I am not a prostitute

In the past six days I’ve received six emails from various companies asking me if I’d please be so kind as to promote their services, talk about their products or otherwise just mention their wares in a blog post.  This is not a new thing – I’ve been getting more and more of these requests over the past 12 months – but the frequency of them has been increasing to the point where it now sometimes averages one a day.  In a weird sort of way, I guess this is an indication of some level of “success” in the blogosphere.

But to anyone considering asking me to be a schill for your wares, can I save you all some time?  The answer is no. This is a blog, not a brothel.

Look, I’m sure your products and services are fabulous, and I have no doubt that someone, somewhere may be interested in them.  I even kind of admire the fact that you “get” the power of new/social media enough to take the initiative of asking regular people like me to spruik the benefits of your products.  It’s nice that some of you couched it in terms of “take a look at what we do and if you think it’s a good thing, perhaps you can tell people about it”… that’s at least a respectful way of asking for promotional assistance.  But the answer is still no.  If I thought that a blogger was writing about something for any reasons other than their own, I would lose all faith in whatever they had to say, never being sure exactly where the line was between opinion and advertising. I’m used to being lied to in the traditional media, but I expect better from new media.

To that online university offering a 3 year degree program… it sounds like an ok idea, but no, I don’t want to include a link to your site on my site.  Actually, what is it with online universities? – I have had a ton of requests from quite a few of them, all asking me to include a “simple text-based link” to them, many even offering me reasonable cash payments to do so.  The answer is still no.

To that multimedia organisation that is “creating a portal into the soul of humanity by championing the selfless acts of others”… thanks for asking, but no.

To the flashcard company that wanted me to review their product on my blog, no, sorry.  Actually, after looking at what your product and educational philosophy is all about, it’s probably better I don’t write a review for you. Any tool that focuses on creating better ways to do rote learning is not something you want me to review, trust me.

To the other flashcard company who also wanted me to write about their “unique free services” in one of my upcoming posts, thanks but no thanks. Again, I’m less than impressed with services that help me learn better at the lowest end of Blooms taxonomy.

To the childrens’ book online website that was keen for me to write a review of their product in exchange for a 6 month premium subscription… nope.  Thanks for thinking of me, but asking me to blog about your product, and then telling me how much my readers would benefit from it is a less than subtle way of disguising how much you think you might benefit from it. Thanks, but again, no.

And to the commercial blog run by an online school that was interested in me reposting one of their recent posts, because it would “appeal to my readers”, thanks for thinking of us all, but no.  If the content is compelling enough, people will find it without my help.

Like I said, I appreciate being asked (although you can all stop asking! The answer is still no!) and I suppose it’s nice to think that other people might consider this blog to be worthy or influential enough to ask for a bit of free publicity.  If this happens to me, I can only imagine how many of these requests are made to other bloggers with some real influence!

The bottom line is that Betchablog is, and will remain, independent.  I’m not interested in writing about anything other than what I’m interested in writing about. I don’t take money in exchange for opinion. I won’t write about anyone’s product or service unless I want to do it for my own reasons.  I certainly won’t put links into my posts that I’ve been paid to put there.  I’m flattered to be asked, but even thinking about doing it makes me feel dirty.

Image: ‘Soho Street

CC BY 4.0 I am not a prostitute by Chris Betcher is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.

10 Replies to “I am not a prostitute”

  1. Excellent post. I’m not exactly impressed with companies which want me to talk about their products, I’d rather choose to talk about things that interest me and that I’ve found useful.

    There must be a better way for these companies to market their work.

    1. I know, how about making a product so remarkable that bloggers independently remark about the product without being offered money?

      Revolutionary isn’t it? Nope, just the way that marketing should have been to begin with.

      Thankfully, in the ever-increasing openness of the online world, it’s becoming harder and harder for marketers to fool us with false credibility indicators, and true word of mouth is becoming the new way of marketing a product.

      The only successful product will be one that is remarkable.

  2. The same thing has been happening to me. I even have, in the description of my blog, that one of the things I talk about is FREE educational technology. If I wanted to do this to make a living, I would review fee-based things.

    I just delete the email or reply back that I don’t like their product. They never email me back.


  3. Happens to us as well, & the emphasis on our site & blogs is also very much about sharing free stuff.

    IME, The best way to deal with junk marketing is to crank up your spam filters and just ignore it.
    Replying gives them an incentive to continue to pester you, as it suggests that you’ve bothered to read the mail they’ve sent you rather than immediately binning it.

  4. I know exactly what you mean. I have linked to personal blog and not company website because even though I thought you may be interested in what we do (not to blog about it but actually use our product), on a personal level this has happened to be as well. I write about my mother’s death of brain cancer, and tons of people contact me about cancer related products etc. I just never know how to say no, thanks in a nice way. I definitely appreciate what you’re saying here.

  5. I’m all for auto-reply and filters. I never liked them in outlook but the feature is there. since i started using gmail (with/without outlook) I have found filter>auto-reply really easy way to tell people thanks but no thanks… oh and please unsubscribe me. the filter scans for phrases or domains and if the phrase ‘feel free to’, ‘take a look at what we do and if you like’ shows up, it sends a prepared/canned response and I don’t need to lift a finger once its set up.

  6. Hi Chris, just wanted to say hello again. Glad to have become acquainted with your blog. I actually quoted you in an essay Im writing for uni. Hope life is treating you well. I liked reading this post regarding your staunch independence. Nice to see. Cheers

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