The Scream Of Unicode Desperation

Do you remember a while ago when unicode symbols were common in Google SERPs? Things like using the unicode for a star to get a "five star" listings, and prefixing titles with pictures of hearts. It was all a bit of a mess, and Google opted to clean it up.

There are only a few examples left now, like this star:

Unicode Symbols in Google SERPs

There was a good article on datadial.net with screenshots, as well as a mock-up of the eventual result - i.e. everyone using stars until Google results look like a list of eBay reviews. ☆☆☆☆☆☆ Grate SERP! Would recommend++. You get the idea.

I've noticed recently people using the technique in email subject lines:

Unicode symbols in email subjects

Unfortunately, I can't tell Outlook to filter unicode symbols, so it looks like unsubscribe is my only option.

The problem, of course is that this technique is merely a scream for attention. "Please look at me! Look at the nice star in the subject line! My text isn't good enough on its own!"

I suggest we need a name for this phenomenon. I propose we call it the Scream of Unicode Desperation (or SUD for short). Unless you people sending email newsletters would, you know, stop shouting at me in unicode?

Wall of shame

Not only are these symbols becoming more common, but it's also impossible to know what they're actually supposed to be. With that in mind, I've opted to ask a six year old girl to explain them to me.

Welcome to the wall of shame, Expedia!

Expedia's tantalising email subject

6yo: A chair with roses on

Me: I think they're giving me the finger!

Hi there Paypal:

 Paypal love splodges

6yo: The flag of Portugal

Me: The splodge of finance?

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