Shopping with our eyes

Humans are largely visual. For most of us, the first introduction we have to anything is through our eyes. For those with the gift of sight, we are dependent on our ability to see. As such, everything we do is largely influenced by what we see. Even big-time celebrity chefs will often say "we eat with our eyes." And what they mean by that is diners often see their food before they taste it and begin to draw conclusions and expectations based off the plate's appearance before anything else.

And shopping is no different. Even if you're shopping for books. Of course, we are all familiar with the old adage "never judge a book by its cover" but its something we all do. When we are searching for a new book we don't read the book front to back and then buy book. No. Instead, we look at the cover art. Does it present the book at being the type of content you want to read? We read the back cover where there is usually a synopsis of the book's plot. Does the very brief and high-level summary on the back cover intrigue us enough to want to read more?

And its these fleeting glimpses that we catch with our eyes that drive our purchasing choices. At the grocery store, do you buy the fruit that looks ripe and tasty or the fruit that looks bruised and almost rotted? At the clothing store, do you buy the shirt or dress that has a distasteful slogan or unflattering pattern? Or do you buy the one that makes you look better or perhaps more mature or professional? Do you buy the box of laundry detergent that looks undamaged or the one that looks like it was in a car accident?

Often times, we don't know the condition and value of the contents of something before we buy it but we use our visual assessments of the packaging and superficial appearance to determine the risk we as consumers are willing to accept prior to spending our money. 

And its the same when it comes to determining which service providers out of the cornucopia of services providers vying for our money are worthy of our money. Or at least which might be worth the risk on our part since it is the authors paying for these services who carry all of the risk in these endeavors.

And the inspiration behind this post stems from a recent exchange I was involuntarily thrust into with one of these service providers.

Frequent visitors to my website might be familiar with my dedicated page that documents all unsolicited contacts I've had from service providers trying to sell something and what my research and opinions are for those groups. You can find it here if you're not familiar with it.

One of those recent contacts was Reign Sator from WriteQueries/ As it turns out, this was not Reign's first appearance on my website. Reign made his debut on my website in 2022 with a group he called LiftedQuery. In early 2023 (Feb. 28, 2023 to be precise), he was not happy with his appearance on my website and tried, unsuccessfully, to have me remove his entry. Later that year it would seem that he went on to create WriteQueries (domain registered in June 2023). But it wasn't until May 29, 2024, that Reign and I crossed paths again.

The email caught my attention but it wasn't until I saw the name Reign, which has been a unique name among my many contacts to date, that I suspected it was the same Reign from before. As such, I dove into my research as usual to see what could be found on this new company but this time also with the interest to see if this was the same Reign as before. As it turned out, they were one in the same, but that's beside the point of this entry.

In my research, I found Reign's full name (Reign Sator) listed on the WriteQueries website that listed him as the company CEO. From there, I looked at LinkedIn to see if Reign Sator had a profile there and what it might reveal. What I found was an unflattering and unprofessional picture that I was left to assume was the CEO and sales person trying to sell me services via email that I never requested.

Using my eyes to scan through Reign's email, his website, his domain registry ICAAN entry, and his LinkedIn profile, I was left to assess my level of comfort and acceptable level of risk based on solely what I could see online in the digital landscape that acts as a company's digital appearance. What I walked away with was the sense that this would be reminiscent of being invited to come in for a meeting only to pull up in front of a dingy, run-down building where I was greeted by a someone that made me feel uneasy in their presence. It was like seeing a box with the picture of fine china on the outside marketing to what's inside but the box was heavily damaged and there was far too much rattling in the box.

I looked at what was presented to me by this company through their digital presence and found it lackluster and uninspiring. There was nothing about the email, which came in from a account a year after the company was started, with its generic text-based sales pitch that linked to a website that didn't "wow" me which didn't encourage me to do business with them. And then when I found the very unprofessional picture Reign had chosen as his profile picture on LinkedIn, a forum for professionals to link up with one another and connect with other professional services providers, I was even less interested in doing business with that group. And I called these specific reasons out as part of why I didn't want to engage Reign in business on my website after replying to his email and requesting that he refrain from contacting me further.

I shopped with my eyes, because that was all that was available for a service provider based out of the Philippines for me to gauge their abilities. And in this instance, what my eyes saw led me to feel that this was not a professional organization led by a professional individual. If that was his personal Facebook profile picture, that would be one thing. But to use that picture as your profile picture on LinkedIn while trying to solicit others to use your business is just in poor taste to me. Granted, the picture wasn't offensive in any way, just very unprofessional looking which demonstrated to me a lack of good choices given the professional nature of the LinkedIn space where the image was posted.

Now, skip ahead about two weeks to June 9, 2024, and who do I find initiating a second contact with me from WriteQueries despite my previous request to not be included in any future contacts? Yep, Reign was back with a new offer. Given the short period of time between contacts, I just copied and pasted my first reply as a refresher to his obviously failing memory and left it at that. I mean, I did document that he contacted me a second time on my website but that was it. I noted he contacted me again despite my request to be removed from his mailing list and that I reiterated my request for him to cease contact.

Skip ahead about another two weeks and you might be able to guess who's email I found in my mailbox's spam folder. If you guessed Reign then give yourself a cookie because that's absolutely correct! Only this time Reign was not reaching out to sell me anything but to contest my assessment of his online identity. Needless to say, I wasn't that interested in engaging him. He made his choices that prompted me to draw my conclusions. I posted my opinion of what I saw of his choices on my website. If he doesn't like how his choices negatively influenced my opinion then perhaps he should evaluate his choices better and not my opinions of them.

He spoke about his company's "core values" and how the company was there to help and serve authors. It was all a very nice sentiment but there was no offer of proof from Reign, his website, or his LinkedIn profile that suggested this true outside of his gussied up words in an email. This meant that there were only two ways for me to make any type of assessment of his capabilities:

A) I give him hundreds or thousands of dollars based on nothing but an email from a gmail account and hope that he delivers, meaning that I risk a large financial investment in a man I've never met, in a country I have no access to, and his profile on a professional services website does not look professional nor does it demonstrate any capabilities for him to provide what's being sold.


B) I use my eyes to assess what's in front of me to determine the probability of getting what I pay for BEFORE investing a substantial amount of money that I would have little to no recourse of recovering if I was wrong.

Clearly, I chose option B as any sane person should. And it would seem that my decision to refuse to do business with him and then call out on my personal website the various reasons why I opted for that decision offended him. And among the various reasons I posted that led to that decision, the first thing he seemed to take issue with that he wanted to address was his LinkedIn profile. He acknowledged that it wasn't the most "polished" profile but yet in the month since I made that comment the image wasn't changed. He felt it unprofessional of me to call him out for his unprofessional appearance on a professional services website and its negative influence that it had on my decision while admitting that it wasn't the best profile choice but took no action, even after calling this out to me in an email, to change it. He wants to attack me for attempting to assess his capabilities to provide the services that he's trying to sell me, I assume because he knows that others will see my assessment and agree with me.

It was shameful of him. He tried to put a pretty spin on the email by phrasing things politely and well written but really underneath it all was just an attack on my assessment of his choices. He was angry that I dismissed him for using a gmail account to send professional sales solicitations but that's a no-go for me, especially for a company that's been around a year and still relying on free gmail accounts for their corporate communication. That's unprofessional looking. He was angry that I called his LinkedIn profile picture unprofessional but it was/is. He's wearing shorts while kicked back sitting in a chair with his legs crossed, eyes closed, a derpy smile on his face, with one hand giving a thumbs up, and holding what I assume to be a cigarette in the other. It looks more like a vacation pic or pic from a drunken night out with the boys than a professional representation of yourself as the CEO of a business trying to sell me something. I evaluated his level of professionalism, and therefore the professionalism of his business, based on the level of professional attitude exhibited in his professional online appearances and those appearances were lacking, end of story.

We live in a digital age where we are all measured and assessed by our online presence. Applicants are hired or ignored by their social media posts. Employees are fired over social media/content creation websites. We are no longer just our physical beings but our digital beings as well. If you want someone to think of you as a professional then you have to put forth a professional appearance where it matters the most today, the Internet.

As one of my sons like to say, "you play stupid games, you win stupid prizes."

In this case, Reign played a stupid game by making the choices he did both prior to contacting me and by contacting me multiple times despite my expressed desires. In return he won the stupid prize of being listed on my website multiple times and being the recipient of an unfavorable exchange where I more strongly expressed my level of dissatisfaction of him and my desire to not engage with him again.

I shopped with my eyes because that was all that I could draw information from during Reign's failed sales attempt. My eyes revealed an unflattering and uninspiring picture of the company and its CEO/salesman. I deduced that this was not a worthy risk for my investment and proceeded accordingly. Initially, I politely replied to Reign to indicate my lack of interest and my request to be removed from future contacts. Reign, however, did not use his eyes to process my feedback appropriately which only further increased my negative assessment of his capabilities. He then, having again failed to see with his eyes what I sent him, doubled down on his efforts by reaching out a 3rd time to complain about my assessment, as if trying to pick a fight with me would somehow get me to change my mind about him...

At this point, I have no reason to think that my eyes led me astray in the case of Reign and WriteQueries. The information I found still proves true. He has added a new email address that uses a domain similar to but still different than his website domain, which I guess is a step up from using a gmail account but not much of one. His LinkedIn profile still has the same unprofessional looking picture on it as of 6/24/2024. When I look at what's available to see about Reign and WriteQueries, I don't see anything that makes me want to do business with this group.

That's simply my opinion on the matter based on what Reign has opted to make available online. And no amount of unwanted emails or arguing with me will make me change that opinion. In fact, seeing those emails from Reign over the weekend only served to reinforce my negative opinion of him and his company.

My eyes tell me "no". His actions tell me "no". Reign Sator and LiftedQuery, WriteQueries, or whatever his next business will be called will forever be a "no" for me for nothing else than our most recent exchange. I don't care how polite you word your emails, if this is how you want to represent yourself online and how you want to approach others who express an opinion contrary to your own then I have no interest in ever doing business with you. I don't care if his next email is a professional media presentation sent from a professional email address and his LinkedIn profile is more "polished", the name Reign Sator will always and forever make me decline any offer or opportunity sent my way. My eyes have been shown something by Reign that they will never forget and with it any chance he may have ever harbored about doing business with me.

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