I was starting to worry that the market for paid search was getting as crowded and overheated as email marketing has become. People were subjected to my “reaching out vs. being found” lecture (PPT slides available on request) several times per week. When new budgets were approved, I saw the price of many keywords jump up on the first of the year. Then I saw these ads, and my faith in the mediocrity of most marketing was restored.


Nothing sets my teath on edge like lousy writing, especially marketing writing. It’s not just any word they got wrong, it’s the thing their product works on! I should go back and click on that ad to make them pay. In fact, I encourage all limeduck readers to click on bad search ads whenever possible. Just make sure you don’t buy anything or fill in any forms.

In any case, my point, such as it is, is this: even if the search market is overheated and the click prices inflated, nobody’s going to get much out of this if the ads are not appealing, and if the user experience after clicking delivers on the promise that the ad made. Short ads like these are like email subject lines, conversation hearts, magic 8-ball answers, fortune cookies and haiku — they have to get a lot across with very few words. As this turgid post affirms, it’s easier to write a lot at low quality than to write a little at high quality.

In semi-unrelated fortune cookie news, it turns out that the Japanese invented them.  Who knew?  (For extra credit, note the reporter’s middle name)