Sharon Waxman

Denny Hatch is the author of six books on marketing and four novels, and is a direct marketing writer, designer and consultant. His latest book is “Write Everything Right!” Visit him at

I was suckered into opening Jay Malik’s e-mail. His subject line was “Back From the Dead.” I did not recognize the name Jay Malik, but that subject line indicated that he was someone coming back into my life after many years. I took the bait.

What I got was a dense, boring 400-word lecture on the history of the death tax with a salutation, “Hi!” and one benefit: “We save you more in taxes than you invest in our fees.”

I am illustrating the complete Jay Malik e-mail as a textbook example of why most businesspeople should hire professional writers when they feel they have something to say.

At the same time, here is a textbook example of the arrant idiocy of using the Internet as a marketing medium to strangers. Quite simply, it is so cheap to send outgoing messages that if you get two orders per million, it is considered a success. Meanwhile the sender has wasted the time of—and pissed off—the 9,999,998 other recipients and cost $20,000 in lost productivity.

Why is it that Americans can’t, don’t and won’t read?

Our brains are rewired.

Our time and productivity are being hijacked by amateurs.

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