Censorship and Trade



A while back I wrote some thoughts about re-framing Internet censorship as a trade barrier. While I’m still uncertain about the consequences of doing so, I recently found this article (via freedom4internet) arguing:

Internet censorship is effectively preventing thousands of American and European e-commerce websites from reaching Chinese consumers, declare Internet marketing consultants Backbone IT Group in a recent study.

I cannot find a “study”, but did find a press release by a search engine optimization company that provides services in China.

The main argument seems to be that sites hosted outside of China take 20 times as long to load as they do inside China. I don’t doubt that foreign hosted websites take longer to load in fact that is why Google and others now have servers in China. But I’d like to know how these load times stack up to other countries. Is it because of China’s filtering? Or is it something else.

I ran a few tests from websitepulse (see below) and China seemed to lead sites faster than Singapore and Australia. Rigorous tests would definitely be more appropriate, but I think these anecdotal tests indicate that a closer look at the methodology and data for this study would be prudent.

I am also wondering just how many ecommerce sites accept payment from China, from Chinese credit cards. In the past, Godaddy confirmed that they don’t process transactions from China (this was a while ago, it could be different now). I’m not sure how widespread this practice is but I wouldnt be surprised if many ecommerce sites don’t accept payment from China.

Some load times from websitepulse.com:

Tested From: Beijing, China
Tested At: 2008-09-25
08:43:47 (GMT -04:00)
URL Tested: https://www.godaddy.com/
Resolved As: 208.109.132.201
Status: OK
Response Time: 2.331 sec
DNS: 0.001 sec
Connect: 0.218 sec
Redirect: 0.000 sec
First Byte: 1.126 sec
Last Byte: 0.986 sec
Size: 147825 bytes

Tested From: Seattle, WA
Tested At: 2008-09-25
08:43:47 (GMT -04:00)
URL Tested: https://www.godaddy.com/
Resolved As: 208.109.132.201
Status: OK
Response Time: 0.473 sec
DNS: 0.001 sec
Connect: 0.040 sec
Redirect: 0.000 sec
First Byte: 0.231 sec
Last Byte: 0.201 sec
Size: 147825 bytes

Tested From: Beijing, China
Tested At: 2008-09-25
08:38:29 (GMT -04:00)
URL Tested: https://www.godaddy.com/
Resolved As: 208.109.132.201
Status: OK
Response Time: 5.958 sec
DNS: 0.571 sec
Connect: 3.218 sec
Redirect: 0.000 sec
First Byte: 1.133 sec
Last Byte: 1.035 sec
Size: 147824 bytes

Tested From: Singapore
Tested At: 2008-09-25
08:38:29 (GMT -04:00)
URL Tested: https://www.godaddy.com/
Resolved As: 208.109.132.201
Status: OK
Response Time: 7.000 sec
DNS: 1.605 sec
Connect: 3.232 sec
Redirect: 0.000 sec
First Byte: 1.199 sec
Last Byte: 0.964 sec
Size: 147824 bytes

Tested From: Beijing, China
Tested At: 2008-09-25
08:41:02 (GMT -04:00)
URL Tested: https://www.godaddy.com/
Resolved As: 208.109.132.201
Status: OK
Response Time: 3.296 sec
DNS: 0.001 sec
Connect: 0.218 sec
Redirect: 0.000 sec
First Byte: 2.182 sec
Last Byte: 0.894 sec
Size: 147825 bytes

Tested From: Brisbane, Australia
Tested At: 2008-09-25
08:41:02 (GMT -04:00)
URL Tested: https://www.godaddy.com/
Resolved As: 208.109.132.201
Status: OK
Response Time: 5.277 sec
DNS: 0.352 sec
Connect: 3.187 sec
Redirect: 0.000 sec
First Byte: 0.986 sec
Last Byte: 0.752 sec
Size: 148034 bytes

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