Category Archives: Marketing

Comment Spammers: Look elsewhere

You keep on trying to spam here, and it keeps on not working.  It took me a while to figure out what you were doing, but no spammy comment has been approved here in over 5 years.  My settings require approval of comments by new people, and between that and the built-in filtering done by Kashimet (sp?), your spammy comment is never going to be seen by anybody but me, and I”m just going to delete it and add it to the Kashimet database, so it’ll be less likely to get approved anywhere else.

Please stop wasting both of our time, and find another way to try to make a living.

What a twisted line of reasoning!

Anti-McKenna Ad

This ad has been bugging me for several weeks now.  In the world of half-truths and distortions which is political advertising, this really stands out as using really tortured logic.

The text, taken from the website of the organization sponsoring it, is as follows:

Republican Rob McKenna claims he’s a moderate.  But it turns out the National Republican Agenda would make abortion illegal, restrict access to contraception, cut education, essentially end medicare, and deny nearly 13 million women access to cancer screenings.  (2012 Republican Party Platform; CBS News, 8/1/2012; Us News & World Report, 3/2/2011; Wall Street Journal, 4/4/2011; White House Council on Women and Girls 4/2012)

Rob McKenna is definitely not who he says he is.

Okay, let’s Just look at the claims here:

1. Republican Rob McKenna claims he’s a moderate.

Evidence for this claim — none given.

It probably is true that he has claimed this. McKenna has stated that he is no longer opposed to the Affordable Care Act and doesn’t want to see it repealed.

Oh, but that’s evidence that he actually is a moderate. Whoops!

Moving on:

2. But it turns out the National Republican Agenda would make abortion illegal, restrict access to contraception, cut education, essentially end medicare, and deny nearly 13 million women access to cancer screenings.

Evidence for this claim: (2012 Republican Party Platform; CBS News, 8/1/2012; Us News & World Report, 3/2/2011; Wall Street Journal, 4/4/2011; White House Council on Women and Girls 4/2012)

The evidence supports the claim, although the terminology used to characterize what that evidence says is arguable and selected to make McKenna look as bad as possible.  Par for the course in political advertising.

Now, the whopper:

3.  Rob McKenna is definitely not who he says he is.

Evidence for this claim:  Nothing at all.

For claim 1 and 2 to justify claim 3, you would need to show some connection between things Rob McKenna has said about himself and some selected excerpts from the RNC Platform.  Evidence that he supported or endorsed the Platform would be a start, but you’d really want to show that he supported those particular sections as written and characterized here.  But none is given, or even seriously hinted at.

So, what you’d have to believe is that McKenna supports all of those things just because he’s a Republican, and all Republicans must slavishly follow every item of the RNC Platform.  So, when he says he’s a moderate, he’s really just trying to trick you because there is no such thing as a moderate Republican, and everybody knows that.

This is one of a series of ads.  Another has the same structure, but the 2nd claim this time has to do with McKenna supporting the campaigns of current and former Republican candidates.  Once again, the only way that fact has anything to do with a conclusion is if you accept that supporting a Republican candidate in any way is proof that you’re not a moderate and must, by implication, be an extremist.

These ads aren’t being put out by McKenna’s opponent.  They’re being put together by a list of usual suspects:  Our Washington, PO Box 9100 Seattle WA 98109. Jason Bennett, treasurer.
Top five contributors: Democratic Governors Association, Washington Education Association PAC, National Education Association Advocacy Fund, American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees, Justice for All PAC.  Essentially, a Super-PAC funded by the people who have claimed outrage over the Citizens United decision that made the Super-PAC possible.

Full disclosure:  I’ll be voting for McKenna, because he’s the last remaining Republican in the race, and he’s not obviously unqualified to do the job.  I don’t think he’s the greatest thing since sliced bread, but I think he’s good enough to support.  I recognize that he’s not as nice looking as his opponent, and that he’s much more likely to have received some wedgies and noogies back in school.  But he’s not this evil, deceiving woman-hater these folks are using such insultingly stupid logic to make him appear to be.  I’m looking for people who support his opponent to distance themselves from this grossly misleading advertising as a way of showing they have more character than this.

Another commercial site sells my email address.

One helpful tool in managing your spam exposure is to develop email addresses to give to sites that have you register so that you can tell if they have sold your address to spammers.  There are ways this can be done with gmail that are interesting, for instance.  Periodically, I will discover sites this way that have sold my address.  Once that’s happened I add that to: address to a filter I use in Thunderbird that automatically deletes messages sent to addresses that only receive spam. It cuts way back on the spam I have to deal with, with no possibility of false-positives — I never want to talk to anybody who has sold my email address to spammers.

Thus far, sites that have done this include:

  • emusic.com
  • podcastpickle.com

And our new winner is

  • strapperfect.com

I bought a set of these for the girls a while back, the first time I’ve bought a “as seen on tv” through the website advertised in the commercial, and I hated the experience.  Based on that, I have resolved to never do so again — I’ll buy them at Walmart or Walgreens and just accept that I don’t get the whiz-bang deals they mention in the commercials.  But now I know that not only are the sleazy in trying to lure you in with one offer, and then trying to get you to upgrade to something that costs more — they also sell your email address to spammers for some extra bucks.

Those who switched experienced savings that you might not if you were to switch.

Just watching another insurance commercial that includes a claim about “those who switched to X saved an average of $Y.”  Which is an interesting claim, because it seems to imply that you can save $Y by switching to X.  It does imply that, actually, but it doesn’t mean that.  The only people who saved that money (on average, not each individual) were those who switched to the company.  There is an unaccounted for group of people who got rate quotes and didn’t switch, and it would be reasonable if those people would have experienced less of a rate decrease and, possible, a rate increase by making that switch, which is why they didn’t. 

Also, the claim doesn’t mention whether this saving was due to a lower rate for the same coverage, or because of a reduction in coverage, or some combination of those two. 

Mind you, I’m still a fan of Flo and her big, tricked-out name-tag.  And X might be a great fit for you.  Or Z.  I’m personally happy with G, although I did well with E for quite a while.  But there are many factors that lead to an insurance rate, and, until you do an apples-to-apples comparison based on your profile and needs, you can’t be any too sure whether switching will save you anything.

Don’t expect that this will be news to anybody necessarily, but you never know.

I think I heard this wrong.

I was just watching a TV commercial for a law firm that deals with asbestos problems.  I think I heard it wrong, but I think the person in it said “They were more than attorneys.  They were human beings.”

I find the notion of human beings being greater than attorneys amusing.  But I think there might have been a “just” in the middle of that.

It was humorous at the time.

Stupid address parsers, and stupid address things.

I live a block from the Post Office in a relatively small city.  It qualifies as “rural,” which means that the Post Office doesn’t have to deliver mail to my home, so as to guarantee revenue to the PO in the form of renting a PO box, something which has increased in price at about five times the inflation rate while I’ve lived in my house.  Thus, if anybody is sending anything to me via USPS, they have to send it to this PO Box.  Thus, my bank only has the PO Box address for me.  However, anybody sending anything to me by any other shipper can’t use the PO Box, so they need my street address.  Fortunately, USPS has an ingenious way of handling this:  they only look at the last address line above city, state ZIP to deliver to.  Thus, you can put whatever you want above that line and USPS will blissfully ignore it and deliver it to that last listed address.  Not a bad little system, really.

But it is way, way too complicated for people who write address parsers.  Some will allow multiple address lines, but they don’t seem to understand why those other lines are there.  Paypal won’t validate my full address, with both street and PO Box forms, because the bank doesn’t use both.  Not a few online merchant systems barf when you try to ship to a Paypal non-validated address, and hillarity has ensued not a few times when a merchant has decided to ship to my street address with USPS. 

Well, today’s adventure was with eCost.com, someone who has shown up on a RSS feed I have for tech bargains.  They had some items I wanted at prices I wanted, so I decided to try buying them.  Silly me!  They had an option for Paypal checkout, so I thought I’d try that and reduce the number of companies with my credit card number in their databases where they can be stolen and misuesed.  Silly me!  Their system notices that there is a P.O. Box in the shipping address (along with my street address, as per USPS guidelines), and locks down — can’t possibly process a transaction with a P.O. Box in the shipping address.  It turns out that, not only can I not use PayPal checkout, I can’t even pay via PayPal because, when you try that, it sends you to PayPal checkout, third base. 

Stupid address parsers.  I’m telling you.

Then, adding to the annoyance, when I do their check out, sending my stealable credit card information to their site, their address form munges up my phone number, stuffing the whole number (area code included, and hyphens) into the “phone number” not including area code field and the field is only seven characters wide.  And then it barfs when I try to submit the form as it’s sent up — like it’s my fault that their form munged up the phone number.

I’m still doing the purchase, but I got really, really annoyed along the way.

Stupid address form scripts.