The Hub: Okay. It's all my fault.
There are certain laws by which we all live. Aside from a nasty tendency to change lanes in the middle of intersections (gleefully pointed out by my teenaged son at every offense), I'm a pretty law-abiding guy. There are some laws, however, that you don't CHOOSE to violate, you just DO. Chief amongst those for me is the Law of Unintended Consequences. And I confess (just call me Tiger), there have been transgressions, involving that law.
"I just wanted to HELP people": how often have you heard THAT one? Seriously, though, I did, and I do. It pains me to read inarticulate prose, and unfortunately, I read a lot of it every day while reviewing the new ads here at Audiogon. So I wrote a piece about what makes an ad a GOOD ad (seen here
), mentioning such elements as providing sufficient detail, being civil, and using humor to charm your reader and attract attention.
And that's when things went horribly, horribly wrong.
See, I used an ad from member Dertubemeister as an example. It was unusual, and rambling, and wise, and funny. It also sold his amp within a couple hours. Wow. I talked to Dert, got his simple philosophy on ad-writing ("People like stories"), and encouraged him to come back with another ad, next time he had an amp to sell. Harmless, right?
Well, that depends upon whom you talk to. Dertubemeister's encore, the now-infamous ''Heater'' ad
, has been read a remarkable 13,000 times. I found it amusing, and thought it took a needed jab at the seriousness that envelops the high end. This forum thread
discussed the ad, in enthusiastic terms.
Outside the Forums, reactions were mixed. One earnest member wrote me about the ad, fearing it was a scam; I responded that it wasn't a scam, it was a JOKE. Some merchants found the ad unprofessional, and claimed it distracted readers from REAL ads. The stats indicated otherwise, but logic seldom overcomes indignation.
Funnily enough, my friends in the audio press, manufacturers, and retailers all GOT it. But that may be why they're my friends.
So was the world changed by this string of events? No, not really. A little levity was brought to an often-too-serious community, but don't think for a second that we're not serious about business. We are, but that doesn't mean it can't be fun.
Meanwhile, I'm keeping a close watch on Dertubemeister. His ads, and their aftermath, have made it apparent that some help is still needed amongst our users. With that in mind, I'll close with a few more guidelines for ad composition:
1. Reread what you wrote, as though you've never seen it before. Does it still make sense?
2. Never, EVER insult or abuse your reader. Not only is it incredibly bad business, it's a good way to make your ad disappear.
3. References to fecal matter are both unnecessary and unwelcome. Really, do you think that'll make people want to buy your item? Sure doesn't work that way for me.
4. PLEASE don't start your ad with the phrase, "If you're reading this, you know what this is." How lazy is that? You can still provide enough information to enlighten the poor souls who DON'T know what it is, but still might be interested in it. Besides which, we don't know anything about YOUR specific piece. TELL us!
5."Minty" is a flavor, not a condition; the word "perfect" is an absolute, and should never be followed by "except for..." or similar weasel-words; and NEVER use the phrase so beloved of craigslist sellers of non-running cars: "CAN work great!" It DOESN'T work great, mind you, but it CAN if it's completely rebuilt!
Go forth, and write great ads!