Seth Godin’s Without a Keyboard

You can’t create the spreadsheet that changes an industry on a smart phone.

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Funny copywriting blog

That’s the address of Kelly Parkinson’s copy blog. With topics like the 34 stages of editorial enlightenment and a 7-point check list to bring your about page up to code, this one is fascinating and funny. She also has a marketing guru dog. Recommended.

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Feed Yay!

After spending a few hours trying to discover why my standard WordPress installation wasn’t generating a valid RSS feed, I tried this site. I put in a few good guesses as to the proper URL. After my third try, FVO auto-filled my URL and got it right!

So if you can’t get your RSS feed working, try this site.

(I installed a slew of RSS plugins and widgets fixing and verifying my feed, but still didn’t know the correct URL. No, it wasn’t !!)

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Domain appraisal scam

Apparently, people noticed my attempt to sell at Sedo. The wrong people.

email from


I’m an official broker of an investor from Southhampton (UK). He is going to buy your

My client has $469,000 budget for 25-30 domains. Please specify your asking price in the subject of your message.

Our company is in hosting business. We also provide brokerage services for investors.

I’m working with many domain investors. If you have other domains for sale please email me the list. I may offer your domains to my clients.

How can we send money to you? I think an escrow service is the most secure way for both parties.

If it’s your first time sale I can help you with the escrow/transfer process.

Best regards,

Alex Mortman

Investments Department

Director Investor Relations

Cloud Computing & Web Hosting

Bernstrasse 39
Phone: 32 993 12 46

A nice touch was that when I typed in his site address, it went to an apparently totally legitimate Swiss hosting company. But its domain was not called, of course.

Yet there are many red flags here. But my optimism ignores them!

Why would a domain broker have a crummy hyphenated dot info address?? And hey, doesn’t the UK have any good domain brokers — ya gotta go to Switzerland? I have a price already on Sedo; there’s no need to ask for the price. Finally, why would he tell his investor’s total budget for many sites??

Answer to that. He wants me to do the math and ask $15,000.

Second email. Sent well after Swiss business hours on a Friday.


$XXXX – Ok. Great!

Before we proceed my investor needs only one thing from you:

As you may know all major domain brokers does not allow listing above $1000 or higher if you don’t have an official appraisal. Since the sale price is not low in our case, my client needs an official certificate of price (appraisal). He also needs to know you have no trademark problems. It won’t be a problem since I know an official appraiser that offers this option (trademark infringement verification) for free as a part of the appraisal service.

I’m also interested in a good valuation and a high sale price because my client pays me a commission (10-15% of the sale price) on every domain purchase. So I’m not interested in low sales too.

Of course, you should not use a free automated service like Estibot or similar services. My client won’t accept them. I was working for Estibot and knew they were using automated scripts for free appraisals. In our case we need a real manual valuation.

Several years ago, to avoid mistakes and wasting money on useless automated services I asked in Google answers about reliable manual valuation/TM verification services. Please read this: (Domain Broker is my nickname)*

The process is very easy:

1. Go to the appraisal site and order the valuation with the TM verification. Submit your domains to them and let them know you have a buyer with $XXXX offer so you need the appraisal near this value. In this case you won’t get a low value. If the appraisal comes higher you can increase the price accordingly. It will be fair.

2. Then send these results via email and we’ll proceed with the deal.

If you are new to the appraisal process I can help you with a[sic] step by step instructions.


I wasn’t expecting an appraisal request. I was expecting negotiation, haggling if you will.

Tell the appraisal service the appraisal value you want??? Say what? The charge for the “appraisal” is 79 Euros.

“If you are new to the appraisal process” is a spin on the classic vanity-press ad line “if you are a new author.” Love it! (Of course, you’re a new author, no established author would fall for this.)

Now I did some detective work. His site was registered this month. And another site flagged as phony was registered last year to the same person in Switzerland who gives a hotmail contact address.

See more on this now getting-pretty-darn-classic scam:

*This forum site is real interesting. My browser objected that it was a phishing site. And on the board, our hero, Domain Broker, asks for the name of a good appraisal site and gets it from another poster who provides a helpful trap, uh link. They congratulate each other on a $39,000 domain deal they’ve just concluded too! Oh, brother.

Wait, that was a $39K deal transacted without a good appraisal? That’s way more than $1,000, but somehow no problem.

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Local McDonald’s has stopped giving napkins.

They’re not out of napkins; it looks like a new policy??

Will chicken be a special order in their McNuggets??

Yep, when you eat in, they don’t provide any napkins. I defy you to eat a Big Mac with no napkins, unless you have a wonderfully absorbent shirt.

Posted in Uncategorized | Comments Off Unsold??

The fabulous top-level domain was up for bids at The buy it now was a cool ONE MILLION AND A HALF dollars. (A million only goes so far these days.)

It reaches the nice sum of $915,000 and IT DIDN’T SELL.

Must be nice. Would you turn down $915,000 for your domain name, no matter how top-of-its-category it was? I wouldn’t.

Check out the insane bidding. What’s more it took only 18 days to reach these blue-blood-nosebleed heights.

Sorry I wrote this. Now I crave tekka maki and sashimi.

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Ad Age’s Advertising Century — The 100 Best People

Ad Age has compiled an impressive list of the 100 best ad people. It includes celebs like Steve Jobs, Jerry Della Femina, George Lois, Mary Wells Lawrence*, Shirley Polykoff, Bill Bernbach, but also to me, some odd choices like — yikes — Arthur Godfrey.

I have worked for or met three of these people. The one I merely met was John Caples but with the internet’s enthusiasm for 10,000-word squeeze pages, he seems as contemporary now as he was when started in direct response in the 1920′s. (He wrote, “They laughed when I sat down at the piano.”) The other two were the BBDO powerhouses Allen Rosenshine and Phil Dusenberry. (If this “corrects” his name to boysenberry, I’ll scream.)

Great list to peruse to see which advertising legends you’re familiar with. I’d go into chapter and verse about my dealings with Messrs Rosenshine and Dusenberry, but as my kids already ask me, “What was Shakespeare like in theater class, Dad?” I think I’ll save that for another time.

*Hi, Pam. If this made sense to you, you know who are.

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No more ketchup stuck in the bottle

A scientist at MIT — OK, the Varanasi Research Group — has come up with a solution for product stuck at the bottom of its container. See the current Heinz Tap Tap commercial. (Or my favorite Heinz commercial using Carly Simon’s Anticipation to underscore the one bad thing about good, thick ketchup: you gotta wait!)

It’s called Liquiglide and it’s a slippery coating for the inside of containers. Nothing even toothpaste, paint or arch grape jelly sticks to it. I can’t wait till this is on the market. (How bout peanut butter, folks? Seems like I throw out a quarter of the jar.

Here’s peanut butter with and without Liquiglide.

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World’s Smallest Movie

It’s done by and for IBM, which claims that the pixels in the commercial are individual atoms. I don’t really believe that, but the Guinness Book of Records says it’s the world’s smallest stop-action movie.

It’s by Ogilvy Mather New York.

The blog where I saw this says this is one of the ten best ads of 2014. Definitely worth visiting. (I’m old school — an ad is print, not video. Oh well.)

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Breakthrough visual ads

Creative and funny.

I never knew Denver was all that dry. Please don’t let Tucson Water folks see this. My Arizona trucker’s coffee mug holds four ounces.

This blog has Seventy Creative Advertisements that Make You Look Twice.

The images are terrific, weird and frankly sometimes scary:

Hope no one takes this literally.

This all looks like award-show work.This is from, a design and webmaster blog with a heavy emphasis on tech. These print ad images are the least tech things discussed. There’s some great SEO advice here too as well as security, like why everything on your smartphone must be erased before you sell it. (Probably because your entire life is on the beeping sucker?)

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