Today’s post is not at all about food.
Instead, the theme of today’s post is: “Timeo Danaos et dona ferentes“.
Or, in other words, you get what you pay for – and you definitely should look a gift horse in the mouth. You know, especially if it’s a free horse that someone you don’t know attempts to hand to you out of the goodness of their heart. Especially on the internet. The question you ought to ask yourself is – so, what’s in it for them?
We all hate blog spam. But, thankfully, for those of us using WordPress, or Blogger, comment spam is more or less a thing of the past – the built-in spam filters place it all neatly into my “spam” box which I check and occasionally empty. I like a tidy place. But … that’d mean spammers are out of the blog business – or, are they?
The other day, I have received the following email via the “contact” box on my blog (names and such removed out of politeness):
We all know we should eat healthy, but, let’s be honest, low-cal food isn’t exactly mouth-watering. Either the flavors are off or the portions are too small. However, getting healthy doesn’t always have to be a drag. I will discuss creative tips for making healthy food more interesting as well as giving some recipe ideas that are sure to help you get healthy, without giving up your inner foodie.
Would you be interested in having me write a guest post for your blog? Alternatively I could just supply you with some great trend information that you can use to write a post yourself.
Let me know if you’re interested – I think this topic will be of great interest to your readers.
Thanks for your time and best regards,
1015 Bee Caves Woods Dr, Suite 102
Austin, TX 78746
(Please let me know if you don’t want to receive any more emails from me! Thanks!)
Notice how nice and polite he is, and how concerned he is with the well-being of my poor, neglected blog? I mean, look at it, not updated in
ages half a day at that point, and I clearly am neither on-trend nor do I know anything about healthy and delicious food. I mean, who am I to be able to tell people about those things? Someone with a couple of university degrees, work experience and a lifelong hobby? Nah, I don’t know jack, and I clearly need help. So, very interested in his generous offer (do you need a tissue to wipe the sarcasm dripping off the screen yet?), I write back to him.
Thank you for your email. I am really curious to know who is paying you to do this, and in which manner. Would you kindly provide me with this information, so that I can make an informed decision regarding any content that may be posted to my blog, and the reasons why it would be.
Many thanks and best regads,
You know, normally a person would cotton on to something when you ask them who is paying for it, but I have found that if you are really polite (see his first letter above!), people tend to assume you bear them good will. So, the next morning I get a prompt reply. With an article draft, no less!
Veronika,I’m apart of the Spammer Guild.The Spammer Guild is a unique place for bloggers to get together and
exchange ideas and articles. They provide aspiring writers with a home for the
content they write.Here is a draft of the article so you can see how it would read and look, and you can make your decision from that. (notice there are links in the article, this is how I benefit)xxxxx
The article, which I won’t be posting for the obvious reason (why do the spammer guild as I’ve renamed them a favor?), is, to sum it up elegantly, so much drivel in the “eat healthy and low fat and use website x and website y’s products to keep fit” vein. It is, essentially, a badly-written and outdated (in terms of weight loss and health) advertisement. That they want me to put on my blog. As content. Yeah, right. Also, the bit about how his guild is a place for aspiring writers and how they provide them with a home for content they write? It looks like they want ME to provide them with a home for the content they get paid to write – so not as advertised! (And copypasted from their homepage to boot!)
But my favorite bit here, you see, is that this ‘aspiring writer’ doesn’t appear to know grammar. Note that he’s apart of the Spammer Guild. No, oh no, he’s not assiciated with them – he is apart. So, in the morning, feeling inspired, I reply with:
xxxx, good morning.
I have a couple of other issues which really need to be resolved, before I go forward with anything regarding this -
1. If you are an aspiring writer, why don’t you start your own blog? They are available free from half a dozen blog-hosting sites such as blogger and wordpress and many more. So, why not make your writing your own?
2. I am wondering what made you think that I need content from elsewhere or that I lack my own content to write? Would you please share your reasoning with me?
3. Why should I, a food professional, post anything with links to websites of which I do not approve, that want their links inserted for-pay (not to me) in my blog?
Looking forward to hearing back from you,
When the questions get this pointed, apparently even the small-brain spammer comprehends that something is not all happy happy joy joy. Unfortunately he does not appear to have gotten really good reading comprehension scores on his tests, but no matter – he is now realising that I have no intention for earning his keep for him and using my blog to advertise his crap. So, this evening, I get a grumpy and innocence-wronged reply which totally doesn’t address the first question regarding why he won’t start his own blog instead of wanting to post on mine:
Veronika,We don’t charge for blog posts, I don’t know how you came to that conclusion. And as for what made me think you needed content, I didn’t think you needed content, I was just offering to add additional content. Anyways, I found someone interested in the article. Thank you for your time, and I wish you well! Take care.xxxx
Thank YOU for your time and for alerting me to the fact that spammers have found a new way to advertise – gullible bloggers! And no, dumb*ss, I did not say you wanted me to pay you – I referred to the fact that you get paid to put those links on my blog. Of course I understand, it must have been sorely disappointing for him to have spent all that time writing polite emails to me when I didn’t really intend to let him take advantage of me. How heartless of me, really! I mean, spammers are people too, right? Right?
I sincerely hope the comment about having found another blogger who wanted the article was just a face-saving remark and that no other bloggers actually bought into this garbage. A polite spammer wanting to make a buck off your blog is still a spammer, and I really think it’s very underhanded to approach people (not all of whom are suspicioius sorts like myself) with “here, we want to help you” rather than the way honest advertisers (like Google Ads or various ad-partner firms) would. Though, have to give them credit for the idea – using people’s vanity and laziness and desire for “free stuff” to place their products.
So anyway, I hope this has at least amused you. I thought I would bring this to the collective attention of the blogosphere – or at least as much as my blog gets read – because after all, who wants to have someone else post low-quality advertisements on their blog and get paid for that – especially considering that that someone does not know English well enough to realise that “anyway” does not have a plural.
Beware Greeks bearing gifts, and all that. You know how it ended in Troy, don’t you?