What’s in a name? Again

If that name is on Yahoo!, then it’s sure to include a mistake.  Spelling a name correctly is about the easiest thing you can do as a writer and the easiest think you can verify as an editor or proofreader. So why does Yahoo! continue to make so many mistakes? Do you consider Yahoo! a credible source of information?

Yahoo! News misspelled Audrie Pott‘s name:

news audrie pot

and Heather Gonglik‘s:

name gonglick news

From Yahoo! Movies we get a sad attempt at Seth Rogen and Chris Evans:

name seth rogan chris evan

as well as Lana Del Rey:

name lana del ray movies

and Glen Mazzara:

name glan mazzara

The writer for Yahoo! TV’s “Daytime in No Time”  mangles Courteney Cox:

name courtney cox tv dint

From Yahoo! Shine, there’s a lame stab at Christina Aguilera:

swift 3

and Frida Kahlo:

name frieda kahlo shine

and Laetitia Casta:

name leaitia casta shine

and Simon Monjack:

name dimon monjack shine

and Eric Ducharme:

name ducharm shine

and Attila:

thatcher shine 1

and Malala Yousafzai:

name malala shine

and Susan A. Patton:

name patten 1 shine

and again with the misspelled Patton:

name patten shine 3

and Rick Salomon and Nicole Richie:

name hilton 2 shine

and once more:

name hilton 3 shine

There’s no hyphen in Ray J:

name hilton 4 shine

and no T in Nicole Richie. Again:

name it 5

(It’s Guy Ritchie, the director and former husband of Madonna’s, who spells his name with a T.)

Yahoo! omg! gives us an incorrect Nicolas Cage:

name nicholas cage omg

and a rather lackluster attempt to spell Chaz Hammelsmith, widow of Roger Ebert:

name chaz hammersmith omg

Yahoo! Music’s attempt at Phillip Sweet is not so sweet:

name philip sweet omg

And when telling us Pitbull’s alleged real name (it’s Armando Christian Perez), the writer tells us the wrong name:

name christian music

Yodel Anecdotal, Yahoo’s corporate blog — the blog that represents the company — can’t even get Lena Headey‘s name right:

name lena headley yodel

What does that tell us about this company and its commitment to quality content? Everything.

Shouldn’t you know a little English?

If you’re charged with writing a post for a corporate blog, shouldn’t you know a little bit about the language you’re writing in? Apparently not. The corporate blog for Yahoo!, Yodel Anecdotal, often features writing by English-language learners. Not that there’s anything wrong with that; it’s just that sometimes they have a little trouble expressing themselves:

I don’t know what time those activities have past, but I always thought that fantasy football was a pastime. And by that I mean, it’s an activity. Not a pastime activity and lordie knows, not a past time activity.

What does they mean?

Corporate blogs are one window into a company. When the blog is left to unskilled writers and doesn’t get the benefit of a proofreader’s or editor’s touch, the result can be embarrassing for the company. Such is often the case with Yahoo! Anecdotal, the corporate blog for Yahoo!.

In a blog post riddled with grammatical gaffes, this short paragraph stands out:

An editor would have noticed that the singular verb does doesn’t match the subject, which is plural. An editor would have noticed that “off the charts” is also called “off the chart” and would have argued for consistency. And a competent editor would know that “something that’s off the chart” (or whatever the heck it’s called) is a term; it doesn’t refer to a term.

What your blog says about your company

I wish I had stopped reading the Yahoo! corporate blog, Yodel Anecdotal, right after seeing this headline:

It wasn’t the missing hyphens in what should be back-to-school that got me. It was the misspelling of Farnoosh Torabi — a Yahoo! employee and the subject of the blog post — that had me anticipating the worst and wondering how mistakes like that happen. This was the company blog, after all. It represents the company and its commitment to its readers, its employees, and its shareholders. It is so badly written that any third-grader could have done better.

What does this post say about Yahoo!? That it can’t be bothered with editing and proofreading. One sentence with a missing comma, an apostrophe used to form a plural, a bit of redundancy, a bit of verb nonsense, and something about back to school that I think means “back-to-school shopping”:

Clearly, nobody cares about this sad little company blog, because there’s just more nonsense here, which I don’t even want to discuss:

Somebody with some basic knowledge of English vocabulary would have used a different word here:

And someone who attended college would know that there are more than these two options when your kids go to college: They can live on campus or rent an apartment. The writer doesn’t even consider that students can live in a sorority or fraternity house, rent a room, or live at home or with relatives. Those are not options. But Yahoo! provides a calculator that can help ascertain which of the two options is better:

According to the blog, if “you agree to the latter,” you are agreeing to a co-signer. Not to be a co-signer, which might actually make sense. And if you consider there’s only one kind of “bad behavior” — which the writer doesn’t name — then somehow you know it will affect your credit records.

Lordie, I guess this “sentence” should come as no surprise to me:

What does this blog say about Yahoo!? My guess is, no one at Yahoo! cares about the blog because no one reads it.

You didn’t believe spell-check?

Yodel Anecdotal is the company blog for Yahoo!. As the official public representative of the Internet giant, it reflects the highest standards of writing. Ha-ha. I kid. I am a kidder. See, here’s what I mean:

Imagine if this writer actually used a spell-checker. He might have learned how to spell synchronize.

I’m imagining he did spell-check this, and decided he was a better speller than any freakin’ software and ignored the suggested correction. He would be wrong.

How to embarrass your employer

There are many ways to embarrass your employer; one of the most public is to do it on the Web on the company blog. If you write for your company’s blog you represent not only yourself, but also your employer. Mistakes you make reflect not only on you, but also on your company. However, not all corporate bloggers take the job seriously enough to avoid embarrassment for themselves and their company.

The blogger for Yodel Anecdotal, the Yahoo! company blog, seems to be oblivious to that truth. Grammar, spelling, punctuation, and word usage weren’t top of mind for the writer.  She uses common idioms incorrectly (like “on top of mind”). She doesn’t know that baring means “exposing or uncovering,” but bearing down means “to advance in a threatening manner.” And her mastery of the correct use of capital letters is a bit wobbly. East Coast, when referring to a region of the United States, is a proper noun. Web, depending on whom you ask, is either a common or a proper noun, but not both.

I guess she changed her mind about capitalizing web. But she still insists on that insulting lower-case treatment of East Coast. And look-ups could use a little hyphenation:

I’m throwing this in the pile of garbage errors, because if I don’t, some snarky reader will call me out on it:

Here’s one I’ve never encountered: Spelling out a year — 2012:

More problems with capitalization: It should be Hurricane Irene, Northeast (when referring to the U.S. region) and maybe Web (but who knows). Then there’s the issue of “question” number 2, which isn’t a question:

It probably doesn’t matter to readers if she spells break-up with or without a hyphen; but they’ll definitely notice that she spells it both ways. They’ll also notice the missing show in “the talk show host” and may notice you decided that web is a common noun again:

These errors aren’t unusual on the Yahoo! blog. So, what does that say about the company?

How to make your company look bad

Want to make your employer look bad? It’s not hard; just write your company’s blog. And do it very, very badly. Here’s an example from Yahoo! Yodel Anecdotal, the Internet giant’s corporate blog.

You could start with including some out-of-date (or merely coincidental) information:

Funny, but those same issues were reported verbatim in the blog two weeks prior to this post. You can see it here on Terribly Write.

Then just ignore the niceties of the capital letter, and use it willy-nilly to capitalize totally random words. And don’t forget to forget a quotation mark!

No need to hyphenate the compound adjective decade-long. Who the f*ck is Lord Voldermat? I guess that’s how you spell Lord Voldemort when you search for the character’s name using Yahoo! Search. That’s quite a testimonial to your employer’s products! 

You might decide to capitalize nominees, then decide to throw in a little white lie. The nominations were announced the day before this little blog post showed up. And the category is Outstanding Reality-Competition Program, but why quibble about a little punctuation ?

What was going through the writer’s teensy brain when he or she decided to put quotation marks around some titles and not others? Are those “air quotes”? Like the TV programs weren’t really Glee, The Big Bang Theory, and Parks and Recreation.

Don’t bother using a spell-checker. Just ignore those pesky typos!

Hey, just because you can’t write, or don’t care about writing correctly and accurately, don’t worry about losing your job. Your employer doesn’t care about those things either. I think that’s called job security.

Do Yahoo! writers use Yahoo! search?

Uh, no. Yahoo! writers also don’t use a corporate style guide, a dictionary, or a grammar book. At least that’s the conclusion I’ve come to after reading Yahoo! Yodel Anecdotal, the company blog.

A single blog post can contain typos and missing punctuation. This should be “searchers’ attention,” “Edwards’ mug shot,” and “search”:

It also includes the lack of respect for Republicans, an out-and-out factual error (it wasn’t the first debate), a missing comma, and an extra word. As for the word web: I really don’t know what Yahoo!’s preferred style is, because it appears both capitalized and not throughout the site.

Normally, schoolchildren learn not to capitalize common nouns, like candidates. They might also learn to check the spelling of a name like Michele Bachmann. A search would have shown the writer that both her first and last names are misspelled:

There’s more disregard for the use of capital letters here:

And a hilarious (or maybe sad) typo for what should be Trial. It’s closely followed by the grammatically incorrect resonate:

Who doesn’t know that Florida is a proper noun? This writer, who also doesn’t know that there are hyphens in two-year-old:

More mistakes? Of course. Normally, writers eschew starting a sentence with numerals and normally, they try to include all the words necessary:

So, Yahoo!’s company blog employs at least one writer who can’t spell, has little or no knowledge of grammar and punctuation, and doesn’t bother to do a search to ensure the accuracy of the blog’s contents. What does that tell you about the company and its regard for its users?

D’oh. Dooughnuts and other stupid mistakes on a corporate blog

In a post on Yahoo!’s corporate blog, Yodel Anecdotal, the number of errors proves that even Yahoo! employees don’t use the company’s search technology. The mistakes are even more embarrassing for the Internet giant because the post features popular search terms and misspelled search queries made by Yahoo!’s users.

It’s pretty clear that the writer also doesn’t use a spell=checker. D’oh. It’s doughnuts with an extra doughnut hole here:

Anyone who reads Yahoo! Sports knows that NBA Finals is a proper noun. Whether web is also a proper noun is up for debate. Yahoo! staffers don’t agree on that one. But everyone agrees that Heat, the name of an NBA team, needs to be capitalized, that LeBron James requires another capital letter, and that Dwyane Wade is the correct spelling of the basketball player. Any professional writer or editor should know when to use the subjective mood and would have used “were based”:

If the writer had tried Googling “Mike Spoelstra,” he or she would have discovered that the coach’s name is  Erik Spoelstra. A true professional would have used the numerals 34 for the age and would never screw up the use of dashes like this:

Holy crap! There’s no excuse for misspelling Dunkin’ Donuts and Krispy Kreme. The missing hyphens in the compound adjectives gluten-free and low-cal are minor errors in a cesspool of gaffes:

What does this blog post say about the writer and Yahoo!?

The best a company has to offer?

A corporate blog reflects not just on the writer, but on the company as well. So, it’s reasonable to think that a company would assign the task of maintaining the blog to its best writers, and it would ensure that it is grammatically correct, correctly spelled, and accurate.

So, maybe Yodel Anecdotal, the company blog for Yahoo!, reflects the best the company has to offer. Perhaps no one at Yahoo! knows the difference between a fiancé (a male) and a fiancée (not a male). Perchance no one cares about the missing hyphens in 20.5-carat, groom-to-be, or mega-celebrity. Perchance, no one is capable of noticing a missing word or the redundancy in “and they also”:

Maybe, just maybe, this really is the best the company has to offer.

%d bloggers like this: