A reader in Shanghia informed me that he was unable to visit globalbydesign.com. A second reader has found this to be the case as well. So it’s looking very much like Global by Design has been designated by the powers that be as “ban-worthy.”
Since most of my customers are based outside of China, this isn’t a huge issue for me (yet), but I can certainly feel the pain of a company that does rely on this market (which is pretty much every major company these days).
China only has two ISPs covering the country, both of which are state-controlled. All Internet traffic going into the country is throttled quite a bit to allow for both filtering of content as well as to encourage foreign companies to set up in-country Web sites (which can be even more tightly controlled). The way to tell if a Web site is hosted within China — look for the “ICP” license number at the bottom of the Web page. Google China has one while Google in Chinese does not.
Getting this license number isn’t easy and it’s still no guarantee your site won’t be banned. In fact, that’s what is so troubling about the random censorship — the fact that it seems so random. I spoke with one company awhile back that found itself banned. It never really found out why the blockage occurred or why the ban was suddenly lifted two weeks later. Perhaps a competitor had a certain somebody in power pull the plug. Who knows. Because there is no transparency to the process, or “rule book” that people can all play by, everyone is left guessing and a little bit paranoid (which is precisely the point).
And I’m sure this little post won’t help my cause any.
I’d love to hear from others in China to see if this is just a citywide ban or something broader.