Wednesday, June 29, 2011

(updated with video) got to be kidding me...

Yesterday morning, at one a.m., I arrived back from the Philippines. I had just spent a week roaming around the malls of Manilla and the beaches of Boracay. I had a great time. Yet, arriving back to the daily grind is never fun, reality sets in that life isn't one mango shake at a time. It's even less fun when you find out your favorite short has decided to buy back almost five million dollars worth of stock.

Yet, not all was lost. COGO finally let out the web address to their "leading online platform of Core Technologies for the 42 Million Small and Medium Enterprises ("SME") in China"...

 Here is the full snippet from their press release:

About Cogo Group, Inc.:
Cogo is the leading online platform of Core Technologies for the 42 Million Small and Medium Enterprises ("SME") in China., currently serving Cogo's 1,500 SME and 100 Blue-Chip customers, is an e-commerce platform for customers in tech manufacturing sectors (Smart Meters, Alternative Energy, Autos, Healthcare, Tablets and HDTV), offering designs, product, applications and technical support. Cogo's transaction-based online revenue model centers on its Application Store, offering design solutions and embedded software, and its Product Store, which sells standardized Electronic products. Cogo operates, a unique web-based business networking platform to engage with 50,000 electronic and software engineers, collecting one million data inputs daily. Cogo offers technology from 400 suppliers, including 50 global players like Broadcom, Xilinx, Freescale, Microsoft and Atmel. Cogo has 600 employees, with 300 in engineering and 200 in direct sales and 15 service centers across China
According that snippet, is gotta be some amazing site. Here is a screen shot of the site.

COGO's online platform 

 Yet, there are some big problems. The first, the website looks like a generic catalog site, made with some cookie cutter template. This doesn't look like leading online platform. More like a website you make over the weekend.

The second problem I have deals with page rankings. If you have the leading online platform for 42 million Chinese SMEs, there should a lot of page hits, but with there are so few, there isn't even any data. showing that so few people actually use the sit to engender enough data.

 You might think that Alexa only caters to large websites and doesn't collect data for anything but the top 100 sites, but you'd be wrong. Alexa even has data for beloved blog:

Alexa traffic data for this blog.

Even this blog, with it's 11,510,395 page ranking (so sad) and no sites are linking in (very sad) Alexa has enough data for a traffic ranking.  Ok, maybe you are thinking that since is a Chinese site and there is this Chinese firewall and that's why there isn't enough data. Well, check out all these Chinese sites.
Chinese sites on Alexa

Yeap, Alexa even has data for the Chinese companies. In fact you can find a nice list of 500 Chinese websites here. Even COGO's crappy main website has an Alexa page ranking.

Alexa page ranking for

Another problem I have with COGO's leading platform is their lack of Baidu page results. If you have such a great platform for 42 million SMEs, there should be a lot of Baidu page results. Yet, if you Baidu "cogozon" you only get 3 pages.

Baidu'ing "cogozon" only brings back a scant 3 pages of results

My discerning readers might say, "But Josh, Cogozon is met for the Chinese, why are you searching in English?"  Well, the reason is Cogozon doesn't have a Chinese name.  That's right, Cogozon has to be the only website made for the 42 Million Chinese SMEs that doesn't have a Chinese name.  This means either the website designer and management are incredibly incompetent or this website is just for show...

( site went back online and I completed a video capture tutorial of the sites problems)

[**Note:In the middle of writing this, went down.  On one level this goes to show how poor the site is, but I also wanted to show two severe deficiencies of the site. (1) The all the sites products are in US currency, not in CNY. Which, you would think for a site made for Chinese users would be in CNY (2) There was no way to buy goods online. Once you put an item in your cart, and proceeded to check out. A window popped up saying that you needed to call a certain number to place your order, but you  could not complete your order online.  How can you be a leading online platform if you can't place your order online?**]

Here is a video capture I have completed for It's not the best made video but in the video I show the following dysfunctions of

  • Site name is in English not Chinese 
  • Website has a very basic layout for a leading online platform 
  • The products prices are in USD not CNY even though the site is targeted to Chinese customers 
  • Some of the documents do not work when you try to download them 
  • It is not possible to buy products online, once you get to the checkout they ask you to call a number, not complete the checkout online.

One last thing that makes the whole site even more amazing. Cogo now says they are a leading online platform through, so how long do you think the website has been active? Five years? Three years? Nope, try one month. According to DomainTools created on May, 26, 2011.

Screenshot showing was created on 2011-05-26

That's right, the leading online platform is just over a month old.  Unbelievable.

For anyone who is interested in COGO financial analysis write up, please read my report here.  The brilliant (DELETED) has also written a wonderful analysis here (DELETED) .

I'm off to find myself a mango shake...


  1. Well, there is now at least 1 site that links to here... :)