Book Titles, Irony, Mirror on Mirror

She’s right. It is ironic. I got an email over the weekend from Kelly Erikson of Maximum Customer Experience.

Did you get my comment in your “potential spam” filter a couple of days ago regarding the No A–holes Rule? Of course once you’ve hit submit it’s gone into the ether, and when it gave me an automated message that it had marked it I laughed and sent a follow-up saying how funny that in a discussion about spam filters a totally innocent comment on your article should get marked, but since it hasn’t been cleared by you, two days later, I was wondering if you’d checked for it.

No, I hadn’t seen it. I had seen her very brief comment about spam filters — that’s still there — but that’s all. She responded:

There was a real comment (you know, well-thought-out, adds to the conversation, etc….), which the auto-responder said it was “marking as spam” to have you look at later for moderation. So I assumed you have a spam box that you have to go through to find my comment. No?

No. I went back to check. The comments filter had cleaned it all out, left a record showing the name and time, but the comment text was empty. Disappointing. I was curious. Happily, Kelly filled in the blanks:

If not then it’s lost. The little comment was posted two seconds afterward, to giggle about the first comment having to wait to show up. I never thought the first one would get deleted without you getting a chance to check it, but if it says marked as spam for the author when what it means is deleted without consideration, then that’s ridiculous.

The funny thing about it, which I alluded to in my short comment, is that I never use rough language in business or in the Internet where everything lasts forever, so I used — for portions of the two words I did reference, obviously the title of the book you were discussing, which I had already looked through at the bookstore, decided I liked, but not enough to support the author’s use of the “look at me” title, and the title of Mark Stevens’ Your Marketing S–ks, which I own but keep in a paper cover on my bookshelf, so I won’t have to explain to my daughter why I own a book with language I don’t allow in the house on its cover (it’s essential, that’s why).

I used no rough language in my comment but it got “filtered” anyway. Too ironic.

So there we have it. I’m still very much in favor of a provocative title to go with a good book, which is the case here, but I also continue to have my doubts about a title that will get held back in programmed filters.

The silver lining is Kelly’s blog has some good stuff. For example, in Pain Points in Experience Design, subtitled Just Tell Me Where It Hurts…, she has a very practical list of starting-point questions to start the brainstorming for a pub looking to increase its business.


  • Kelly says:


    I'd never do that kind of title myself, which I think we all know now, but one point I did make the first time around is that without those titles neither of the two books would have caught my attention. That kind of title gets good shelf space because it makes us all do a double-take.

    "It is better to be looked over than overlooked."—Mae West

    (Depends on your target market.)

    Thanks for the shout-out. That's the kind of attention I prefer.

    : )



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