Bob Bly Direct Response Copywriter Official Banner

My Dispute with Angus

September 9th, 2008 by Bob Bly

A few minutes ago I got an e-mail from Angus, one of my e-zine subscribers, who objected to the frequency with which I send e-mail marketing messages to him.

“I don’t mind getting your offers, but you are sending too f@#$%ing many,” said Andre (using the F-word).

I replied, “There is no need to use abusive language with me” and told him I would unsubscribe him immediately.

He replied that I was coming off to him as “rude” and “thin-skinned.”

Folks, I think we have entered the Twilight Zone here.

This guy e-mails me an e-mail with an obscenity … but it’s ME, not him, who’s rude?

Anybody see a disconnect here?

There are many things I love about the Internet.

But one thing I dislike is how the anonymity of e-mail emboldens some folks to lose all inhibition, and say anything they please — things they would never dream of saying face to face unless they were looking to start an altercation.

Am I right saying that Angus, not me, is the rude one here?

Or am I so out of touch that Netiquette today says it’s fine to use profanities when e-mailing strangers?


This entry was posted on Tuesday, September 9th, 2008 at 12:58 pm and is filed under General. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

48 responses about “My Dispute with Angus”

  1. Ryan said:

    I think the high road is the better approach. As for being rude, yes he was. To call attention to it – we must learn to ignore it and set an example. Just as in real life.

  2. Bob Bly said:

    I think we should not be rude in return. Nor should we ignore it. We should not permit people to treat us shabbily. If Angus wouldn’t speak to his mother this way, he shouldn’t speak to me that way, either.

  3. Peter Davis said:

    It’s a waste of time to give any attention to people like that. Just blacklist him from your newsletter and move on. Engaging the trolls only encourages them.

  4. Ken Norkin - freelance copywriter said:

    Angus is vocabularly challenged. He apparently does not know what constitutes rudeness or being thin-skinned. Plus, he doesn’t understand that if someone uses profanity in what should be polite business correspondence, it is not rude to politely call that person on it.

    You’re clearly in the right. But there’s no need to dwell on it.

    As a cleaned up version of one of my wife’s favorite sayings puts it: for you, he only ruined one day, but he’ll be an idiot the rest of his life.

  5. DM Wrecker said:

    Ignore the guy’s language, but…the most important learning I guess is how often are you emailing your list then? How much is too much?

  6. Lynne said:

    I’m with you, Bob. Beats me how someone can invade your in-box with the F word and then complain that you are thin-skinned.

    With his clueless attitude, I don’t think Angus would benefit from your products anyway.

  7. Stacey said:

    Bob, you’re right; he was rude. And cursing like that is unprofessional. I hope for his colleagues’ and clients’ sakes, he doesn’t routinely conduct business like that.

  8. Ken said:

    The perception of “rudeness” is varied and will change depending on a person’s upbringing, beliefs, etc…so yes, you are right and yes, he is right.

  9. Michael A. Stelzner said:


    The downside to having a lot of subscribers is…

    A lot of opinions.


  10. Bob Bly said:

    Michael: Of course, that’s also the upside….

    Ken: I disagree that it is a matter of perception. If you think it is OK to use the F-word with a merchant or service provider because you have a complaint, I would say your thinking is in conflict with the accepted norms of behavior in our society.

  11. dianacacy said:

    I say you’re right, Bob. My husband is an IT department professional working for a company who doesn’t follow some of the “rules”. We aren’t originally from here. It drives him insane to see a CEO, or anyone lower in management even, making a sexist or racist remark or using profanity in the workplace. (Yes, they do get called on it and then things get really interesting. *grin* )

    Contacting a business person by internet is no different.

    But I’ve met some of those people face to face, and I believe the best you can do is be yourself and ignore their outburst. Unfortunately, it’s also correct that with some you eventually just have to ignore them or blacklist them, as in this case. Because they otherwise won’t stop.

    Fiction writers get it all the time. One I know of – Holly Lisle – has many fiction books out. She’s made her living writing fiction for years, and her way of “paying it forward” is to use her talents to teach others to do the same thing. She often gets some very not-so-nice emails about how she dares to pretend that she’s qualified to teach others and charge for her products. If she’s not qualified in this area, then no one is.

    By the way, I love your emails. How else will I know what’s out there on my busy schedule? My favorite of the latest is “Who is the Greatest Copywriter?” That one I had to make a physical copy of to make sure I had the information.

  12. Bob Bly said:

    Dina: David Halbestram wrote words to the effect that we live in a “coarser, cruder” society. Long range, I believe the implications are severely destructive, leading first to verbal disrespect and abuse, and then to behavioral and physical.

  13. Brad Mirtes said:

    First things first. I have read a lot of your material and it’s fantastic, all of it. The last thing you should do is take the comments from Angus personally.

    Using profanity is always unprofessional and should never be acceptable behavior. However,
    Bob when you look behind Angus’ vale of profanity you’ll find someone who is very frustrated with some thing.

    At this point you have two options.

    #1. Tell him to walk west till his hat floats.
    #2. Email him and ask him: “Is it my emails that bother you or are you frustrated about some thing else?

    Bob, if you can find a way to help him you will be remembered as someone who was more that just a great copywriter.

  14. dianacacy said:

    Bob, I agree. When people do not watch what comes out of their mouth, it can lead to (or be a sign of) an inability to regulate themselves in other aspects of life. These individuals often are stuck in situations where they are unhappy and using the language in anger, defensiveness, or resentment. When we give in to not controlling our tongues, we also risk not having the fortitude to grow in other ways.

    I’ve also seen and been around people who use the f-word and use blasphemy because it is normal speech to them. Most of these people are not business people, but those raised in the more working environments where there is less emphasis on things like being politically correct and mindful of everyone’s particular sensitivities. (or some isolated environments too) As with all groups of people, some were useless and others would happily give you everything they own if you asked.

    If this Angus is going to deal with people on the internet, he needs to refrain from that language. And, if he’s using it and is that defensive about it, I get the feeling that he wouldn’t listen to your emails anyway. Not in your target audience area.

    And I thought your reply wasn’t rude at all. He obviously doesn’t like someone being honest with him when it points out a flaw that he has. A confident individual who’s honest with himself and working to better his life would have apologized and made an effort to not make the same mistake again, rather than going on the defensive.

    Brad’s right … not much that can be done about it unless you see something worth going that extra mile or two more to help this individual with.

  15. Fiona Fell - The Profit Maximising Web Geek said:

    I belive that using obsenities is inappropriate in all instances. Including all business communication.

    Bob you are not out of touch with modern Nettiquette, but I think Angus and many others could use a few more words in their vocabulary to assist with communicating effectively.

    In this instant the ‘F word’ could be removed from teeh sentence and it still hold true to his thoughts.

    Obsenities add nothing to your communication, and nothing to your personal character.

    Fiona Fell
    The Profit Maximising Web Geek

  16. Bob Bly said:

    Fiona, I agree with you 100%. I am frankly amazed some people actually think this is a debatable issue, and that using obscenities is permissible in some business situations.

  17. Edward Weiss said:

    You’re right about the anonymity thing. It makes otherwise smart and prudent people into rude and insulting cretins.

    That’s why I love the delete button as well.

  18. Christena Grumbles said:

    You need to take part in a contest for one of the finest websites online. I am going to highly recommend this website!

  19. Nighty said:

    I’ve gained informative new things, thanks sharing this and enhancing my knowledge,our web log isn’t only useful but it is additionally really creative too.

  20. Kenneth Kennedy said:

    The essentials of the resume template work are introduced for the success of the students. This template is widely informed for the chunks. The colorful shape of the template is liked and approved for the majority of the shots.

  21. Corwin said:

    We recognize the flat snoot, wrinkled face, and large expressive eyes of the loveable Pug. The Pug breed’s roots can be tracked back to Imperial China in 700 B.C., during the time of Confucius, when the breed was known as lo-sze. Imported to England in the 16th century, the breed quickly became a popular lap dog among the aristocracy. A Pug named Pompey is even credited with alerting Holland’s William I, Prince of Orange, to an assassination attempt by Spain. Over time, pugs have been the favored breed or both royals and celebrities—from Napoleon and Queen Victoria to Andy Warhol and Rob Zombie.

  22. retro games said:

    Your article is great, I have read a lot of articles but I was really impressed with your writing. Thank you, I will review this post. To get to know me, please try to talk to me.

  23. Juhi said:

    In this video I wanted to share 3 amazing face pack by using gram flour. That will instantly give you bright and glowing skin. This face pack is suitable for all skin type and will lighten the skin tone.

  24. Kishore Kumar said:

    Dil Ki Baat Kahin Lab Pe Na Aa Jaaye Lyrics from Teri Kasam is sung by Amit Kumar. Dil Ki Baat Kahin Lab Pe Na Aa Jaaye song lyrics are written by Anand Bakshi while its music is given by R D Burman.

  25. Rose Wheatley said:

    General look and out geared element is promoted for the agents. The reforms of the allegro bus are invited for the race. Rate is fit for the investigation for the top of the reforms for the citizens.

  26. Superior said:

    The best Appliance Repair Issaquah is Superior Appliance. With more than four decades of experience, they can repair your appliances appropriately without any worries. They repair your refrigerators, dryers, dishwashers, washers, and dryers without causing you any trouble.

  27. Highway Fashions said:

    Highway Fashion brings an amazing collection of sale on brands online in all over Pakistan. The Highway Fashion store constantly offers their customers amazing sales on different brands. So, Grab your favorite dress today at discounted prices.

  28. Nanisa said:

    Online multiplayer battle royale game called Stumble guys! Online races between up to 32 players feature frantic obstacle courses.

  29. taniyuki said:

    If you love fish-related games, try tiny fishing to try it out and experience the fun

  30. taniyuki said:

    If you love fish-related games, try tiny fishing to try it out and experience the fun

  31. BabyBoxShop said:

    Celebrate the upcoming arrival of a precious little one with our range of unisex baby shower gifts. These thoughtful presents are perfect for baby showers where the gender of the baby is not revealed or for families who prefer gender-neutral options. Show your excitement and love with a gift that will make the baby shower even more special.

  32. swiftle said:

    Swiftle is a game for Taylor Swift fans who love to guess her songs by listening to short clips. The game is inspired by Wordle, a popular word puzzle game, but with a musical twist. Swiftle challenges players to identify a Taylor Swift song in six tries or less, by listening to a clip that starts from one second and gets longer with each wrong guess. The clip can come from any part of the song, so players need to have a good ear and a vast knowledge of Taylor Swift’s discography. Swiftle also allows players to share their results on social media, using emojis to represent the song title and the number of tries.

  33. BSNS Consulting said:

    Business Consultancy and Services. Our team is committed to enhancing your company’s revenue and efficiency through comprehensive advisory, strategic planning, and process optimization. Whether you need help with market entry strategies or performance improvement, we’ve got you covered with end-to-end solutions.

  34. We Buy Dead Stocks.. said:

    Looking for a reliable Scrap buyer in UAE? Look no further! At We Buy Dead Stocks, we are your go-to destination for efficient and hassle-free scrap purchasing services. With our extensive expertise and commitment to customer satisfaction, we ensure a seamless experience when it comes to selling your scrap materials.

  35. Tiptop-einrichtung said:

    A Maniküre Tisch is a manicure table. It’s a dedicated piece of furniture used in beauty salons and nail studios for performing professional manicure services. These tables are designed for the convenience of both the technician and the client.

  36. Katrina Ballard said:

    I think we have entered the Twilight Zone here. only up

  37. Bekean Loinse said:

    Engross yourself in the addictive world of Wordle where each attempt is a step closer to conquering the daily word puzzle.

  38. markkaint said:

    Reputable home improvement retailer Lowes has been in business since 1946. With more than 2,200 locations in the US and Canada, Lowes is dedicated to assisting consumers in making improvements to their homes. They have a large selection of goods, ranging from paint and gardening materials to appliances and

  39. farhan said:

    Stay informed about government incentives and programs promoting energy-efficient appliances and sustainable practices. Top Thermador Repair Services in Atlanta: How to Choose the Right One

  40. Coby Brian said:

    Very nice, indeed.
    Spinner Tools

  41. Ginkgo Retail said:

    Welcome to Ginkgo Retail, where convenience meets diversity in a vibrant marketplace. Our Multi Vendor Marketplace offers an unmatched assortment of products from handpicked vendors. Shop with ease, knowing you’re supporting small businesses while enjoying the convenience of one-stop shopping. Discover unique finds, from fashion to home decor, and everything in between. Join our community and experience the excitement of Ginkgo Retail’s Multi Vendor Marketplace today!

  42. getrs crarea said:

    Games often incorporate Spotle artistic elements that inspire players to express themselves creatively.

  43. Build Now GG said:

    Anyone else think Build Now GG could be the next big thing in online gaming? The build-and-shoot genre is really taking off.

  44. rosy dam said:

    Playing infinite craft is not just about creating external worlds but also about embarking on a journey of self-discovery.

  45. BSNS Consulting said:

    At BSNS Consulting, we offer you unparalleled Business Advisory Services near me. Our team of expert consultants is dedicated to providing personalised solutions that drive growth and success for your business. Whether you’re a startup or an established company, our strategic insights and industry knowledge will empower you to make informed decisions and achieve your goals.

  46. Ginkgo Retail said:

    E-commerce logistics refers to the specialized processes and strategies involved in managing the flow of goods for online retail operations. It encompasses warehousing, inventory management, order fulfillment, shipping, and returns processing tailored to the unique demands of online shopping. Efficient e-commerce logistics are crucial for ensuring timely deliveries, minimizing costs, and enhancing customer satisfaction in the digital retail landscape.

  47. Juwelier Steiermark said:

    Experience the beauty and craftsmanship of our jewelry at our showroom.

  48. xeniasn said:

    Players often form strong Geometry Dash communities and friendships, both online and offline, through shared gaming experiences.

Leave a Reply