Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Buy a Blogger?

Last month much to my surprise, I got an email, sent apparently via my “profile” on this blog from “National Techmark”, asking me whether or not I am interested in accepting advertising. National Techmark and the email address appeared to be genuine.

Since it did not appear to be the usual spam and of course, being the son of a politically incorrect Scot, from Aberdeen, (a city where even the rest of Scotland makes fun of their supposed meanness) I had to investigate further. Would my blog now make me if not famous, maybe rich! See the email text below.

Ive recently looked over your site and believe that your reader-base and visitors might be a possible advertising venue for us.

I am interested in traditional link advertising as well as using link blurbs on certain pages of your site, or on certain articles perhaps even submitting articles. This includes but is not limited to purchasing a post also. We are open to any idea that would allow us to capture interested readers, but would prefer to avoid the traditional Ads by Google and Sponsored Links sections.

Please let me know if youd be open to discussing advertising possibilities further.

Thanks in advance,
National Techmark

So I replied to this email with this:-

Hi D******
Thank you for your interest. Could you email the address of sites where you currently advertise?

D******* replied quickly and to my amazement it turns out that he wanted me to post articles about the US based National

Hello John,

Thanks for getting back to me! The site in question is

Most of our customers are making ends meet on a small budget and require short-term loans and may not even qualify for more traditional loans. I appreciate that your stance on our industry may be negative, but assure you that we are not out to editorialize or sway you in any way. To be frank, even a post about reasons to avoid payday loans would probably prove beneficial, while of course not vilifying our company in any way.

I am ultimately interested in getting an article/paid post up that links to our site. Id be happy to provide a post/article (with your approval, of course) that links to our site or you are welcome to write your own.

If you feel that a paid post/article is not for you, Id be happy to discuss the possibility of just a text link or blurb.

I am open to discussing cost at any point.

Id love for this to be as mutually beneficial as possible, so if you have any other ideas that would work for both of us, please feel free to mention them.

Now, in January I posted a couple of items about my absolute horror at the rate of interest charged to low income and vulnerable people by such companies as National Payday (although I did not mention them as such). Some similar companies charge the equivalent of 1,300% on their loans (yes, no mistake - 1,300%).

So I wrote back to say:-

Hi D******
I'm afraid that I really could not accept such paid advertising. If National Payday want to do a (free) guest post on their services then that would be fine. I'll probably post it elsewhere as well. I'm not sure that this is what you are about though. Just email it to me with a pic/photo?
Just for interest sake how much would (and how) would you pay for what you proposed?

I have not heard anything since. Thinking about it, I feel that they may have actually mixed me up with someone else? Although, of course, I am very proud of all you readers out there, I don’t think that my ratings in the States (or the UK) are all that high. Maybe this is also a wind up?

Who knows?

I do think that it is very insidious that any company thinks that it could actually pay for a post without making it perfectly clear that this was an advert. I wonder if any over bloggers have been approached? Has anyone accepted their terms?

I must admit that the behaviour of such companies means that we should not only “vilify” these companies on blogs, but also try and ensure that our governments take action to outlaw this modern day usury.

However, does this apparent interest in me by such loan sharks mean that I have actually achieved something actually positive for once from my blogging? Discuss....


Anonymous said...

I just found this post after having been solicited with the same email from the same company.

At first I thought it was a legitimate I know better.

I'm glad you posted this because I run a blog about helping people fix their credit. Letting some ripoff payday company advertise on my blog would be about the worst possible thing I could do for my credibility.

So thank you.

John Gray said...

Hi Jeffrey
I wonder who has taken their pieces of silver?

Anonymous said...

Hi John:

I just received the exact same offer from the same company. I was hoping it was the rare reasonable opportunity. From you post, it sounds like a scam. Thanks for sharing your experience about this.

Jack said...

Hi John,
Recently I received an email from them, and I have a question. Is it a scam or not? Thanks


John Gray said...

Hi Jack

If you got a similar email then it is not so much a "scam" as an attempt to buy favourable coverage of "rip-off" loans to the poor.

Which is I suppose a scam.

J. Powell said...

Oddly enough, I just received a very similar email - glad I found your post! I was initially a bit excited and weary so I thought I'd snoop around a little ;)