Orangeville, ON (Jason Mead) Do you ever wonder what that black diamond on the measuring tape is for?

Someone wrote that line for the opening of an ad on NewYorkTimes.com probably intended to use curiosity to their advantage. When a question’s most probable answer is “No, not really,” that doesn’t entice people to click through.

Here are some examples of other questions that might backfire:
“Is your outdated website ruining the customers’ experience?”
“Are you still not able to run a seven-minute mile?”
“Wouldn’t Aruba be nicer right now?”

Cut questions that will be answered with “Not me,” “I don’t agree,” “I don’t know,” “So what?” “Nobody’s business” or “Duhh!”

It’s better to ask a question that picks out a target group or problem and gets you talking. For instance:
“You don’t have time to make gourmet dinners? Or you don’t have any cooking skills?”
“Are those leaky diapers making you and your baby crazy?
“Red-eye exhaustion? Middle-seat blues?”

By the way, the black diamonds on a measuring tape correspond to the standard spacing between studs in homes: 19.2 inches.