Deadsplinter Reads – A Skincare Company Blog Post

SPF And Other Dodgy Numbers

Trachylepis Quinquetaeniata Rainbow Skink
Rainbow Skink - Credit Wikipedia/Jensbn

On The Edges of Marketing and Management

Wandering around online, I came across this random blog post:

And based on the quality of the English, I quickly started to wonder: AI? Outsourced to Mumbai? Overworked entry level worker?

I dare you to read this and try to puzzle out how, exactly, it came to be. The layout, for example, is a mystery.

The header graphic is way too big. The phrase “kids sunscreen” in the first paragraph is underlined, an indicator from the early days of the WWW that something is a hyperlink, but it goes nowhere. Likewise for other underlined phrases.

There are random links to tweets and Instagram posts embedded in the post, bullet points turned into stars, random incorrect uses of quotation marks, odd hashtags, and sentences which seem to lead nowhere….

Remember the Early Days of the Web?

Way back in the day, companies like Geocities made it easy to post content online. Of course, almost nobody had any idea how to make it look like anything but the ideas of a mad person. Blinking text. Crummy animated GIFs. Poorly cropped JPGs. Non sequitor headlines. would never be accused of having too little information about Barry Ploegel. Even major corporations in 1995 might have amateurish websites.

But this is more than 25 years later, and as best as I can tell, this is for real. Blue Lizard is a major brand of sun screen, getting a lot of positive reviews. It’s regulated by the FDA. The parent company is a decent sized conglomerate. Why is this post so hard to make sense of?

Blogging Is SO Over

The link to the blog is buried at the bottom of the company website. There are only a handful of entries dating back to 2015, and they’re all like this. Which I think is a hint.

I pretty strongly think it’s not AI. AI blogging is very much a thing, but it’s dumb. The one advantage over humans is volume — there’s no need for AI to sleep. It can create a tremendous number of posts, but Blue Lizard is obviously not playing that game. And as this silly attempt at online marketing grudgingly admits, posts still need to human editors or they end up sounding even worse than Blue Lizard’s blog, and may well damage a company’s brand with things the AI thinks are helpful. The cost/benefit ratio only makes sense if they’re churning out a huge volume of posts. Ditto for outsourcing to Abbafanistan.

How Soon They Forget

25 years ago, GE CEO Jack Welch was a minor god to the business press. He got enormous credit for US companies creating rigid job descriptions with explicit deliverables, and annual job evaluations which measured what people delivered and fired whoever didn’t measure up. But nobody worships him anymore.

Credit: Wikipedia /

And as it turns out, it was largely a dumb trend. Critiques of his methods from researchers piled up and GE’s value stagnated. Welch pumped up a ton of the company’s value with shaky maneuvers on the financial side of its operations, which vanished like sand before the tides as the stock market moved on.

But Welch’s shady influence lives on. Bonuses and job security in countless companies depend on performance of deliverables, no matter how pointless. And my working hypothesis for this mystery blog is that somehow it got hardcoded into the job descriptions of a couple of marketing department employees that they would maintain the company blog with a defined number of posts annually.

And so they dutifully churn out their deliverables. Never mind that the link is buried at the bottom of the home page and there appears to be no major effort put into the blog. Quality, I’m guessing, isn’t measured, and in Welch management world, you can’t manage what you don’t measure. I wouldn’t be surprised if the link is buried specifically because the marketing employees don’t want anyone to read it. Customers reading your stuff generates customer service contacts which generate more work. Who needs that? The goal is checking off the box before the annual review, and that’s what we see.



  1. My brother was an early internet user. He had a website that claimed to sell frozen, individually wrapped, pre-sliced toast. All you had to do was thaw and heat in the toaster. People tried to order it, lol. And a couple of people were furious that he was price gouging frozen bread. *snort*
    When I see the stuff you can buy from the freezer case at the grocery store I think he was just ahead of his time. Anyway, the website looked like shit but then they all did back then.

  2. Could it be an outsourced content provider meant to help raise the product to top of page in organic searches? A very nice young person tried to sell me on a system to increase organic search rankings, but was unable to provide any analytics. They said that I would just know if my sales increased. When I mentioned that we are not marketing in a vacuum, that we are nimble, test, and are responsive…they said that they guessed that I wouldn’t be able to attribute increases. The price? $6,500 a month. 🙄

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