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An Introduction To Japanese Business Culture

When doing business in a foreign country it is always vital to understand differences in culture. This helps to avoid misunderstandings and allows development of positive and long-lasting business relationships. Knowing the differences in business etiquette between British and Japanese culture could be what lands you a lucrative contract or a lucrative new job. While Japanese businesspeople understand that you will not understand all of their culture and business etiquette they will notice and appreciate your genuine efforts.

Relationships
The Japanese generally do business based on personal relationships. Being introduced by a person who has a good relationship with the company is very helpful. You may be given a small trial to prove yourself. Even if this request is non-profitable, completing it quickly and well helps develop a long-term relationship.

Gift Giving
Gifts are very important in Japanese culture. Always give a small gift at the end of a meeting to the most senior member. Consult with a Japanese person on an appropriate gift. Many flowers such as camellias are associated with death and potted plants encourage sickness. If you receive a gift, do not open it in the presence of the giver.

Business Meetings
Meetings should be arranged by telephone well in advance. Punctuality is imperative. Seating is arranged with the most junior member nearest the door and the most senior furthest away. Do not be surprised if meetings contain several people, even if you thought it would be a one-on-one meeting. You will be expected to have a document containing information about your company, testimonials from customers and other companies and newspaper or magazine articles. It is best to come to a meeting with your best offer, as this is what will be expected.

Communication
Consensus and group decision-making is the norm in Japanese culture. Questions should be phrased in such a way that even negative answers can be given with a yes. For example Do you think this is a bad idea? rather than Do you agree?. Japanese businesspeople may be silent while considering issues and may close their eyes while listening carefully. Confrontational negotiation styles such as raised voices or anger will be frowned upon. Contracts are generally broad with room for re-negotiation and flexibility rather than rigid and point-by-point. However, written contracts are always expected.

Business Dress
Japanese business culture is quite conservative and avant-garde fashions will not be appreciated. Conservative business dress is always appropriate in Japan, especially for women. Suits should be dark-coloured without flashy accessories.

Business Cards
Business cards are very important in Japanese culture and you should always have a ready supply. The quality of your business cards and their condition is highly important also. When you receive a business card examine it carefully and treat it with respect. After meetings, place received business cards in a special case. Investing in business cards written in Japanese is a gesture of goodwill that will be appreciated. Give and receive business cards in both your hands and with a small bow.

Captcha Bypass Is In Business Again

We all know CAPTCHAs. We have all times succumbed to some of its more twisted and messy forms at least a dozen times. You know the drill, try to guess the text shown in the image box with the squiggly letters, type it in a text box, hit the submit button, realize you submitted the wrong text, redo everything until you get it right. Yeah, I bet you know what Im talking about.

Nevertheless, we all have learned to live with this short and recurring e-torture given its apparent use.

CAPTCHA is an acronym for Completely Automated Public Turing test to tell Computers and Humans Apart. As it name implies the main function of a CAPTCHA is to distinguish Humans and Computers Apart. All the squiggly letters, weird sizes, color meshes and overall lost of user time are made to prevent bots and/or automated scripts to post content were only real users are supposed to post.

So we deal with the pain of typing and retyping the CAPTCHA texts over and over again to avoid the even greater pain of having a web page overran by marketing accounts and unsolicited messages trying to sell products. So this way it would be hard for bots to bypass the initial account creation procedures and preventing the Black Hat Marketers from creating hundreds and even thousands of accounts. Now we can all use our blogs, social networks and other web 2.0 services in peace without being interrupted by unsolicited messages.

A short term victory that didnt last very long

It turns out that the Black Hat Marketers are sneaky and some of them have very advanced programming skills, so they started to create methods to bypass CAPTCHAs. So at first they began creating CAPTCHA OCR (Optical Character Recognition) systems and other CAPTCHA recognition methods to effectively become masters of CAPTCHA bypass. They took away the funny colors, put filters to take away unwanted lines and trained neural network applications to recognize the characters in spite of the funky fonts that were in use.

Again, a short term victory for the Black Hat Marketers

The internet community back lashed with CAPTCHAs that were much more difficult to bypass. The effectiveness of CAPTCHA OCR went down to around 30% for the best automated CAPTCHA recognition systems. The web 2.0 sites were cheering; there was final victory against massive automated marketers. Toasts were made, babies kissed, the new CAPTCHAs were here to save us!

Not so fast

Lets go back to the beginning and reference a piece of text 300 words back: CAPTCHA is an acronym for Completely Automated Public Turing test to tell Computers and Humans Apart. Wait, so in the end this test is only to tell Computers and Humans Apart, right? Some crazy Black Marketing fella might have suggested Hey, lets just use Humans then. Now we can Bypass CAPTCHAs since were using humans and not computers. I believed that anyone that heard this just laughed out really loud. Who in their right mind would spend long hours in front of a computer screen inserting the text they see in CAPTCHAs over and over again? Not only that. What would be the costs of having a person sitting down all day long inserting CAPTCHAs into a computer?
Answer to first question: People from very poor countries.
Answer to second question: Very Low.

Black Hat Marketers are the big winners for now. Human-based CAPTCHA bypass services have been established for as low as $1.75 for 1000 solved CAPTCHAs (yes, not a scam) and there is even a new market created for this activity. These Human-based CAPTCHA solving services hire a small army of decoders or operators that are happy to insert text for endless hours in exchange of a small pay. All the web 2.0 sites now have to create additional filters and employ extra tactics to keep automated unsolicited messages away and use CAPTCHAs only to keep away the rookie marketers.

Currently, some new companies have invented some other ways to increase difficulty for Human-based systems to decode a CAPTCHA. We now have audio CAPTCHAs, video CAPTCHAs, puzzle CAPTCHAs, math CAPTCHAs, etc. But none of these CAPTCHA systems has grown in a wide scale or have been deployed to any of the main web 2.0 sites. Either way, Im pretty sure that the Human-based CAPTCHA bypass services will find a way to get over these obstacles and keep the marketers in business.
In the end, site owners and marketers will always be playing the cat and mouse game. CAPTCHAs work partially, but as users we will always have to input them. And with the new increase of mobile traffic, were still to see a standardized multi-platform method from stopping unsolicited marketing messages in web 2.0 sites.

By: William Jardain