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August 10, 2007


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» Business Writing: Are You Using Gobbledygook? from Writing Great Ezines
David Meerman Scott updated his Goobledygook Manifesto this week. He proves his point: news releases from company and pr writers use the same old worn-out empty phrases ... worse than a teenager's annoying talk, like totally inane. I'm reprinting David's [Read More]

» Jargon from Marketing Interactions
Back at the end of 2006, I enjoyed reading David Meerman Scott's Gobbledygook eBook. I see it's been posted again, so for all of you who didn't get to read it, here's your chance. More interesting is that he had Factiva do another analysis of jargon an... [Read More]

» Noch mehr Nonsens in Pressemitteilungen from the power of news
Nach wie vor werden viel zu viele nichts sagende Füllwörter in Pressemitteilungen verwendet. Das zeigt das gerade von David M. Scott aktualisierte Gobbledygook Manifesto. David hat im Zeitraum von November 2006 bis Juli 2007 US-Pressetextdienste mit Fa... [Read More]


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Patsi Krakoff, The Blog Squad

Dude, it's like totally true!

Ed McLean (www.SalesItch.com)

And one of the very worst :

"In today's competitive marketplace"

Aaaarghhh! I've been complaining about jargon too...


Here's another one that seems to be ramping up...


Suddenly everything "is" or "is part of" and ecosystem.


David Meerman Scott

Jeff and Ed -- So true on both of yours!! I'll have to run another analysis with some new words.

Cheers, David

Peggy Jordan

Alas, too true! Thanks for furthering the cause of straight talk. It's so daunting to sit down with a new client (I'm a copywriter) and try to somehow figure out what it is they do or sell when all you get are phrases like "...we maximize shareholder value through implementation of optimized strategies..."


David, I read your analysis with a sense of discomfort--despite our best efforts, my company talks like this. The trouble is, some of it seems unavoidable. For example, how else DO you say "next-generation"?

Dave Ferguson

Going forward, it's important to think outside the box and drive your business by inflating the implied performance of what you do through the strategic deployment of pretentious language.

At the end of the day, though (which usually comes around evening), people are likelier to be unthinking than Machiavellian -- so they use this tiresome, predictable marketese because they think it helps, or because they think it's required, or because they haven't got the time or inclination to come up with an original expression.

It reminds me of the Austin Lounge Lizards song Big Rio Grande River, filled with phrases like "high up on Table Mesa," "past history," and "as the evening sun sets in the west."

David Meerman Scott


You should be using the language that your buyers use when you write materials to reach them.

If they are saying "I want a next generation solution" then it is fine for you to use that language too. But if "next generation" means nothing to your buyers and is just for your own company's ego, then it is gobbledygook and not helpful.

Thanks for reading.


Dianna Huff

Gobbledygook makes my brain hurt -- because you literally have to translate it.

Diana Bourgeois

Thank you Thank you Thank you for your post! As marketers, we often forget that we are actually talking and selling to real people. About a year ago, a magazine for marketers crossed my desk (and I am so impressed by the materials that I find there that I dont remember the name of it!) with a list of the TOP 15 new words marketers should be using in the coming year. Sure enough...those words were everywhere! As marketers, shouldnt we be LESS likely to fall prey to bad PR than MORE likely? And...what does "interoperable" really mean to a potential customer? I remember that was on their list because it meant absolutely nothing to me. Really...talk sense already!

Colin Warwick

I love the way you worked with HubSpot to include this info in their PressReleaseGrader.com site. See you at the InboundMarketingSummit.com !

CD Dimensions

This is really a 'scalable' and 'cutting edge' post ;) darn if I had only read it a few years ago I would have had a 'turnkey solution' that was 'best of breed'. I'm keeping a screen shot of the graph so I can catch myself in my 'next generation' copy ;) I have new rules.." on order. thanks I'm a recovering Gobbledygook writer

Michael Scott

Hey, David; wassup?

I'm (somewhat) enjoying your analysis/critique of so-called 'gobbledygook'.....but, who is to say what DOES and what DOESN'T get that evil label?
What elitist panel or committee is to decide that the word "elegant", for example, is truly "gobbledygook", rather than just a generally accepted term used to describe a program, process, solution (or even an evening gown, for that matter) which does its job accurately, reliably, quickly?

I detest overused colloquialisms as much as the next guy. Some of my faves: "going forward" as opposed to going backward? How about simply "from now on"?
"At the end of the day" as opposed to "when all is said and done"; "it is what it is", etc.

I agree with you: if the customer wants to hear it.......so be it. (Reminds me of another old one that drove me crazy: "If the dog wants steak.......give him steak!"

To me, the "real" bottom line is: those who are attracted to these tired figures of speech get what they deserve; those who aren't, can always a) walk away, b) say "No", c) fire the agency.


David Meerman Scott

Hey Michael - for this analysis, I chose to ask journalists for the most overused phrases they see in press releases.


I have just come across this - what a great post. I'm sure the results will be different now in 2011.

The Grader is brilliant for copywriting and web design copy

Is a new list coming out?

domaine names

Alas, too true! Thanks for furthering the cause of straight talk. Its so daunting to sit down with a new client (Im a copywriter) and try to somehow figure out what it is they do or sell when all you get are phrases like ...we maximize shareholder value through implementation of optimized strategies...

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