Yesterday evening Ted’s desk lamp decided to call it quits. She would no longer shine light and companionship across the copywriter’s desk as he worked on client projects from around the world. After ten long years and countless late nights, the lamp would be leaving the scene.

Copywriter Ted ‘Mad Dog’ McTeddy is searching online for a replacement. The old broken lamp is still beside him, looking forlorn as she watches him peruse product page after product page.

“Do you remember when I first arrived Ted? You looked at me with such warmth and love, as you ran your fingers up and down my swing-arm. I moved so gracefully then under your touch. And when you pressed my button, oh, how I illuminated all over your desk! Those were the days Ted.” says the old lamp.

Ted’s wondering whether to choose a contemporary desk lamp or one that’s more traditional in appearance. With so many options available, he’s tempted to play it safe and buy one in the same style as his old lamp.

His eye is caught by a white ‘eye-caring’ LED desk lamp with dimmable controls in an ultra-modern style. Somewhat visually interesting and which comes with a nice array of clever features, including a built-in USB port.

“A USB port? What is she, a ship? I’ve always been content with my built-in springs. They gave me such gorgeous balance and looked wonderful, before they rusted a little last year. The ceiling light was always giving me a cheeky little flicker.” continues the old lamp.

Ted likes the photos of the lamp but there’s not much description of how and why the ‘eye-caring’ feature benefits people. It seems readers are left to trust that it does in some way, without knowing what that way is.

Now Ted’s looking at a black LED table lamp with a built-in alarm clock, 3 light colours, a 5-level dimmer, a folding lamp head, and a temperature display. Now that’s an ultra-modern lamp the copywriter thinks to himself before checking the customer reviews which seem decent enough.

“Floozy. Hark at her dressed up like a microwave. She won’t warm your hands in the cold winter nights like I did. And three colours? Three shades of eye strain, more like. Pfft.” says the old desk lamp.

Again, it looks good but apart from the list of parts Ted is non-the-wiser as to why anyone would need 5 levels of lighting and 3 different light colours. By the time he thinks of two possible reasons, his eyes have been drawn to another page.

Ted is attracted to the ultra-modern style lamps but takes a little time to browse more traditional looks. He comes across a very simple flexible hose-neck lamp with a couple of positive one-line reviews. It’s a no-nonsense lamp without any fancy extras.

“It’s always the quiet ones. The ones who look so innocent. They sit there like butter wouldn’t melt in their light, then one day, POP!, they explode shards of bulb all over your face. You watch out for ‘em Ted. Cheap and mean.” mutters the old lamp bitterly.

No descriptions at all on this product page. Ted’s not sure whether it’s been abandoned and will soon be out-of-stock.

More and more pages are browsed. Ted soon comes upon a smart looking swing-arm lamp similar to the old one sitting on his desk. It has a nice black high-gloss finish and the familiar tension control knobs. The arm is slightly taller than his existing one.

“You’re not a growing boy any longer Ted. You’re not going to get any bigger. Look at the size of her. Any taller and she’d be a crane.” complains his old desk lamp. “She could illuminate an airport runway, that one”.

The product description simply reads: Black swing-arm lamp for 40W light bulbs.

Ted’s just not sure. There are so many choices. He wishes his old lamp could be fixed in some way but given its age and condition, he doubts it. None of the lamps he’s browsed match the function, look and comfort of his old one.

None sold themselves to him either with their descriptions.

Ted looks sideways at his old lamp, standing next to the laptop. It’s a little rusty, a bit creaky, somewhat faded, cracked around the rim, and busted inside, but other than that, it’s perfect.

He’s no expert on lamps but he does know how to search for answers online. The copywriter taps away in Google.

“Oh Ted! Oh Ted! Search, search, quick, quick! You can fix me! All I need is a replacement socket, a new bulb, and a little tender loving care – then you can turn me on every night of the week!” sings the old lamp with joy.

After 5 minutes Ted has found some instructions on how to fix a broken lamp. Tomorrow, he’ll pay a visit to the local hardware store.

As he heads to bed, he’s reminded how important good product descriptions are, even when the product itself is exceptional. Good photos go a long way but the wording is what pushes people to actually buy.

Once people leave a poorly written product page, they don’t come back.


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