200 Words to Use Instead of Good

Reprinted from http://custom-writing.org/blog with permission.

200 Powerful Words to Use Instead of “Good” [Infographic]


Amazon Files Third Lawsuit to Avoid Fraudulent Reviews

One of the best marketing techniques any business can have, is to receive and publish glowing reviews from purchasers. Amazon, selling everything from books, technology and even fashion and health related items, clearly has plenty to win or lose if doubts are cast with respect to the veracity of its customer reviews. In an effort to crack down on allegedly fake reviews the online company recently filed its third lawsuit against the owners of five new sites promising positive customer reviews.

One of the sites was Paid Book Reviews offering customers 100 reviews for $2,200. This site states that it comprises “a team of writers who understand the effect of positive customer reviews on your book’s sales.” Two types of book reviews are covered: unverified (the writers read the sample pages of a book on Amazon.com and post positive comments) and verified (the company buys the client’s book, reads it on Kindle and posts positive comments on Amazon). Purchasers can opt for as few as five book reviews, for only $125. Thanks to Kindle, tablets and other mobile technology the reviews can clearly be lucrative for the company offering them, since there is no need to purchase a physical copy of the books. Kindle books, which can be read on mobile devices regardless of the reader’s location in the world, cost less than physical books and can be reviewed by writers and critics form anywhere in the world.

Amazon began filing lawsuits in April 2015; so far, over 1,000 reviewers have been targeted. Some of these sites have already closed, and the information obtained has enabled Amazon to also ban specific sellers and reviewers from using their site. In its official statement,   Amazon claims that legal action has been taken to stop sellers and manufacturers who create the demand for fake reviews, but also to put an end to the larger ecosystem of individuals and businesses that support inauthentic reviews in return for money.

Savvy Amazon users take note; it is possible to spot fake reviews thanks to free website, Fakespot. Just copy and paste the link to the product page, and click Analyze. If you use Chrome,   add the Fakespot extension and simply click the Fakespot icon in your toolbar –   you will instantly be told if the reviews you are reading are considered low quality .  If Fakespot deems a review ‘low quality’, the likelihood is that those reviewing the product are likely to have reviewed other items by the same company, that they have written only extremely positive reviews, or that they have reviews products they have not purchased. These are pretty good indicators that reviews given are not based on one’s real experience or opinion.

Research indicates that up to 90 per cent of customers make purchasing decisions influenced by positive online reviews, while around 86 per cent are influenced by negative reviews. Around two thirds of online buyers read reviews, since brands can sell similar products and lack of awareness of differences in quality and features of online items makes reviews an invaluable source of information.

Research has also shown that B2B companies stand most to gain from customers who have had a good experience with them and who review their products and services online. Over 60 per cent of purchasers claim to have purchased products or services from a B2B company after reading positive reviews. The key to receiving a good review does not only lie in the product itself, but also customer service, which is ranked as a primary factor in influencing the degree to which customers trust companies.

Because customer service is so important,  marketing managers should work closely alongside customer service personnel , so that customer concerns expressed on social networking sites are attended to promptly and efficiently. Equally important is the practice of answering negative comments and reviews online, for others to see. Often, the percentage of negative comments can be reduced simply by attending speedily to complaints and problems, offering solutions and bonuses to clients who chose to remain loyal despite a glitch or two. Social media platforms should also be used to announce changes made to service policy or products, based on comments by customers. Ultimately, reviews, even negative ones, should be seen as an opportunity for companies to grow and adapt to the changing demands of the market and their target client.


Author is Helen Young

Semi – final post

This is my semi-final post. What does this mean? I am taking some time off for some long needed, rest and relaxation. But I will still be active on all my normal, social media channels. And I will still be devoting time each day to studying the following languages:

  • Spanish
  • French
  • Portuguese
  • German

If I have something interesting to say, I will write a blog post. Then I will promote it that week, through the usual, social media channels. And if a guest blogger wishes to share an article, I will promote it for them – via the usually, social media channels.

But I do need a rest from regular blog posts. And there is a rich history of historical blog posts to view.

This does not mean retirement. Nor does it mean a devastating illness. All it means is that I am taking time off from writing blog posts.

Any words of advice? Sure. Watch out for fake social media profiles. They are pretty easy to spot. Most of the time, they only put a minimum of information in them. Take LinkedIn, for instance. Do they have a list of active skills? Have they had these skills endorsed by a few people? Do they have any recommendations present?

Most of the time, they are trying to get something quick. Like they are a tax agent and need you to pay by debit card. Where is the formal IRS letter? Will they give you sufficient time to consult with your tax attorney and/or accountant?

Or they have a romance scam. And they use a picture you can track down with a Google image search.

Or they get emotionally attached to you very quickly – like in a week’s time. And they will try to conger a story about needing money. Like they volunteer for Unicef and need money to pay the doctor. But Unicef provides excellent, free medical coverage for volunteers and are not even situated, where they party want’s money sent to. Go figure!

Or they have several million and want your help getting it out of the country. As if you can’t find someone to hire in your own country?

I’m going back to using more direct response methods in products I sell. I’m a big fan of this style of copywriting and wish to use it more – for my own ends. I miss the good, old days of studying ads by folks like Clayton Makepeace, Ben Heart, Dan Kennedy and Bob Bly. It’s kind of fun and you can use these methods, in your own web copy and promotional landing pages.

I’ll stop back in – from time to time. And I might have guest bloggers stop by – from time to time. But this is a offical period of blog post resting.

The strange workings of certain LinkedIn groups

It all started when I joined a popular linkedIn writers group and shared this link, in the discussions section:

102 Resources to Transform Your Writing. Now it contained a graphic of a fully clothed woman dancing, along with this description:

“Do you want to transform your writing? These 201 resources will help you go from amateur writer to Seductive Wordsmith.”

Innocent enough, right? Well, they had a volunteer, who placed this in the promotions category. They didn’t like the words “seductive wordsmith.” They didn’t say anything about the woman dancing. But if the person was a copywriter…or supervised copywriters…they would give them a raise and/or a promotion. Imagine the same person reviewing Ulysses by James Joyce. It would never get off the ground

What is a copywriter? There are many definitions. Let’s even go with one for promote, from Dictionary dot com.

“Copywriting is the use of words to promote a person, business, opinion, or idea. copywriting is getting across the perfect message, with the perfect words.”

In our example, they are promoting an opinion or idea – not a person or business.

There are three tabs LinkedIn has: Promotions, Discussions and Jobs. And here’s how LinkedIn defines the tabs:

“A Jobs tab gives group members a place to share jobs and jobs discussions. Jobs discussions are automatically removed after 14 days. You can always post a job on LinkedIn if you want to reach a wider audience or need a job posted longer.”

“A Promotions tab gives group members a place to post their product promotions. Promotions don’t expire, but they can be deleted by the poster or by a group owner/manager.”

Here were my questions in the “promotion”, which they did not answer.

  • Why is this post placed in the promotion category, when according to the rules set by the owner and LinkedIn, it doesn’t fit the definition of promotion (NOR his definition of SPAM, I might add)?
  • If this is a promotion, why could I share this in other LinkedIn writing groups and it’s classified as a discussion?
  • If this is a promotion, then how can Write to Done gain 2.5 million yearly readers, just by writing promotions?

I wrote to the owner and ask him for help. Here was his reply:

“I will send it to the editors for review.”

Why send it to the editors?  Can’t you make decisions on your own?

Then I opened up this topic there for discussion:

“When should I place something in discussions and when should I place it in promotions?”

And the same person who had the original placed in promotions, said this:

“I believe in the rules XXX has referred to ‘community moderation’ and ‘democratic’ processes.”

Promotions isn’t only about things with prices, but anything that is a presentation in the OP or asks me to follow a link to read something somewhere else to be able to join the conversation. It’s pretty simple

The problem is that I have monitored subsequent posts that exactly had links just like mine.  Here’s an example: Is Nature Writing Old Hat?

Let me settle this question from LinkedIn’s own words. In it, they say this:

Enter details in the “Add more details” box or add a link to a website by typing in the URL and pressing the space bar on your keyboard.

So if I were “following the letter of the law”, I could first ask: “What are some resources that writers can use?”

Then in details, I could say: Here are some examples in 102 Resources to Transform Your Writing.

Now the only thing that needs settling is: What are “objectionable” words in the description?

Isn’t their answer a process of  GroupThink?

Groupthink is a psychological phenomenon that occurs within a group of people, in which the desire for harmony or conformity in the group results in an irrational or dysfunctional decision-making outcome. Group members try to minimize conflict and reach a consensus decision without critical evaluation of alternative viewpoints, by actively suppressing dissenting viewpoints, and by isolating themselves from outside influences.

Let’s take that logic there and ask some questions:

  • If you have a few thousand members, how do you measure what members want, unless you have conducted surveys and statistical polling?
  • Why is this group not adopting the definitions LinkedIn has established for groups?
  • If you have different rules, why aren’t they all written down in the group rules section?
  • Why isn’t the owner actively involved with the group?  Could it be they are more interested in business gains from the group?

Let’s explore how a big inbound marketing Hubspot runs LinkedIn groups.  Look at How HubSpot Moderates LinkedIn Groups.  Let’s look at their four categories:

  • “Relevant questions for advice/discussions.”
  • “An interesting article with an accompanying question about the article’s content.”
  • “Important industry news.”
  • “Really darn catchy, unusual, content.”

I’m just like the little child in The Emperor’s New Clothes by Hans Christian Andersen, stating the obvious. There are times the owner needs to step in. Like when a new minority trend in copywriting occurred, when they used real smear words – and posted a link. Well, I have to worry about general sensitivities. And I asked them to follow the comic book guidelines for replacing swearwords with certain characters. But I have stepped in.

Other groups are probably more into resources to help them improve their writing, etc, then they are here. I really don’t believe in sharing knowledge and resources to help others, where it’s not wanted. I should be able to just read the group rules section, along with the LinkedIn guidelines, to know what is expected.

The question was raised there if I get paid to promote Write To Done. I answered as follows:

  • I do not get paid to post the resources links. And I don’t think any of the resources they list, is a paid product. I have a personal and professional standard of theological and philosophical ethics. And that would prevent me from posting links that are affiliate links and disguising them as legitimate posts.
  • It would also be easy for a professional software engineer – trained in these matters – to easily break down and decipher an affiliate link (i.e. LinkedIn technical support, for example). Or even LinkedIn software.
  • The other thing is I use a URL shortener. The one I usually run with is owned by Twitter. Any popular URL shortener would have build in filtering, to weed out things like SPAM, affiliate links, etc.
  • Lastly, Google and Bing would only allow blogs to rank high, if they provide authoritative and popular content. Hence, Write To Done can claim a readership of 2.5 million views, based upon good and authoritative content. Certainly, that many people wouldn’t visit them to view promotions or infomercials.

What has given me perspective here is that I’m in a different culture. Yes, a LinkedIn group could be a different culture. Like those in the books of writer Carlos Castaneda, who also earned a PhD in anthropology for his work. Things could be stranger. Like we could have a group owner like Sheldon Cooper, from the Big Bang theory. And a group manager like Cosmo Kramer from Seinfeld. If I visualize these extreme examples, things start to make sense by comparison. Perhaps I am joining Alice on holiday in Wonderland. Or traveling with Dr. Who, in exploring an alternative LinkedIn universe. Then I can echo the usual words of Spock from Star Trek: “fascinating”.

Balancing Creativity and Group Sensitivities

This situation came up in LinkedIn, in my group for writers and copywriters. I’ve thought it would be nice to get input. Somebody posted a piece by a well know ad writer , who used profanity in an article. They quoted a part from the article, that used profanity, Should it be allowed?

Well, first and foremost, we operate under the LinkedIn company umbrella. If I were to take a guess, I would think they would not allow it.

I suggested to delete the article and remove any profanity from the linked to piece Instead, edit it to use simulated profanity (i.e. I don’t give a %$#&, like you see in newspaper comics or comic books).. And don’t use any profanity in the commentary regarding the article, unless it is simulated..,Then resubmit the article and commentary. Sound like a plan?

I know that books like Catcher in the Rye are full of cuss words. But you have to balance group sensitivities with using cuss words. Not that I’m a moralist in good writing, mind you. People who quote form Catcher in the Rye also use simulated cuss words in quoted book parts. People can do a Google or Bing search for the unedited piece.

Kind of like displaying the rated video of the song blurred lines by Robin Thicke. People who want the “unrated” version with nude dancing women can search for it and find it. Would you be offended if I published the video link with the nude dancing women in a LinkedIn group on music you belong to? Especially since the song video is full of sexual suggestions/ I would post the link to the rated version (i.e. fully clothed women), I would inform people there is an unrated version and might even give the keywords to conduct the search

My personal view is this. A few years ago, artists were doing crazy things. They might take a toilet or a board full of condoms and exhibit them at an art show – with their name on it, of course. Then folks would scratch their heads and ask: “is this art?” It really only shocked people the first time they saw it. But is it really art?

If a good ad writer (or good writer) needs to use profanity, then what is the point? The Catcher in the Rye by JD Salinger had a purpose for using profanity. It’s to capture the actual speech of youth, during the time he dated the work. But I fail to see the purpose an ad writer would achieve, unless it was to have “shock art.”

Let’s take the music video Blurred Lines by Robin Thicke. I saw both the rated and unrated videos, after seeing him perform on Stephen Colbert. I personally like both video versions, but I won’t allow the unrated one to be directly linked to.

My take. If a clear majority wanted profanity and LinkedIn allowed it – so be it. In the meantime, simulated profanity (i.e. &4*#@), like you see in comic books and newspaper comic scripts, will be what I would go with. Reply it with symbols. Look at Correct usage of replacing cuss words with symbols at cuss word rules. Use the same notation they use in the comic books (i.e. point 3)

I would like input on balancing group sensitivities with creativity? Comments, suggestions or input?

Who is our audience?

This started with a forum I belong to. Someone introduced a fictitious proof of PI=4, on a forum NOT devoted to math. I responded with this video entitled Rhapsody on the proof of pi = 4:

Let’s call this person Babu Bhatt from “Seinfeld”. And we will call this forum the Nasrudin forum. Both the name and forum name are fictitious. Anyway, this person and others introduced both bogus and real proofs. And I responded with videos from this person, as well as scholarly links and discussion. Babu criticized these videos as wrong, from the deeper aspects of mathematics. Since my last sharing teaches some important points, I’ll share it hear:

“A wise man adapts himself to circumstances, as water shapes itself to the vessel that contains it.” — Chinese Proverb

There are three things I have learned in life and try to practice.

  • From philosophy it’s to define your terms first
  • From computer science, it’s the KISS philosophy – Keep it simple and stupid
  • From direct response copywriting (i.e. writing for business or advertising), is to know your audience.

What’s the key question here? Who is your audience?  In direct response copywriting, you learn these things:

  • Keep the conversation to a level of eight grade and below
  • People respond more to buying on emotion then on reason. Then they try to use reason, to justify their emotional based purchase
  • Talk to them like you’re conversing with a friend at the bar

Actually, if you can do these things well, you could become a millionaire on royalties – like Clayton Makepeace, Bob Bly or Ben Hart did. Can you use that info here? Sure! Ever see the Three Stooges short, where they are talking about Pig Latin? Moe says to Curly:

“I’ll explain it so even you can understand it.”

When you do that, you lose or pass over the “deeper” and correct aspects.

It comes back to who is our audience, which is something I brought up in another thread. Without being insulting to anyone, suppose Curly of the three stooges were part of our audience. We have to speak at his level “and above”. Unless you have statistical data and demographics on your target audience, you can’t assume anything.

You are right, Babu . The video does contain errors, just as the picture proof that Pi=4 contains errors. But if you are so concerned about what is “right and proper”, then why introduce something that “is not right and proper”, in the first place?

But who is your audience here, Babu, and who is my audience? Mine is both the amateur and the professional. If they want the “comic book” version, they watch the video. If they want the “scholarly journal” version, they go to the appropriate links I’ve provided.

And she should correctly define her terms before talking in the video. It’s something many folks here often fail to do also, in discussions of scripture, theology and philosophy. We might end up with something like this, from Abbot and Costello:

But who is her audience and who is our audience? She is from Khan Academy , which is a non-profit dedicated to teaching subjects up through high school free – as far as I understand their group. Or as Wiki says:

Khan Academy is a non-profit[4] educational organization created in 2006 by educator Salman Khan to provide “a free, world-class education for anyone, anywhere”

If someone posts a YouTube video and enables comments, the place to place criticisms is on the video YouTube comments section. And they should revise the video, based on feedback.

And who is our audience? Two professional mathematicians talking to each other? Or a group of forum lay people, who like to discuss theology, philosophy, scripture and other – sometimes fun – subjects?

If you want a good video presentation for the amateur, then watch her. If you want a good discussion among professional respondents, go to Quota (i.e.like I pointed to earlier at Why is 0.999… equal to 1? or some similar place.

Yes, she has some things wrong at a “deeper” level. But her audience is probably those struggling with math, who see these videos as fun and entertaining – just as many here would. What math videos have your contributed free, for the benefit of providing free education to all?

  • It’s up to her to enable comments on original YouTube postings.
  • It’s up to people like us, to provide professional feedback there.
  • And it is up to her to revise, based upon feedback.

In fact, given the scope and mission of Khan Academy, it’s probably the duty of every professional to provide video feedback. This way, they can preform their mission of free education better.

Yes, great direct response copywriters have much to teach us and command high fees. In fact, famous marketer Ed Dale just revealed today he paid legendary direct response copywriter Gary Halbert 20 K a month in High Fees  to coach  him.

And you know what? If you want to master the art of persuasion, then direct response copywriting will teach you that. Studying historical and contemporary philosophers for constructing Logical philosophical arguments are all well and good. Studying famous writers for engaging literary styles are all well and good. But in my book, direct response copywriters are masters at the art of persuasion and well worth studying how they compose their ads and selling stories.

Being a Successful Writer Requires Marketing Knowledge

Here’s some advice I gave on a forum, to an aspiring writer.  But his wife was objecting to the time devoted to the project:

Actually, I don’t think the person shouldn’t write the book – providing he can make peace with his wife on it. But if it leads to a divorce, is it really worth the effort?

Notice how all the TV evangelists have books to give away – for a small donation, of course?

Writing is a form of therapy. It also helps us to clarify our thoughts, feelings, ideas, etc. It matters not whether we are writing a book, a short story, poem, PhD dissertation, etc., as writing itself is helpful. And during the process of writing, join a local writers group (in the US, ask your local adult reference librarian or in-district, community college, to refer one to you). They can give you candid, but honest. feedback. Read books on writing, like On Writing: 10th Anniversary Edition: A Memoir of the Craft by Stephen King.

Sure, put it out on Amazon, get an ISBN number, copyright the book, etc. These are all easy steps to do. Then discover for yourself how hard – or easy – the selling process is. I never ask people to take my word on anything or even agree with a philosophical or theological idea I present. I appreciate alternative positions that are well argued and presented. I just prefer taking a more Socratic approach, in “just asking questions” , like Colombo or Socrates. No harm in that, right?

You’re probably under the spell that this book will be a runaway best seller. I’ve spent several years hanging around the College of DuPage, in their creative writing courses. There were many good to excellent writers there. I only think one or two of them ever published anything, and neither piece ever sold much. Even writers who have several published works, usually market themselves by going on speaking and promotional tours. Does she really have a problem if you write a book and nobody buys it?

Let me add this. Writing a book and self-publishing is the easy part (f you call it easy, as “good” writing requires many revisions). Getting people to buy it is the hard part.

Authors need to know a lot about marketing. I run and started a LinkedIn group for writers called Working Writers and a LinkedIn group for copywriters called Copywriters International. Both are sizable LinkedIn groups, with many good writers and marketers there. One of the persons I know is a ghostwriter, who has written fictional works for well-known authors. She was one of the first professional ghost writers out there. It’s one way to get known as a writer – but also very expensive.

I’ve also heard different fictional writers speak, in events sponsored by a consortium of local public libraries. I remember one guy who wrote several mystery books, based upon title names of famous drinks. He was using this as a marketing ploy. He had to travel on his own, promoting and marketing his own books. Often at events like the library talk. And he did say that for the price of a few drinks, he would answer extensively any questions.

Even if you secure an agent and a publishing company secures a contract, you are on your own in marketing and promotion. That is, if and until you become famous and a household name. And what would make you believe more in the rapture? A scholarly book on the topic or one of the Left Behind series by Tim LaHaye and Jerry B. Jenkins (i.e. which is not really bad writing, by the way)?

The only other way to avoid the marketing -at least, in part – is to be admitted into an élite writing school, like the University of Iowa. Then if the professors like you and think you are good, they use their contacts to promote you. If you can stand their intense scrutiny and tearing apart your works first, along with extensive rebuilding you need to do.

Or you can be like the woman in Basic Instinct: Extremely talented, very beautiful, extremely intelligent, devious as all get-out, schooled in the right university and left with 110 million, to promote and market herself.