When Spam Happens


Spam.

It’s not just a delicious canned meat (yes, I said delicious. YUM!). No, if you’ve been on the Internet for any amount of time, you’re familiar with the other meaning of Spam. Unwanted contact from marketers for anything from a request for a link share or the darker side of spam, such as the seedy overseas national with a ton of money to send you if you’ll just please share all of your personal information with someone you have never met. (Don’t do that, by the way – just don’t.)

I have seen an increase in what I consider to be “spam” hitting my inbox lately, particularly associated with this blog. Usually I delete and move on but occasionally, I respond with a polite no and even more rarely, I respond as I chose to do yesterday.

Until yesterday, the emails which annoyed me most were of this nature:

“Hi! I’m Patricia and I’m a hard-working mom of a wonderful kid who is blah blah blah blah and blah blah blah…was reading your blog…blah blah..noticed you had a broken link… blah blah…while you’re fixing your broken link, would you mind adding my link as well? I put a lot of love and hard work into….”

Wait just a damn second.

I’m all for bloggers working together and letting each other know when a link isn’t working. I am. That’s awesome. That’s called friendship. But…when you’re tossing it in there to add your link and I don’t even know you?

SPAM.

I checked the link out, (I know, I know, don’t click the links!) glad I decided to do so. The link, while presenting decent information, had NO sourcing for said information, no credit for any of the pics used on the page, nothing. Total hot mess. You would think after one email it would be over, right? (I deleted it, didn’t respond). But no. I received at least two more emails from this person, the third one practically demanding I respond because I hadn’t responded yet.

I received another email like this from what appeared to be a different address but I am pretty sure it was the same person. That, or there’s a disturbing new trend in the spam world of “Hey! I’m trying to be friendly and help you but oh, by the way….”

No. Just no.

Fix the link if it’s broken (it was, through no fault of my own – the website I’d linked to had changed the page URL), and move on. Delete, delete, delete.

Then there are the fabulous people who email things like this:

“HEY! We’re having this awesome contest and if you’re one of the first 25 people to blog about our recommended topic, you’ll get on our front page with a link and a bio! Oh, and by blogging about said topic in 200 or more words, you’ll earn a chance at a grand prize of 1k or other smaller prizes! DO IT!”

How about no? And how about I send you an email that reads a LOT like this:

Hi, Rex.

Thank you for your terribly considerate email about your upcoming contest at your website. Really.

There’s nothing I would love more than to write an absolutely meaningless post about a cheap Mother’s Day present that’s 200+ words long because I’m a “Mom” blogger and covet a chance at entrance into a contest for 1k and other smaller prizes.

My blog has depth. It conveys hope and inspiration to mothers who have been through hell. The last thing I want to do is toss them a bone with a post that means absolutely nothing to me (and therefore will mean nothing to them). It’s not what I do and if you were at ALL familiar with my blog, you’d know that.

Here’s the thing, Rex.

I’m a writer.

Not “just” a blogger.

My writing isn’t free.

Want a post on my blog?

It’ll cost you $2.00/word. At 200 words minimum, you’re looking at least $400.00. Sure, a chance at 1k would more than cover my fee, but it’s not a guaranteed 1k, now is it?

And let’s not forget the chance at being featured on your home page if I’m one of the first 25 respondents. Exposure. YAY. I get that on my own. Probably not at the level you’re offering, but hey, I’ll take it because it means something.

I’m not a numbers girl. Never have been, never will be. I’m an “engagement value” type of gal unwilling to sell out space on my blog for some sort of cheap chance at money and exposure. If I wanted a cheap shot at money, I’d play the lottery. Less work is involved.

This is the problem with the world today, Rex. People think bloggers will work for free, for scraps from the table. Newsflash. We don’t. Some of us may, but the more savvy of us refuse to sit on the floor waiting for someone to toss us scraps like “exposure” and “a chance at a prize.”

All the best with your contest. I won’t be entering.

I have better things to do at my blog, like save lives and bash stigma in the head.

 PS. This response is a minimum of 350 words. To whom should I send the bill for $700?

I tweeted about this situation yesterday. The above email is how I decided to handle it. I wrote it, held it for a bit, then sent it off. Why? It’s a waste of energy some will say. But for each non-response they get, they don’t get the idea that bloggers are no longer willing to work for a “chance” at a prize. Maybe some are willing to do that – I’m not. All I want is for companies to simply respect what bloggers do and to genuinely check out the websites to which they pitch their ideas and campaigns. If it fit with the mission and general goals of my blog, I may have considered it. But this? Fits of laughter then anger.

The take-away from this post?

  • Recognize Spam as Spam.
  • Delete it if it’s inconsequential.
  • Respond if you feel it’s the proper thing to do.
  • But above all, laugh at the idiocy of it all, and then move on.

Spam is the underbelly of the Interwebz. Occasionally it deserves a post or two about the dangers of it or the ridiculousness of it all, but mostly, it deserves to stay in the dark corners of the Interwebz, barricaded away from the rest of all the good out there.

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