Selling online? Get ready to meet these guys (and girls!)...

By: Richard Grady

If you are thinking about starting an online business, I need to warn you about some of the people that you are going to 'meet'. Once you have a website or any form of online presence, these people will seek you out - I guarantee it!


The Advisor is far more common than you might think. He (or she) will choose your website at random and then email you (often at considerable length) to explain exactly what is wrong with your site. The Advisor will often not have a website of their own but will be a self-appointed expert in website design and online marketing. The beauty of this advice is that it is free and you don't even have to ask for a review - The Advisor will just send his opinion to you.

The Advisor is ALWAYS right. Regardless of how successful your site may be, The Advisor will always find something wrong with it and kindly inform you so that you can correct it.

Irritability Factor: 7 - fairly irritating but easily ignored.

THE WHINGER (also known as The Whiner)

Whingers and Whiners are a breed unto themselves. As the name suggests, they will whinge and moan about ANYTHING! You can spend hours helping these folk (free of charge) yet they will still find something to gripe about. It is impossible to please a Whinger and the best thing to do is to avoid getting involved in the first place. Learn to spot the signs of a Whinger from the first email they send you. If the email contains more than three 'moans' in as many paragraphs, you have probably got yourself a Whinger.

Irritability Factor: 5 - best to ditch the Whinger ASAP or they will become highly irritating.


These are one of my favourite types of people. The Magical Critique surely does possess magical powers. They are able to review your products without ever having seen them! That's right, they will offer their considered opinions on your products (whatever they may be) regardless of the fact that they have never made a purchase from you! The review will almost always consist of just a single sentence (but hey, this is magic so you really should be grateful for whatever is thrown at you!). An example review could be:

'Your eBooks is complet and utter trash and anyone that byes it is an idiot'

Quality stuff I think you will agree. Also, please note the spelling mistakes - The Magical Critique will invariably have a poor grasp of the English language but as I have already said, this is magic so don't knock it :-)

Irritability Factor: 4 - more amusing than irritating.


I think it is fair to say that the Furious Emailer probably has serious personality issues that need to be dealt with. You will recognise the Furious Emailer immediately as the first email you receive from them will be full of CAPITAL LETTERS and obscene language. It is likely that the reason for the initial contact will be that the Furious Emailer has made a purchase from you and something minor will have gone wrong (for example they did not receive a confirmation email after paying etc). Whatever the problem, it will always be obvious to any normal person that it isn't your (the sellers) fault as they will realise that computers and the Internet are not 100% reliable and these things do happen. Unfortunately the Furious Emailer will not realise this and will spend a few minutes working themselves up into a rage before blasting you with the email equivalent of an Exocet missile!

Strangely enough, when you reply to the Furious Emailer and resolve the problem, they will usually roll over and become one of the nicest people you have ever corresponded with. Apologies will flow and everything will be happy and calm once again - like I said, serious personality issues. Be aware however that this is not always the case and in the event of further 'furious emails', you may well have found yourself a Complete Fruitcake (see below).

Irritability Factor: 8 - can be very irritating simply because of their lack of manners. After all, they wouldn't walk into a store and speak to the assistant in the same way would they? Easily dealt with though (especially if they are asking for a refund). Simply reply and explain that you don't respond to abuse and if they would like to apologise and send a polite email, then you will deal with their request immediately.


This type of person is difficult to quantify and will often display traits of several different types of character. It will usually be possible to spot a Complete Fruitcake due to the fact that their emails won't make any sense or will not even relate to your website or products. If you reply asking the Fruitcake for more information or details about their purchase etc, you will simply receive further emails that make even less sense than the first.

Irritability Factor: 9 - The only way to deal with a Complete Fruitcake is to reply with a similar nonsensical email to that which you have received. Be warned, this can result in you going round in circles having a meaningless conversation with someone that really needs medical attention.

On the plus side, if you do work online, you will find that 99% of the people you meet are perfectly pleasant folk. I have made some excellent online friends since I started my web businesses in 1998 and I don't include any of you in the list above (because I always delete members of the above groups from my mailing list as soon as I possibly can!) :-)

Copyright 2004 Richard Grady

Share this article :

Most Read
• Selling Your Online Business - Something To Think About....., by Richard Grady
• Selling A Home Online, by James Gunaseelan
• Selling Home Online, by Scott Patterson
Top Searches on Online Business
•  End Of The Internet•  What Is Marketing