'How Rude!' -- Internet Marketing Tales From the Darkside
1999, by Harmony Major

  1. "Take me off your mailing list. I did not write you for information and I do not want your mail. If you continue to mail your stupid information to me, I will consider it harrassment."

  2. "Where are the JOBS (EMPLOYMENT). I have searched hundreds of web sites, looked thru thousands of classified ads. I've only found a few jobs, none I want to do. Why must almost everyone LIE, and say they have an employment opp., only for us to find out it's a business opp.? WHERE ARE THEY???"

Internet "business-people" seem to be so hectically involved in learning the proper and most effective ways to advertise, promote their websites, get more prospects for their business, increase sales, etc., that they seem to actually forget the most important and invaluable skills of all.

Courtesy. Organization. Honesty.

First of all, I'd like to say hello, and that I hope you're having a wonderful day. I hope things are going well for you today, and that it's been profitable, successful, and peaceful thus far -- much the opposite of mine.

As you can see, I've been called almost every name in the book. Liar, spammer, scammer ... you name it, I've probably been called it. The first incident above occurred when a prospect REQUESTED information from a smart autoresponder. It automatically sent her pre-written follow-up emails every few days from her original request. In turn, the prospect sent me that type of message twice, and followed the email with the "Happy" virus each time.

Of course I wasn't dumb enough to download the virus, and I wrote her back explaining why she was getting the information, and that the only way that she could have gotten it was by sending an e-mail to the autoresponder requesting more information on my ad.

As it turns out, she did finally realize her mistake, and she apologized for her "inappropriate behavior."

The second incident occurred with no forewarning. I was checking the posts on the new forum at my website, and found that message in response to a cheerful "welcome" that I had posted for my guests. I didn't quite know what to do about this one. Should I have left it up? Deleted it? Ignored it?

I left his comments on the board and decided to post a response to his nasty accusations to try to clear up the misunderstanding. I expressed my distaste at the immature way he handled the situation, and told him that he could have at least been courteous enough to write me privately with his gripes.

In a nutshell, I also explained to him that I wasn't a liar, nor do I mislead people for the fun of it. I have much better things to do with my time.

As it turns out, this same person actually signed up for my new affiliate program later on that evening. Not too long after that, he writes me for HELP with questions. After he'd left those unkind comments on our discussion board, he turned around and joined one of the very "opp's" that he'd been griping about. AND, now he needs my help.

Me ... "The Liar?" Ironic, wouldn't you say?

The point of my telling you those stories was not simply to air pent-up frustrations, nor was it to upset any of the offending parties. I only used those examples to stress how the Internet seems to make people lose all of their manners and God-given common sense in dealing with their peers!

Being polite, courteous, and helpful are IMPORTANT on the Internet. Even more important than they are in person, because the only things that people have to judge you by online are the way you handle yourself, the way you treat them and 'talk' to those around you, and by what you say. People are much less likely to trust you, and MORE likely to develop misconceptions about you. Therefore, don't add fuel to the fire by being discourteous and impolite.

Sometimes I ask myself, "would this person be saying the same things to me or acting the same way if I were talking to him in person?" The answer is always 'no.' Why is that, exactly? Because in person, you're much more worried about what people are thinking about you, and whether or not they accept you. On the Internet, people feel that they can 'talk' to us any kind of way, and get away with it. After all, they may never have to communicate with us ever again.

Although that may be true, the Internet can be a cold and anonymous place. We have to remember to treat others as WE expect to be treated. You may not ever have to 'talk' to or hear from me again, nor will you ever have to meet me. However, by disrespecting a woman that deserves to be respected, you're ruining YOUR reputation, and damaging my perception of you.

I was reading something just the other day that briefly addressed this topic. The author stated how people are more likely to act out of character and rude on the Internet than they would in "real life." She said that we shouldn't take people's rudeness and disrespect to heart on the Internet, because it's not their normal way of handling things.

I felt that this was an INCREDIBLY ridiculous thing to say. I respect MYSELF, and expect others to respect and be courteous to me, just as I extend that same honor and respect to them. The Internet does NOT make you invincible, and just because someone is "acting out of character" does NOT mean that we have to accept that as an every day practice.

EVERY person deserves honesty and respect. And we as intelligent human beings should respect ourselves enough not to communicate with someone who doesn't share the same view.


Harmony Major is the author of Yahoo! Secrets, where she reveals how YOU can drive HUNDREDS more visitors to your site each day, by getting a #1 listing on Yahoo. Don't just settle for "getting listed." Use her instantly-effective tactics to boost your site traffic with a TOP Yahoo listing! Visit: http://YahooSecrets.com

Top of Page      Articles Menu