Copywriting samples on this page were culled from VacuumCleaner.net, NightmareCompanies.com
(both sites now defunct), and other sources of my original writing.



De Benedetto Vacuum

Online Showroom Page Marketing Copy

Here is the main page from the Online Showroom section of my previous vacuum cleaner sales and service website De Benedetto Vacuum. In reading through this content, marketing professionals will quickly realize that this entire extensive main page is, in fact, marketing copy.


Paper Bag vs. Dust Cup

Run from any vacuum, of any kind, of any brand, of any size, that does not use a paper bag! Vacuum cleaning technology is continually advancing to allow the removal of smaller and smaller dust and dirt particles from our homes, more effectively, and with greater and greater efficiency. Your technologically advanced vacuum cleaner was painstakingly designed to remove every single partical of dirt, dust, and debris, of every kind, from every surface in your home.

Why, then, would you take that dirt, dust, and debris, and manually pull it from your vacuum in an open cup, to dump it in an open trash can--reintroducing portions of that waste back into your home, through the air? Not to mention in, or on, your hands, arms, face, or hair. This is exactly what happens, to one degree or another, when you use a vacuum with a dust cup, instead of a paper bag--varying amounts of waste material are re-introduced into your home. So-called "cyclonic" vacuums all use dust cups, as well, so I cannot recommend those, either.

The entire purpose of a vacuum cleaner is to remove, as much, as thoroughly, and as permanently as possible, all unwanted foreign matter from your living, working, and playing spaces! Vacuum cleaner manufacturers sell bagless technology as a great benefit to consumers, but I remain underwhelmed by that theory.


The great virtue of the Oreck vacuum cleaner is it's weight:  it's extremely light, and is accordingly really easy and enjoyable to use. They claim their machines weigh just 8 lbs., which is apparently true (I think their commercial vacs might be a pound over that). The second virtue of the Oreck is they use a disposable paper bag, so, as discussed above, when the machine is full you just toss the clean, sealed dustbag into the trash--no fuss, no muss, no flying dust.

There's a ying to every yang, of course, and Oreck is no exception. In my experience, the downside of the Oreck is its apparent need for regular user maintenance to run properly; at least that's the impression one gets in reading the user manual. Additionally, there may be a kind of fragility to this vacuum, but I can't squawk about this as loudly as I'd like to, since most products these days, including vacuum cleaners, are simply not made of the hard, durable materials our grandparents knew. I also consider that in designing an extremely lightweight vacuum cleaner, like the Oreck, lighter and possibly more fragile materials may have been required.

Also bear in mind that the Oreck does not have an onboard cleaning capability, so you will need a separate canister-style vacuum for "above-floor" cleaning (this refers to anything to be cleaned above the floor, such as furniture, beds, walls, ceilings, drapes, etc.). The lack of this capability may surprise many people, who are used to their upright vacuum having a hose attached which will accept cleaning tools. Actually, however, the "two-vacuum" system really is the proper, and most convenient, way to clean a home. Each vacuum does the job it's best suited for; and, trying to do serious above-floor cleaning with an upright vacuum in tow (i.e. trailing behind as you walk) is difficult.


I recommend the Oreck, especially if you require a very light machine--and most of us don't realize how enjoyable a light machine is, until we try one. Just make sure you also have a companion canister for above-floor cleaning. If you don't already own one, you might want to consider also purchasing the small canister Oreck pairs with its uprights.

Sanyo TransforMax Model SC-18

This has got to be one of the most amazing, versatile, and flat-out useful upright vacuum cleaners ever designed and manufactured. Like the Shapeshifter beings on Star Trek: DS9, this vacuum readily changes from a lightweight upright, to a powerful, versatile hand-vacuum, to a kind of wheel-less canister, allowing for easy cleaning of walls, drapes, and ceilings. It uses a paper bag, and even has a rotating brush for more effective carpet cleaning. Lightweight and sporting a small powerhead, it moves around easily and deftly gets between pieces of furniture, or other tight spaces. The icing on the cake, as it were, is that this vacuum is powerful; in it's capacity as a hand vacuum, for example, it is certainly the most powerful you'll find.

I should note that the TransforMax attachments could be better; if you acquire this machine I suggest you also purchase a better quality attachment set. The main problem here is the dust brush, which is unacceptably stiff, looking more suited to brushing the mane of a racehorse, than cleaning furniture or fine things! While I'm airing it's dirty laundry, I'll also tell you this vacuum is not suited to vacuuming under low furniture, such as beds; because the machine doubles as a hand-vacuum, it has a handle on its body which blocks access to low areas.


Generally, this is not the machine to use for carpeting, with the exception of area rugs, at which it is perfect, and excels. However, for general cleaning, both floor and above-floor, including and especially area rugs, and for the most versatile, powerful, convenient (it uses paper bags, remember) hand-vacuum you'll ever find, I highly recommend the Sanyo TransforMax. You'll find yourself grabbing for your main vacuum less frequently once this unusual little wonder has taken up residence with you; if you have nothing but area rugs and hard flooring, you won't even need a main vacuum, just this little guy. Oh, yeah, I almost forgot--at somewhere around $100, the SC-18 is not especially expensive, either!




I have no problem enthusiastically recommending the Palm platform. How do I know? Easy--I spent over six months researching many handheld models, on both the Palm and Pocket PC platforms, in an exhaustive search to buy a handheld for myself!

Palm devices are wonderfully convenient and mobile because of their very small size--they're smaller than Pocket PC devices. And Palm units are very stable (again, unlike Pocket PC), and have a screen that is extremely smooth, and pure pleasure to use! And if you're a writer, like me, let me tell you that the word processing capabilities on the Palm platform absolutely blow away those of the Pocket PC! I'm sorry to have to say this, but the word-processing capability of Pocket Word, which is the only word-processing program available for the Pocket PC, is shamefully substandard. Of course, with Palm you will have to become comfortable using Graffiti, Palm's standard system of onscreen writing; Graffiti is arguably slightly less natural than the regular alphabetic notation system of the Pocket PC, but I'm willing to use Graffiti within the context of the other advantages of Palm.

Without question, for writing, a Palm device and a copy of DataViz' Word-To-Go program is the only way to go. And, of course, the Palm is great for taking notes, keeping track of addresses and phone numbers, and a zillion other things! The new Palm Tungsten has built-in voice recording, so when you hit upon that million-dollar riff, vocal line, or business idea, you can get it down quickly, before you forget it!

I do have to proffer one caveat regarding Palm, which is, though more stable than the Pocket PC line, the units are still occasionally subject to some of the same technical glitches in software or hardware as any computing device. I have had to return Palm units for these kinds of reasons--as I've had to return any number of other digital devices or software programs for the same kinds of reasons. If you select Palm as your handheld platform and your unit doesn't work optimally, just exchange it within your 30 day return period.

Palm frequently has sales and promotions on its products, including free gifts with a purchase, for example.


More reliable and easier to use than a Pocket PC, and supported by an army of third-party software, I recommend the Palm platform.  I can't think of a cooler gift, for yourself or somebody else!


The copy below for Discover Card was written for HardRockMall.com, a rock-n-roll-themed Internet shopping mall I had created experimentally. True to the culture of its target demographic (rock music fans), the copy here is deliberately casual and "edgy" (without being vulgar).

Target market must always be considered in composing sales copy!


Discover Card Platinum Application

Here's what Discover Card says about their Platinum card:
  • Great low rates
  • No annual fee
  • Up to a 2% Cashback Bonus award
  • Online Account access
  • 24-hour Customer Service and much more!


  • Applying online for the card is quick and easy
  • When you apply online, you'll receive a response in seconds!

And here's what I say:  I think everybody should have at least one credit card, for emergencies, or for once in a while when you find sumthin' you just HAFTA own, even if it requires a credit card purchase to do it!  Discover Card is a major card, accepted all over the place, and their advantages seem pretty good (always read the fine print, though).

Click above and check 'em out!



Search Engine Watch

February 18, 2003

Having built a number of web sites, several of which were e-commerce sites, I was forced to grapple with the vital and unyielding reality of search engine placement. Without a knowledge of the extremely specific techniques necessary to drive traffic (i.e. surfers) to your particular website, it's just not gonna happen. Do you know how many thousands of websites are out there competing with yours, trying to attract the exact same surfers you are? If you don't know how to bring those people to your site--you're finished.

I've never joined Search Engine Watch, but I've been to their site, and read through their free introductory material, of which there is a goodly amount, and it's been very helpful; if you actually join you receive access to even better quality information.


I recommend Search Engine Watch. It is one of the principal resources on the Internet for people who want to learn how to drive traffic to a website. If you have a website, Search Engine Watch or a similar resource is indispensable.



Pegasus Mail
David Harris

November 20, 2003

In migrating from Microsoft Outlook XP, I really wanted to like Pegasus Mail--and though it may not be the email program best suited for me, in particular, I do like it--or at least I respect it, and its author. Below are among its key virtues, as I have experienced and understood them in my 48 hours or so of exploring the program. Please note that 48 hours may simply not be enough time to really honor the broad feature set of Pegasus Mail.

  • Pegasus Mail obviously saw much work in its design and creation. It is an extremely comprehensive, full-featured, and professionally crafted product. It has many, many features, all of which seem carefully executed. It's varied capabilities are actually rather amazing, up-to-and-including such things as in-program attachment viewing, and the ability to view mail at its lowest code level, to see such things as the HTML code (in HTML mail), or its Internet transfer codes and protocols, all of which can be viewed right in the program.
  • The program is absolutely free! And it is not burdened by spyware, advertisements, or any other element which can chip away at the integrity of its status as a free product. This brings me to the next wonderful thing about this program--its author.
  • Not only is this program free, but it's free with an attitude--a great attitude!  David Harris, the author of Pegasus Mail, seems like a wonderful person. I have read several of his written sentiments in the program documentation, the program itself, and his website, and it seems clear that he is a warm, truly giving, human being, who has created this program for free, out of the proverbial goodness of his heart, for our benefit, and he even wishes us well in using it!  A rare human being.  Further, he is intelligent, and a very good writer.  Though somewhat incomplete, documentation is well-written.

    And this writer is especially gratified, as Mr. Harris' turn-of-mind corresponds generally with the helping, giving, and cooperative philosophy behind NightmareCompanies.com.  David Harris has been duly commended in email, by this writer.

By now, of course, in this review you are waiting for the big "but," which there is.  However, the size of that "but" is open to interpretation:

This reviewer has found the operation of Pegasus Mail frequently counter-intuitive; operations, including common ones, are often performed in a nonstandard manner. I found determining how to perform them, trying. For example, the program will not allow you to save the content and basic header information of a received email message in a folder of your choice. You must save at least two messages, at the same time, if you want to save header information, and even then the save routine is completely unconventional--at least I've never seen it before--and arguably unwieldy:  it forces you to save multiple messages in a serial manner, one-after-the-other. In fairness, I should note that some users might consider this efficient. Even considering this possibility, however, I remain unmoved, since in performing the Save procedure to file three messages, the program seemed unable to correctly save the third email.

In another small example of the unconvential design of this program, there's no keyboard command, as such, to check POP email, though you can use the keyboard to navigate to the Check Mail command on the menu bar--not quite as convenient as simply pressing F5 with Microsoft Outlook. And here's another small example:  apparently the copy command doesn't work everywhere in the program, which is inconvenient. I tried to copy text from an attachment, and the operation would not work. Last, the docs, though very well written, are somewhat incomplete, which contributed to the muddle I found myself in, trying to figure out how to perform common operations such as saving email. The help file does not make clear, for example, that to save the email header along with message content, file saving must occur in "folder window," not a dedicated message window. It also took me quite a while to determine how to save a file to a folder of my choosing, on my hard drive, instead of saving to a pre-determined program folder.

In making these critical citations, I don't want to lose sight of the fact that Pegasus Mail is a rich, extremely full-featured program, with an obvious intelligence (and moral sense) behind it. However, in using the program you must understand that, unlike Outlook, whose extreme flexibility and customization accomodates any style of working, David Harris, in Pegasus Mail, has created a program expressing definite, more-or-less fixed methods of handling email and performing email operations. In using the program, you may find yourself in sympathy with the way he has conceptualized and structured those operations and controls. If so, you'll fast become a fan of this interesting, professional, and powerful program.


Pegasus Mail does not closely correspond to my way of working with email.  However, its many users are obviously happy with it--perhaps you will be, too.  Since the program is free, a recommendation of Buy does not apply, so NightmareCompanies.com, in advising users to audition the program, will issue the next best thing:  a spirited recommendation of TRY.



eTrust EZ AntiVirus

Review Written April 2003

Revised October 2003

I was delighted to review this product, because I use it, and love it! I've been using eTrust EZ AntiVirus for several years now as my sole virus detection utility, and I can tell you with complete candor and accuracy that it is one of the best software products I've ever used. I say this having tried a number of other antivirus programs, including several of the majors.

Before I begin my litany of compliments, however, let me tell you the chief characteristic that some users do not like:  this program does not scan your email. In my view, however, this is not a fatal flaw, because if you do receive and open an infected email, EZ will then detect the virus and alert you; in fact, I'm fairly certain that I've received any number of infected emails, but as you develop Internet experience you learn to recognize them, and simply delete them without opening them. That's what I always do, and I don't think my system has ever been infected that way; at least not to my knowledge. I did read of at least one virus which can allegedly infect your system through email even without opening the mail or its attachment, but I do not believe I have ever experienced this. A second weak spot of the program is that when it detects a virus, its alert messages could be a little more clearly written, and should apprise you of what your next step should be (although this latter step is not necessarily something that any, or many, competing programs do, either). As you become familiar with the operation of this program, and with the world of virus-detection and cleansing, these concerns will probably diminish in importance, as they have for me.

Now, let me tell you why I unequivocally recommend this program, the above remarks notwithstanding:  it's relatively inexpensive ($20 initally, I think, then about $10 or so annually; Norton AntiVirus, I believe, is $60), it has an amazingly convenient auto-download and install process for new virus definitions, is extremely easy and intuitive to use, with a Windows-style Explorer as its main window, provides a "snooze" feature so you can turn it off temporarily when you're installing new software, allows for scheduled scans, uses virtually no system resources (you literally won't even know it's there--until it catches a virus), doesn't seem to slow your system down one bit, and in what I, as a too-seasoned computer user, believe to be an overwhelming and it's greatest virtue--it doesn't seem to conflict with any other programs, and in this and every other way is simply unbelievably stable!  This program just runs and runs and runs silently in the background, and never crashes! In the exasperating world of computer software, when you find a program that is this stable, you fall to your knees and thank the gods of programming and coding!

Oh, by the way, I almost forget to mention that whenever this program is reviewed by a computer magazine, they always say it catches just about every virus they throw at it!

Just about everyone who uses this program becomes a loyal fan, and continues using it.  You will, too!


I've used this program under Windows 98SE, and I've used the new Windows XP version under Windows XP--just as stable, silent, effective, and amazing, each time!  Providing you don't feel a strong need for an antivirus program with every bell and whistle under the sun, run--do not walk--to eTrust EZ Antivirus!  I highly recommend it!  The publisher, Computer Associates, also makes several related products such as a firewall, and an antivirus/firewall suite, which I can provisionally recommend, based on the general excellence of EZ Antivirus, the product reviewed here.  Computer virii are absolutely rampant, and can mercilessly destroy your system--click the banner above right now, and protect yourself!


The above review remains accurate.  However, Given the apparent ubiquity of computer virii now, especially for Windows users, this writer must urge a somewhat different strategy. Based in part on personal experience, I now recommend use of a more full-featured antivirus program, such as Panda Titanium. The omissions in EZ AntiVirus no longer comprise adequate protection for users. Many viruses, for example, now transmit themselves through web pages, a scenario EZ AntiVirus cannot address.


ADVERTISING FIGHTERS - Popup-Killers (Suppress Pop-Up Ads While Browsing the Internet)


popnot pop not popup pop-up killer stop popups pop-ups


While surfing the 'Net, have you experienced those windows, big or small, that continually pop up out of nowhere, interrupting what you're doing, and driving you to distraction? They can also wreak havoc with your computer system, by interfering with an online form you may be filling out, filling your memory, or perhaps putting an untoward and undesirable "nasty" on your system. Who knows what's going on behind the scenes when these things appear?

Well, kiss those popups goodbye with this exemplary little program called PopNot! In researching popup killers--and I've tried a number of them--I ultimately selected PopNot.

This is perhaps the perfect utility program: it's cheap, works cleanly, is powerful, and gives you a LOT of control over what kinds of popups you suppress, and when and how you do it. Further, its interface is laid out clearly and understandably.

I must issue one word of caution, here:  as stated above, I've tried several of these pop-up killer programs. On my system (about four years old) they all caused some instability. That doesn't mean they'll behave the same way on yours, but tread with caution. Luckily, there are many programs of this kind available, that you can try. Start with PopNot, and proceed from there, as necessary.


Get PopNot, and enjoy your surfing again.  However, if the program destabilizes your system, try a different program.




  • OpenOffice:  This is a well-designed, full office suite with the same functionality as Microsoft Office, featuring an excellent writing module called Writer.  OpenOffice is a completely free product!  Linux version also available.

  • StarOffice:  This is the commercial version of OpenOffice, featuring enhanced functionality, print documentation, and company support.  Superb value at $59.95.  Linux version available, too.

  • Word:  A generally excellent writer's tool.  The word-processing program that enjoys the largest market share in this software category.

  • WordPerfect:  An absolutely superb writer's tool.  Also look for the less expensive "family" version.

  • TextMaker:  A serious, top-quality writing tool, focusing exclusively on the needs of the writer and author, without superfluous components such as groupware, etc.  A great value at $49.  Linux version also available.

  • NoteTab Pro:  A superb web design tool, and a very good writing tool, just $19.95.  There is even a freeware version of this product.