5.20.2005

The Mature Man Must Publish 17 Blogs

According to Adam L. Penenberg in Wired, Edwyn Chan aims to become the Nick Denton of China. Denton, once the Si Newhouse of blogs due to oft-repeated parallels between GM and Condé Nast (in terms of hype and structure, not scale or number of Town Cars) is now himself the transportable analogy of choice for upcoming nontrepeneurs. There are similarities, as Chan sold off an early net venture and relocated to a nominally foreign land (he's from Hong Kong). Blogs in China might seem a tough sell, and Chan admits there are obstacles. He has the expected difficult dealings with the ossified Chinese commercial bureaucracy, but potentially more worrisome are potential conflicts with the gong an political net police. Sure, they don't harass you like embittered publicists or litigious celebrities, but Chinese cops are more likely to, say, entomb you in a shale quarry.

Those risks aside, Chan's Blogku Media is pursuing the dream, and he's already got three blogs up and running. It's a struggle to lure investors though, since few people in China have any idea what a blog is or does. Actually, that's probably a good thing for Chan, given blog advertising's track record in the States. As Chan says of potential sugar daddies, "All they know is that it's something hot which they hope to be able to cash out hopefully in less than a year." Ha ha ha ha! Cash out! In less than a year! From a blog! Pardon us as we laugh through our sobbing, and vice versa.

We won't descend to mocking Babelfished Chinese web pages, but we thought we could at least get the translated gist of the Blogku "humor" blog, ShuangA, since humor is universal. We certainly like the repurposed shouting Pac-Man mascot, but most of the links seem to concern romantic advice or movie tips (like the imperious "The mature man must watch 10 movies," including eclectic choices Roman Holiday, Braveheart, E.T., and The Seventh Seal). Perhaps the jokes are simply too inscrutable for the decadent occidental mind. If we're reading it right, there also doesn't seem to be any actual blogger commentary, just a descriptive headline and excerpt of each linked item. Could this represent the premature Sploidification of the nascent Chinese blog scene? Are you as ashamed of reading that sentence as we are of writing it?

Of course not. If the protocapitalist protoplasm simmering in China can produce all those other boom economies, there's no reason a Chinese Nick Denton can't emerge and thrive. Once Chan begins downplaying his own hype and gets hit in the face with dofu fa by the flashy editor of Boxun News, he'll know he's arrived.