Detailed guides to painful problems, treatments & more

Not everyone has heard of eeee-mail yet

 •  • by Paul Ingraham
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Weekly nuggets of pain science news and insight, usually 100-300 words, with the occasional longer post. The blog is the “director’s commentary” on the core content of a library of major articles and books about common painful problems and popular treatments. See the blog archives or updates for the whole site.

You see some weird things when you run a business that can be visited by anyone at all, from anywhere in the world — anyone on Earth with an Internet connection. You see things like people that have no clue what they bought from

Or how literally anything on the Internet even works. Like e-mail.

Somehow, they bought an “e-book” from me. More exactly: access to a webpage with the substance and structure of a book. But that’s Greek to some customers. Access? Webpage? Wut?

A lot of my job is hand-holding and issuing refunds for customers who are not just a little “confused” or “naive” about ecommerce and web stuff, but hopelessly, completely, spectacularly incompetent — more lost than an octogenarian at a rave. I see four types:

  1. Extreme tech muggle! Usually elderly, but not always.
  2. Probably mentally ill. Dementia is the most common example, I think.
  3. Just not all that bright. 50% of people have below average intelligence!
  4. Customers on the other side of cultural and language barriers.

The result is that I have a surprising number of customers who just don’t understand what they are trying to buy, or what they did buy last week, somehow, and then they just didn’t know what to do with it, or even how to contact me.

For instance, I once got a long voice mail from an elderly couple which was just five minutes of them debating how to contact me, and speculating about the nature of “email”:

“Says here he’s got an ‘e-mail’.”

“A female? What’s that got to do with anything?”

“Eeee-mail. The letter ‘e’ and then ‘mail’!”

“Well, what’s that mean? Is his address here? He says he’s in Canada. Do we even have a stamp for that?”

And so on.

Many of these people are undoubtedly the same folks that get excited about an inheritance from a Nigerian prince.

And yet, ironically, these same credulous customers also seem to be more worried about being scammed than anyone else. Maybe they sense that they are at the mercy of scammers? To them, being a victim of fraud seems like happenstance, like being mugged or having a piano fall on your head. Nothing to be done!

I am queasily aware that I make some of my income from people like this, perhaps even an uncomfortably large percentage, and that there’s not much I can do to stop it. If I detect one of these deeply confused customers, I always make it extremely clear that they can have their money back… but it’s surprising how strongly they will usually protest. If it’s clearly unethical to take their money, I refund them anyway.

Buy an eeee-book!

For yourself, for a patient, for a friend. Or buy a lot of them for a lot of patients. There are 10 of my new-fangled eeee-book thingamajigs about 10 common stubborn injuries and painful problems:

The eeee-Bookstore

Although written as self-help guides for patients, they are also built for pros, with lots of footnotes and extra detail for readers who want to dig deeper. No miracle cures are for sale here — just sensible information, scientifically current, backed up by a huge bibliography and hundreds of free articles.

I have sold about 70,800 books in the last 15 years, with a refund rate of less than 2%. The books are $20 USD each (or $100 for an eeee-boxed set) and can be purchased and accessed in a couple minutes.

No “account” or password is needed.

Each book has a large, free introduction so you can get a good feel for it before you buy.

The eeee-Bookstore

PainSci Member Login » Submit your email to unlock member content. If you can’t remember/access your registration email, please contact me. ~ Paul Ingraham, PainSci Publisher