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Thursday, June 11, 2009

Let’s make sure we are not putting Chinese citizens at risk in lieu of profits.

In case you have not heard, the Chinese government is requiring that all manufacturers of PCs being shipped to China be preinstalled with a software package designed to filter pornography and other content called “Green Dam” which is produced by Jinhui Computer System Engineering,

According to Zhang Chenming, general manager of Jinhui Computer System Engineering, the concerns of Green Dam are overstated. He claims the software simply blocks pornography and can be deleted or turned off by the PC owners at any time.

Other sources outside of China are concerned that it is an effort for China’s government to take tighter control over the internet. Some suggest the software may actually allow the Chinese government to spy on the Internet user and tightly control content. I am not sure if this is true but it certainly seems highly likely given their recent actions in bringing down Youtube, Google and other social media sites and blogs during the anniversary of the Tiananmen Square incident.

According to the Wall Street Journal and other publications, PCs manufactured in China have already complied with the mandate and have preinstalled Green Dam. These include PCs manufactured by Lenovo, Inspur and Hedy.

U.S. based computer manufacturers such as Dell and Hewlett-Packard are confused and are not sure exactly what to do at this stage. The mandate is for all PCs to have the software preinstalled as of July 1 of this year.

All I can say (and will say) is I hope Dell and the others examine the software more closely to determine exactly how it might be used against the citizens of China before they blindly install the software on their PCs. If in fact it is like Mr. Chenming has stated, then fine. If not, then we must be concerned with its intent and how it might be used to harm or oppress the citizens of China.

To read more on this topic there are several recent links to the NY Times, Reuters and the WSJ you might wish to consider:

NY Times Article: http://www.nytimes.com/2009/06/09/world/asia/09china.html
Reuters Article: http://www.reuters.com/article/idUSTRE5590ZX20090610
WSJ Article: http://online.wsj.com/article/SB124464392279802213.html


Monday, June 8, 2009

Interactive marketing spend takes a hit first time in 7 years

The numbers are in from the IAB and for the first time since 2001, interactive marketing spend is actually down versus the same point in time one year ago. But before we get all excited, let's look at the numbers over the past year in total.

To be fair, interactive marketing spend throughout 2008 has been relatively flat and now it has taken its first dip. The graph below from the IAB website clearly shows this fact.

Source: www.iab.net

And when we compare this trend for interactive marketing spend to traditional marketing spend, we notice about a year lag. Traditional marketing spend actually started to decline about a year ago when the recession first hit.

So does this lagging relationship of traditional versus interactive marketing spend make sense?

Let's think about it.

When the recession first hit about a year ago, the first thing to get cut was traditional advertising. Marketers were forgoing expensive direct mail acquisition campaigns in favor of cheaper email retention efforts. Additionally, needing to prove ROI to upper management, advertising dollars also began to shift from less measurable sources like print advertising to those more measurable like search.

Now, let's fast forward to today. The economy is still showing signs of trouble. Budgets need to be cut again. What's left? The answer -- interactive.

Will this drop in interactive marketing spend continue into the second quarter? Will Forrester's $26 billion spend estimate for 2009 interactive marketing spend be adjusted downward? I hope not. I guess we will all know in a few months.

Lets all keep our fingers crossed.