Yellow Paper And Pencil With Text

Keep it simple, stupid?

This may come as an utter shock to some of you, but I have a day job. I know, how can a guy who writes a whopping 1.7 blog posts per week and watches every episode of The Daily Show find the time to also keep a full-time job? It’s beyond the powers of the average man. Yet here we are.

So my company often launches these…campaigns, I guess you’d call them? These landing pages that tell our customers how awesome we are and how our products will change their lives forever and make them irresistible to the opposite sex and also zzzzzzzzzzz. The problem is: Most product managers are so excited about their products that they have a very difficult time cutting down the amount of words used to describe them. This is an issue, since online users have the attention span of a coke-addicted rabbit. You want them to know what your product can do for them, but you don’t want them to read an epic saga about the trials and tribulations the product has gone through to be born into this world.

Front View Red Car

And on the 374th day, he put the finishing touches on the magnificent paint job of his beloved creation, and…

Long story short, my team asked me to review some text from an external agency, to see if I could reduce the number of words while keeping the message intact. So I did.

(Necessary digression: Copywriting isn’t a part of my job description. I’m officially an online marketing specialist, which is a fancy title for someone who browses Facebook while pretending to do useful work on the company’s website.)

Then my copy suggestions were sent to the marketing team for review and final approval. And then our marketing team, for reasons that will forever remain unclear, ended up involving a third copywriter. And then the world went mad.

Allow me to offer a single example that best sums up these surreal transformations. Here’s a sentence from the agency’s original text:

[PRODUCT NAME] is your complete USB-connected UC manager enabling you to pick up calls and control volume to your preference.

A bit too many unnecessary letters, right? So here’s what I shortened it down to:

Pick up calls and change volume through a dedicated control box.

Pulitzer Prize–winning material? Nope. Does it get the point across? It sure does.

Or so I thought.

Apparently, the third copywriter thought it was a shame that we weren’t using every single word in the English language, so we have somehow ended up with this:

An intuitive in-line controller fitted with a USB-stick for greater productivity and convenience to pick up or end calls, control volume or mute.

Borat Meme

Is it just me, or is this…not…good? Those sure are some fancy words, but do we want our customers to understand the product, or do we want them to pass a technical literacy test?

But hey, maybe I’m the crazy one. Maybe this is how smart marketeers are doing things these days. Keeping it simple is so last millennium! We want words! We want them all! So, inspired by this new discovery, I hereby provide a much needed update to popular company slogans. You’re welcome, market leaders:

Nike

Used to be:

Just do it.

New and improved:

Simply start to undertake a physical activity of your choosing in a speedy manner at this immediate moment in time.

McDonald’s

Used to be:

I’m lovin’ it

New and improved:

I find the nutritional characteristics and the palatableness of this meal to greatly exceed the expectations I have come to develop with regards to fast food establishments.

L’Oreal

Used to be:

Because you’re worth it.

New and improved:

You have been subjectively determined as being worthy of purchasing and owning an affordable line of our cosmetic products.

Those are a few to get you all started. With proper dedication and excessive verbosity, you too can write a tagline for your favorite company. Who wants to start?!

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My “Unresponsive Scammer” Collection

Hi all,

I am currently stranded without any money in the country of Lisompo, which you may have heard of, but definitely haven’t. Also, I’m afraid I’m dying of old age, which really sucks when you’re only 30.

If you don’t act immediately to transfer a million dollars out of my account into yours, all is lost! Because that’s how banks work!

Please send me your bank information details and I’ll tell you how you can send me money that you’ll never see again.

Yours,
Daniel

So…yeah…today’s post is about scammers again. Ever since the wildly successful “My correspondence with a scammer” post, I have been writing back to scammers in the hope that they’d bite. Unfortunately, none of them have displayed the same combination of cluelessness and dedication as Linda Hicks, so I haven’t gotten any real conversations going yet. I promise to keep trying!

Nevertheless, I wanted to share with you a few of my responses to scammers, because I find them quite amusing (if I do say so myself, which I just did). Maybe some of you will find inspiration in these and start your own conversations with scammers? Maybe nothing at all will happen? The possibilities are virtually endless!

This may seem like a bit of a lazy post strategy. That’s because it totally is! I don’t want to use the work excuse again, but we do have another project “sprint” at work that started 10 days ago and will continue for another week. So I decided that instead of falling off the radar completely this time, I’ll share my inbox with you.

As with the Linda Hicks post I censor all website links, but leave the rest of the email content untouched. Enjoy:

Scammer 1 – “Let’s Succeed Together”:

Hi,

My name is Angie Scott and I would really love to tell you how nest-expressed.com can rank even better in Google.

I’m a SEO expert working at SEO Sheriff and while doing a research for some of my partners I found your email address and decided to contact you at once.

If you are interested I will be happy to send the additional information and all the details needed to make it happen.

Thanks,
Angie

My response 1:

Hi Angie,

How are you? Hope you are as well as a whale under a spell (it’s a saying we have in Iceland)!

Thank you very much for contacting me! I would certainly be interested in receiving details, information, and other paraphernalia from you pertaining to the offer.

By the way, I love the subject of your email – “let’s succeed together”. That’s so well put! I am a fan of succeeding and I absolutely love togetherness too. Combining those two is just like dipping a cookie in chocolate milk! Have you tried that? Delicious!

Anyways, hope to hear from you,

Daniel

PS: Pardon my ignorance, but what does SEO mean? My guess is Site Enhancement Organisation?

Scammer 2 – “Advertising”:

Good day,

My name is Ben and I run a website [name] I really like the quality of articles you publish and I think that the target audience on your site would even benefit if you were to link to mine in your posts.

So, I have a proposal. I want to sponsor your regular posts. You simply continue writing articles – as you normally do, they are very good! And in the end of your article – state: “This article was written in association with [name], educational resource about the most famous scientists. Save on Textbooks online.”

You can change the text of the “bio” if you would like to edit something.

If it is possible to upload a small website logo by the bio – that would also be great. It’s like sponsored posts, but you do not have to write anything extraordinary – just your regular updates, which I like very much!

Kindly, write me back if you are interested – how many sponsored posts you would accept from me and what would be the price. If you have expected publication dates – let me know too.

Thank you very much for running such a great website!

Ben Anderson

My response 2:

Good day, or, as they say where I come from, “Good day”!

First of all, congratulations on running a site that is dedicated to scientists and their famousity – you’re saving lives, I’m sure!

Secondly, I fully agree that my target audience would benefit from learning about scientists that are famous! We all know that juvenile humour and science go together like spare ribs and watermelon!

I’d like to suggest a bio, more along the lines of:

“Love sciency stuff? Love websites that begin with “f”? Then you’ll love [name]! Head on over and get your science on!”

What do you think?

May I ask, if I may, which one of my articles was your favourite? The one with the cat going on hunger strike? The one with a list of things you shouldn’t eat together with marshmallows? Or a third one? I’m just curious, so that I know what quality content to keep delivering!

Until the next point in the space-time continuum,
Daniel

Scammer 3 – “Hello Dear”:

Hello Dear,

My name is Miss Aminata Bangali, resident in Ghana, Africa: The main reason I have decided to contact you today is to seek your assistance to help me transfer my INHERITED MONEY DEPOSITED IN A SECURITY AND FINANCE COMPANY in MADRID SPAIN to your country for investment.

I am the next of kin to the DEPOSIT, but because I lack experience and the situation with me here as a refugee, I decided to contact you to stand as my Trustee and Representative to release the money from the company and transfer it to your country..If you are interested, please let me know and I will give you the full details..

Thank You,
Miss Aminata Bangali.

My response 3:

Dear Aminata,

Thank you for contacting me, resident of Europe, Earth!

The wise teachings of the Seven High Lords of Gratitude tell me that all good deeds must be performed when requested. Therefore, I hesitate not at all when assistance of mine you ask.

Please relate the details of this to me in full and I shall carry your burden on my broad shoulders like Hercules, or at least like “The Rock”.

May you be blessed by the All-Seeing Star of the Cossacks in the sky,
Daniel

I’m back!

Cue the music. Stop what you’re doing. Unless what you’re doing is reading this post. In which case, carry on!

I’m back in business after almost three weeks of working long hours. My estimate is that I’ve been working 12/7 with only one day off since 16th of April, excluding 2 hours of commute per day. Yesterday was my last long work day. Also yesterday, through a magical combination of Murphy’s law and shitty timing my girlfriend left to Czech Republic for ten days.

I know it sounds like I’m complaining, but in reality that’s exactly what I’m doing…and that concludes the “poor me” part of this otherwise cheerful post.

Today is a day off, because Denmark is celebrating the Great Prayer Day. I have also celebrated this holy day by sleeping for 12 hours straight.  We are at our least sinful when we sleep, so that was really the only respectful thing to do.

I am currently continuing the celebration by treating myself to a fancy take-out meal. Fun fact, “fancy take-out meal” is a textbook example of an oxymoron.

Now that I’m well-rested, well fed and all alone for ten days I can get back to writing more words and sentences for you to read. I expect one such collection of words to make it your way as early as tomorrow. Stay tuned and stand strong!

Short Break

Hello there! If you’re there. If you’re closer to here then “hello here”, I guess?

I have to announce a bit of a slow period on the blog for the upcoming two weeks or so. I know what you’re thinking. You’re thinking “Here we go, Daniel is yet another person to face the inevitable ‘blogger burnout'”. Also, you’re thinking “Holy shit! This guy can read minds! That’s either awesome or disturbing, depending on how he chooses to wield that power”.

Rest assured I’m not turning my back on the blog. It would be pretty hard to type up this post with my back to the blog. Unless I used an intricate system of mirrors. Or, like, one mirror and a screen inverter. As for the mind reading – sure, I do that sometimes, no biggie.

The truth is we’re facing a very busy period at work right now. Since Monday I’m working 11-12 hours a day and there’s a chance I’ll be putting in some hours during weekends too. No, I haven’t been enslaved by aliens to work on their dream harvesting farm. That’s a ridiculous thought and I don’t even know how you came up with that nonsense! You’re being nonsensical, stop it!

Anyways, you’ll probably see that I’m posting less and my posts are pretty brief. I hope to still get some guest posts rolling in the meantime.

“But…but what shall I do without your posts?!”, you’re asking, “they are all I ever look forward to!”. I feel your pain. I dunno, try filling your time with some understandably inferior alternatives for a while. I hear TV’s some kind of a thing people watch nowadays.

In May I’ll bring you more awesomneity, greatation and other made-up words! Stay tuned…

Jedi mind tricks

You’ve probably figured, based on my recent posts, that I have found a new hobby – making fun of signs at work.

Yes, it’s a very strange and specific type of hobby. No, I’m not going to stop! Yes, I have some serious issues. Are we done with this untimely interrogation? Can I move on? Great!

So today I was in a meeting room that had two doors. I noticed that one of the doors had the following sign on it:

If the sign says so, it must be true!

I tried really hard to believe the words, but my eyes refused to make the door vanish. What a weird sign! Couldn’t they just write “Don’t use this door”? Or was this a naive attempt at employee mind control?

But then I got closer to the sign and realised there was more to it, namely:

Worst. Portal. Ever.

Turns out I’m not the only joker at work. Well played, anonymous rival, well played!

Guest Expressed: “The 4 Best Dinosaurs To Ride To Work”

Today I bring you a post by Mike McManus, who discusses a question that we all ask ourselves so often: “Which dinosaur shall I take to work today?”. Enter Mike:

Travelling to work by car, train or bus may be practical, but it’s boring. Riding a dinosaur to the office would be neither of these things, that’s what would make it so great. Here we consider the pros and cons of four different types of dinosaur transportation.

Tyrannosaurus Rex

The perfect dinosaur for the driver who suffers from road rage! Is there a better way to unleash revenge on the idiot that’s just cut you up than by eating them? Probably not. They’re also famed for having terrible breath which should help keep the road in front of you nice and clear.

Riding a T-Rex to work does present a few problems though. If you’re used to driving a small car it might be hard to adapt to a creature that’s longer than a bus, but at least you’ll have plenty of room in the back for the kids. Also the largest T-Rex skeleton ever found was sold for a whopping 7.6 million dollars, so can you imagine what you’d have to pay for a living one?

Pterodactyl

The benefits of travelling to work on a Pterodactyl are fairly obvious. You’ll be able to fly to work in a straight line from your house which should significantly cut the journey time. Plus you’re unlikely to run into any traffic in the sky, so say goodbye to unexpected delays.

If you do opt for a Pterodactyl though you’re going to have to find either a cave or a massive tree for it to live in, which could be an issue. They also like to live by the sea so you might have to move to keep it happy.

Brachiosaurus

If you love to cruise in style then you need to get a Brachiosaurus, the largest dinosaur known to man. At 16 metres tall it offers the rider unrivalled visibility of the road ahead and because they weigh in at 80 tonnes you’re going to come through most crashes unscathed.

The bad news is they guzzle a lot of fuel. Your Brachiosaur is probably going to have to eat a few hundred pounds of leaves and greens every single day to maintain his or her weight. They’re also pretty slow moving and where you’d be able to park it is anyone’s guess.

Dromiceiomimus

If you often find yourself running late for work then this is the perfect dinosaur for you, as it’s thought a Dromiceiomimus could reach speeds of 60 km per hour. They also had very good eyesight and a large brain, both of which would be pretty useful on the roads.

However, there is one downside to commuting on a Dromiceiomimus as there’s a strong possibility they were nocturnal. So if you’re going to invest be prepared to work the night shift.

So there we have four dinosaurs that would certainly make the Monday morning commute a little more interesting. Now all we’ve got to is resurrect them. Who’s got John Hammond’s phone number?