Category Archives: Hall of Shame

A Lighthearted Hall of Shame: The Number of Google Hits Is a Reliable Indicator of . . . the Number of Google Hits

We thought we'd wrap up the school year with a look at the numerical side of communication. Sports-minded students might've seen this map, labeled "Who Is the Most Popular Athlete in Your State?" Aside from LeBron James's universal popularity, the map shows some fairly predictable regional preferences—Tom Brady in New England, Payton Manning in Colorado, […]

Hall of Fame: CDBaby Shows How to Meet Reader Needs (with PowerPoint Slides for Classroom Use)

CD Baby, the world’s largest retailer of independent music, uses clear, positive language to help musicians understand the process of selling their music through the company and its affiliates. By making the effort to communicate clearly and succinctly, the company encourages a positive response from its target readers. We've annotated two slides that point out […]

Hall of Shame and Fame: Apple Statements Regarding Apple Maps (with PowerPoint Slide for Classroom Use)

Within minutes of its release as part of an operating system upgrade on Apple mobile devices, the Apple Maps feature began to generate howls of protest. Compared to the Google mapping feature it replaced, Apple Maps had numerous problems, from egregious errors to missing functionality. Users accustomed to finding just about anything through the Google […]

Hall of Shame–and Fame: Chargify Infuriates Its Customer Base, Then Shares the Lessons Learned

Want to make an unpleasant situation even worse? Spring the news on people with no warning. Chargify, which provides securing billing solutions for small to midsized e-commerce companies, charges its clients flat monthly fees based on the number of customers they have. This tiered pricing plan keeps costs low for e-commerce startups that still have […]

Hall of Shame: Waldorf-Astoria's Passive Use of Passive Voice

Indirect language and passive voice can be great tools for diplomacy, but as New York’s Waldorf-Astoria hotel recently demonstrated, they can also be used to avoid the appearance of taking responsibility. The Waldorf was clearly in a bind when a large contingent of the Saudi royal family arrived and needed a whole lot of hotel […]

Hall of Shame: How Not to Tell Customers That You’ve Made Your Software Easier to Understand

We’d be willing to bet that database software generates the highest profanity-to-mouseclicks ratio of any category of personal computer software. Database concepts in general are fairly complicated, and the powerful software that lets users create and manage databases can add layers of operational complexity. Any news about improvements in usability is good news, but Microsoft […]