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Korean Internet RULES! but your not invited.

even foreigners IN korea have a tough time penetrating the veil

6:37 am on Jun 22, 2005 (gmt 0)

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wasssup all?!?

I've been let out of the dungeon again ^^(thx woz. lol) to blab again about an interesting article today about the Korean internet.... how its advanced structure and savvy netizens is also its virtue and vice.

Korea brands itself as a global Internet powerhouse, but its campaign has come under fire because the nationí»s strong Internet presence has failed to embrace foreigners and triggered many side effects

Article [search.hankooki.com]

btw... allow me my moment of delusions of grandieur: but I GOT (maaabe?) to have at least a something to do with this comment:
"Some overseas commentators say that watching Korean people live with the Internet is like having a crystal ball that looks into the future."

I've posted that line like how many times around here and eleswhere over the years? (*bangs head up against wall*).

(ok, moment over) lol

Anyway this guy sums stuff up well...including the frustrations of trying to even participate (I can't tell you how many times I've wanted to throw my computer out the window trying to sign up for stuff in korean sites).

The DMZ between the Korean internet and Rest of the World is big, thick and strong. And it has nothing to do with nucs (haha).

I beat my head up against the wall regularily trying to convince people outside the "Korea internet"(like *ahem* in here) about how more attention should be payed to the stuff going on out here, and then beat the other side of my head trying to explain all the cool stuff and great stuff outside Korean internet.


Please excuse me as I soapbox a bit (I don't get out much. :p):

I have to say that this is fairly representative or analogous to the HALLU wave (korean cultural products, like TV dramas and movies) that is apparently sweeping asia (namely china, japan and much of SE Asia) as well as the internet. (I mean its funny to think that I even refer to it as "the Korean internet" as they really are different things.


the inclusive and often "mania" driven culture (as I've said "gotta do it the korean way") permeates all levels of business and society here (including the internet), as I've said and can't stress enough. But that has, imo, allowed korea to advance well beyond (in many cases) the rest of the world in many areas, or certainly at least, along a different path.

Either way, Korean "stuff" is a very distinctly Koreanized. Such that, things done in Korea ARE distinctly Korean, ie: they can be branded, sold, capitalized, whathaveyou as such.

To repeat: Korea is like a true "local" niche market...only its HUGE

that applies to everything in Korea but in terms of the internet: take that population (30 million netizens--of 48 million total), make them VERY internet savvy (relatively speaking), give them nature conducive for "mania/trends" and game/techie related stuff, put them all pyscho fast broadband...then throw up walls towards most anything else non-korean internet.

you have a good recipe for some interesting internet products.

(disclaimer: note, I am NOT saying that koreans do not LIKE things non-korean or any such qualitative implication. For example, much of the "singular focus" I think could be attributed to simply preferring one's native language (duh) and not being about the read english well. totally different conversatoin.)


the irony of course, this flies in the face of the drive to be an more globalized, international and "open" ...prerequistites to be an "advanced" country (to go by the economic and world stats type definitions). Every day the paper is littered with articles relating to such matters of local vs. international.

Its quite true that for every new cool korean internet thing (for example) I find/learn, I can easily find something else that I can't believe my korean compatriots have straightup never even heard of. Amazon who? googlewhat? S.E.O huh? etc etc. (this is true for non-internet related business and pop-culture things here as well.) I still don't even know WHY they make everyone jump through 290384098 hoops just to register on a site).

its a quite a paradox--on many levels. Ya gotta "open up" if you want to join the internationalization and advancement in a true world power.... or so they say. But if Korean internet is any example, that might just water down your drive and creativity ("I don't wanna play by those rules").

eitherway.....I'll say it AGAIN. Korean internet market deems watching. It WILL open up slowly here and there....and here and there ppl will start catching on

ok. that's it from me for now....

gotta go tailgate the googlebus......LOL. ^^ :p

btw: saw the google bus the other day. 11pm at night at the Korean night market. Man, that thing still cracks me up....but apparetnly its being quite well received. It IS true that grass roots campaigns can work VERY well here (for many of the reasons I stated above)...so maybe big G is onto something afterall. guess we'll have to see^^. I'm still waiting for the BIG PUSH.....which I've waiting for like 3 years now for, but hey....... it will happen... dangit! IT WILL! lol (maybe my crystal ball is broken. lol).

[edited by: Woz at 7:36 am (utc) on June 22, 2005]
[edit reason] Fixed Scrollism. [/edit]

7:11 am on June 22, 2005 (gmt 0)

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oh no! he's out again! ;)

Interesting article Grendel. I thought Japan made it difficult for non-Japanese speakers, but at least the portals here aren't collecting that much information. What is the reasoning behind making everyone register via residency numbers? That seems a bit stringent to me as an outsider. It smacks of 'big brother' a bit too much. I guess that would pretty much eliminate comment spam in blogs if everyone knows who you are...but what do you do if you want some anonymity?

5:10 am on June 24, 2005 (gmt 0)

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but what do you do if you want some anonymity?

you're pretty screwed.

(up to recently, that is). they just changed the law so that sites no longer are allowed to ask for your registration number (or at least, you're not required to provide it.) again, national registration number is akin to social security number in the states), but you don't actually see it implemented yet many places (ie: most still seem to require it).

that said, they still use it for other stuff, like password retrieval etc. so it ends up being the same thing. its a real problem, imo. (for consumers).

What is the reasoning behind making everyone register via residency numbers?

1. from their perspective its a good thing. for many and obvious reasons.

2. they did it, imo, cause they could. wouldn't you? (no really).

To generalize, there is still a strong conservativism/socialistic undertine strong here at work here. So as you pointed out, knowing all that makes it harder for "unacceptable" behavior. Spam, pr0n, stats, whatever, etc etc. Its actallly a marketer's dream to be able to get all the info, no?

I imagine at the time of early internet growth here, there wasn't anything as a precendent to stop them from collecting it. No red flags, so to speak. I could be over-stating, but I wouldn't be surprised if good ol making it harder for n.koreans as well to have SOMEthing to do with it too.

That seems a bit stringent to me as an outsider. It smacks of 'big brother' a bit too much.

its not only that. but its hypocritical, honestly.

Korea is probabaly has the harshest and unreasonable (by standards of all other advanced countries around the world) laws restricting direct mailing, telemarketing, legimate DB list sales, fund raising, etc etc. (ie: all of CRM and target marketing. lol). The claim is because of privacy issues.

Its ironic cause these are legimate practices that have no where near the data on a person at just getting a persons social security number (smallest level for korean marketing data is at the neighborhood level i believe. Everything has to be statistically determined. ie: its all very standard marketing data). But their is a huge hooplah about the whole thing nowadays. even opt-in mail isn't necessary "safe" or "ok" to do mailings to. (not worth explaining everything but....its good enough to know, its very riduculous).

Yet, at the same, portals, ecommerse and other community sites carry social security numbers and related data for like...... 70% of the population....for YEARS. ppl are so used to using their social security numbers for everything they sign up for, they don't even question it.

go figure.

7:11 am on June 24, 2005 (gmt 0)

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I was thinking that maybe because the portals had so much information on their individual users and their habits that the Korean sites were doing such an advanced job with these services. Then your comment about the draconian privacy restrictions tripped me up. The amount of personal information required to sign up for these portals alone would give these companies ample market data to work with. There aren't too many other areas on the net where you could get away with that sort of thing on a national scale. I think we have a lot of unique factors coming together in Korea that are at work here...and the funny thing is that it seems to be working. ;)

If any of the major portals in the West started demanding this sort of personal identification and data there would be major protests. I know that people in the US would be a bit reluctant to give their Social Security number to Yahoo.

1:57 pm on July 21, 2005 (gmt 0)

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this is getting ridiculous....
tons of articles nowadays cause now some forces are pushing for the required (again) use of real names on the internet (like community sites, portals etc) because of an increase in cyber stalking/predators.

Don't have time to pull up various articles (will try later), its just nutz to watch the run around. People are just floating on whichever the wind takes em about this stuff. As I've said, stuff can get really blown outta proporation here easily since everyone is soo dang wired and into group movements.

Anyway..... it won't go through (won't be able to change the law) and will die out as issue, IMO, Or at least it will in its current form (unless the govt. can find a separate and safe way to verify identity other than social security number).

But still......
its illustrative of the fact its an ongoing issue.

Of course, we can all understand the reasonings behind this, and I commend the desire battle against these despicable cyber predators.

That said, this would be a huge step backwards, imo, if for some bizarre reason it did go through as it would only further alienate the rest of the world from the korean internet and a globalization effort. Education and PR campaign about the existence and warning signs of these predators, etc etc, would a better,more viable solution, imo. (in case you are wondering. lol).

4:05 am on Aug 3, 2005 (gmt 0)

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Hey, Grendel.
I didn't hear from you a while.
And thanks for the posts.

I have been in that Korean Internet for three months now working at one of the largest ecommerce sites in Korea.

It's very interesting indeed here.

No SEO and little PPC (relatively).

sites have all the critical market/customer data from the registrations yet they don't know how to use all that fully.

The resident ID numbers have a unique identifier that can tell your age and birth date and gender (isn't is amazing?)

I didn't like signing up in Korean web sites for long time for that reason. Why should I give my resident ID number?(more important ID number than SSN in the US in many ways.)

Anyways, I am trying to get used to the korean internet stuff as Grendel mentioned as soon as possible.

One of the reasons as I see that Korean sites and the government do all those things is it's easy. You can do whatever you think is important and neccessary. Virtually no resources are limited (web design and programming). Surprise, surprise.

In the US i had to fight to get very little time from IS or creative team to implement marketing campaigns. Now here I can ask for whatever I like...(it's good thing, right? NO!)

Everyone asks for everything, which is implemented in most cases. There are so many things to do. That's why the Korean sites are so busy from the main home page. If you have enough resources, you don't need to optimize your efforts or make effective campaigns, etc.

That adds up to ..uh.. kind of chaos. It will improve as businesses here mature.

I enjoy talking about the Internet and marketing...so anyone (especially Grendel) is welcome to contact me to talk about the "Korean Internet" (BTW, I like the term. It is exactly right.. ^^)