about Chery for now, he expects that this will change when the car makes it expected debut in the US within the next couple of years. He advised US based automobile brands:

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Q&A in Ketchum’s “In the Know”

 Personal 16 August 2006

There is a Q&A bit with me in the most recent Ketchum’s media newsletter “In the Know.” You can download the PDF here.

In Bangkok August 16 and 17

 Personal 13 August 2006

I will be speaking at a conference in Bangkok on August 16 and 17. If any readers are interested in meeting up, please drop me a line at sam at cicdata.com.

Dell corporate blog comments on ProcessorGate

 Personal 11 August 2006

Direct2Dell, Dell’s English language corporate blog, has commented on ProcessorGate both in English and Chinese here .

We have acknowledged the issue, and we have corrected the error in all materials.
We have directly apologized to Dell China customers who were affected, and also informed them of the difference between the two processors.

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Processor Gate: Dell engaging social media in Asia Pacific

 Personal 6 August 2006

Imagethief has further thoughts on Dell’s “processor gate” here. However, what is even more interesting to me is that T.R. Reid, Dell’s AP regional director of corporate communications, put up a comment to Imagethief’s post, the same comment that was in the Business Week article here.

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China Dell Hell (aka Processor Gate)

 Personal 3 August 2006

I got a quote in a Business Week article, “Mad as Hell in China’s Blogosphere.” The article touches on increasingly vocal and active consumers on Chinese BBS and blogs taking on companies. I previously touched on this online consumer activism, what I call “Crisis 2.0,” here.

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CNET buys XCAR for US $10 million: Chinese social media is booming

 Personal 25 July 2006

According to Pacific Epoch (via Netease), it is rumored that CNET bought XCAR for US$10 million. XCAR is a massive automobile site filled with consumer opinions and experiences regarding automobiles. We estimate it has about 1.2 million messages a month written on its BBS. I would not be surprised if we similar deals for industry specific sites such as Younnet, which focuses on mobile phone conversations. These sites all attract the most active, interest users and fans of these industries who are definitely desired by advertisers.

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Crisis 2.0: China vs. the West

 Personal 24 July 2006

In the “old days,” a company crisis would typically start in traditional media, and then would be amplified via copy/paste on BBS and blogs. “Black March” of 2005 with SK-II, Heinz, KFC and others offer plenty of examples. This is what I call Crisis 1.0.
Now, more and more, crisis’ are actually starting on BBS or blogs. In the US, it started with Kryptonite. Then, Dell Hell, and more recently Comcast and AOL. This is what I call Crisis 2.0 (get it? kinda like Web 2.0).

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Net stars dominate Chinese web searches

 Personal 17 July 2006

Hat tip to Virtual China for reminding me of Fu Rong Jie Jie, the number 4 most searched person on Baidu. This made me take a closer look at the Baidu list, and interestingly HALF of the top 10 searches are net stars. If you count Huang Jianxiang, which you could due to the buzz he created with all the videos, ringtones and audio clips he inspired, we would have 6 out of ten. There are even more in the 2nd group of ten, including Dodolook.

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Planes, trains and automobiles: VW Polo GP too elitist for Chinese netizens

 Personal 9 July 2006

VW Polo is a vehicle for the elite? I don’t think so….and neither do Chinese netizens.
Recently, VW put up some advertisements in Shanghai subway stations that gave the impression that subway commuters should be “aspiring” Polo GP ownership so they can overcome the seemingly working class subway. The reaction of netizens was fierce, and as netizens are apt to do in such situations, one poster came up with their own PS versions of the ads juxtaposing the original VW ads with their own text copy added to Gulfstream Jet adverts.

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CIC data and WOM discussed in China International Business Magazine

 Personal 5 July 2006

See here. BTW, “CIC media” is in fact “CIC data”

The difference between monitoring and synthesizing BBS and blog conversations

 Personal 2 July 2006

Tangos of China Web 2.0 fame recently discussed the increasing number and effectiveness of social media (i.e. blogs and BBS) search engines in China such as Qihoo. While none are (yet) as good for Chinese as Technorati or Icerocket is for English, they are getting better.
Tangos writes (my translation):

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Keyboards in the hands of many are mightier than swords

 Personal 29 June 2006

Rumors and word of mouth are a part of every culture, but I have always believed that in China, rumors have even stronger currency than other countries. In China, traditional media, for various reasons, is trusted less than other countries. This means that to get the “real” story, you have to go through unofficial channels. I remember my Chinese colleagues in November 2002 talking about a strange virus they read about on BBS which was causing a flood of patients in hospitals in Guangzhou. It was until April of 2003 that that rumor was officially reported in Chinese media and called SARS.

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Thanks to Shanghai Peace Maternity & Child Health Hospital

 Personal 24 June 2006

My company helps clients listen and learn from consumers sharing their experiences and opinions about companies, brands, products and services with others on BBS and blogs.
Now it’s my turn to share….
As some of you may know, my wife and I just had our first child, Leo. From the get-go, we wanted to have natural birth. We had heard that in China that this would be a challenge as upwards of 50% of all births in China are Caesarian, a figure much higher than the West (see here for some background).

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On being Shanghai’ed and the power of Zhuanzai

 Personal 18 June 2006

In his post describing how I had been “Shanghai-ed” by the China Daily, Jeremy from Danwei mentions that “copy/paste” is an essential part of the culture of blogs and BBS.
There is a word in Chinese zhuanzai (转载) which means reprint, and is also used on the Internet to mean copying and republishing, invariably without permission. Because of the zhuanzai habit, all kinds of text and media can quickly get distributed on the Internet on hundreds of websites. This happens with news items, blog posts, photos, essays and articles. The content thus republished runs the gamut from pictures of MM (girlie pics) to political debate.

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Choosing a baby’s name in modern China: e-feng shui

 Personal 17 June 2006

David in the comments section asked what Leo’s Chinese name is. We finally decided and it is 沈泓仁 (Shen Hong Ren). 沈 is my wife’s surname and 仁 is part of my wife’s father’s name. The middle character, 泓,was chosen because according to Chinese feng shui, Leo’s birth date and time had too little “water.” Also, it was recommended that we should add a little “gold.” This character “泓” solves these issues. Now, you may ask, how did we determine this? The internet, of course! You should not be surprised that the Chinese internet is abound with baby related and feng shui related resources. The two we consulted are http://zyname.com.cn and http://www.superfate.com.tw/22_free_8word. I actually had very little to do with the selection process, so I can’t go into details, but I can tell you that 沈泓仁 rates a 90/100 in the world of feng shui.

Please welcome Leo into the world.

 Personal 10 June 2006

Please welcome Samuel Leonard Flemming, Jr. into the world. You can call this little guy Leo. He was born on June 9, 2006, 8:33 PM Beijing Standard Time, 7:33 AM Alabama Standard Time. He weighs 7.5 lbs.
Light blogging ahead…

CIC data featured in The Standard

 Personal 10 June 2006

The article can be found here.

CIC data featured in AdAgeChina

 Personal 8 June 2006

See http://www.adage.com/china/ or http://www.adage.com/china/article.php?article_id=109727

Did you know that I write for the China Daily? I didn’t…

 Personal 3 June 2006

They say imitation is the sincerest form of flattery. Well, I feel really flattered, because the China Daily copy and pasted my last post on ‘net stars pretty much in it entirety here. At least they gave me the byline…
I checked with Jeremy from Danwei about this. He said China Daily has done it before to him as well as to ESWN. I am honored to be in the company of such China blog technorati.

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China ‘net stars commercial trend continues

 Personal 28 May 2006

Last November, I wrote that Chinese ‘net stars like the Backdorm Boys were getting picked up by companies like Motorola to be spokespersons.
The trend continues. Not only have the Backdorm Boys picked up more steam recently, other stars have come into play.
1010job.com picked up JuHua Jie Jie (菊花姐姐) (the William Hung for China) for a series of TVC’s earlier this year. You can see the video that made her a star here and two TVC’s here and here.

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Online tuangou “group purchase” giving offline retailers a run for their money

 Personal 17 May 2006

The Christian Science Monitor recently ran a piece on the phenomenon of online “group purchase” sites in China. The basic concept is that consumers can organize a group online to get “wholesale” prices from retailers or distributors.
Shanghaiist writes about his/her investigation of SHtuangou here. My wife and I just today completed the purchase on SHtuangou for a plasma TV and saved 500RMB vs the Guomei price (Guomei is sort of the “Best Buy” of China).

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CIC data featured in IDG newswire article: BBS monitoring takes China consumer pulse

 Personal 15 May 2006

CIC data is featured in IDG wire article BBS monitoring takes China consumer pulse

China Web 2.0 blog recommends Qihoo for searching BBS (and I do too)

 Personal 14 May 2006

China Web 2.0 blog recommends using Qihoo as a tool to search conversations on BBS. We have been looking at Qihoo again the last month or so, and indeed, it is much improved since I wrote previous recommendations about BBS search engines. Zhongsou is also improved, though I think Qihoo seems to be more accurate and covers more posts.

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Sina bloggers write 130,000 posts and 200,000 comments a day

 Personal 13 May 2006

China Web 2.0 blog discusses comments by Sina’s new CEO about Sina blog service:
According to Chao, in the last week of April, Sina Blog attracted 1.7 million unique users, with 130,000 Blog postings, and 200,000 comments on a daily basis, which representing a 100% increase for the last three months. 130,000 daily blog posts update! That’s really a big number, since Technorati tracks about 1.2 Million new blog posts each day according to its latest report.

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Baidu Post Bar and Super Girl fans

 Industry Watch,Personal 11 May 2006

Li Yu Chun, aka Super Girl, aka LYC, aka ChunChun still has quite a fan base. Just take her fan “bar” on Baidu post bar. Since June 25, 2005:

17,512,136 posts
926,656 topics

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CIC data profiled on ChinaTechNews

 Personal 11 May 2006

You can read the article here.

XuJingLei Dethroned: Sina blog home page now tops Technorati 100

 Personal 8 May 2006

Xujinglei is no longer number 1 on the Technorati 100. Sina’s blog homepage is. Obviously, this is not correct as this page is a sort of directory for blogs on Sina. Looks like Technorati is working on figuring Sina blog structure as Keso suggested (see English summary here).
Thanks to Jie Wang for the tip.

BoingBoing, Xu Jing Lei and Questions of Influence

 Personal 5 May 2006

My post on Xu Jing Lei being No. 1 on Technorati was picked up by Matthew Hurst from Nielsen BuzzMetrics. In comments to this, his colleague Natalie Glance writes:

If you drill down into the Technorati search results, the overwhelming majority (at least in the first 100 results that I paged through) are links to Xu Jing Lei from MSN Space bloggers’ “Custom lists”. These custom lists are more or less the equivalent of Blogrolls from MSN Spaces. Thus, Xu Jing Lei is being propelled to the top of Technorati via blogroll links, not via active links from blog posts. In contrast, BlogPulse finds only 1534 links as of today, but they are all active links. BoingBoing has over 17,000 active links. Of course, neither blogroll links nor active links provide the definitive answer on influence, as has already been discussed in depth elsewhere.

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Keso weighs in on Xu Jing Lei and Technorati: Sina partly to blame

 Personal 5 May 2006

Leading Chinese IT blogger Keso (who himself gets tens of thousands of page views a day) weighs in on Xu Jing Lei’s blog being number 1 on Technorati by suggesting that if Sina had a more “traditional” blog structure, her lead over BoingBoing would be even greater.
Danwei, in discussing Keso’s post, says:

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Technorati responds? Xu Jing Lei Now Tops Technorati 100, ahead of Boing Boing

 Personal 4 May 2006

My question of why Xu Jing Lei, the Chinese movie celebrity who regulary gets thousands of comments and hundreds of thousands of page views for each article she writes, was not in the Technorati 100 seems to have been answered. She is now Number 1, ahead of even Boing Boing.

It seems Technorati is listening AND reacting (as any good blog monitoring company should).

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Chinese blogs and the Technorati 100: Where’s Xu Jing Lei?

 Personal 2 May 2006

Technorati recently came out with their new list of the Top 100 blogs (of course, I can’t see it because Technorati is blocked again, but that’s another story for other bloggers) Fons referred to Ethan Zuckerman’s post which asserts that Technorati’s David Sifry’s suggested decrease of Chinese language representation within the most recent survey is in fact due to Technorati not doing a good job of covering key Chinese blog service providers (BSP) like Bokee or Blogbus.

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Speaking at IandI roundtable on business blogging on April 24th

 Personal 20 April 2006

Apologies for not having time to write much recently. Here’s another event:

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Speaking at Amcham Shanghai on Tuesday 4/16/06

 Personal 16 April 2006

For more info, go here.
Hope to see you there….

Reward: Up to 10,000 RMB for finding good people for CIC data

 Personal 13 April 2006

CIC data is growing…and growing fast. And we need people. Really good people. Good technology people and good analysts.
As anyone who works in China knows, in spite of the massive population, finding good people in this incredibly booming market is very challenging, particularly in the industry in which CIC data competes.

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Feed fixed (I think)

 Personal 15 March 2006

I’ve had some complaints that an RSS feed could not be found with someblog readers. You can a feed by right clicking the RSS icon below my pic. If anyone continues to have trouble, please do let me know.
Thanks to Wong Joon Ian, Gemme and Micah for their help.

CIC data Chinese site launched

 Personal 12 March 2006

We launched our Chinese site last week on http://www.cicdata.cn and http://www.cicdata.com.cn.

Profile in Youth Daily (青年报)

 Personal 12 March 2006

CIC data is featured in the 3/9/06 Youth Daily (Chinese).

Different types of word of mouth

 Personal 12 March 2006

The most recent Economist has a pretty good WOM industry overview called Listening to the internet. Hat tip to Max Kalehoff from Nielsen BuzzMetrics for link. Max, who is also quoted in the article, wishes that more articles would focus on the power of blog/BBS monitoring for distilling consumer insight. I strongly agree.

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Shanghai Daily: Bloggers lure blog watchers

 Personal 6 March 2006

The title is spooky, and the illustration in the offline copy is even spookier, but all in all I find Shanghai Daily’s take on our progress in the blog/BBS word of mouth industry in China ok. I would have liked less emphasis on the privacy issue, since we only collect publicly available information that any of the 111 million Internet users in China can also access. However, not much I can do now about what the writer took away from our conversation. It is indeed a question we get asked by many people in China (but ironically is not discussed as much in the West within this context).

Washington Post: Blog Buzz Helps Companies Catch Trends in the Making

 Personal 6 March 2006

The Washington Post writes about the finalization of the Buzzmetrics/Intelliseek merger and purchase by VNU (owner of AC Nielsen and other Nielsen brands) and new company called Nielsen Buzzmetrics. I see this as further validation of Blog/BBS monitoring as a market research channel. No word on any their Asia Pac plans….

“DIY” BBS and blog monitoring in China

 Personal 2 March 2006

Apologies for the lag since the last post. But let’s continue the discussion of BBS and blog monitoring in China.
Actually, China Web 2.0 blog pretty much summarizes the situation of blog search in China’s Blog Search Engines Suck. Not much more to add here.
For BBS, you won’t do much better. Teein is the best, but still has a 2-3 day lag and misses significant sites and chunks of data. You can, however, select to view results by week and by month to at least give you an idea of the volume of messages you are getting within a certain time period, which is especially useful during crisis situations.

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Monitoring blogs for companies in China

 Personal 14 January 2006

In my previous post, I comment on CNET‘s recent article Why Companies Monitor Blogs. The article and Mr. Anderson’s comments are in the context of blogs and companies in the west. While blogs certainly get the headlines in China in terms of big numbers (some say 20 million) and occasional corporate missteps such as the recent Microsoft debacle, we believe that at least for now, BBS (message boards) are much more useful in terms of gathering marketing intelligence.

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Why companies monitor blogs

 Personal 11 January 2006

Nice article from CNET with overview of how companies in the US use blog monitoring.
Monitoring blogs as a source of customer intelligence:
“We pay attention to the blogosphere,” said Scott Anderson, HP’s director of enterprise brand communications, in a talk at the Syndicate conference in San Francisco in December. “Our audience is online. They’re having discussions about us and about our competitors, and they’re talking about the marketplace. It may be good, and it may be bad, but it’s important for us to pay attention to what’s being said out there.”

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Baidu knows that Google doesn’t know what Google doesn’t know in China

 Personal 27 December 2005

Here is an interesting Google vs. Baidu (View or Download) video that has been making the WOM of rounds on Chinese BBS, blogs and mail forwards. We first saw this 2-3 months ago. Altough Baidu doesn’t mention Google in the vid, it seems pretty obvious that Google is represented by the foreigner. It is made in the comedic style of Zhou Xing Chi(周星驰) (and isn’t as racist as it seems, say my Chinese friends).

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You know you work at CIC data if…

 Personal 26 December 2005

As the year end approaches, I have thought some about CIC data development and what it now means to work here. What I really like about what we are doing is that we have alot of fun doing some serious stuff for our clients.
Here is how I see it:
If you work at CIC data (fun stuff):

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CIC data on the move

 Personal 23 December 2005

Been away from blogging this week…just too crazy around here. Lots of new business, new opportunites…and finally, a new office.
We’re not moving far…just upstairs, but we basically double our current space.

Here is new contact info.

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Baidu seeks to cooperate with CIC data

 Personal 16 December 2005

The phone rang. Joyce, our receptionist answered. It was Baidu calling. They told Joyce they were seeking to “cooperate” (合作) with CIC data. “Ehhhxcellent,” I said to myself in my best Mr. Burns voice, rubbing my hands together. The Google of China” was a-knocking, wanting to invest in our company. I asked my partner Vennie to discuss with the gentleman on the phone (being from China, her Chinese is much better than mine) how we might work together.

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What Dell could learn from my “Mr. Tailor” in China

 Personal 15 December 2005

Dell customer service, which took a major word of mouth shellacking this summer, could learn a lot from my tailor here in Shanghai. His name is “Mr. Tailor.” His business has grown exponentially in the 8 years he has been making clothes for me (his prices are VERY cheap). He is so busy that he now outsources much of the work to other tailors around town so he can focus on meeting with clients. Like many of the small Chinese businesses that serve the expat community, he has no advertising, no website, and no product literature.

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McDonald’s (USA) Missed Opportunity for Genuine Word of Mouth

 Personal 10 December 2005

Spike Jones on the awesome Brains on Fire blog rightly takes McDonald’s to task for its current US McRib sandwich “farewell” campaign . What’s unfortunate is that they make it LOOK as if it is a fan club that is behind the campaign, when in fact, it is a McDonald’s sponsored site (you must take pains to notice the disclaimer on the bottom right of the page; see red arrow in the pic above). This is not a grass roots campaign, but an astroturfing (need proxy) campaign. Here’s a bit about the agency behind it.

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All I Ever Needed to Know I Learned from the Internet

 Personal 10 December 2005

Growing up, I had the privilege of learning to play tennis at a country club with professional instruction. I spent a couple of years going to clinic every afternoon after school and during the summers. I was no prodigy, but I developed a competitive game.
So I played tennis the other night with my colleagues Denis, Robin and Moses (apologies for the crappy pic made with a crappy phone; I am in pain witout my Treo). I was looking forward to “schooling” them in tennis (especially after they schooled me in ping pong and badminton).

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Why TiVo will not work in China (and why Video IPOD might)

 Personal 3 December 2005

Fons from China Herald wrote a piece on why TiVo would never work in (mainland) China.
While I don’t necessarily agree with his reasons WHY TiVo would not work in China, I do agree that it will not work. I believe the reason it wouldn’t work is that many within the target audience already have “time-shift” machines: they’re called computers. The ‘net generation in China watches much of their video entertainment on the computer, spending much less time on TV. Chinse Bit Torrent sites are plentiful, each filled with local, Taiwanese, Hong Kongnese and overseas TV shows and movies. Some of my staff have multiple external hard drives filled with media downloaded from the Internet. Almost none have DVD players. Check out the waiting area on any flight to China: it will be filled with Chinese ‘netizens, notebook computers open, playing videos downloaded from the ‘net.

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China ‘net stars not just for geeks

 Personal 30 November 2005

My partner Patrick today suggested that one of the cool things about net culture in China is that it closely maps mainstream consumer/pop culture. I think he is dead on.
Let’s take recent Chinese net stars The Back Dorm Boys. Check out one of their first videos here if you are in China and here if you are outside China (b/c download speed may vary outside the Great Fire Wall).

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How did I get here? The American dream in China

 Personal 29 November 2005

How did you get to China? This, aside from “can you use chopsticks,” is the most frequently asked question of a foreigner living in China. So, I think it is appropriate to answer this with my first post on this blog.

Huateng 1999 Chinese New Year Party (I’m circled in red, in the back)

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