I guess actual humans never even glance at these things before they go out


Why isn’t this site performing better, Jessica?

I get a LOT of unsolicited emails from people offering to help this blog perform better.

Usually, they start with some nonsense about how the sender has been looking at my site, and finds it utterly fascinating, but could help me make it better for a very reasonable price. Then, it always, always, fails to give me any reason to believe that the sender has ever so much as glanced at the blog.

Sometimes I get one for some other site to which I have a connection. Today, I got this one:

Hello Jamessmith.com Team,
I would like to have a discussion with you regarding the web promotion strategy for your website Jamessmith.com. We wish to work out a proposal to strengthen the online presence of your website, via a strategically planned web promotion campaign. In today’s online era, you should be focusing on the new revolutionary ways of generating traffic (and subsequently, leads).
We are curious to know if you are aware that a few issues bugging your website and sorting out these will help you get the best returns out of your website.
1. Your website seems to be attracting traffic, but this traffic is almost stagnant and limited, which affects potential sales as you move forward.
2. Your website doesn’t feature in Google’s first search page for some of the major keywords in your niche, which affects visibility and your business.
3. Your website has been diagnosed with On-Page and On-Site issues, which affects the ranking.
4. Your backlinks profile is not efficient enough to help your search engine visibility.
5. Your website is currently not being properly promoted online according to Google’s new guidelines (after latest Google Panda & Penguin update), which is affecting your marketing strategy and goals.
6. Your presence in the social media platform is minimal. This is depriving you of a huge market of prospective referral clients.
7. Your website may be penalized by Google.
8. Social media profiles are not updated regularly.
9. A low number of internal and external quality links present on your website.
10. Not updating fresh contents for your website and blogs as per the latest Google guideline (Penguin & Panda).
And many more…
We are expert in running a promotional online marketing campaign for websites. We have a host of ethical services and techniques, which you can utilize to improve your website’s performance. 
Also, let me update you that our service prices are very affordable and cost-effective which will come up within your budget. 
We are also doing website designing and redesigning at affordable cost and fast delivery within 2 weeks. As we are familiar with search engine guidelines, so the website will be search engine friendly and technically sound. Also, we are giving 3 months of free website maintenance service.
If there is/are any bad reviews regarding you/your website, our ORM campaign will help you to push down the bad reviews from 1st page to 3rd page within 45 days of the campaign.
If my proposal sounds interesting for your business goal, feel free to email me, or can provide me with your phone number, Whatsapp number or Skype Id and the best time to call you.
I would be very glad to hear back from you.
Best Regards,
Search Engine Consultant

These things crack me up. I mean, look at all those specific suggestions, meant to give me the impression that ol’ Jessica has been burning the midnight oil studying jamessmith.com with great zeal and intensity. She knows all about it! And she’s an expert! She’s going to fix it!

Of course, if an actual human being with a modicum of experience on this planet — or on the Web, for that matter — had looked at the site for 30 seconds, she would have concluded that:

  • This site is defunct, and has long stopped performing its original function. The homepage is a shell from which all links lead to empty pages without content. Which disappoints me because sometimes I’d like to refer back to those releases I put up during the campaign, but they’re gone.
  • This is not a site aimed at “sales.” It’s a political campaign site.
  • The campaign was in 2018. That datum might not be on that page, but a few seconds on Google would tell you right away. Which is a step any human wanting to know anything about this would take, long before sending anyone a 456-word email in an effort to make a “sale.”
  • “Your presence in the social media platform is minimal.” Say what?!?!? Assuming that this is 2018 — which is what you seem to be assuming — I’m pumping out social media like a madman! Social media is one of several full-time jobs I’m killing myself doing, day and night! Oh, wait… I had a little flashback there. You almost made me forget for a second that this is 2021….

And so forth…

Pretty much every bullet point can be dismissed with, “Yeah, that might be interesting if this were October 2018…”

OK, I know you’ll say, “Then why don’t you take down the whole site?” Well, first of all, I don’t have that job any more. I’m not even sure I have the access.

I don’t know why that shell is still operating. I don’t much care. It’s not bothering anybody. Maybe I’ll ask James next time I run into him (which doesn’t happen often, because pandemic). Or maybe I won’t. This isn’t a question likely to stay in my head long. For that matter, I have no particular reason to think he even knows that homepage is still up.

I have sympathy for Jessica, assuming there is a Jessica. Back during my newspaper career, I thought that having to sell something to people would be the hardest thing in the world (the people in advertising always had my pity). I had it slightly wrong. The hardest thing in the world is selling by way of cold calls. Mind you, this isn’t the worst kind of cold-calling — that would involve actually talking to busy people, in person or on the phone. But it’s still a thankless task.

Sympathy aside, though, this is ridiculous…

6 thoughts on “I guess actual humans never even glance at these things before they go out

  1. Brad Warthen Post author


    Right after typing, “I’m not even sure I have the access,” I gave it a try, and thought sure my effort to sign in had been rejected.

    Then a few minutes later, I called that old homepage up again, and looking at the top of the page, saw that I WAS logged in.

    Huh. It’s still not my job to take it down…

    1. Brad Warthen Post author

      Hey, and I just looked: All those press releases are still there, in the guts of the site. Here’s one Doug might enjoy seeing (and thanks again for your support, Doug!):

      October 15, 2018
      Press Contact: Brad Warthen

      COLUMBIA, S.C. – There are so many issues on which Henry McMaster cares more about his own political benefit than about the people of South Carolina. Here’s yet another: Medical cannabis.

      Asked whether the substance should be legalized for the limited use of sick people who have no other recourse for relieving their suffering, McMaster told the Post and Courier:

      “No. Law enforcement officials have made it clear that we are not in a position to appropriately regulate medical marijuana.”

      This ignores the fact that medical cannabis has been proven to have many beneficial effects, such as treating PTSD and easing the nausea caused by chemotherapy, thereby restoring the appetites of many cancer patients. And it is the only remedy for many conditions, such as epilepsy.

      The FDA has recognized these medicinal benefits and has approved synthetic versions of medical cannabis.

      As for not being “in a position to appropriately regulate” it, there’s a simple and obvious solution that wouldn’t occur to the current governor: Work with the Legislature to get the right laws and regulations in place.

      James Smith and Mandy Powers Norrell have already been working on that. They were co-sponsors of a bill that provided for a strict “seed to sale” program that would prevent any plant grown for medical use from being sold as recreational marijuana.

      “Any grower whose plants were used for such purpose would lose his or her growing license,” said Smith. “Henry likes to say ‘no’ because he thinks it makes him sound tough. But suffering people don’t need his toughness; they need help. We would find a way to provide that help, with all the proper safeguards and regulation.”


  2. Doug Ross

    I’ll improve your website for free.

    1. Require a validated account tied to a human to comment with full name. Anonymity breeds bad behavior. Solves your problem of having to moderate the comments as well. You could even go the route of requiring a subscription to comment. Make it cheap – $10 a year.

    2. Allow for editing comments or deleting them within the first 5 minutes of posting

    Those two things alone would make your blog a much better place for rational discourse.

      1. Doug Ross

        Legalizing medical cannabis is about 20% of the way to where it should be. There are plenty of states where legal weed has been proven to be a reasonable choice — and allowing a cop to harass black kids in cars because they “smell” pot continues to be a huge detriment to society. Eliminate all laws related to the use and possession of pot and expunge all records of those who have been arrested in the past.

    1. Bill

      I save my last name for my paintings;over 50 years’ worth…
      (“No household pets are present on the tracks organized in Harth’s Seoul studio-workshop, but neither are the other musicians, or in truth, the saxophonist himself. Created from tracks recorded four years previously, independent of what each musician played, Red Canopy is conceptual chamber music. That it hangs together so well is a much a tribute to Harth’s sound mixing as the initial improvisations.

      At the same time, unlike the other CD, there’s no mistaking each of the instruments’ characteristic textures. “Shining” for example begins as the most legato and pseudo-impressionistic track, with Kae’s moderated piano strums meeting lyrical arco motions from Choi. But few recitals are interrupted by the renal-like shrilling of Harth’s double-reed taepyeongso, whose timbres are further amplified and accompanied by irregularly vibrated alto saxophone tones.

      Multiple reeds are also audible on “8th Day” when Harth’s biting intro is quickly joined by first one, than another in counterpoint to the first vibrations. Meanwhile Kae busies herself pummeling the piano innards, with pedal sustain. More spectacularly “13th Month” mulches together bottleneck twangs from Harth’s guitar, circling split tones from his alto saxophone, stentorian bass thumps from Choi and Kae strumming and rumbling in the piano’s nephritic regions.)

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