Ben Lowndes #viewsoncomms

A perspective on PR, development and life in the South West

‘Money for nothing’ not worth the hassle

I received an email from out of the blue the other day containing an offer to ‘sponsor’ a post on my blog, which at first glance seemed appealing; money for nothing, almost.

The email from Sarah, Outreach Manager at Article Writing Services, was vague enough to warrant a reply:

“We have a client who would like to pay you for the opportunity to sponsor a blog post that you have recently written. We know that blogs can be expensive to run and our client would like to support you in that endeavour. In return, our client is asking for one link that they specify placed [sic] into the body copy of the blog post (no porn or gambling). Feel free to contact me with any concerns or clarifications you may have.”

Some basic questions were raised by the offer (how much? Which posts? Who is the client?) and I felt slightly suspicious. This blog was never set up to make money anyway; it was simply a way for me to record things of relevance to my work and get my head around blogging and WordPress. Working in the public sector also makes it important to have some control over who ‘sponsors’ your posts (no political organisations or anything remotely dodgy could be allowed). Besides, the concept of people clicking on a link on your posts and being taken to a site without knowing it was placed by someone else is not the best and most transparent way to engage visitors, in my view.

Anyway, I asked the questions and was greeted the next night (they are based in the US) with a response:

“I’m glad you’re interested. Here are the details. My client, an education company, would like to sponsor two posts on your blog. What this means is that they pay you $10 via PayPal for you to link back to them within two posts that are currently on your site ($5 per link). The text that we would give you to correspond with the link (one sentence per link) would be uniquely tailored in a relevant manner to the topics of blog posts.”

Not the windfall I was hoping for. Besides, I hate PayPal for its charges and the way it makes it so difficult for you to access your funds. And as for the term ‘uniquely tailored’, don’t go there…

I thought it worth another try, and asked: who is your client and what posts are you referring to? After that the conversation went cold.

For someone who is still learning the ropes where blogging is concerned, this was a good insight into the way some organisations seek to artificially create third-party endorsements by paying for inclusions on people’s blogs. Not for me, thanks; certainly not without declaring the fact that a post has been sponsored. It looks like there are a few other bloggers who’ve been approached with the same offer too.

3 responses to “‘Money for nothing’ not worth the hassle

  1. Pingback: We Love! « Notes of an idealist

  2. Jenny 31/05/2011 at 11:23 pm

    Interesting. I’m still amazed by the oddness of some aspects of blogging. I started a ‘mum blog’ as a way of recording my maternity leave. I was amazed to find websites that auto copied the text of my entries automatically. Even weirder some sites took my text, ran it through a translator a few times, and then posted some garbled version that barely made any sense at all. All, I presume, so they have real copy and get found via search engines. In truth I don’t really understand it at all.


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