I’ve been doing Internet marketing in some form or another for nearly four years, and while I’m nowhere near the seasoned veteran as some of the old dogs in this industry, I’ve worked with my fair share of clients, met lots of people, seen trends come and go, and heard plenty of eye-rolling buzz words that make me want to cobra punch someone right in the face. I polled some people on Twitter, and most of the respondents came to a consensus that these five words are annoying, aggravating and just plain douchey.

  1. Guru — Why the hell does everyone have to be a “guru” at something nowadays? “Shooter McGavin is a social media guru who has spoken at fifteen billion industry events and wrote a 723-page book about Twitter that is undoubtedly already outdated.” Usually when you hear someone tout himself as a guru, it’s a pretty solid indication that his head is so far up his own ass, he could fart a burp. Besides, the last time the word “guru” was marketed heavily, we were given this:love guru
    Yeah, that didn’t turn out so well.
  2. Evangelist — Quite possibly the only moniker worse than “guru” is “evangelist.” When did evangelist stop meaning this:billy graham
    and start to refer to some jerkwad who convinces people he can make money online? The word traditionally stems from religious connotations, so now apparently anyone who does Internet marketing is now bordering on godlike or is preaching the gospel ways of SEO. No wonder so many people think we’re snake oil salesmen; with so many “evangelists” in our business, it’s a wonder we haven’t come out with our own flavor of Kool-Aid yet (Page Rank Punch?).
  3. New media (or “nu-media”) — Apparently since “new media” isn’t quite ridiculous enough for us to all rally behind, some real winners in the industry have started spelling it “nu-media” to really illustrate how new (or nu, I suppose) it is. These same people seem to conveniently forget that most “new” media is simply an evolved form of old  media. “Holy balls, social media is NEW MEDIA!! Everyone needs to get their act together and hop on that money train before Wesley Snipes tries to rob it!” Not really. Sure, Facebook and Twitter and these other sites are new, but the marketing fundamentals are largely the same as traditional marketing we’ve been studying and learning about for the past few hundred years. Unless we start downloading advertisements directly into our cerebral cortex, there’s not much that’s “new” about marketing.
  4. Super affiliate — What the hell? Are affiliates so cocky that they have to “level up” to boast about their success? Is there anything above “super affiliate,” like, oh, I don’t know, “EX-TREEEEME affiliate”? If so, I’m pretty sure that this is the most successful affiliate marketer to ever grace the interwebs:poochie the dog
  5. Blogger — Everyone’s a blogger nowadays. It’s fine to blog; there are tons of free platforms out there and now blogging is more accessible to non-tech-savvy people than ever before. However, when someone asks you what your job is or what you do for a living and you respond with “I’m a blogger,” your blog better be making money. And by “money” I’m not talking about $6.57 each month from Adsense; I’m referring to the fact that you should be able to pay your bills and live comfortably from the earnings your blog makes, whether that’s from ads, products, donations, whatever. You’re not “a blogger” for a living if fourteen people read your quilting blog and you spend more on the $10 domain and $100 hosting package than your blog has earned for you; you’re more likely “some schmuck with a day job (or no job) who blogs in his spare time.”

Okay readers, what about you? What ridiculous buzz word automatically causes you to start grinding your teeth and rolling your hands into meaty little fists of fury?

By Rebecca Kelley

Rebecca Kelley is the Director of Marketing for This or That Media. She also runs Mediocre Athlete, a hobby blog about exercising and training, and My Korean Mom, a blog about her harsh but amusing Korean mother. In her spare time, Rebecca is a freelance blogger for hire, loves food and movies, and trains for marathons and triathlons.

92 thoughts on “5 Internet Marketing Buzz Words That Are Annoying as Hell”
  1. I love that you used the name Shooter McGavin, I love that movie. Also, the “EX-TREEEEEEEEEME” like the new bugs bunny is pretty funny too.

    As far as the list, I’d like to add “Social Media _____” to the fray. As in “Social Media Guru” or “Social Media Marketer” etc.

      1. Dude people really got their hate on for you here. WTF?! Come back to the rest of the interwebs where we all love you. 🙂

  2. So you’re saying that my new business cards with Nu-Media Evangelist Guru as my title aren’t cool after all?

    Dangit.

  3. How about we just stop using the word “marketing?” Would that be too ambitious?

    Great post! ‘about time someone spoke up about this.

    1. What would you call it? I need to know because my marketing degree would certainly have to be changed to the new word/term.

  4. I want to become a blogger. But I realize that since my blog has not made me significant money yet (only $60 through adsense) that I’m not one. However things seem to be picking up now and I seem to be gaining a reputation which is pretty exciting.
    Great article, I don’t think I’ve ever gotten any helpful information from a Guru, odd.

  5. I agree on “guru” and “evangelist” — I won’t follow a Twitter user with either term in his/her bio. The others aren’t as common (or annoying) to me. Perhaps it’s because I’ve learned to automatically tune out these terms through their use/overuse?

  6. I love wordpress, I have built few blogs on that platform.

  7. I’ve had a quick look at your site, it looks very interesting. Maybe you’d like to send a synopsis through for us to publish for you? Please make it as factual as possible and include a short bio of yourself and a link to your site at the end.
    http://www.shoemoney.com – go to my favorites!!!

  8. I agree on all fronts. If you call yourself a guru, expert, maven, or evangelist you need a reality check. Other people calling you one of those is fine. If you have to call yourself one of the above, you probably aren’t one.

    Oh, and nu-media isn’t quite ridiculous enough yet. Can we please add an umlaut over the “ü”?

    1. How about ‘God’…there is a monster marketer out there who refers to himself and his underlings as ‘Gods’ and has YouTube video out there that actually show the baptismal annointings…somebody needs a reality check here…

  9. Nice post. Although I agree with most of the words, not so sure about “blogger”. What else are the 100 million blog owners who aren’t making money going to call themselves?

  10. 2.0 is my favorite buzz word …until 3.0 catches on, so glad it didnt make your list.

    1. I just hate 2.0 or Web 2.0. Everything that has Ajax or some useless JS effects, some social media sharing buttons or comments is 2.0.

  11. Here is something “Annoying as Hell” – sometimes shoemoney has guest authors that add real value to his blog, with quite interesting post – but sometimes, he allows someone to bitch, complain and sound jealous.

    It’s amazing how a Director of a SEO company couldn’t use a little search engine called “Google” and actually lookup some words. Instead of just complaining.

    “Super Affiliate” isn’t just a cocky affiliate. It’s an affiliate responsible for a significant percentage of an affiliate program’s activity. “Affiliate” just doesn’t cut it – the term is “Super affiliate” to distinguish the two. You cannot have just one word to describe everyone.

    A “Guru” is having great knowledge, wisdom and authority in a certain area. Sellf proclaimed or not. If you have knowledge and an authority in a subject – you are a guru. If you cook, are good at it – you’re a chef. If you are paint or draw and are good – you’re artists. Guru is just a term.

    Oh, and guess what – whether someone earns $1 or $1000 – if their sole income is “blogging” – they ARE a blogger. That is the correct term for the job. If a guy goes out on a boat everyday to catch fish – but doesn’t catch any – he is still a fisherman. If a person writes a site everyday – they ARE a blogger. You cannot change the fact just because they do not meet your monitory or reader requirements. You are a company director of a tiny SEO company – Larry Page is the director of Google – does that mean you are not actually a director because you are not as successful as Larry? Not many bloggers earn as much as Shoemoeny. That doesn’t actually make them any of them less of a “blogger”, it just makes Shoemoney a more successful blogger. It doesn’t magically stop the other people from being bloggers.

    Wow, what a damn waste of my time.

    1. Good to see that the word RAGE wont be going out of style.

      I saw that you ended your comment with “Wow, what a damn waste of my time” were you referring to the post or to your useless definitions of the titles stated in the post?

      We all know what the actual definition of the these terms are. I think Rebecca was just poking fun at people who use these terms to develop a sense of self importance. Apparently it hit a nerve with Gooroo Dan

      1. A Bit of both 😉

        I’m sure Rebecca is used to crazed replys like mine.

        Gooroo Dan. I love it. 🙂

    2. I’m pretty sure nobody read a gun to your head and forced you to read this post. Looks like the only one wasting your time is yourself. 🙂

      1. Ha! I was thinking the same thing. If it was such a waste of time, why did you keep reading?

        In Rebecca’s defense, she might be working at a small company, but she is huge in the SEO community and very well respected. Just because Goorooo Dan doesn’t know her, a helluva lot of other people do.

    3. Not a great guest posting at all. The “blogging” and “super affiliate” definitions from Dan are spot on.

  12. We actually had a position in our company called “Evangelist”. I wan’t sure from the day one what exactly he was doing. Till the last day he was fired.

  13. How about “visionary”. If I had a dime for every person on LinkedIn who calls themselves a “visionary”

  14. How about “Change”? Change we can believe in. We are fundamentily going to “Change the foundation of this country”. Sound familiar? I think people didn’t realize that the, “Change you can believe in” was going to actually be, “We will Change your beliefs!”

  15. I was called a Guru back in 92 since I was able to use my Mac to perform desktop publishing. Hated it then and now. Along the way have heard the other 4 and never liked them either. Good post.

  16. I don’t think there’s anything wrong with the term “blogger”. I wouldn’t call myself that if someone asked me what I did for a living but maybe if they asked about my hobbies. It’s perfectly valid and accurate 🙂

    1. I agree, it’s fine to say that as a hobby, but I’ve heard people say “I’m a blogger” like it’s their job when I know full well that three people read it and nobody ever leaves comments.

  17. I’m not going to take issue with items 1-3 and5. The whole post doesn’t really add value, so I’ll just chock those up to being entertainment. #4 is inexcusable from a blogger on an affiliate-focused site and she should know the industry term if she is going to write for the industry: A super affiliate is generally someone who gets an override commission from recruiting other affiliates. It’s not a term of ego. Please do your research.

  18. Yep, some really overused (and weird) terms in IM.

    The repetitive use of the same hypey terms in sales-letters is also really annoying. Everything’s the “ultimate secret”, something “the Guru’s don’t want you to know”, “completely hands-off” and of course, only available at the current price for a very limited time because “I may have to close this offer at any moment” (I assume the Guru’s are hot on the seller’s heels).

    By the way: How can I become a “super-commenter”? 😀

  19. When someone spent $10 domain and $100 hosting, that’s the cost of his passion like fishing or basketball or painting

  20. I’m in complete agreement with numbers 1 through 5.

    I’ve grown to loathe the use of the word “Organic” in marketing.

  21. You know this post kind of stuck a different cord with me.

    I just watched the documentary tonight called “Mac Heads” and noticed one of the ways they pulled their community back together was to hire “Evangelist”.

    I agree, this is annoying!

  22. Harsh, but fair!

    I generally refer to new-media as blogs and social media becoming the ‘new’ MAIN way we get our information/news transitioning from TV and newspapers and so forth.

    I actually never heard of ‘Nu-Media’ before, new term I’ve learned today 😉

    Sarge | BeginnerBlogger.com

  23. Every time I read a sales letter that says “only 97 copies left”, I roll my eyes. There’s a real shortage of creative copywriting in the salesletters I read.

    If a guru evangelist, 2.0 nu-media superaffiliate blogger really thinks I’m going to fall for the old “get your copy before they’re all gone–we’re not going to make any more” BS, they’re wrong, Dead wrong.

    Oops. I keep buying stuff. Maybe it really DOES work on lower life forms.

    I think the dirty little secret of internet marketing is that 95% of the people who get into it–including some of the gooroos–never make more than minimum wage.

  24. Wow this girl really knows her stuff! She’s like an internet marketing goddess….oh wait my bad

  25. Great Post. I like the word “guru” it sounds like you are an expert of everything. Thanks for sharing!

  26. I agree with all except “blogger” — doesn’t bother me in the least :).

    When I read someone has labeled someone a “guru” or “evangelist” of im, I usually click away.

    And, what is a “super affiliate” anyway? Affiliate commissions = $1K a month; $5K, $10K or more? I believe each affiliate network as well as indy’s have their own rating system …

    Another “buzz word” that does irritate me is “Joint Venture” or JV — Overused imo.

  27. Good article, I think if you look at the packaging trends we’re seeing, it’s less “Super Terrific Happy” and more “Dishwashing Soap”.

    People are tired of the hype, and are enjoying the simplicity.

    Simplicity is the new Hyperbole

  28. How about Network Marketing buzz numbers? Why is every course and tool related to Network Marketing $97, $197, $297, $397 etc…?

    Fun article! Thanks.

  29. guru or whatever is that. i only admire people who can share a positive things to others.

    and for “blogger” you got a point there

  30. Epic! Enough, I can’t take it. Is it that difficult to express your sentiment without having to use lame catch phases?

  31. I’ve been getting tired of “enthusiast”. On a slightly different note, “noob” is a little annoying too. Sorry I’m a noob, but how do I do this, that, and this, I’m not as good as you enthusiasts are.

    – Da Guru

  32. Interesting post. Personally I don’t care what buzz words people use as long as the result is more traffic to my sites and sales. But hey… if you all want to stop using them that’s cool. More keywords for me…

  33. Absolutely amazing blog.

    Awesome content on here also.

    Learning alot from you already.

    Mark McCulloch

  34. Rebecca,

    Hilarious post. Excellent. I think you missed a couple though. How about “pushbutton” and “autopilot”. Has anything ever been pushbutton? Sounds easy, until you have to set it up.

    Just another nu-media Web 2.0 guru evalgelist super affiliate blogger with the latest pushbutton autopilot extremely limited urgent time sensitive never to be repeated see if you qualify underground blueprint for sitting back and counting your cash while others do all the work money train that you must buy now cuz I dont know how long this will be available before it gets taken off the market forever and I go back underground

  35. No brainer is a buzz word that drives me crazy along with Social Media Maven or any other kind of Maven or Queen!

    I’m a jerkwad who uses the word evangelist about blogs. I like to call myself a blog evangelist because I am passionate about them and preach about the possibilities for passive income they provide on a regular basis – never on a Sunday though 🙂

    All I need to develop is my own “bible” on how to live life according to blogging rules and my evangelist status will be set.

    I am also a belly dancing guru because no one in the internet marketing arena can shake their belly like I can – which makes me the guru of something in this field where everyone needs to be a guru to be anyone.

    Its on my Twitter profile. Belly dancing guru and blog evangelist. And proud of it I might add 🙂

  36. Nice to read them..
    I’d like to know what makes a human a guru in a field? Contribution? Experience or Expertise? What?

  37. These words are annoying me as well. I am aspiring blogger need some guidelines to start with. Reading words like this will annoy me very much.

  38. GURU: It is a Indian word, that called for teachers. Yep it is annoying with English words.

  39. This is a bit late, but it just hit me as I was surfing around the intewebs.

    “Authority” is my buzzword pet peave.

    Everyone is trying to be an “authority” on their subject without actually knowing a damned thing about what they’re talking about.

    People try to sell courses that cost hundred or thousand of dollars on how to become an “authority” in your area of interest. Or even an area that doesn’t interest you, but will make you money if you are seen as an “authority.”

    The problem is that they seem to forget about Step 1) KNOW WHAT YOU’RE TALKING ABOUT

    Instead the idea is to keep your knowledge 1 step ahead of your reader. You dangle that carrot and keep them coming back for more. And when you have enough little sheep who see you as an “authority,” you pounce with some garbage product you’re hawking based on your “authority.” This product will teach your sheep to become their own “authority” so they can sell… etc etc. It’s one big ridiculous circle-jerk. And you’re in the center taking it all in.

    This rant turned out to be longer than expected. Woops.

  40. I’m voting for the word “expert” these days. It used to mean something, but everyone seems to be an expert these days – making it meaningless. Social Media Experts are particularly questionable in my book!

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  42. “cloud-computing”

    Where the hell did this come from? A fancy way of saying a web-based app… another one of those ridiculous Web 2.0 terms to make a prospective client think they’ll be getting something special.

    “And of course, our cloud-computing solution will blah blah blah…”

    While we’re at it, I’ve also had it with:
    – Ajax
    – Mash-up
    – Social media
    – Microblogging
    – Netbooks
    – Long Tail
    – Ruby on Rails
    – Wiki-“anything”

    phew! glad I got that off my chest… : )

    -joe

  43. The bigggest of them all is the word Guru that many seem to porses and are currently using

    Regards
    Solomon

    1. I just think that everyone just needs to express their thoughts and opinions. After all we are in super liberal community in the net. everyone can express their feelings Liberally.

  44. Hey Jeremy,

    How about these ubiquitous cliches in IM:

    “game-changer” (e.g. this new software program is a total game-changer)

    “take it to the next level” (OK used a lot everywhere, not just in IM), and in first place:

    “explode” (e.g. explode your business, explode your search engine rankings etc etc) – there’s a whole LOT of ‘exploding’ going on right now – apparently!

  45. Bloggers no, now everybody consider themselves gurus because they can login to wordpress and write 2 articles this month =/

  46. “Guru” and “WSO” have got to be the most annoying buzz words at the moment and forget “Super affiliate”, I’m a mega affiliate on my way to being an xtreme affiliate 🙂

  47. Kind of a different thing but how about that graphic designers are now calling themselves “creative agencies”. I wonder what they will call themselves after this stupid trend is over and they have to change their established business name to something less arrogant.

  48. Everyone wants to feel better about what he’s doing that’s why they give themselves an upgrade

  49. Great post here. This is the type of information that makes the Web interesting. Thank you.

  50. I say we just replace all of those self-gratifying titles with – pretentious! Oh by the way if your really want to get some laughs Google some of the images for these keywords and look at some of the indulgent idiots who use these names to describe themselves.

  51. Wow that was unusual. I just wrote an extremely long comment
    but after I clicked submit my comment didn’t show up. Grrrr… well I’m not writing all that
    over again. Regardless, just wanted to say great blog!

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