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Mass Emails: Don't Do What Tumblr Did After Yahoo Purchase

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By Kelly Cheung on May 29, 2013 11:01 AM

There's been some criticism of the recently announced purchase of Tumblr by Yahoo. The blogging platform was purchased for about $1.1 billion. Thousands of its users have already been driven away to other blogging platforms from fear that Yahoo will ruin it.

Amidst the controversial Yahoo purchase, Tumblr quickly became the subject of another headline. Only days after the purchase news, Tumblr sent out a mass email to some of its users to update their settings with an embarrassing mistake.

After the Yahoo announcement, Tumblr users who independently host a Tumblr blog on their own site would need to point to a new IP address for their blog to continue to work. However, Tumblr forgot one little detail: the IP address.

Mistakes do happen, but small slip-ups like sending out a mass email with errors are preventable. This mishap only added to criticism that Yahoo would ruin Tumblr. Even Yahoo's CEO's Marissa Mayer promised to not "screw up" the site, but they managed to slip up in just days.

There's a self-evident but still important lesson to be learned from Tumblr and Yahoo's mistake. Proofread ALL of your communications with the outside world. Don't let this happen to your firm. It's not only embarrassing, it's just plain unprofessional.

Here are a few simple tips on how to prevent a Tumblr "screw up" from happening to your firm:

1. Read Out Loud Before Hitting Send/Submit

Read your writing aloud. You will be able to find mistakes through hearing it. Try taking a quick break and coming back to it before submitting. A refreshed mind and rested eyes will help you see the errors you may have not seen before.

2. Know Your Weaknesses

If you can recognize a weakness in yourself, you can take advantage of that knowledge. Think of ways to address the weakness. Proofreaders can be helpful or if it's that bad, have someone dedicated to handling your social media and communications. You can still pre-approve it before sending out, but it will save you time and the embarrassment later.

3. Avoid Total Reliance on Spell Check

As easy as it is to spell check, don't rely on it alone. They don't pick up on everything especially misused grammar that is spelled correctly. Use it with caution. Checking your own writing will take a few more seconds, but it's worth it.

4. Draft First, Send Later

Many of us have made the mistake of sending off an email without an attachment or leaving misspellings. It's really easy to send an email off quickly especially on a Smartphone. Smartphones are notorious for automatically correcting in embarrassing ways. Slow down and apply the same care when emailing and posting from your phone as you would from your computer.

5. Be Careful With Templates

If you're using a template, highlight, bold, use all caps or red font to make it obvious you have placeholders in the document. Nothing is more embarrassing than to give your client a document you drafted with placeholders where their personal information should be. It helps to turn templates into PDFs with blank spaces to be filled. A blank space left unintentionally blank is much better than a place holder saying "[IP Address]" like Tumblr's email.

For lawyers, time really is money, but the time you take to avoid the mistake Tumblr made will save you money. These mistakes take seconds to commit, but the embarrassment does not go away so quickly. An extra minute will keep your company's reputation intact.

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