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Thanks, US Air! April 8, 2011

Posted by nrhatch in Humor, Travel & Leisure.
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Earlier this week, BFF and I both received the following e-mail from US Air:

AirplaneMiles make you smile . . .
. . . And they get you where you want to be

We know you love award travel . . . and we love seeing you happy! So, we added 1,000 bonus miles to your account.*

We hope these miles get you a little closer to your next award trip. Keep flying and using Dividend Miles partners and you’ll be on your way in no time!

Today, we received a follow up e-mail:

Earlier this week, we inadvertently delivered an email message to many of our Dividend Miles members’ email accounts.

Unfortunately, one of those accounts was yours.

Worse, this email incorrectly stated that we posted 1,000 Dividend Miles into your account.

This was not accurate and the email message was sent in error.

We apologize for any inconvenience this might have caused you and appreciate your understanding.

Best of all the Subject of the second e-mail . . . Oops!

You can say that again!

Hey, US Air . . . check your calendar.  April Fool’s Day was last Friday.

Not So Simple Now April 8, 2011

Posted by nrhatch in Blogging, Humor, Writing & Writers.
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I’ve stopped reading what used to be one of my favorite blogs ~ Think Simple Now by Tina Su (a/k/a the Sam-E Good Mood Blogger).

Why did I stop reading Think Simple Now

Because . . . it’s not so simple now.

Instead of hanging out in Tina’s cozy living room to enjoy a chat about simplicity and happiness, Think Simple Now has become an overcrowded auditorium full of blinking lights competing for my attention. 

At the moment, there are more than 20 advertisements prominently displayed on Think Simple Now.  

How un-Zen. 

Especially on a site ostensibly designed to encourage clarity and creativity.

The products?   Well, it depends.  The ads change from day to day and even moment to moment.  But all are designed to get us to spend, spend, spend: 

* Financial products, like American Express.  
* Automobiles, like Jeep. 
* Air Fresheners, like Febreze . . . and Folgers. 
* Screen Printers, by Yudu. 
* Disney Parks.
* Food ads, like Pillsbury Toaster Strudels.
* A blinking ad for domains screaming . . . Buy Now!  Offer ends 4/30/11!    
* Twitter Ads. 
* Facebook Ads. 
* Google Ads.
* Book Ads. 

Wow!  Even listing them all is exhausting. 

And not at all simple. 

Yesterday, I mentioned that the place seemed “less friendly.” 

Tina asked me  to explain.  I did my best. 

It’s not just the ads. Tina and her once simple site have changed.  And not for the better ~ unless by “better” you mean more volume and traffic.  

As Tina said last night, she no longer gauges success by her interaction with readers.  Instead, she measures success by numbers through feeders:

It’s a common assumption to associate the number of comments to a blog’s traffic or reader interest. In my situation, it is not the case. Traffic have doubled since 6 months ago and it continues to grow.

I simply stopped focusing on the number of comments each post received and the total number of subscribers.

Now, I focus on writing useful things that come from the heart, and growing the site traffic in a sustainable and organic way.

But, wait, there’s more.

These days, instead of sharing a simple message with her readers, heart to heart, Tina has hired a rotating panel of bloggers to lecture about simplicity and happiness and time management skills. 

It’s just not the same as chatting with Tina about her thoughts on happiness.

Tina defended the choices she’s made to add ads and guest lecturers by saying, in effect, “It’s my site.”  

Fair enough.  Anyway, that’s not why I left. 

After several comments back and forth (i.e., exchange and interplay between writer and reader), Tina said:

I have been toying with the idea of removing comments all together, like other bloggers in the personal development field. 

Now, I am leaning towards yes.

Wow!  That’s unfriendly.

That makes reading a blog like attending a lecture where comments and questions are not only frowned upon and discouraged, they are prevented:

The audience, eyes raised to the dais, is gagged to ensure its silence.

Without the interplay of comments, a blog is like a book ~ a one way discussion.

A monologue, instead of a dialogue. 

Only it’s not as good as a book because it hasn’t been as carefully organized and edited. 

And the only illustrations are advertisements for unrelated products . . . like veggie burgers and toaster strudels.

Now that Think Simple Now is not so simple now . . . I have better things to do with my time. 

Must.  Go. Shopping.  

No rules.  Just write!

For a look at a blogger who has NOT sold her blog to the highest bidder by plastering her site with adverts for completely unrelated products:  Money or Why I Should Not Bother With My Blog (Sinister Echoes)

Another related post:  Upselling and Selling Out: Survival of a Non-Marketer in a Commercial World (JannaTWrites)