|Type of site||Web 2.0, Social network service, Online music, movie and book database|
|Launched||March 6, 2005|
|Alexa rank||257 (December 2013[update])|
- For the paste, see Doubanjiang.
Douban.com (Chinese: 豆瓣; pinyin: Dòubàn), launched on March 6, 2005, is a Chinese SNS website allowing registered users to record information and create content related to film, books, music, and recent events and activities in Chinese cities. Douban also owns an internet radio station, which ranks No.1 in iOS app store as of 2012. Unlike Facebook and Renren, Douban is open to both registered and unregistered users. For registered users, the site recommends potential interesting books/movies/music to them in addition to serving as a social network website and record keeper; for unregistered users, the site is a good place to find ratings and reviews of books/movies/music.
Douban has about 53 million registered users in 2011.
The site serves Pan-Chinese users, and its contents are in Chinese. It covers works and media in both Chinese and foreign languages. Some Chinese authors and critics register their official personal pages on the site.
Douban is founded by Ph.D Bo Yang. Dr. Yang had majored in Physics in Tsinghua University before he attended University of California at San Diego as a PhD student. After having received his Ph.D in computational physics, he worked as a research scientist at IBM. Later, he returned to China, becoming the CTO of a software company founded by one of his friends. In 2005, Dr. Yang started to create a web 2.0 site for travelling, named Luzong (驴宗), initially a one man project at a Starbucks in Beijing. In a couple of months, however, the site was transformed to what is now known as Douban.com.
- Year 2005
- March 6, account registration was opened to the public
- March 8, Group (小组) was released
- March 9, the first topic appeared in the Group
- July 6, the traditional Chinese version of website was published
- August 23, Douban Location (豆瓣同城) got online to provide users to share and discover local events and activities
- December 8, English version of website was opened for public testing
Douban has attracted a large number of intellectuals who are eager to discuss social issues. This makes douban vulnerable to be outlawed by the Chinese government. Douban has introduced a massive censorship on all contents posted in the website and often found itself in the hot water of controversy.
In March 2009, douban removed art paintings of the Renaissance for the ground that it contained 'pornographic' elements. The action led to a campaign called "Portraits: Dress up" in which internet users were asked to dress up images of famous renaissance nudes in a protest against douban's self-censorship. The discussion about the campaign was then removed by the administrator.
That year also saw the 20th anniversary of Tiananmen Square protests of 1989, and douban has further extended its keyword list to ban any terms that may be relevant to the incident. One notable example is the ban on merely mentioning the name of Victoria Park in Hong Kong where the memorial gathering for the 20th anniversary was held, in the fear that it may lead to sensitive discussions. Users also found that some discussion groups, like a Hong Kong cultural study group hkren were suddenly banned and all topics were removed without any notices. The action further angered some members to move to other similar websites that employ lesser strict self-censorship policies.
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- Official website (Chinese)