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December 12, 2008

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Dave Barnhart

You have a great idea, David. Just as there are sites called "Websites That Suck" and "Jumped the Shark", You should start a blog named "Gobbledygook Manifesto", invite reader to send you examples they encounter, and publish he best of them. It would be a riot.

Richard Becker

David,

These are great examples, and go a long way in underpinning why I always list "what does your company do?" as one of the most difficult to answer questions proposed by the media.

Many people don't really know what their companies do, and if they do, their answers vary from one employee to the next. Sometimes, their answers are even wrong.

Thank you for the chuckle this morning.

All the best,
Rich

Ron Mlller

David,
Like your post the other day, this isn't even really Web 2.0, it's Web 101. Job One of a web site is to tell us what you do (in clear language, not business babble) and to let us know how to contact you. It's surprising how many sites fail at those simple tasks. Just shows how much work there is to be done in terms of educating business about the benefits of what you preach in your books.

But for goodness sakes, people, first and foremost clearly state your business in words the average person understands.

Ron Miller
By Ron Miller Blog
http://byronmiller.typepad.com

Leigh Anne Wallace

Hi David,

I was just fighting this battle this morning. We are trying to name a new product and the engineering guys want to name it something that I think is too long and just a bunch of gobbledygook. We sell to marketers, so I am our buyer persona. If I don't get it, and I work here, how are our buyers going to get it? Describing your business/products/services using Gobbledygook is one thing but actually using it to name your products takes it to a whole new level. I am trying to fight the good fight.

Leigh Anne

Matt Ambrose

Words chosen because they sound impressive are often used for the benefit of the board, rather than the reader. Overused marketing words and phrases can also sound like cliches, and an alternative to genuine thought.

Clear, concise writing, which communicates rather than confuses, should be the first aim. Trying to sound impressive should be secondary.

DaveMurr

Wow! I got a headache reading what those companies "do".

I don't blame. I mean say you've been writing things like those intro's for so long because, thats how it was done. Well along comes social media and changes the game.. well pretty close overnight. Its not surprising to me that there may be a few who fumble with the changes required to play by the new rules.

I clearly remembering having to write my 1st Press Release.

1)I never wrote one before and 2) having played in social media for a bit, figured it would be a good idea to see how things change.

I think its step two that a lot of companies skip - take some time to see what, if anything, has changed.

Fred

Wonderful. It's like gobbledeegook is the smokescreen for companies that don't want to get down to it about what they do. Reminds me of Orwell's "Politics and the English Language" http://www.mtholyoke.edu/acad/intrel/orwell46.htm

Laura Bergells

Steelcase makes office furniture.

Would you know it by their current home page at steelcase.com ???

Their competitor, hermanmiller.com -- not much better. But at least they mention "furniture" in tiny, grey print. Once.

Ari Herzog

Maybe I'm more paranoid than you, David, but I don't care for mission statements written in the scope of the buyer. I say this because I am every company's buyer; while *I* may not be purchasing the product, I probably know someone who does, or one of my friends knows someone who does. Concentric circles. In this economy, who wouldn't take a sale?

Thus, don't write a mission statement for the target demographic. Write a press release for the 10-year-old to read quickly and summarize to his mother over dinner. If the preteen can't understand it, good luck explaining it to mom.

David Meerman Scott

Ari - I've never talked about mission statements. Ever. I don't believe in them. Mission statements are always egotistical.

I do think that all Web content needs to be written for buyers and needs to focus on helping them solve problems.

Mario Sanchez Carrion

David:
Last week I did some research on mission statements of Fortune 500 companies and was amazed to see how most of them didn't make any sense (plenty of gobbledygook there...). I also found a few good ones. I wrote an article about it on my blog (I'm linking my name to it, just in case somebody wants to read it).

Thanks.

MagsMac

Great post. Death Sentences by Don Watson provides some great rules for getting the gobbledygook our of your language. you should read it!

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Wonderful. It's like gobbledeegook is the smokescreen for companies that don't want to get down to it about what they do.

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