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?
Not entirely true.
Woot.com the online single-item store is just as small part of their business. They actually run a huge warehouse where they bought unwanted/excess items from factories cheaply and sell it to big retailers (including Amazon).
the site really is bought by amazon? Interesting, their biz model is unique, that's the reason.
Unique content, unique biz model, they create buzz!
Woot pioneered the one-deal-a-day business model which has been implemented by many web-based retailers since.
Pretty much exclusively focuses on one deal, and writing.
Nobody is writing about woot's pioneering logistics, ERP, or factoring.
I'm actually sorry to read that. If the site is sold, I wonder who will be doing the writing. I hope Amazon doesn't try to change it. Woot.com is a thoroughly enjoyable site. It's a breath of fresh air even if you aren't interested in buying their product of the day.
Great link - what a site!
A perfect demonstration of the power of words. Well worth a look.
Here's an extract from an ad for a Memory Foam Mattress:
[INDENT]I remember Bruce.
He wasn’t with Sharon, my owner, very long. She probably hasn’t thought about him in years. But I still bear the scars. The stains from when he fell asleep eating a bowl of chili. The burns and the odor from his foul grape-flavored cigarillos. The dents and ruptures from the ski boots he wore during intimate moments. And of course, of course the scratches from his pet squirrels, Jean-Claude and Urkel.[/INDENT]
A great antidote to stuffy, boring writing.
And the mattress was Sold Out when I visited...