History of Internet Mercenaries

History of Internet Mercenaries

DOI: 10.4018/978-1-4666-4578-3.ch003
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The practice of Internet pushing hands emerged in 2004-2005 involving the making of some well-known “Internet celebrities.” This chapter first documents how Internet pushing hands emerged from several separate cases mainly out of netizens’ enthusiasm and interests and evolved into a commercial business which fetched business contracts worth millions of dollars. It then demonstrates a number of well-known cases which have been considered as classic examples of Internet mercenaries in China.
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Early Development

Chinese Internet pushing hands started with promoting ordinary people into “Internet celebrities.”

The first documented case of an unknown person who took advantage of the Internet to obtain public attention and “fame” was Mu Zimei (net name), a blogger who started posting her sex diary in June 2003. Her blog immediately attracted a huge traffic and became one of most visited blogs during that period. Every day, an increase of 6,000 visits was registered for her blog (Guan, 2010). She was the first woman who publicized her sex life on the Internet in China.

In 2004, another woman Zhuying Qingtong (net name) publicized her nude photos in her personal website and again stimulated a big buzz over the Internet. She was the first case of self promotion through nude pictures on the Internet. About the same time, a woman netnamed Furong1 Sister appeared in some popular Internet forums like Shuimu Tsinghua of Tsinghua University often posting her photos in ridiculous poses and messages ridden with daring and silly expressions. She was about to become “famous.”

However, these early Internet “hot persons” were mostly cases of individual self promotion although they might be encouraged or supported in an under-the-table fashion by some interest groups who aimed at boosting traffic of specific websites, forums or blogs. These cases were merely a prelude to something more ambitious that would later revolutionize the online marketing and advertising in the country.

In mid 2005 two cases happened almost simultaneously in the history of pushing hand marketing. They were the cases of Tianxian MM (Angel Sister) and Furong Sister.

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