The Importance of a Name

When the China Blog List got a redesign and its own domain, I added a list to the front page called “10 Best Blogs.” This name was somewhat misleading, because it was based on clicks to those blogs through the China Blog List. Later the name was changed to “10 Hottest Blogs,” which is much more accurate.

It soon became clear that the blog in the #1 “hottest blog” position was hard to dislodge. The #1 “hottest blog” gets the most clicks because it’s #1, which keeps it at #1. John B and I tried some ideas to make it fairer, and they have worked pretty well. Since then, several blogs have come and gone from the #1 position. I have noticed that the most influential factor as to what puts a blog in the #1 position is clearly the name.

The blog that started at #1 was the Shanghai Streets photo blog. It was there for a while while we tweaked the ranking algorithm. Pretty soon after a new blog called My Chinese Life rose quickly to the top. Apparently people liked the name. When John changed the name of his site, however, he quickly fell from #1 and was replaced by Chinese Chic. Ah, we all love alliteration.

Chinese Chic was #1 for a long time, but has finally been displaced. The new victor? Sex and Shanghai, the tales of a sex-hungry foreign guy. It rose to the top of the “hottest” list a mere two days after being added to the CBL. I have a feeling this one is going to be hard to dislodge.

The moral here? If you’re looking for traffic for your blog (from the CBL, at least), the name matters a lot.


John Pasden

John is a Shanghai-based linguist and entrepreneur, founder of AllSet Learning.


  1. Jason S. Says: May 23, 2006 at 10:45 am

    I can’t seem to access the “Sex and Shanghai” blog. Whether it be from the CBL or from the link on your post.

  2. Jason,

    All blogspot blogs are blocked in China, so if you’re trying to access from China you’ll need a proxy. The CBL provides proxied links via anonymouse in the form of a little mouse head graphic.

  3. Good thing he’s in ‘Sex and Shanghai’ and not ‘Sex and the City’, where he’d be guarantted a one-off ‘ New jersey geek’, ‘Over the hill loser’, ‘Mr. Short Penis’ or any geeky undesirable roles that are joked by the girls.
    There he is in Shanghai, a self-claimed ‘Mr. Big’ no shy about his serious oriental fetish.

    How about this: “40 years old Virgin – Until I Made It to Shanghai”. Or “Laowai Powers – the chinese peasant girl who shagged me”

  4. Or maybe “I decided to copy Muzimei idea to get popular”

  5. wow. i had a lot of issues with china when i left – predominantly related to almost every white guy there being a.) a giant giant tosser in social exile from his own country and b.) an opportunistic freak preying on very young girls with even younger ideas about life.

    you can see the guy is so super proud of himself that he can’t post his name or picture.

    i can’t even begin to describe how disturbing i find that site and unfortunately, how entirely true it is because i have had the misfortune of meeting people just like him in china.

  6. Shutty,

    Be nice to white guys. Please.


    Can you change my blog name to “Hot Jamie Sex Doom…All the Time?” I don’t seem to be getting any traffic as it is now. Thanks.

  7. proteal Says: May 24, 2006 at 10:10 am

    My thoughts after looking through Sex and Shanghai:
    I wish China would banish pukes like him.

  8. Anonymouse is not working for me at the moment, but I have some doubts that the blog could be as bad as a certain breed of blogs by foreign men in Thailand ( and friends).

  9. How can you link to that site. Even if half the stuff this guys says is true, he’s shamelessly taking advantage of naive Chinese girls. It’s disgusting.

  10. Reader for a while Says: May 25, 2006 at 12:36 am

    Your link to that aweful blog caused me to have to even take a look at that blog. Now I am totally disgusted.

  11. I’ve thought about this question, too- how much does a name matter? I think it used to matter a lot more back in the late 90’s when everyone was using Yahoo and Altavista. Back then, search rankings were pretty primitive and the titles and URLs of sites mattered a lot more than they do now. Now, the better content has a somewhat better chance of floating to the top.

    Tracking links might be a pain, but I bet if you implemented some sort of moderation system, similar to that used on Slashdot, it would keep the really loathed sites with catchy names from dominating the #1 spot.

  12. Mark,

    I don’t follow you exactly… Since we’re talking about CBL ranking and not SE ranking, keywords are irrelevant. It’s more about the psychological effect of a name. With the current system how it is, the only way a blog is going to get into the “Hottest 10” list is by being added as new and showing up first in the “Newest 10.” Blogs in the “Newest 10” that have catchy names make it into the “Hottest 10,” and the good ones often stay there a very long time.

    I’m not sure what you mean about “tracking links” and moderation… Clicks are tracked so that a blog can’t get more than one click-vote from one IP every 24-hour period. I’m not sure how moderation would work…

  13. I guess I wasn’t very clear. In the past, SE rankings valued outgoing SE traffic (clicks) more than it did links (votes). Just as with a SE, users are unlikely to repeatedly go to your CBL and click through it to get to a blog they like. If they like the blog, they’ll probably just bookmark it and then go to it directly during future visits (thus failing to register clicks on your CBL). By giving credit just for a click, as opposed to a vote of some kind, it pretty much ensures that the quality of a given blog has little impact on its ranking.

    On Slashdot, regular users are occasionally given moderation points when they log in. They can moderate posts up for being informative, insightful or funny, or moderate them down for being a troll, flamebait, or redundant post. Posts which have a negative rating are invisible unless users specifically change their settings. Posts with very high rankings are automatically shown more prominently. By allowing regular CBL users to have moderation points at regular intervals, and ranking blogs based on the percentage of positive moderation vs negative moderation, you’d mostly eliminate the problem of rankings being based on the names of blogs and the problem of blogs and the top of the list being stuck there. Another site that handles this issue pretty well is IMDB.

    PS by tracking links, I meant ranking the blogs based on how many incoming links they have, a la Technorati.

  14. Mark,

    I see. The thing is, unlike Slashdot, CBL users don’t log in. They just visit. If we ever make an even better of the site, we might consider adding something like that.

  15. Shutty: You’re totally right. Of course China is full of guys like me. We’re 90% a bunch of bastards.

    I think it’s important to be honest about this. Maybe then more people will begin to realize just how guys like me live. And maybe some young Chinese girls will become a bit more cautious. You yourself say it’s disturbing because it’s true. What better reason is there to write about it?

    I am not proud of myself. Surely it is obvious I know I behave pretty badly? That’s unlikely to change, but writing about it is at least a way to let others know how guys like me behave.

    The reason I do not put my photo up is because I would be identifiable. If I was identifiable, the women I write about would be too. That’s the same reason I give the women fake names and do not put up their photos. I do have some respect for them, even if it does not appear that way.

    Stuart: Of course it’s disgusting. But it’s fun for me, and fun for the thousand other white guys just like me. This is what life is like in Shanghai. This is what we are. Look: I am not going to change. The girls are easy, and 90% of men on the planet would take advantage of that if they could.

    Proteal: Ban me and you ban 90% of guys here. There is nothing special about me. I am wholly ordinary. And if you met me, you would not guess I was like this. I do not go to bars much, do not hang out with other expats.

    Jason S: The blog is also at

  16. Wow, even if 90% of these men could be a pig, I doubt they are as dumb as you are.
    It’s not about easy women and playboys, (in fact, ‘playboy’ is the last title you can earn in native UK) it’s about a dorky shameless geek with no talents, self-esteems or ambitions exploiting underpriviledged girls.
    You are being anonymous because you respect these women? No, because you are scared of your lies getting busted, and most importantly, REAL judgements from westerm men/women who would see your pictures and reveal to these sweet chinese girls who you really are.

    I’m sorry it’s not about honesty, you are a liar and a fraud. If you want to get really honest about yourself, try putting yourself in the City, I bet you will quickly retreat yourself to Chinatown and still find yourself not even being noticed. I don’t think any of them would worry about you being ‘banished’, either.

  17. what can i say? i kind of admire your honesty here. that said, while i believe the basic premise of your site, i think you have embellished some of the scenarios.

    i mean, it happens all the time in china and yet, nobody ever owns up to it. somebody has to be doing it. and they were definitely doing it at my school. in fact, there were at least 3 of you at my school and we had a VERY small staff.

    so kudos on that yo! you’re a slug and all, but props to owning it.

    and doom, you know i love you. and you’re a white guy. so there.

  18. been there Says: May 28, 2006 at 1:55 am

    you prudish [people] are so sad. you’re commenting on chinese women who he knows, has spent intimate times with, listened to their innermost feelings. what do you know about them?

    what you know is nothing more than preconceptions (and poorly conceived at that) based on your prudish christian conservative values. this guy is living a reality you can’t imagine and that you happen to find icky, and that’s all it is. i hope he publishes it and it’ll hit the bestseller lists. the grubby truth is always a tasty attraction to people who’ve only ever lived through permission granted by other people’s values. you’ll bag his novel while lasciviously reading it behind closed doors, wishing you had the gall to do something spontaneous and sexy with your life too.

    go get a life…

  19. Da Xiangchang Says: May 28, 2006 at 4:40 am

    You know, I have absolutely NO problem with this Sex and Shanghai guy. He’s a pervert, can’t get laid in the West, can get laid in the East, so he’s in the East getting laid. What’s the problem here? If some Chinese girls are naive enough to sleep with him, that’s their problem, not his. Besides, what’s the worst thing he’s done: he has sex with women. Whoa, what a crime! I mean, c’mon, even for the most angelic male foreigner, don’t tell me getting girlfriends a whole lot easier than in the West ain’t one of the main reasons for being in China anyways. So why the hypocrisy?

    And here’s a website name guaranteed to get responses: Haha.

  20. yo dogg, i dont think anybody is bothered about the guy having lots of sex. i know lots of people like that. and i dont think the guy is into sharing intimate details and whatnot. hes pretty clear about being in it for the sex.

    i think the basic idea here is the age of the girls in china and the mental age of the girls in china.

    for an unhappy example, a guy at my school got into something with a student. he didnt want anything serious, most likely because he was married and all. and the student committed suicide by bouncing off the top of her dorm one morning about a week before her graduation.

    i think thats the bigger concern here.

    man if my friends knew i got called a prude, theyd be shitting turkies right about now. thats funny stuff yo.

  21. I do agree with one thing that Chinabounder said. A lot of laowai (I think 90% is high…but you are talking about Shanghai) look down on guys who shamelessly bag a lot of women and brag about it saying they are sick, lame, lecherous, etc. Yet those same laowai, maybe more discreetly, do exactly the same thing because they can. There is a lot denial at work in the male expat community.

    Of course I am as pure as the wind driven snow and try extremely hard to not get laid everywhere I go.

  22. Well somehow I managed to hit the number 1 hottest CSL blog with the super unriveting name 英国人在上海. Now I know there are only 21 blogs in the list but still, how can mine be as popular with Chinese people as Sex in Shanghai is with English speakers? Well, I’m not complaining. At least I don’t need to change the name to get more hits!

  23. Yet those same laowai, maybe more discreetly, do exactly the same thing >because they can. There is a lot denial at work in the male expat >community.

    Of course I am as pure as the wind driven snow and try extremely hard to >not get laid everywhere I go.

    Exactly. Don’t complain when the people point their fingers at you and you future Chinese wife calling ‘loser/paedophile and sell-out/prostitute’ and your half-Chinese kids called ‘son/daughter of ….’ It’s true with 90% of the guys chasing the women there anyways (as some admitted) and if these white men are allowed to act stupid and jeuvenile, so are the others.

  24. hey now, if you can’t be nice to doom, i will have to take you down.

  25. Reader for a while Says: May 30, 2006 at 8:52 am

    It is so very unfortunate and sad that China even allows this kind of filth to come into its country. I am mourning the death of a pure China that I knew. Someday there will be another Mao revolution to get rid of all this filth.

    I am a Chinese girl who has a hard time accepting the fact that some of my compatriots are so STUPID that they would subject themselves to such subhuman behaviour.

  26. Reader for a while,

    You’re welcome to say anything you like about me. Likely it’s true. But to talk of a `pure’ China suggests you, like most people in China today, are profoundly ignorant of the history of your own country. Guys like me may be sleazy, but we’re a lot better informed about China than most of its citizens seem to be. For a Chinese person to seek another Mao revolution is as asinine and crass as a Jewish person to seek another Hitler.

  27. Da Xiangchang Says: May 31, 2006 at 2:45 am


    You’re bringing up the most extreme case. The girl no doubt already had serious emotional problems, which a horny foreigner only exacerbated. I seriously doubt a normal girl would kill herself over a garden-variety foreigner. I mean, let’s face it, most laowais don’t exactly look like Brad Pitt. And I still don’t understand what’s wrong with Chinese girls developing some sexual experience with a foreigner. They’ll probably have the same heartbreak or worse with Chinese guys. Again, the crime is (gulp) SEX.

  28. dxc,
    i dont think anybody is surprised about your stance on the matter. thats why we love you so.

    but seriously, you have to admit, its not that extreme of a case really. china has a pretty high suicide rate and a wealth of classic literature devoted to the notions of forbidden love and the like. rational or not, most college kids are looking at love in a very hollywood way. or a very disney way.

    and im just talking on the college kids/younger people here. i think a lot of the older girls are playing the guys just as hard as they are playing them. where the guys smell sex, the girls smell money and a green card, or just the popularity of dating a white guy.

  29. So I felt like being a punk.

  30. Nothing new in this chinabounder blog.

  31. ffffffffffffffff Says: August 30, 2006 at 6:18 am

    Here r my 2 cents.

    compatriot is a typical british word.
    american always say fellow countryman.
    Bush’s 911 speach used fellow countryman, not compatriot.

    from all aspects, British English is more interior to American English.

    In america dominated world, british is merely a dialect as chinglish, singlish and so on. They are all cumbersome dialects.

    Many words and phrases in British are medieval and outdated. When you listen to a British, you can immediately smell the scent of corpse. It’s a decaying, rotting, dying language.

    On the average, it takes a british a little bit longer time on pronoucing long syllables than a american . They’s why they prefer to use shorter words.
    They’s why they try hard to avoid nice idioms because idioms have longer
    syllables. They’s why they are less creative.

    Thus, british as a language, is blunt, rude, assultive, offensive, it isn’t up to snuff.

    I always get shook up when i know people from British-speaking countries and territories speak poor rough broken British English. They spend so many years to study stupid, out of season british grammar and finally have goast of a chance to speak it well.

    It’s greek to me why people waste time and money learning a useless language, british english.

  32. Da Xiangchang Says: August 30, 2006 at 8:09 am


    The funniest thing is when foreigners prefer Brit English over American. I lived in Romania for 2 years and all these Romanians were so proud of their Brit accents. They even stressed the Brit pronunciations more as if that made them more sophisticated. WTF?!! I mean, just cuz you try to talk like Shakespeare doesn’t make you Shakespeare. But I can’t trash the Brits too much. I loved my time there, and they are Americans’ cousins even if 75% of their newspapers seemed anti-American. (Now, why the #^(&) anyone would want to learn that useless language French in this day and age is beyond me.)

  33. DXC,

    what’s wrong with you? you has no sympathy to that poor gal, even she is not normal, she still deserve something better.

    you and chinabound share the same typical excuses of a rapist.

  34. If there is no Rape, if the girls want to sleep with him… what is the problem ?

  35. […] First, Chinabounder, or someone claiming to be Chinabounder, has posted comments on at least one other blog. I noticed them on this post at John Pasden’s Sinosplice from back in May. If Chinabounder has commented elsewhere, then John and the owners of those other blogs could compare notes and report back to us whether Chinabounder’s posting IP is in Shanghai or not. (Or in Denver, perhaps.) […]

  36. Song Wukong Says: September 5, 2006 at 6:59 pm

    I am mourning the death of a pure China that I knew. Someday there will be another Mao revolution to get rid of all this filth.

    Ho, ho ….
    1 billion 300 million Chinese toddlers just came out of the forest over the years. Your parents never had sex. Chinese people are too pure for this kid of trash.

    (read your classics again gal; never wondered why your parents always kept Hong Lou Meng up the shelf but still kept it in their book collection?)

  37. […] while back I mentioned a blog called Sex in Shanghai in which a Western guy tells about all his exploits with Chinese […]

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