Peevish Pen

Ruminations on reading, writing, rural living, retirement, aging—and sometimes cats. And maybe a border collie or other critters.

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Location: Rural Virginia, United States

I'm an elderly retired teacher who writes. Among my books are Ferradiddledumday (Appalachian version of the Rumpelstiltskin story), Stuck (middle grade paranormal novel), Patches on the Same Quilt (novel set in Franklin County, VA), Them That Go (an Appalachian novel), Miracle of the Concrete Jesus & Other Stories, and several Kindle ebooks.

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Spam Overflow

Warning: Overuse of quotation marks and italics in this post.

I recently received an email from a spammer person who wanted to sell me (or my writers group—I'm not sure which) a "service." I marked out a few details in the email, but you'll get the gist:

Let's take a closer look at his offer, shall we? As a former English teacher, I have an urge to whip out a red pen and mark the daylights out of that email. But I'll restrain myself. I'll just go through his statements one by one.

Dear Owner / Manager,
I'm neither owner nor manager of the writers group that you are, uh, targeting with your email. I'm the vice president. 

I visited lakewriters and I'm touching base to do business with you.

Hey, we're thrilled that you came all the way from Canada to visit our little writers group at Smith Mountain Lake! When did you visit? I don't recall meeting you. Did you read something to the group? "Touching base" is such a cliché. You really want to try to get rid of clichés in your writing. Also, you really should use a comma after your first main clause. Lake Writers (not lakewriters) can help you with these sorts of errors. 

 There are people searching for what you have to offer using search engines, Overflow Cafe will make sure they do business with you.

Oh, dear! A run-on sentence! A comma splice! Again, Lake Writers could have helped you with that. And that misplaced participial phrase "using search engines"! Arrggghhh! It reallly shouldn't modify "what you have to offer." Also, don't you think using both "searching" and "search" in the same sentence is redundant? We do.

I'm puzzled as to how you can "make sure" folks will "do business" with us. What "business"? We really don't consider what we do at meetings as "business." We just help people and give input. If you indeed visited us, didn't you pay attention to what was going on?

Benefits to you:
- You'll sell much more of your products and services

We're only selling an anthology. It's available from Createspace and at a few of the lake area shops. Plus some members sell copies outside the Westlake Kroger on Senior Citizens' Day. The "services" we offer—publishing advice, critiques, etc.—don't require a cash outlay. Attendance at our meetings is absolutely free.

- Your website will show up first in search engines
Not many people use our website. Instead, they come to our twice monthly meetings. In person. Besides, how can you be sure our site will be first in search engines? What if another client of yours is another writers group? Will you tell them they'll have to settle for second because Lake Writers will be first?

- You'll gain lots of interested customers visiting your website
I doubt that. Plus we don't actually have customers. Did you mean we'll get a lot more aspiring authors?  If a big crowd turns out, where would we put them all? We generally have at least a dozen folks at meetings. We don't want to be too crowded.

- Only a flat monthly fee of $29, no contracts
If there's no contract, how do we know you'll uphold your end of the deal? Or even what your deal is. This sounds kind of shady. . . . 

Here's a review from one of our clients: "Ovxrflxw Cxfx* saved my failing business by driving at least 1,250 new customers to me within the first year."
Not much info here: Who said this? What kind of business? How nice of you to drive the customers, though. Did you use a limo? A bus? Many of our members are older folks. If you want to drive them to meetings, it might be worth $29 a month.

We are experts at website promotion and have helped over 40,000 small business owners like you succeed. 
We're NOT a small business. If you were an "expert," you'd know that. You should at least know the target audience for your promotions—and it isn't a writers group.

Some of them are in the same business and location as you. 
Now I know you didn't do your research! We meet in a library! Do you really think there are businesses located in libraries? Do you really think a writers group is a business? Oh, dear. . . .

It takes less than 2 minutes to get started, please view [website URL redacted]  for complete information. Let me know if you have any questions. 
My main question is why do you have so many comma splices (like the one in your above statement) on your website's info page? It doesn't look very professional, and it certainly doesn't inspire confidence.

We've been proven to be 9x more effective than competing companies, so I hope we can do business together.

If you're going to cite statistics, you need to back them up. How has the 9X been proven? What "competing companies"? Since we're the only writers group in the area, we don't have any "competing companies."

Please let me know,
I think this blog post lets you know pretty well.

*I disemvoweled the company's name. But you can probably figure it out.



Blogger CountryDew said...


7:10 PM  

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