Tuesday, 4 October 2011

Welcome to Type-O-Matic!

Last month, Cheryl threw down a gauntlet. In the face of almost impossible odds, Type-O-Matic is my experimental response to her question, "Can you create income with a typewriter?"

I'm considering Type-O-Matic to be in Beta. It is public but not launched because I'd like some feedback and advice from the good folk of the Typosphere. That's you, dear reader. 

I'd be extremely grateful if you could spend a few minutes checking out the service and letting me know what you think. Of course, you aren't the intended market for this service, but you are all well-placed to have opinions which I'd really value.

I have intentionally kept the site as simple as possible, but I'd especially value feedback on the home page and the way the service is described. I know I really should try to get a little movement on there, possibly in the info-graphic?

And how's my language? Too personal? Not personal enough? Too many words?

Seriously, don't pull your punches but DO please temper anything wholly negative with a useful remedy (even if it is "give it up"). I have nothing to lose giving it a try.

Finally, I have a few ideas for marketing but feel free to throw in any of your own.
Comments welcome below, over on Type-O-Matic's contact form or by e-mail if you have my address.

Link to Type-O-Matic

Many thanks in advance.

PS: I should add, the order form is live and functioning. Please don't trial it unless you really want a typed letter sending!


  1. Great idea! And nicely laid out, too. Clear and concise. Price seems a fraction steep to me, but that's probably more due to the unshakeable British Pound vs the Aussie Dollar. Come to think of it, you ARE putting in a bit of work on this. And, for the money, the punters will probably wind up with a slick looking old-school letter in the mail.
    I can see this actually working quite well for you, Rob.
    Nicely done, and best of luck if you decide to go ahead with it.

  2. "thank you ver much..." in your example letter. should be "very much" (:

    also, perhaps some padding in the area around the pic frames on this page:

  3. Great start, and reads just fine to me. I had a number of questions, most of which are "premium" services you could provide.
    1. editing/correcting or verbatim transcription?
    2. choices of typestyles? heck I have 8 script machines!
    2a. or paper?
    3. get the typosphere involved - post from Geneva or the new world? Catch the stamp collector market! If it takes off in the USA you could translate to British English.
    Then there are marketing opportunities - letters to/from troops, politicians, celebrities, etc. Heck I may have you send a letter to prospective employers just to get attention.

    As you can see this has me jazzed.

  4. What would the return address be if it's undeliverable - yours or the client's?

  5. Chaps, a thousand thanks for the feedback, ideas and encouragement. I'll give it a bit longer so other time zone denizens can input,then make some revisions and corrections and get back to you via an update post.

  6. Oh, and I like the banner logo, too. Very Stalinist.

  7. @teeritz: I was going for a 'future-retro' East-meets-West look :-)

  8. Well it does have that "RedFaction" look to it as well. I like it a lot.

  9. The main font is Duke from the Lost Type Co-Op, which I highly recommend!

  10. Love the updates, and the typewriter pics. I would have typed the descriptive text on the machines and posted next to them.
    Just fyi, your sample letter, the Stephen Fry, is missing a y in "very" in the first line.

  11. Well, thus far, I'm impressed. I really do hope that this works out well. I like the layout, it's elegantly simple and to the point, yet retains that old-world sophistication that you can't readily appreciate unless you harken from the more primitive wilds of the New World, as do I.

    Which reminds me, the US Postal service now has a new ad campaign, that advocates the use of postal mail instead of email for correspondence, for security and reliability reasons.

    Me thinks the time is ripe; strike while the iron is hot.

  12. Joe V: Thanks. It can't fail because my expectations are pretty low anyway. But it is the sort of thing you'll never know the answer to, until you try. I'd had a similar thought to yours about UPS but concerning the ailing Royal Mail! I feel some Press Releases coming on, but I'll hold back a while until I have applied the fixes suggested and awaited for (even) more thorough feedback.

  13. 'No ransom notes please'
    That's a great one!

    I definitely suggest you enable the letter-sender to choose which typewriter it gets typed on! Not just typeface, but some might prefer a 30s Corona over a 60s Olivetti, or in the reverse. You could just show a photo of the typewriter and type sample of it beside a radio button and they'd select which one they liked. You could have it defaultly set to 'my choice' or something like that.

    Maybe different paper/ribbon colours as well.

    I think adding the choice of typewriter/typeface would be a boost if it's included in the price, and maybe then you could add an extra pound or two for coloured ribbon (if you have them, I mean!)

    Hope this actually works for you and that I might be of help. :)