The Price of Typos in Business

In a world that has become reliant on spellcheck, typos have been a continuous issue for businesses. There are many ways in which typos can affect a business. Specifically, typos can hurt the reputation of a business, can cost a large amount of money and can possibly be utilized in a positive manner.

First, typos can hurt the reputation of a business. Typos make a business seem unprofessional. If businesspeople do not proofread and revise their work, the business attains a sloppy image. If there are typos, the article is not very credible. Someone did not take much effort to create the article, making the article less trustworthy. Typos can also create offensive messages. If something is misspelled, offensive words could be formed. This can be hurtful to consumers and could lead to trouble with the law. An article in USA Today revealed that the president of an Iowa college was ridiculed after a typo was included in the student handbook. The error read, “Black History Linch and Learn.” This typo caused a huge controversy because “linch” sounds similar to “lynch.” Typos can also be misleading. Miscommunication puts the receiver at a huge disadvantage. In a recent interview, Warren Buffet said, “The dollar, I think, is going to be worth less five to ten years from now.” Dow Jones Newswires later quoted Buffet as using the term “worthless.” This typo spread across the web, and Buffet appeared on live television to remedy the situation. Buffet’s situation proves how easily typos can ruin the reputation of a businessperson. As businesspeople, we must be sure to follow the AP Stylebook. The book is not just a tool for journalists; it details correct writing methods and should be used in everyday business. Overall, typos can make a business appear unprofessional, offensive and misleading, and this ultimately hurts a business.

Second, typos can cost businesses large amounts of money. Many ebusinesses believe that typos have lost money for their businesses. Studies have shown that typos can cut online sales in half. According to Charles Duncombe, an owner of online retail websites, typos account for the loss of millions of dollars in sales every week. In 2004, Dell Computer refused to honor a price of a PDA on their online store. The PDA was technically worth $379, but the price was set at $79. This company would have taken a major loss if the mistake had not been caught. In a similar situation, Marubeni, a Japanese trading company, sold one thousand computers priced at $180. The price should have been $1800. Typos need to be proofread and revised because it will prevent unnecessary loss.

Last, typos can be utilized in a positive way. Some individuals argue that typos are a marketing strategy. For example, many customers write consumer reviews. In many cases, the customers do not proofread their reviews for typos. Brett Hurt, CEO of Bazaarvoice, believes that typos in customer reviews should not be corrected. He believes that correcting these reviews would remove the authenticity. If new customers were to read these authentic reviews, they would know that the review came from the mind of a fellow customer. However, other companies disagree with this method. Zappos, an online shoe retailer, believes that customer reviews should be revised. Zappos proofreads each review to assure there are no typos. I think that Zappos may be following the more marketable idea; I would not want to read a confusing review. I would rather have a company fix the errors, assuming they keep authenticity intact. However, I understand why individuals, such as Hurt, believe that typos are marketable.

In the end, typos have clearly been a continuous issue. Typos can hurt the reputation of a business, cost the business a large amount of money, and possibly be a utilized in a positive way. While typos may have a possible positive marketing strategy, I believe that typos should always be proofread and revised in any situation, and we should remember to use the AP Stylebook. Typos provide too many risks for businesses, and they must be eliminated if possible.

By Michael Peterson, Business Major – IUPUC

1 Comment

  1. Maria said,

    October 27, 2011 at 11:33 pm

    Hey, you used to write wonderful, but the last few posts have been kinda boring… I miss your great writings. Past several posts are just a little out of track! come on!


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