One of the sites I own happens to involve electronic poetry. On that site, on the bottom of the pages, I incorporated a news feed. Nothing fancy, just shows a few stories, their headlines, links, and brief snippets. Occasionally, for news stories with very few results, someone will stumble across my site when researching the topic. The site doesn’t have a ton of ranking power, and it is in no way optimized around the content of the news stories. They are just there to give the readers access to more sites to browse through, should they want to.
Occasionally, I will get an email from someone relatively new to the internet, wondering why my site shows on a search for the title of a poem they wrote, or a speaking engagement they performed at, but they do not see anything about it on the page. I will write these people back, explaining that they need to look at the cache of the page, since the news feed is of course dynamic, and the stories indexed when Google went there are usually not the same ones that are there days later. Most say thank you, and wind up understanding just a wee bit more about the internet.
All of them are for the most part just curious, knowing that they don’t know that much about the internet, and all of them are generally speaking quite polite. Until, that is, this peach involved with some obscure work, “Teesway One Nine Nine”.
This person (sex and name both unknown, signed simply “electraglade”) is a classic example of why some people should not be allowed a keyboard. Mouse is fine… let them browse and click all they want. Reading and expanding your knowledge is good. But by no means should they be allowed to actually try and interact, comment, or email. The initial threatening email:
Sent: Tuesday, November 27, 2007 3:05 PM
Subject: Teesway One Nine Nine
Electraglade Agency on behalf of Shutter Books, UK here.
You seem to have hijacked our book title for your site via google – I mean, when Teesway One Nine Nine is googled your site comes up, even though you have nothing to do with the book (other than your site features poetry).
We (on behalf of Shutter Books UK) are looking into the legal aspects of this, and may forward you an invoice for a fee re using our title to ‘hook in’ people to your site – we are awaiting info. re our legal team before proceeding further. It could, of course, be a google issue, and we are awaiting a response re them over this same issue.
Mind you now, when I searched Google that day for [Teesway One Nine Nine] (cached version), the unquoted search returned a mere 23 results (24 today when I look, 8 for that exact phrase). My site didn’t even come up first when looking for info on this book… hell, at 10 results per page it wasn’t even on the first page. Yet for some reason this poorly informed person was sure that the reason my site was listed was because I had done something to “hijack” the title of their book, and just wanted to let me know that they might in fact be sending me an invoice for doing so. Uh huh.
From: Michael VanDeMar
Sent: Tuesday, November 27, 2007 3:40 PM
Subject: Re: Teesway One Nine Nine
If you are involved in some form of business that in any way, shape, or form is going to require you to be browsing the Internet, then I would seriously familiarize yourself with how it works long before you send out emails such as this one that might be potentially embarrassing and make yourselves look as if you have no idea what is going on or how the Internet works. Seriously. I would do this before your client discovers that you are in fact sending out threatening communications like this.
Of the 23 grand total results that come up when searching for your book title in Google, one is a story carried by the newspaper site gazettelive.co.uk on Nov 9th:
On that date, if you were to search Google News for keyphrases related to poetry, that news story is one that would have come up. In fact, if you search the news now just for the phrase [teesway], it still does:
In that search, if you look at the right hand side of your screen, one of the links you will see is labeled RSS. That stands for Really Simple Syndication. It is through the use of links such as those that website owners are able to carry to their clients links and descriptions to news stories which might be of interest to them. One the date that Google last visited those pages on my website, links to that news story were on there, giving your clients free promotion from my audience. I can pretty much grantee that the number of people who would be browsing my website and possibly see the link to the story about your book would be much, much, much higher than the number of people looking for your book who happen to find my website.
I charge $65 USD per hour for consultation. The preparation of this instructional email, which will hopefully assist you to avoid of sending out future emails that could cause you any sort of embarrassment, took approximately 15 minutes. Therefore this invoice comes to $16.25 USD. Please remit as soon as possible to my mailing address included at the end of this correspondence.
3156 Adrian Ave
Largo, FL 33774
Personally, I thought that was very reasonable. If this person was in fact a published author, and they were trying to gain some acclaim, information like what I provided could very well help prevent them from looking like an ass down the road when someone started searching for more information on them. “How Not To Look Like An Ass” lessons are usually much more expensive, involving the cost of actually looking like an ass first, and having to learn from that. My fee was very cheap compared to that, in my opinion. Electraglade, however, did not seem to think the same as I did:
Sent: Thursday, November 29, 2007 2:45 AM
Subject: Re: Teesway One Nine Nine
Don’t try this nonsense with us.
Whatever ‘science’ you want to spin, you have hijacked our book title for your poetry site.
All further communication will be via our legal team.
That is correct folks, this person actually accused me of trying the nonsense of trying to put a spin on things using “science”. I’m surprised they didn’t also accuse me of coming up with the fee by using mumbo jumbo “math”, or some such. 😀
Seeing as how in humor factor this actually beats out the Rose Desrochers thing (she was just plain mean spirited), I think this would make a decent meme. So, I now present, the Rudest Communication From Intellectually Challenged People Meme. Hit us with the story you think would fit best, having to do with the rudest interaction you have had with someone unintelligent in either email, on a forum, or in comments on your blog, where just by being able to type made them look really, really bad. To get things started, I am tagging: