This is a naughty thing to do. It's even more naughty to blog about it. Okay, I guess this means I'm naughty. I will, however, redact the name of the guilty and of the brand in question.
Today's email banter started when they sent me a reminder. I had been ignoring them.
I contacted you recently as I was hoping you would be interested in producing a sponsored article for us to host on your site [redactedhobbyblog.com].
The client I am working with is [redacted brand], A [redacted something I blog about]. We are looking for articles focused around [redacted list of things I blog about (for free)].
The article needs to:
We are able to pay up to £45 for each article produced. We pay via Paypal within 48 hours of the article going live. The Deadline for this project is Monday 22nd July, ideally we would like the article live as soon as possible. If this is something you would be interested in then let me know asap, and I can provide you with further details on the articles. I look forward to hearing from you, even if it is just to decline the opportunity. Best wishes,
- Be over 300 words.
- Contain a single follow link ('no follow' links not permitted)
- Be of original content.
This email came from a YMail account. My first challenge was to see whether or not I could get beyond that. I wrote;
Hiya, I went to a blogger event which told me not to trust any email from a non-branded account! Do you work for a PR agency?
Their response named and shamed themselves;
Hi Andrew, I work on behalf of a UK marketing agency, [redacted Search agency]. Best wishes,
This told me the first bit of gossip but left the issue of the sponsored post open. I thought I'd push my luck.
Thanks for that. My notes from the blogger event also said I'd have to put nofollow on the link otherwise my blog could get in trouble/discounted from Google. Actually [redacted brand] could get in trouble if it's not done that way. Do you still want to pay for the post if the nofollow is not added to the link?
Would they pay for a link with a nofollow in place? Place your bets now;
Hi Andrew, No problem, I'm afraid we were looking for follow links, so I'll have to pass on this occasion. Thanks very much. Best wishes,
At this point you know they've written me off. They're cursing those of us who try and play fair with bloggers. They think I'm worrying too much. I'm wastiing their time. I felt like a little more time waiting, though. I wrote;
Hiya, I'm really confused. I'm happy to link to [redacted brand] because of what they do and who they are. If they're paying blogs to link to them without the nofollow that means blogs who link to them without the nofollow might get in trouble and become "toxic". So I should stop linking to [redacted brand] all together because of the risk?
In all fairness, they did really well. I got a prompt and polite "stop waisting my time" email in response. It said;
Hi Andrew, Sorry for the confusion, don't worry, I'm sure what you are doing on your site is fine. Best wishes,
I'm disappointed in the brand. I've never once had a link removal request to the blog in question. In theory if I did start to link to you that might contribute towards changing the status of my blog. After all, Branded3 are selling their blacklist of 80,000 domains. It's a chunky piece of work. I can see why they would.
As a blogger you don't want to be on that list. If I had agreed to the sponsored post with dofollow link then, in theory, I could have taken a step towards ending up there.