Alex, I’ll take “European Web 2.0 companies that make you say WTF” for $200: In Germany, a country where there is the most broadband users in Europe, the biggest social bookmarking website isn’t Yahoo! owned del.icio.us, but a site called… Mister Wong. Why yes, that WOULD be the logo of Mister Wong to the right, thank you for noticing.
I mean, being an engineer in the web industry, I’m sure it has some of the standard features that make a social bookmarking portal interesting and relevant, but seriously, who were the branding and advertising geniuses that came up with this one? I mean sure, it’s based in Germany, which is practically a whole world away. Maybe people aren’t as sensitive to political correctness as they are here in North America. But seriously, one of their web badges has the slogan “ping pong, king kong, Mister Wong.” Which I, of course, interpret as “ching chong, Mister Wong” and get INCREDIBLY FUCKING ANGRY. It’s like Jeeves, the ask.com butler and Uncle Ben had a stereotypical illegitimate Asian son.
I mean, Christ, his face is on soccer jerseys. SOCCER JERSEYS.
And just when you think I couldn’t get anymore WTF’ed – Mister Wong has a Chinese version of their site. Seriously. Now, I’ll fully admit to being the naive American here – maybe my cultural American bias is slanted and that people from mainland Chinese won’t be completely horrified to see a caricature of someone their ethnicity touting the virtues of the social web. Hell, you have Wang Lan of the Chinese support team on the front page. “It’s okay to use this page,” she seems to beckon. “I’m Chinese too, you see?”
Since I don’t speak German and there is just an intro English page, maybe there’s a story on how the site came up with its name and branding and someone can help out. Mister Wong had better been based on a real person and saved twenty burning German orphanages, because otherwise, I’m calling foul.
(Thanks for the heads-up, MJ)