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Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Spoiling the broth

I watch Ramsay’s Kitchen Nightmares. Most weeks, Gordon gives great advice that gets ignored by the owners of failing restaurants, usually because they are bad businessmen. Gordon finds this quite a frustrating experience.

I know how he feels. Last year a publishing company asked me to take a look at one of their email newsletters. They did not want to pay for my advice, but suggested that if I gave some for free, then there could be quite a bit of business in it for me. How tempting.

I duly gave the advice, and it was duly ignored. Today, I received the same email newsletter. In the opening paragraph, it had 3 spelling mistakes (including the word magazione, which I presume meant magazine), numerous grammatical errors, no alt text for all of the pictures which blocked the preview pane, and, well, at this point I got bored of counting basic errors and unsubscribed.

The newsletter is about rugby, a subject close to my heart. But as a reader, I felt pretty disenfranchised. They hadn’t even bothered to spellcheck it. Shows how much they care about their email readers.

If the same errors had appeared in print, then the editor would now be looking, probably with some difficulty, for a new job.

I know that the publishing industry has been one of the slowest to fully embrace online opportunities, but even the most moronic publisher surely appreciates that the basic tenets of print publishing apply to online?

A good email newsletter acting as a prompt and alert can really enhance the appeal and commercial success of a magazine. Or not, in this case. Like Gordon, I just walked away and left them to their own devices.

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