Persuasive for the wrong reasons

Anyone with an email address or a website would probably attest that spam is a constant irritation. Heck, the term “spam” is used to describe unwanted phone calls these days, too, so it’s possible that pretty much anyone in the civilized world might say the same: Spam is annoying and sometimes even time-consuming.

But every so often, I find something truly amusing trapped in my spam filters. Here is the unsolicited message that made me chuckle this morning:


I am a freelance writer, link builder and SEO expert.  I have a great flair for writing and can provide original and plagiarism proof articles on any topic.  The content will be thoroughly researched to ensure accurate information.

I can write unique articles or SEO content for your websites / products / blogs at $10 per 500 words. The topics can range from politics, fashion, technology, health, business, sports or any of your choice.

All articles are informative, copy scape proof, original and most importantly in simple English which is the core requirement as 90% readers prefer simple reading.  Should you want to see some of my writing samples, please feel free to ask for them.

In addition I also do logo/graphic designing, website building, and SEO as well.

Looking forward to hearing from you and working for you.  I assure you of quality work and confidentiality of information.

[name redacted]

Now that’s some “thorough research,” isn’t it–sending a blind sales pitch for freelance writing to none other than a freelance writer! It strikes me as hilarious.

And can we talk about proofreading? Unless you’re talking single sentences in complete isolation, there’s really no such thing as perfect proofreading. With that said, I would hope that someone who sells himself as a wordsmith would take care to iron out the fine details before sending a sales message.

This writer can’t seem to decide where he lands in the Oxford comma debate: While many writers (including me) will go one way or the other depending on the preferences of the client, it’s not a good idea to use both approaches in a single finished piece. That just looks indecisive.

A few other oddities in this message: The trademarked and thus untouchable “Copyscape” is both uncapitalized and split into two words, there’s a word missing from what should be the phrase “90% of readers,” and, as long as I’m splitting hairs, “plagiarism proof” probably ought to be hyphenated.

Yep, this rare talent has provided convincing evidence of the “accuracy” he would provide me were I to hire him. A persuasive piece of marketing, this…I’m fully swayed not to buy.

Readers, let’s have some fun with spam today. We’ve all gotten purported political exposés, pitches for cheap prescription drugs, promises of free cruises, secrets that will allow us to “NEVER pay for YOU NAME IT again!”…but have you ever gotten an unsolicited message that was so absurd it made you laugh aloud? Tell about your most giggle-worthy spam in the comments section.

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2 thoughts on “Persuasive for the wrong reasons

  1. AnnaLisa, this type of thing happens to me SO often. I have received e-mails from people offering their transcription service, which since this is my type of business, I know they haven’t researched anything. They are not asking to subcontract either.

    I can’t think of a specific situation other than, same as you, finding it hilarious when someone it trying to sell their writing or proofreading skills–and transcription in my case–and the e-mail is riddled with mistakes. I just don’t understand. If I come across one in the near future, I’ll come back and share.

    Have you ever replied to these types of e-mails suggesting they may want to proofread them in the future? I don’t do it all the time, but I have when they were really bad.

    Oh, and since you are the expert writer (seriously), I am glad that I saw the same mistakes in that e-mail that you did!

    Have a super weekend (and stay cool)!

  2. Hi Pam! I apologize for taking so long to reply. For some reason my server didn’t alert me that there was a comment here.

    You’ve always been a sharp reader–I’m not surprised at all that you noticed problems right off the bat. :)

    To answer your question, when it seems that the message was sent to me personally (e.g., the sender has bothered to find my name and address the message accordingly–usually, as you indicated, in the kinds of specific but poorly-written messages that ask about applying to be a subcontractor), I have responded with gentle suggestions about improvements. But the ones like this, where it’s pretty clearly a vague, broad blast, not a researched, specific message, I giggle and roll my eyes (and then hit “delete”).

    But don’t reply! I’ve so often read that these messages are designed to spur good-natured people to respond when in fact, all a response does is alert the spam-generator software that sends them that the account they’ve reached is active. The result is even more spam. Chances are, there’s no real person behind the message, qualified or otherwise.

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