BBC: Spelling mistakes ‘cost millions’ in lost online sales
“An online entrepreneur says that poor spelling is costing the UK millions of pounds in lost revenue for internet businesses. Charles Duncombe (who runs travel, mobile phones and clothing websites) says an analysis of website figures shows a single spelling mistake can cut online sales in half. Mr Duncombe says when recruiting staff he has been ‘shocked at the poor quality of written English.’ Sales figures suggest misspellings put off consumers who could have concerns about a website’s credibility, he says. (Source: BBC News, 7/13/11).
“When recruiting school and university (graduates), Mr Duncombe says too many applications have contained spelling mistakes or poor grammar. ‘Some people even used text speak in their cover letter,’ he says.”
New York Times digital and pop culture writer Virginia Heffernan had this to say about the importance of spelling correctly online:
“While the idea that sloppy spelling can sink whole businesses seems far-fetched, even casual bloggers recognize the imperative to spell well online. This is because search engines look for strings of characters in sequence, and if your site has misspellings, Google is less likely to list it at the top of search results. With misspellings, according to the tech site Geekosystem, ‘You aren’t going to get nearly as many hits as you deserve.’ The imperative to spell correctly on the Web, and attract Google attention, means that even the lowliest content farmer will know that it’s i-before-e in ‘Bieber.'”
(Source: The Price of Typos, 7/17/11)
For more feel-good stuff, check out Chris Epting’s blog on AOL News, “Notorious Spelling Mistakes.” I especially loved this excerpt:
“In 2004, an artist constructing a mural at a library — of all places — botched the spellings of some famous names, including Einstein, Shakespeare, Van Gogh and Michelangelo. Artist Maria Alquilar fixed the names but was unapologetic about the spelling mistakes on the $40,000 ceramic mural, which was installed at a new city library in Livermore, Calif.
“‘They are denigrating my work and the purpose of this work,’ she said back then. ‘The people that are into humanities, and are into Blake’s concept of enlightenment, they are not looking at the words. In their mind, the words register correctly.'”
Not sure which “people that are into humanities” she was speaking for. I do have to admire her for her chutzpah, though.