Marketing,Social media,Wine,You've Got to Be Kidding Me

The Latest Trend in Marketers ~ Not PR People, But Marketers Going After Bloggers

It’s happening more and more, and I’m writing this to not only reveal the trend, but to also go on record to say, “Not on my watch, please.”

Here’s the pitch:

“Hope you’re keeping well. I’m just getting in touch to ask if you’re open to accepting content from freelance writers; if so, I’d love to put together a high-quality article written specifically for the site.

“If you’re up for receiving some fresh content, I’d be more than happy to come up with something unique or I’m entirely open to topic suggestions to work with. I’ve been working as a professional writer and researcher for five years now, and in that time there isn’t a lot I haven’t already covered (I’ve attached a few samples below for you to check out). [Code for – I don’t have a specialty.. Like wine…]

“As long as you’re happy with the resulting material, you’d be welcome to publish it as you see fit and the content will be owned by you entirely (in that I won’t send it to anyone else, either before or after publication). The only thing I would ask in return is that I’m able to include a link to a site of my choosing within the article – nothing shady or unethical, just one of the professional businesses I freelance for.”

Ah… I’ve underlined the underlying motive for you to see where it would be going…

I know nothing is for free, and I do have to hand it to this person for being forthright in that regard; however, there’s no clue what one of those professional companies would be… and that’s called an ADVERTISEMENT, maybe for something I don’t even believe in.

The more tricky of this sort of Email is that they give you the text, and hidden within the document you find a word, like “nutrition” that’s a hot link. You think to yourself, “Okay, she’s included a link to the definition of ‘nutrition.'” Later – because you were too busy to get to the bottom of it (or, if you don’t work with html at all), you really get duped. It turns out to be an advertiser, thrown onto your site, without even being asked.

There are now so many deceptive tricks that I’m done jumping through hoops trying to stay ahead of this new trend. Don’t ask… just don’t ask. This is my wine journal, and that’s that.

Here’s the crux

Marketing companies are now paying people to write stories on websites that will allow them to, by disguising the writers as someone just looking to contribute a “free” story, get their name/products inserted into that story.

Why not just ask the blogger to put a link into a story? That’s at least up front and working from a different ethos.

Or maybe, just maybe, as to “sponsor” a site and pay the author a stipend, with an image that links back to your site and it become win-win for all… This is called the beginning of monetizing blogs, and I’m all for that. Do you realize how great it would be to just “retire” to my blog? What a concept that is.

Some have figured out sponsors, and they’re the reputable firms. If you see one on a blog, and you like doing business with honestly great people, gravitate in that direction. They’ve already proven themselves in the every changing, fast paced, social media world.

This new deceptive trend is abhorrent, and following the belief that everything on the internet is free and for the grabbing.

I’ve engaged a couple such queries. The stories were so elemental, and I kept going with the blog posts, because I made a commitment to the other in an email exchange process, and I still hadn’t quite figured it all out.

Take note, slime ball advertisers…

  1. This is my journal, and your products haven’t impacted my life, so they don’t fit.
  2. Know your audience…

But, you know what? It isn’t about them studying where the story is going to go. They’re out fishing, and I’m not eating any more bait.

Just yesterday, after I had already written this one…

Dear Joe, [Thanks for the “e” – like, “Know your audience.”]

My name’s Anthony, and I’m a food and wine enthusiast and writer for the site…. [Deliberately leaving it out, to not give anyone any advertising.] I came across your blog yesterday and found your site really fun- I’m not a wine expert either, even though I drink it all the time, so I appreciate the theme.

I have been wondering if you accept any guest posts. If you do, I was thinking about writing a piece for your site about a few tips for choosing wine as an amateur for the holidays, something that I know a lot of people seem to struggle with, or another idea that your readers would like to see more. I am definitely willing to work with your feedback, and am open to any suggestions you might have. Please let me know what you think.

I politely said TBNT (Thanks, but no thanks).

What I should have said, and maybe will one of these times is,

“Why don’t you write a story about how disreputable marketing companies have hired young writers to offer bloggers a ‘free’ story; and then, they imbed code with some advertisement for a client that’s hired them to get more Web exposure, rather than just paying for sponsoring a blog post and giving the blogger a stipend… But more importantly, some respect?”

Yeah… I think I just found myself a stock answer…

UPDATE THIS MORNING: Another company that is at least upfront:

Hello, My name is BLANK from a blog service company. We have clients who are interested in sponsoring recent posts on psiloveyou.org. This helps them with brand awareness and is a great opportunity for you to make some money from your blog.

Check out our blog service website for more information and testimonials. Please feel free to contact me directly if you are interested in a partnership or have any questions.

If you are interested, contact me at this email address to begin the process.

Advertising is on the move, and what’s totally fascinating is that I don’t need a sales department to go after accounts, they’re coming to publishers. What a topsy turvy world we live in.





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30 Responses to “The Latest Trend in Marketers ~ Not PR People, But Marketers Going After Bloggers”

  1. JodieMo says:

    Thanks for this article. I just got an email like this the other day and was totally baffled by it. The part that really tipped me off was the “click here if you no longer want to receive my emails” I don’t remember signing up to see them in the first place!

  2. …or they can start their own blog and do the blocking and tackling themselves.

  3. Jo Diaz says:

    Alfonso, Ha! I love it…

  4. Jo Diaz says:

    If all is held at legal standards, this person was in violation in the first place, but where’s the spam police on that one. What would have really shocked you, was to place the content that the person wanted you to be using, then to have something totally unrelated pop up in the text of your blog. It’s just unbelievable how the nefarious marketers think and work.

  5. Elyse says:

    We’ve had these too. I remember reading the first paragraph and thinking “Hey, someone noticed the blog!” But that link business smelled to high heaven.

  6. Jo Diaz says:

    Exactly… Welcome to the club.

  7. SP says:

    Hey there! Thanks for this article. I actually just got an email from BlogServicesInc and was certainly baffled by it too. As I’m new to blogging, I’m taking a very cautious stance to this. However, one some other blogs, I noticed people mentioning that they knew of blogs mentioned on BlogServicesInc testimonials page. I may try contacting them to see if it’s legit.

  8. PartlySunny says:

    Thanks for the info, Jo. I found you while googling blogservicesinc.org (I just got the same email). Truthfully, I’m so new to the PR/ad/monetizing game that this stuff still really baffles me. But thanks for trying to explain it.

  9. Winter says:

    blogservicesinc.org contacted us as well and wanted to pay us to insert targeted links in our older posts. It never moved forward because they suddenly claimed that our website was ‘unsafe’ without elaborating. Very strange.

  10. Jo Diaz says:

    Yes, it’s a very strange marketing world that we’re now living in.

  11. Lounge Daddy says:

    Found your post after doing a quick Google search for Blog Services, Inc.

    I was flattered to get an email saying that someone “loves” my blog, but then saw it was an ad service (that avoids calling what they sell “advertisements).

    Got hit with someone wanting to “guest post” on my blog (and plug some other site) just last week, too.

    Thanks for sharing all this. I agree that we live in a topsy turvy world. Glad I’m not the only one recently getting hit with this junk. 🙂

  12. Jo Diaz says:

    We’re all slowing getting hit, Lounge Daddy, as htis new kind of business emerges… Some disclose their advertising intent right upfront; others have chosen this back door approach. (Guess that’s always existed, too.) This new way of advertisers is targeting bloggers; while our instant messaging each other reveals disclosure much quicker than in the past. If it smells like snake oil, that’s what it’s going to be.

  13. Keane says:

    Found your post after getting such an email too. The funny thing is that I had gotten a sponsor request from a previous company and went forward with it (thinking I could take the post down and never try it again if they bailed on me). Well, they actually did pay me as they said. Four days after posting, I get one from the company listed above. Not sure about this one… think they just saw “sponsored post” on my blog (I disclosed fully that I was paid for the post, and even told the marketing company ahead of time that I would. Also used “no follow” in the link so Google would know.).

    Not sure if I want to give it a go with this other group 😛

  14. Jo Diaz says:

    It’s the way of the future, but it will be better managed in the future.

  15. helygen says:

    Last week, I received that email from Blog Services Inc. and I’ve been in touch with them to ask some questions. Not all were answered, so I asked a friend’s advice and she made some considered comments and directed me to this discussion. I’m still curious enough to not (yet) turn them down flat, and plan on conducting some further research; I’ll update if I learn more

  16. Jo Diaz says:

    They just keep coming, don’t they? “Love your subject,” Helygen, said she with a grandfather by the name of McQuarrie.

  17. Julie says:

    I also found this post by searching “Blog Services, Inc.” Something just seemed off about them. They seem too general to me. I would love to look into them more though.

  18. Jo Diaz says:

    Julie, what an interesting concept for a blog… http://soldierswifecrazylife.com/

    Good luck with it all. Looks like you’ve got yourself some advertisers, which any soldier’s wife can use, I’m sure. Congratulations.

  19. Shereen says:

    I received an email from Blog Services today. They wanted to offer me $60 to “add a sentence to 4 of my blog posts that would easily integrate into the theme”. Uh, thanks but no thanks. I don’t even know what an Educational Web Portal Service is, but it’s not even remotely related to my theme (budget travel), so why would I let them add something to a post of my own anyway. I hope more people read this and don’t get screwed over by these “helpful” web services.

  20. Jo Diaz says:

    Everyone’s getting hit now, and it’s buyer (blogger) beware.

  21. Bobbi Jo says:

    I just got a letter from Blog Services Inc. too. I appreciate your words of caution! I’ve never had an advertiser, but I’m not against it. Thanks for keepin’ it real.

  22. Stephanie says:

    Thanks for the article! I got an email today about the Blog Services Inc today as well. I’m actually trying to guest blog for someone else to help get more of an audience, but your concerns in the article make since; do you have a recommended way of doing that?

    Thanks again!
    Stephanie @ Allartful.com

  23. Rory says:

    Yip, they are all over the web. In the last week I’ve had three of the emails, including the one from Blog Services inc.

    Why don’t these people just set up their own blogs and write all the content there, instead of trying infiltrate everyone else’s sites with advert-packed, below par articles (one of the companies sent me the article they wanted posted, so I can safely say “below par”).

  24. Jo Diaz says:

    Correct, Rory. Unfortunately, they don’t have the raw talent to start their own blogs.

  25. I keep receiving these types of messages on my contact form and also my email inbox. It’s starting to annoy me. I fell for it once, and when I read the article they submitted, I noticed it was purely an advertisement (as in THEY really had to be the one paying me to actually have it on my blog). Quite funny but very annoying!

  26. Jo Diaz says:

    I agree, so annoying. And, finding all the comments on this blog post validates that to be true. I wonder how long this scam will last.

  27. Megan Oteri says:

    Yeah! I got duped too. They offered me $10. And gave me a generic post about ways to celebrate mother’s day. I am taking the post down now as we speak.

    I am eager to find ways to make money with my blog and I have no idea about the business end of blogs. I am glad I googled Blog Services Inc. I am going to email them this post and tell them to keep their $10!

    I emailed the contact person and she answered my questions, as I made sure to get email written documentation that this was original content, as they stated in the original email. I thought this was the beginning of the blogosphere starting to notice me. I saw the signs though — I should have paid attention to my gut instinct. I owe my readers an apology.

    One other thing that should have tipped me off was that they don’t let you tag it as a guest post.

    Does anyone have any recommendations to read about how to be saavy on this stuff.

  28. Jo Diaz says:

    I’ve been learning by experience, Megan, one Email at a time.

  29. Ryan says:

    I also just got the Blog Services email. The reason I wasn’t immediately skeptical is that I have had sponsors before (they got flushed down the toilet along with the economy). It was a company called Blogrollplease. They were fantastic. All they wanted was a couple-word link in my sidebar (not in-post), paid well considering, and paid in full on time. I think I’ll answer Blog Services, but for ethical reasons I will not do in-post links and will tell them that. We’ll see what they say.

  30. Jo Diaz says:

    Be careful if they give you text to pout into your blog through note pad. That’s where they bury the link. Let us know if you succeed.

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