Thursday, March 17, 2016

…you had ONE JOB…

For some reason, I have been really bothered by something lately. Not like, you know, my whole life’s focus has narrowed down to this ONE THING kind of really bothered, but still…bothered.

And it’s this: Somewhere out there, right this minute, someone is being paid actual money to come up with a subject line for an email campaign.

And that person, after due consideration, is going to come up with something along the lines of, “HURRY!!! ONLY FOUR MORE DAYS TO SAVE!!!!!!”

Or, “You won’t BELIEVE the DEALS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!”

…really…? That was your best shot?


Maybe it’s just me, BUT…well. Put it this way: I have a handful of half-arsed rules set up in Outlook to catch “obviously spam advertisements” that my gray mail tool can’t seem to identify. 

The out-of-the-box gray mail scanner gets maybe 10% of the junk.

My handful of rules get about 85% of it.

Which is another whole rant, ESPECIALLY if we factor in how often the ‘professionally designed by actual email-coding-people’ scanner MISSES the spam but decides one of my ACTUAL HUMAN FRIENDS is CLEARLY a dangerous entity who needs to be BLOCKED…but let’s stay on topic for now.

Every time I take the fast-scan through the junk folder my rules automatically move those things to, I get perversely irritated about not the fact that they exist in the first place…or the fact that I feel obligated to at least glance at them in case I accidentally shunted aside an actual email from an actual person…no.

It’s that the thought inevitably occurs to me: Somebody was paid to come up with a subject line for that spam, and proceeded to come up with one that was so cookie-cutter that my half-arsed Outlook rules could identify it immediately as being, well, spam.

You had ONE JOB, man: Come up with a subject line that would catch my attention and make me go, “Huh, that might actually be worth opening…”

…and you came up with “HURRY!!! ONLY FOUR DAYS LEFT TO SAVE!!!!!” (<= two string-based rules broken, “starts with ‘hurry’”and “more than two exclamation points in a row”, tsk-tsk-tsk…)

Now granted, it wouldn’t be easy to come up with an endless supply of clever, interesting subject lines for such campaigns. There’s only so many ways to say “we are having a sale on stuff! you should totally check it out!”

And also there’s the fact that I often fail to remember that not everybody in America shares my interest in language.

I mean, I use words like ‘obfuscatate’ in work emails. <= exactly like that, with a hyperlink to the definition so nobody has to ’fess up if they have no clue what it means.

BUT, the one thing I do know is that everybody else is just like me: If you’ve ever bought even one thing online? => you’ve got a zillion-and-five spam emails coming a week. 

I cannot possibly be the only person who has become downright glassy-eyed about it. Or the only person who doesn’t even pause to look at which retailer is sending them. The subject starts with ‘Hurry!!!’? nope, we’re DONE here…{delete}

C’mon guys. Hire some people who know how to make words sing. Give some aspiring novelists a day job. Give ME a break.

And who knows? Maybe you might even get one or two more of the elebenty-gazillion people whose inboxes are bloating up with these things to actually open it, if only in the hopes that the ad-text won’t be the usual blend of ‘exciting’ ‘fashionable’ ‘best prices of the year’ every other ad has been for the last forever plus fifteen years…

1 comment:

Michael Irwin said...

Spam ? Oh so true. Excepting that although I work with email and rules etc to get emails into working categories, I never ever delete them. Instead I also have an email scoop-up client that I run weekly to pull in every single email I get and sort them into various (hundreds) of folders, etc. After all the years of having a email accounts I have over half a million emails. If that doesn't qualify me as a Nerd I have no idea what does :)