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Monday, December 27, 2010

What Bloggers Really Hear

When bloggers hit submit on their first post, we all hope for comments about how thoughtful and introspective we are, how clever our animal husbandry and colonoscopy imagery is, and that the Huffington Post begs us to be their new featured writer. Actually, we really hope that we just meet some like minded folks who also think that colonoscopy jokes are hilarious and perhaps find a community. Instead what we usually get are messages like this:

Hello, This is Shiela from bestdogfoods dot org dot uk. We stumbled on your blog while searching for Best Dog Foods related information. We operate the largest Best Dog Foods website featuring more than 30,000+ blogs. Our site averages 200,000+ unique visitors per month. Based on your blog's popularity and other factors, we have featured your blog at bestdogfoods dot org dot uk dot bogus link. We would be grateful if you could add the following details to your blogs main page. Looking forward for your confirmation. Thanks Shiela bestdogfoods dot org dot uk P.S. If You Have More Quality Blog We Can Feature Those.
Contrary to Shiela's claim, my blog was not featured on that page. I also am completely convinced that Shiela repeatedly spelled her own first name wrong. However, Shiela did inspire me to provide insight into the blogging world by sharing the utter garbage that people email me. Since I have no other ideas for a post and really want to have 4 posts this month, I'll subject readers to a true blogger navel gazing post. There is nothing that bloggers like more than to write about the thoughts behind their thoughts. Like Lebron James, once you start uncensoring yourself, it's really hard to stop (I mean, Lebron, you really thought that your league contraction idea as a solution to oppressed super stars who have to play in Minnesota wouldn't make you look like even a bigger dick?).

Here are some of the really bad short-sighted ways that people interact with other bloggers (like me):

The disingenuous link offer:
One of the easiest things to do is ask someone to link to each other's blogs. You express some genuine interest, demonstrate that you read their blog, and offer to exchange links. Having a first name that seems real and spelled correctly is an added bonus. The part that turns a simple exchange into a really low stake scam is when the soliciting blogger never links the other blog. Hospital dot com is the biggest offender as they repeatedly offered me the link exchange but have no obvious place on their site for links.

The comment disguised as an excuse to link: Masters Dissertation dot co dot uk has left flattering comments under the name "Marketing dissertation" and "MBA dissertation" with links back to their website in the comment. My post was "informative" and they had "not found any proper resource for their research" until they read my post about how MBA guys should try to score at the Veterinarian Graduate Programs due to the favorable female:male ratio. I published the first comments as I was properly flattered but after the 4th or 5th time, I just felt like the girl at the bar who was hearing a bad pick up line.

Teeth Whitening is also guilty of this approach but even more guilty because they don't even try to use a name that remotely disguises their intent.

The urgency to link or write about comment: There's nothing like getting a request to link or provide some publicity that accuses you of ignoring their previous multiple attempts to get your attention. I supposed some might feel guilted into acting but I figured that if I ignored them and couldn't even remember ignoring them, it couldn't have been that important. The oddest part was that Team USA was using this approach during the last Winter Olympics to raise awareness for athletes. I guess that's what people mean about organizations that don't understand social media.

The crappy guest post offer: I've received a few emails from the writer of accredited college online dot com for guest post services. However, the sample articles that the writer sent included "100 tips on how to raise a brilliant bilingual baby" with a first tip of "Speak another language at home." I had visions of a guest post on "100 tips on raising a goat" with a first tip of "Find a male goat and a female goat and get them horny". Get it, the goats are horny? Horns and horny? Get it? Hmm, I think that I might have an idea for a guest post for that writer.

All of these short sighted techniques that bloggers use to get a little bit more traffic obscure actual legitimate interactions and community building. As a result, I was completely skeptical about the one email that I got where the person was truly interested in paying me to advertise. I was even more stunned when they proved to be legitimate and actually did pay me. Thus, I can claim that I actually have monetized my blog.

However, most of these attempts show that there are not a lot of smart people working on web advertising and the competition is never so intense when the stakes are so low. Now, I am going to try and complete my 100 tips for raising goats. What do goats eat anyway?

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