We recently noticed a peculiar phenomenon over at the China Law Blog. Since about two weeks ago, they started publishing a series of articles with the title, “The End of Cheap China,” followed by something else. We also know Shaun Rein has been marketing his book for months now – “The End of Cheap China.” (Allen will be writing a review, by the way.) The interesting thing is that the China Law Blog makes no mention of the book whatsoever in their series of articles.
Now, do a search on “The End of Cheap China” on Google. Unsurprisingly, the book shows up at the top due to Amazon’s, Rein’s, and the publisher’s marketing efforts. However, look at the next five top search results (#2 through #6) from Google (results were at the time of this writing):
www.amazon.com/End–Cheap–China-Economic…/dp/111817206X$12.98 – In stock
China is known for manufacturing cheap products, thanks largely to the country’s vast supply of low-cost workers. But China is changing, and the glut of cheap …
www.forbes.com/sites/…/the-end-of-cheap–china-is-growing-near/Dec 13, 2011 – This article is by Shaun Rein, whose book The End of Cheap China: Economic and Cultural Trends That Will Disrupt the World will be …
blogs.wsj.com/chinarealtime/…/china-watch-subversive-p… – Hong Kong3 days ago – A poem threatens to send another dissident to jail, how to prepare for the end of cheap China, happier headlines for Apple and more.
www.chinalawblog.com/…/the_end_of_cheap_china_part_iii_how_y…4 days ago – We have been writing frequently regarding the end of cheap Chinabecause we are just about every day seeing how this impacts our (mostly …
www.chinalawblog.com/…/the_end_of_cheap_china_part_iv_more_…2 days ago – In my previous post in this series on the end of cheap China, I noted that the risks relating to purchases from Chinese manufacturers are rising …
www.jingdaily.com/…/book-preview-the-end-of-cheap–china-by-sha…Dec 1, 2011 – The End Of Cheap China: Economic And Cultural Trends That Will Disrupt … Hitting stores in March of next year, The End of Cheap China by …
Note that #3 is the WSJ’s China blog linking to one of China Law Blog’s articles.
Is this a coincidence?
As a topic, this is something the China Law blog writes about from time to time for sure. Could the blog use a different title and not obfuscate Rein’s book? Absolutely. Just use your imagination: “China is no longer cheap,” “Rising Chinese labor cost,” “Cheap China labor no more,” and whatever.
For those of us who blog, we think about optimizing our articles for search engines from time to time. So, if I want to ride the popularity of Rein’s book, I put his book in the article title. When someone hears Rein talking about his book on CNBC or some other big network, they might search for it on the Internet. If my article shows up in the search results, then I potentially benefit in gaining more traffic for the blog.
Now consider this. What if Rein and his book are less well known? What if the China Law Blog articles show up higher in the search on Google than the book? That would have a drowning out effect on the book and be damaging to sales prospects.
One may argue the China Law Blog didn’t know about the book. That’d be nonsense. Rein is a “China hand.” They have written against Rein’s views about China in the past.
I am not a lawyer and don’t know about copyright laws. So, legally, perhaps, book titles are just titles and unlike a trademark or service mark where others are precluded from using them.
And, sure, I am catching the popularity wave of Rein’s book, “The End of Cheap China” with this article. At least this article refers to the book!