Companies and businesses lose a fortune in millions of dollars annually as a result of typographical errors. As simple as they come, typos can sabotage an organization’s credibility with its customers painting a picture of carelessness. Typos have been known to ruin an organization’s first impression to its customers, and ruin the organization’s reputation and also shame the organization’s brand. Typos paint a bad picture making their customers question the company’s credentials deeming them unprofessional and uneducated. We will look at some of the errors where a character, punctuation or space in the wrong place of a sentence or word has resulted in expensive and embarrassing typos.

The advancement in technology has seen to it that online marketing and shopping grows. One of the many typos in e-commerce is pricing errors. Any wrong placement of digits, missing number, transposed characters or even a misplaced decimal point will result to fraudulent promotions and misunderstandings on product offerings. Pricing errors are as a result of poor data processing skills, computer glitch and lack of proofreading material before publishing. How an organization reacts to noticing the error is important. The company can decide to accept the typo, correct it and move on or they can decide to correct the mistake without any statement and experience backlash from different social media platforms. The latter would be devastating for the business.

An example of this would be that of Alitalia Airlines in the year 2006. The airline offered business class flights from Toronto to Cyprus at $39 instead of $3,900. The typo was expensive for Alitalia Airlines as customers who noticed the error took advantage of it and booked the flights. The estimated numbers of these customers were at 2,000. The airline attempted to recall the “offer,” but their public relations got a backlash. The Airline, to protect its reputation agreed to the prices and labeled the error as a goodwill gesture to their esteemed travelers. The typo was expensive to Alitalia, which amounted to 7.3 million dollars. Another instance of a pricing typo was that of Mizuho Securities Co. Mizuho Securities Co. is a branch of one of the largest banks in Japan. On December 2005, the company attempted to sell shares of a recruiting company on Tokyo’s Stock Exchange. The shares were planned to sell at 610,000 yen for a single share. A typo saw this change to 1 share for 1 yen. All of the 610,000 shares went for 1 yen, each which saw the company make losses of almost 340 million dollars within a single day.

Second on the list are typographical errors, which are synonymous with texts. A single misplacement of words in an email’s subject could have it mistaken for spam. Spelling mistakes can be expensive for an organization’s website. Search engines rely on correct spelling to rank, categorize and prioritize sites. The search engine measures the relevance of a website’s content and makes sure the website is among the results a user browsing for information gets. Lack of typos will increase the visibility of an organization’s website, and the traffic the site receives will eventually translate into revenue. Proper site optimization techniques require adequate proofreading of material and eliminating any typos. An example citing this error is that in the year 2007. An eBay auction listed an unopened one hundred and fifty five-year-old Allsopp’s Arctic Ale bottle. Allsopp’s Arctic Ale is one of the rarest bottles of beer in the world. The description on the website listed the antique as “Allsop’s Arctic Ale” missing a “p” on the name. The typo made it difficult for collectors to search for the bottle using the keyword search option on their website. The listing only got two offers from keen collectors. The winning bid was at 304 dollars. Weeks after selling the bottle of beer, the successful bidder rectified the spelling mistake and relisted the vintage bottle of beer on eBay. This time around, the description read “Museum High-Quality Allsopp’s Arctic Ale 1852 sealed/full”. The listing received a total of a hundred and fifty-seven offers, and the winning bidder had to part with more than half a million dollars for the antique bottle of beer.

Another common typo is poor punctuation of documents. Poor punctuation can change the meaning of the text and even come up with other interpretations of the same text. Legal language is often keen on punctuation as it makes complicated legal principles easy for different parties to understand. Poor punctuation is a result of not proofreading and also not using software-editing tools. One the most misused punctuation marks is the comma. The omission of a comma or inserting it where it is not supposed to can change the meaning of a sentence and the document as a whole. In 2006, a contract between Bell Aliant and Rogers communication of Canada was terminated as a result of poor punctuation.

Published by Muhammad Umer