Woot.com just got bought by Amazon.com. Nothing relevant to this forum, but for one element of their business model.
Woot.com is an ecommerce site which sells just one product per day.
Woot.com is almost entirely dependent on writing to do so.
With no apparent benefit save it might make a nice boat anchor, the Woot copywriters set about creating tongue-in-cheek benefits when there are none. They often fabricate elaborate stories, sometimes using a genre literature style (one of my favorites was a scene painted straight out of Jane Austin) suggesting some really cool benefit such as the robot vacuum will actually herd household pets.
Even though you don’t buy the fictional benefit, many consider the benefit of the low cost of being cool implied in the copy. And always, Woot follows by listing the features.
-- Victoria's Secret & Woot – The Benefit of Selling Benefits
In contrast the vast majority of web sites insist on HOW TO SAY NOTHING IN FIVE HUNDRED WORDS like a freshman term paper.
It is one thing to write to an eighth grade reading level. Quite another matter to write as an eighth grader would. Which brings us to the great big internet myth of being yourself when you write.
It's all well and good when you are a gregarious character in tune with your target market. A horrible idea when you simply have no creative choice but to be yourself.
In other words, it's a platitude to get people to spit out any drivel that comes to mind. Fine for your blog. Extremely un-fine for accomplishing your goals with that blog, or ecommerce site, or anything else.
Woot.com has an established character or personality which is communicated in writing. Most sites have no idea what that means. They write blandly, and have the personality of cold oatmeal. But they spent a bundle on a spiffy CMS to pour that cold oatmeal into the reader's lap.
Why Is Business Writing So Awful? Nearly every company relies on the written word to woo customers. So why is most business writing so numbingly banal?