A Dialogue With A Guest-Post Spammer

Effluvia

Names changed to protect the guilty.

Hi Ken!

My name's Mickey Marketeer and I'm a writer for Not Adequately Supervising Me LLP [note: an actual, established, multi-state, apparently reputable law firm]. I'm conducting interviews with leading legal experts from around the world as part of a consumer education initiative, and if you’re interested I would love to guest blog for Popehat!

I have attached a few exclusive interviews for review that I think your readers would love, and you can find examples of my work in other areas at [three marketeering shitholes].

Thanks for your time!

Warmly,

Mickey Marketeer

Not Adequately Supervising Me LLP [followed by the actual law firm's phone number, web site, address, etc.]

Attachments: Multiple Embarrassingly Generic "Interviews" With "Experts" On Legal Topics With No Connection To Popehat

Dear Mickey:

It's nice that you offer. You see, offers to guest blog are one of our favorite subjects at Popehat.

http://www.popehat.com/2012/10/05/somewhere-away-from-the-ponies/

http://www.popehat.com/2012/03/13/like-spam-for-ponies/

In fact, posts mocking guest-post-spam are among our most popular posts.

So: I'm always thrilled to have a new guest-post solicitation to write about.

Thanks,

Ken

I’m sorry you feel these are spammy. I find these interviews fascinating! And I would appreciate it very much if you didn’t write about my inquiry.

Thank you, and great job with Popehat – very funny stuff.

Mickey

Mickey:

It's completely spammy. Don't insult your intelligence or mine. I would bet a kidney that you never read our blog before sending this solicitation. If you had, you wouldn't think for a nanosecond that any of this stuff was appropriate, you would have seen that we make fun of guest-post spam, and you would have seen that another favorite topic is bad marketing by lawyers: http://www.popehat.com/tag/marketing/.

Mickey, the firm you are working for appears to be a reputable and normal one, not some fly-by-night mill. This is an extraordinarily reckless way to promote it. I'm in a good mood, and having read this stuff you sent I think that writing about your solicitation would feel a little like clubbing a baby seal, so I'm not going to name and shame, as is my normal practice to deter this conduct. But you're taking a huge risk. Leave aside that only marginal blogs or crass marketing sites will ever play ball with this stuff. Sooner or later you're going to spam someone like me NOT in a good mood, and they're going to take a huge dump on your client's web presence.

Marketeers like this stuff. Actual bloggers, including lawyers who care about writing, despise it. I refer cases all the time, but I would never hire or refer to a firm that markets like this.

Play at your own risk.

Thanks for your advice and discretion.

Best,

Mickey

Two points:

1. What makes guest post spam "spammy" is not that the proposed topic isn't "fascinating." What makes it spammy is that the marketeer has directed it to a wide range of blogs without any assessment of whether the topics, tone, or level of detail are suitable to the targeted blogs.

2. I expect comment spam and guest-post spam and similar cheesy marketeering from solos and small firms and places that don't know any better. I was completely floored that a seemingly mainstream and reputable firm would have hired a "writer" on staff to do guest-post-spamming. Someone there is seriously asleep at the switch. Why would you hire lawyers with that kind of bad judgment?

3. You know what kind of guest-post-spam might make me bite? Something that offered as an example a detailed, thoughtful, and non-generic treatment of an issue. Generic, Sunday-supplement "we can send this anywhere" stuff is one of the markers of spam and cheesy marketeering.

4. Why does this stuff make me so mad? I put a lot of work into writing here. My blog is not a tool for clumsily marketing your law firm.

Last 5 posts by Ken White

20 Comments

20 Comments

  1. TJIC  •  Oct 8, 2012 @1:19 pm

    > My blog is not a tool for clumsily marketing your law firm.

    Mine is! Contribute to my legal defense fund, and I'll not only bring my blog back, but I'll throw the considerable – ahem – reputation capital I've amassed behind your firm.

  2. Pierce Nichols  •  Oct 8, 2012 @1:22 pm

    I don't suppose a blast email to a number of the firm partners with a pointed warning is in order…

  3. RyanE  •  Oct 8, 2012 @1:22 pm

    > You know what kind of guest-post-spam might make me bite?

    The kind that offers ponies, or pony-related materials, obviously.

    :)

  4. Grifter  •  Oct 8, 2012 @1:38 pm

    Assuming a base level of writing competency, it's really not hard to come up with a few specific, if perhaps mediocre, blog posts that are actually relevant to various types of sites. It seems really insulting not to even bother. God forbid they spend 5 minutes researching a site before sending their spam! Nope, they only want idiots and marketeers (but I repeat myself) to bite their bait, thus ensuring that their marketing is entirely ineffective, considering the people who'd use that in their decision on who to choose would likely respond just as well to a billboard with an eagle on it (a real, non-Carreon firm out here in Az…)

  5. Mark W. Bennett  •  Oct 8, 2012 @1:50 pm

    >a detailed, thoughtful, and non-generic treatment of an issue

    No go. Anyone writing such doesn't have to shop it around to strangers.

    @TJIC, let's talk numbers.

  6. Shawn  •  Oct 8, 2012 @2:00 pm

    I would just find a couple of the personal email addresses for some of the partners at said law firm and have them look at this post!

  7. Grandy  •  Oct 8, 2012 @3:01 pm

    I estimate the following things about the sender of this email:

    Over-under on # of owned iDevices that see active use: 5.5

    Desk contents, starting at surface

    The top features the chords for connecting one of two Apple notebook computers (neither present) as well as hooking up various iDevices to power them. Desktop lamp, style post modernist. A rubber ducky, displayed ironically.

    Top drawer:

    Box of paperclips that come in 5 different, slightly pastel colors. Half full. Moleskin notebook, partly filled. Contains observations of the world as seen through the eyes of a soul that is perhaps trapped. Also poetry.
    Various pens found here: http://www.e-potpourri.com/index.php/2008/02/02/parafernalia-woodstock-fountain-pen-a-designer-writing-instrument-that-fuses-the-classical-the-modern/

    Middle Drawer:

    Several filled moleskin notebooks, filled with same as the one in the top drawer.

    They sit on top of a manuscript that is an unfinished sci fi novel that is not so much a thinly veiled metaphor about modern man throwing off the shackles of Micro$oft/the old order and embrace the i-Essence, but a story about that exact thing with the key names changed, and a few "hey, think we will have such-and-such technology in 30 years?" bits. No comment on whether the protagonist is merely a stand in for the author.

    Bottom:

    The top-most book is a copy of Chomsky for Beginners. In it is a bookmark about 3/4s of the way through the book. Written on the bookmark is a piece of Buddhist philosophy.

    Copy of Hegemony or Survival: America's Quest for Global Dominance. Bookmark can be found towards the very beginning. Bookmark appears to be a piece of Apple schwag.

  8. Michael K.  •  Oct 8, 2012 @3:19 pm

    Why does guest post spam suck so bad? Because the transaction is so backwards. They're asking you for something they need, and making it seem like an offer. "Hey, you've spent so much time and energy turning your blog into an awesome and popular resource that attracts thousands of eyeballs. Please invest your bandwidth and risk your reputation on my shitty, generic content for no possible return! You have nothing to gain and everything to lose, so please promote me as one of your own!

  9. Michael K.  •  Oct 8, 2012 @3:20 pm

    "

    Dammit, I almost quoted the whole goddamn Internet.

  10. Doug  •  Oct 8, 2012 @5:14 pm

    there really should be a "thumbs up" button for some comments.

  11. Ken  •  Oct 8, 2012 @5:15 pm

    @grandy:

    He's using XP to browse us. Perhaps ironically.

  12. docrailgun  •  Oct 8, 2012 @5:59 pm

    But it is a tool for worshipping ponies.

  13. Jeff W  •  Oct 8, 2012 @9:59 pm

    What the hell is a consumer education initiative? It doesn't sound like a real thing.

  14. Penguin  •  Oct 9, 2012 @12:26 am

    So you posting about this is an affirmation that you like clubbing baby seals, or that you are an open liar?

  15. Ken  •  Oct 9, 2012 @6:46 am

    @Penguin:

    I think that writing about your solicitation would feel a little like clubbing a baby seal, so I'm not going to name and shame, as is my normal practice to deter this conduct.

    A more honest reader might pick up that I'm talking about writing about him and his firm by name, as opposed to writing about them with their identifying details removed.

  16. perlhaqr  •  Oct 9, 2012 @7:31 am

    Well, at least he was polite when you pointed out that he was juggling flaming orbs full of hydrofluoric acid.

  17. Ken  •  Oct 9, 2012 @8:13 am

    Mickey is still lurking about, reading the blog, by the way.

  18. JLA Girl  •  Oct 9, 2012 @3:28 pm

    @Ken — In that case:

    Hi, Mickey! Be glad Ken was in a kind mood when you wandered onto his radar. Most of us like it when he names and shames people!

  19. Pandora  •  Oct 11, 2012 @10:23 am

    So what advice can the Popehat collective offer to someone who foresees the largely-unsupervised marketing person at their workplace heading down this horrifying path? (Keeping in mind of course that Pandora is below said marketing person in the company food chain.)

  20. Jules  •  Oct 14, 2012 @11:31 pm

    Yes, Mickey, you caught Ken in a rare avuncular mood. Consider it a Sign, go and mis-market no more.