Pink dancing gorillas and web copywriting

Ian Lurie

So, I went on Fiverr, and hired a pink gorilla to do a video about why you need good web copywriting. Caution – watch only if you don’t need that 58 seconds of your life:

I’m not saying this video is bad, per se. I got my money’s worth.

If you hire someone for $5 to do your ‘copyrighting’, you’ll probably get your money’s worth, too.

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Ian Lurie

Ian Lurie is the founder of Portent. He's been a digital marketer since the days of AOL and Compuserve (that's more than 25 years, if you're counting). Ian's recorded training for, writes regularly for the Portent Blog and has been published on AllThingsD, Smashing Magazine, and TechCrunch. Ian speaks at conferences around the world, including SearchLove, MozCon, Seattle Interactive Conference and ad:Tech. He has published several books about business and marketing: One Trick Ponies Get Shot, available on Kindle, The Web Marketing All-In-One Desk Reference for Dummies, and Conversation Marketing. Ian is now an independent consultant and continues to work with the Portent team, training the agency group on all things digital. You can find him at

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  1. I definitely see the importance of cobyrighting [sic] – thank you for this informative video 😉
    I think that was $5 well spent!

  2. Very nicely put Ian! To coin a phrase, ‘put *muck* in, get *muck* out’.
    I’m constantly trying to tell people in my role that if we have better content (on product pages and blog posts) the site will be enjoyed more, will rank for more long-tail terms, and will generally do better. But unless I show some ROI metric people don’t believe content is a vital asset that can keep on giving.
    In fact it makes me feel like I’m a dancing pink monkey at times. The more people like yourself contribute to the cause the better I feel!

  3. Couldn’t have said it better myself. In a way, I’m glad the uber-cheap writer “market” exists because it gives the rest of us something from which to distinguish ourselves. If you want cheap and quick, head over to Fiverr (or Elance, Guru, etc.). If you want to tell a compelling story, hire a professional.

  4. Hi Ian
    The explicit message of your blog post is; “pay peanuts, get monkeys” (or gorilla’s in this case), no argument there.
    However the underlying message is that if we web owners pay a lot more money for our link and traffic generating articles, (frequently to freelancers, judging by the responses so far) then everything is going to work out just fine and leads and link juice will follow in a steady flow.
    Our experience is that there is no straight line relationship between how much you pay and the quality of the resulting outcome and impact. Contractors will never understand our business as well as the site owner. As Panda continues to root out all the rubbish on the web the role of the copyrighter will have to change to adapt to the need for more quality and depth.

  5. LOL! I think that was well well worth it. But maybe only because it makes your point so well 🙂 Definitely worth the 58 seconds of my life 🙂

  6. I think Ewan’s point adds a lot to the discussion.
    My favorite metaphor is that $5 copywriting is like snack cakes. I quite enjoy eating snack cakes, so having them be a part of my diet makes me happy. Snack cakes are also inexpensive, which is budget-friendly.
    Eating snack cakes for dinner is a terrible idea. Paying $5 per page for all your copywriting is also a terrible idea.
    However, paying someone $5 to write a rough draft about “My Non-Technical Topic 101”, slated to be published in a non-critical place, that I edit to sound good-enough makes me happy. It frees up my time to work on exciting + challenging tasks and is easy on my copy budget.
    Snack cakes play a beneficial role in my diet because I eat them as a snack or dessert (never for dinner) and I eat them in moderation. Same with $5 copy.

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