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!

-and finally,
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!
Glad to see the Crusade is still alive and moving forward with the thrust of a turtle. Mind you a mighty turtle, but nonetheless a turtle. Being an old ad guy with some heavy hitting corporate entities, such as CBS and TV Guide I am for the most part amused by many of the ads that appear on Audiogon as well as some other sites. Salesmanship is slowly but surely entering its demise. but being the dinosaur I am, will press forward and will saddle up for one more crusade. Whos knows the world of enlightment may be just a stones throw away and god knows I am need of more enlightment.
It's funny, I posted that ad partly as a response to what I've always seen as a stuffy and oh so serious slant to the postings on Audiogon. Out of the hundred or so emails I got the percentage that didn't get it was vanishingly small. One would think that most readers of Audiogon would have some sophistication and that has generally proven to be the case. Most responses were from well meaning fellows that tried their best to write humor along the lines of the posting. Despite the intent to get the audience rolling in the aisles, most would get the audience rolling their eyes. That's okay though, they got it. The few without a clue, well you meet those at every party and you can tell them pretty easily as people drift away from them. I must say I was surprised at the overwhelming response. To me that meant that there were more than I had thought out there looking for a little fun in the hobby and perhaps a few less ponderous pronouncements of unparalleled and jawdropping superiority from "serious" merchants. Honestly, I priced the silly things at $25k in self defense. If I had set the bar at $500 they would have sold to some poor doofus and then where would I have been? Can't have that. Must apologize to Bill in one regard though. Even though we've both been having a lot of fun with this, his blog has up to now featured classic equipment. The stuff of legends from days gone by. Now, smack dab in the middle we've got my smiling face with a couple of danged space heaters. Shouldn't happen to a dog. Woof.
Hi, Audiogon_bill,

I find your suggestions extremely worthwhile and will review them prior to posting my first AudiogoN FS ad. Thank you!

Best regards,
WOW, a man who gets it, about a man who got it! It's supposed to be fun people!! Oh well the beatings will continue until moral improves!
The joke was funny. The problem with the joke was that too many crazy items posing as 'audiophile' are made AND sold here. How can AudiogoN allow sellers to sell "teleportation tweak": wherein the buyer gets a telephone call that makes an improvement in the buyers system. I don't care if it may be a 'funny'. It is an outright fraud. Unless the disclamer is made that it is "for amusement purposes only"!
The slope to bullcrap is beginning to get steeper. To not slide off the end is getting harder. This Heater ad was funny, it's effect, as part of a general "let's sell anything that some fool might buy" philosophy is bad for the entire audiophile community.
I am not against selling magic jars of rocks (one of my pet peeves) nor against the likes of "Tice Clocks". but the line needs to be drawn. And 'heaters' jokes, and teleportation tweak fraudster ads are not part of what makes AudiogoN great. Those sort of ads will IMO ruin AudiogoN, as folks begin to doubt what is real and what is not. YOU can see the posts with innocent questions all the time! Do you think the phoney and fraudulent products make a good impression on new people visiting this site?
Or, does it leave them wondering what the hell is going on?
The "heater" ad is just one more sign that too much f*cking around is going on here.
Your credibility gap is showing.
Does this mean we will not be seeing any more Dakiom ads? As they generally are on the rude/offensive side- whether the product is viable or not. This add was obvious and funny, but does beg the question as Elizabeth stated.
Oy. Where do I begin?

Dert, thanks once again for the contribution. I think we've all concluded that your "real" ads are remarkable enough, so I don't expect any ads for toaster-ovens or Dustbusters any time soon. ;->

Elizabeth, this time (!) I agree with you. As I've said several times before, the bifurcate joy/pain of high-performance audio is that EVERYTHING matters. That means that great improvements can be wrought at low cost (especially if you read and utilize Jim Smith's book), but it also means that some of those improvements may well be inexplicable, bordering on the mystical or magical.

I was trained in mechanical engineering, and I've seen/heard tweaks where my initial reaction was, "there's no WAY that can make a difference", and then have clearly heard that it DOES. The next step of course is where we have the tweak equivalent of Miss Cleo : pure fakes. Does that mean that some mysterious tweaks DON'T work? No, not at all. To me, it just means that dogma is not all that useful when it comes to audio.

You will be seeing changes in what you see on Audiogon. I should point out in our defense that there are LOTS of items submitted to us which are never allowed to see the light of day (or a monitor--I suspect that a lot of our members never SEE the light of day).

And, Elizabeth: I probably shouldn't have allowed that word with the asterisk in your penultimate sentence to go up. Our credibility isn't enhanced by letting one member do things like that, and then prohibiting others from it. I'm just sayin'.

C1: thank you. I appreciate appreciation.

Robyatt: thank you, also. Dunno to whom you're referring: I don't have TIME for beatings! ;->

Ferrari: whatcha gonna do? I'm getting old too, but I'm still trying to make a difference. I'm probably more dismayed by ads than amused by them; it's kind of like watching COPS, except there are fewer tattoos and mullets here. Hang in there, and thanks for the comments.

4est 4 the trees: we share your concerns, and we have been talking to a number of our advertisers. We're tryin', dude.

Thanks to you all for reading, and for caring enough to comment.
Ok i figured out why there is so much anger out there. I over spent (way over),maybe they did to? I too am looking to fault someone,but yours? think pretty highly of yourself?lol thanks for a great site. if people are talking it must be working? Music should be fun,used to be way back I thought it was a great AD wished I bought it now
The whole world needs a lot more levity. Lets show them that audiophools and philes alike can cohabibate!
All your points are very well taken. As an audiophile and former ad industry account exec., I do believe careful crafting of ad copy and marketing can go a very long way in accelerating the sale of whatever a person might be selling for the price you want! Reading your article about rudeness toward potential buyers was also very well done, and immediately prompted me to think of the "Dakiom" ads regularly listed here. They are extremely wordy, wreak of condescenscion and anger, and simple put, just plain turn me off. The Dakiom products really do intrigue me and I might consider trying some in my system, but the tone and approach used in those ads repels me, rather than attracts me. Just my opinion, but I hope this causes that company to ponder their approach.
Too many folks take this stuff way too seriously.I will be 53 in a few months and if there is one thing that I've learned in life it's this,laughter really is the best medicine.Try it sometime,you might like it.Now,I gotta go and install my new Hydra 8 on my play station,see ya !!!!
The ad was funny.There are many ads on here that need improvement.Hopefully people will start posting better ads after all the talk.And the poor in taste language does not belong with the upper end people enjoying their upper end hobby. I definitely agree with Audiogon Bill about the ads placed here.
Some people need to get a life or @ least, start taking awareness pills. Yes, it was a joke, yes, it was funny, and yes, it made my morning. Thanx for the laughs. By the way, what would have been funnier would be if you actually received a rubber check for the asking price. Keep up the good work.
Thanks, y'all; I'm glad to see that some senses of humor survived the Great Crash of '08.

Madddoggy: I've NEVER overpaid for ANYTHING. I don't know WHAT you're talking about! ;->

Captain Nemo: Thanks. I've often thought the audio world needed a Rodney King-like message of love and peace. Minus the DUIs.

Hifitime: Thanks. I'm surrounded by teenagers. I get enough foul language as it is.

Lincnabby: Glad to hear from a pro. In advertising, there's no accounting for taste, but some approaches just don't work. We have discussed that fact with a number of advertisers; also, I genuinely don't think folks come here to be abused, and I am working hard to ensure that it doesn't happen.

Tpreaves: Clearly, this ain't cancer or terminally-ill parents. I can tell ya that for a FACT. ;->

Gfederys: Thanks for the praise, but no rubber checks, please!

Thanks to all for taking the time to write. Have a good weekend!
Sorry didnt mean you in particular
Didn't take it that way, just joking too.
Rubber check, no. Rubber chicken I'd consider. I really did get some pretty interesting trade offers. A few of those are actually suitable for discussion in a public place. Ahem.
Amen! You could not have said it better and especially your last 5 points were right on target. You can not imagine just how much I get ticked off with stupid ads and especially the ones that go with the "If you are reading this you know..."!

I can hardly believe the stupidity and laziness of some people and I always disregard ads that do not give much information on what they are trying to sell.
Dert, maybe we can save that for another day.

Musicgioni, thanks for the praise, but be careful of your blood pressure!

Thanks as always for the comments.
Those amps weren't real???

Well...the jokes on you, because I bought the exact same pair of amps at Wal-Mart and they were much less than $25,000.

So I ask you, who would buy 'em on A'gon?

Unfortunately I had to return them to WM because they had some ground loop issues I was unable to correct.

But I got a full refund, which was a good thing.

FINE. Be that way. You can buy them at a discounter if you want, but you KNOW you're destroying the livelihood of an audio specialist!

Kidding, kidding. We're all friends, here. ;->
I actually thought the "Heater Ad" was absoolutely hilarious. Too bad some folks sense of humor is a little lacking in depth. I also find it interesting that we have to tell folks how to write a good (or even mediocre) ad. I knew I should have listened better in Composition 101! :)
Wussup,dog? Glad you have a sense of humor.

I certainly had no intention of doing tutorials when I began, but it appeared that there was and is a need. That's okay: we all have different skills.

Thanks for taking the time to comment.
I also think we need some "lighten-up" in this hobby and I applaud the efforts of any one who brings a little laughter - not to mention santity to this all too serious pastime. I once saw an ad on Canuck Audio Mart (CAM) for a part bag of play sand for filling speaker stands. It was only .25 cents but shipping was extra. I'm sure that a lot of members didn't "get it". I once posted an ad of my own, poking fun at all of the crazy tweaks on the market and the wild claims made regarding them. It was for a "magic water-based aerosol spray" which you were to use in your listening room prior to your listening session. A lot of members were having fun with the ad but then the moderator pulled it, saying it was unfair to poke fun at or criticize the vendors of various tweaks that are sold on the site. Oh well!