Month: September 2006

Ever received email with words like FR’EE in them?

If so, it was probably spam am I right?  However I’ve noticed an increasing number of mailing lists that I’m on have started sending me email that looks like spam.  With mangled words in the body like FR’EE, F.REE, FR,EE and so on.

This is crazy as well as annoying, because even though I’m opted in to receive those mailings, when I receive them they look like spam.  In fact I accidentally deleted one the other day while quickly going through an account.

They also hurt readability as it causes me to stop part way through a sentence even if only for a fraction of a second, but it halts the flow of the text.

So why have the authors started to do it?

Well, they want to use the magic words (now overused in my opinion) that trigger attention.  Words like "free" and "sex", and my personal favourite phrase "free sex".


Anyway, if they use those in their emails, what do you think happens?  They trigger a spam filter and the email either gets marked as spam or put in the spam folder or deleted or any combination of those things.

The reasoning is, they break up the spammy words by putting punctuation in them.  D’oh!  Talk about shooting yourself in the foot!

So now, even though the email is a legitimate opted-in newsletter, it looks like spam.  Because guess what?  Putting punctuation in words is exactly what the spammers do to get them past spam filters.  And admins running those spam filters know this, so they get an even higher spam rating.

Isn’t that just daft?  I read a bit of advice a couple of years ago about working on the web, and it simply said "keep it real".

That’s good advice.  Just ignore what’s going on with spam and deliverability, and do what you do best.  Ultimately your message will get across.

This has been a topic on my mind for a while now, but this piece was finally prompted after I read an article by Tom Kulzer of Aweber called Punctuation Reputation.  Go and have a read. 

Posted by Frank Haywood in internet business

The day I first met Joe Robson

I don’t think there’s anyone who has a web store or single sales page will dispute that good copy will sell the product.  Yes layout is important, yes a sprinkling of graphics helps, but when it comes down to selling the product, people need information and usually the best way of supplying that is the written word. 

Meet Joe Robson.  I did on the 3rd September 2006.

In case you’ve never heard of him, let me put you straight.  He’s a god in the copy writing world, commanding fees of thousands of dollars for a single sales page, or he’ll give you a one-hour consultation on a page you’ve written yourself for under $500.00 – he has a lot of work.

Having the chance to hear him give a talk on copy writing and then chat to him afterwards was wonderful.  He is such a down to earth guy with a wicked sense of humour.

Here’s a photo of me with him.  I’m the one on the left.


What was it he said now with a big grin on his face?  "This product will have you sucking cash out of people’s wallets like a rabbit on steroids."

He was trying to make a point that over-hyped copy like the above example will kill the sale instead of making it.  I don’t know about you, but I’ve certainly groaned to myself and said "come on, give me a break" more than once when reading the sales page for a new product.

(I just don’t understand why some people feel the need to hype everything they write.  Sure, often you might want to liven up a bit of dull text, but it just seems to me that some writers don’t get the difference between "lying" and "enlivening".)

I sat, listened carefully and made notes while Joe gave his talk on "The 10 Steps To A Sale".  Great stuff.  I was so impressed I wanted more and went and bought his ebook "Make Your Words Sell".  I’m part way through it now, and it’s got to be the all time bargain ever at only $29.95.

Joe wrote it in 2000 and spent 8 months doing it.  He told me that if he was doing the same thing now, he’d do it as a course and charge at least $300.00 for it.

He also told me that he spent two months locked away writing the first version.  Finished it, and wasn’t happy with it.  He wanted to improve it but he was stuck with what he’d already written.

In the end he decided that the only thing he could do was to…

delete it!

Yep, he trashed 2 months work because he wasn’t happy with it.  Then he started all over again, and that’s what I’m currently reading.

And I have to say it is a joy to read.  Every time I read a sentence I can hear his voice in my head, with that little touch of seriousness when he’s trying to get a point over, followed by a pause and a bit of humour to make it stick.

What he should do is put audio versions of his articles on his Ad Copy Writing website, and I might just suggest that to him.

Joe reckons that once anyone has read his ebook then they should be able to produce a better sales page within a week or so.  But it takes practice of course.

When I’ve read the ebook, I’ll review it here.

Posted by Frank Haywood in internet business

Focus 4 The Future UK Marketing Seminar

Audio available: [audio:2006-09-05_focus_4_the_future_uk_marketing_seminar.mp3] 
This last weekend I attended a three day seminar at Aston University in Birmingham, organised by Robert Puddy of Focus 4 The Future.
Here’s a photo of me with Robert, I’m the little guy on the right:-
Knowing that some of these seminars can have hundreds or even thousands of attendees, I was really pleased to find that this was a cosy and very friendly affair with about 40 people attending.
Well, I had a wonderful time.  I met some lovely people.  I learned things that just hadn’t occurred to me, and had my understanding of other things confirmed by the speakers.
And apart from the sessions with speakers, even more valuable to me and my business was the chance to network with a great set of like minded people, all using different parts of the many facets of online marketing.  I promised several people I’d get in touch after a couple of days, and I will.
I needed the couple of days back here just to let my mind unscramble itself after such an intense weekend.  I took Monday off, then spent today sorting out all the things that came up while I was away.  Tomorrow I’ll begin a series of posts about the whole thing, including a few photographs of me with various people.
But before I do, I’d like to point out that three speakers couldn’t make it.
Craig Perrine had passport problems which he couldn’t resolve in time to get here.  These things happen, and although it was disappointing I’m sure I’ll get to see Craig at another event some time in the future.
Michel Fortin and Sylvie Charrier had to cancel shortly before the event.  Michel and Sylvie recently got married and unfortunately Sylvie has been diagnosed with breast cancer and has had to go in for immediate surgery.
My heart goes out to them, my mother was recently similarly diagnosed through a routine check.  Fortunately it was caught early enough and only needed a minor operation and some radiotherapy, but also means she has to take an anti-cancer drug for the next five years.
My mother has been told she’s in the clear, although they will monitor every few weeks so the family is all thankful for that.  Even so, it was an anxious and miserable time for us all, and I well understand how Michel and Sylvie must be feeling right now.
I wish Sylvie and Michel all the very best and that things work out well for them.
Posted by Frank Haywood in internet business