Monday, July 28, 2008

I'm a Keyword Now

It happened suddenly. One day I was just an average guy, writing marketing copy for a living.

Now, I’m famous – Internet famous. Well, keyword famous, anyway. I’m not just a copywriter. Apparently, I’m the copywriter. The proverbial gold standard. Here’s how I found out.

Every now and then I Google myself. Don’t act shocked. Everyone does it. The experts say it’s perfectly normal to Google yourself every few days.

Anyway, I Googled MARK SILBER and up popped an ad from the self-proclaimed “King of Copy.”

The headline said, “Outsell Mark Silber” and the rest of the text read, “Copywriting That Blows Your Mind & Sells Like Crazy: Not For Beginners.”

What did the King mean, “Not For Beginners”? And why did he insist on initial caps for every word, even prepositions?

Now curious, I Googled the name of my business, SILBERWARE. A different ad came up.

“Sell Like Mark Silber,” the headline offered. A mere parity claim this time. Perhaps my opponent had recognized the futility of trying to “Outsell Mark Silber” and was prepared to settle for a draw. The rest of the text, however, was somewhat disturbing: “No Sales-Hype Phony Mumbo-Jumbo, Just Real-Life Examples That Work.”

“Sales-Hype Phony Mumbo-Jumbo” – that wasn’t a reference to the work of Mark Silber, was it?

I clicked through to my challenger’s site, in so doing costing him a buck or two. The headline on the King of Copy’s homepage read, “Who Do Maverick Marketing Millionaires Consult With When They Need Expert Advice? Step inside and find out for yourself.”

I scanned the page. Cute pictures of his kid and their dogs. Unusually specific claims like “$51,525 Dollars worth of actual winning hard-hitting sales copy samples, loaded with every trick in the book!” and “Subscribe To Craig Garber's Daily eZine Right NOW - A $197 Value, Yours FREE!” In short, all kinds of statements that, were I not a charitable soul, I might have characterized as sales hype phony mumbo-jumbo.

But no further mention of Mark Silber. Frankly, I was a little let down.

Nonetheless, I reminded myself, I was still a keyword. How would my newfound fame change my life, I wondered. Would there be interviews? Product endorsements? Cameo appearances on reality programs?

I called my wife to tell her and immediately regretted the impulse. My wife, you see, is a lawyer. There will be “confusion in the marketplace,” she said. Prospective clients of mine would mistakenly think the King of Copy’s ad was actually my ad and conclude I’m “not serious.” Considering that my own homepage prominently features a laughing monkey seated at a typewriter, it was hard to see how the ad could somehow degrade my reputation.

I called my mother and told her. She immediately said how proud she was. Then she asked what a keyword was. Then she repeated the same questions she always does about the Internet – where it is, for example. Then she asked when I was coming over to fix her computer.

I’m tempted to contact the King of Copy. But what would I say? “Cease and desist!”? “Thanks!”? “Do you mind if I copyedit your site for grammar and usage?” Maybe any sort of acknowledgment would be beneath my dignity. I am, after all, a keyword now.

So in the end I chose to do nothing. But you better believe I’ll be Googling myself regularly.

1 comment:

Kehilat Gesher said...

This reminds me of the other Denise Silber in Philadelphia, with whom I exchanged emails over 10 years ago, having found her through some Altavista-ing on my name. She seemed nice enough, but was also getting interested in online marketing. It's been a challenge, let's just say she'll never get near eHealth at this point.

A thought came to mind for you dear Mark Silber. How about a more original first name. Have you considered Marco Polo Silber? Your mother might have a favorable opinion on that one.