Friday, August 14, 2009

Off Track: How Not to Solicit

Yesterday I received an e-mail from someone inquiring about advertising here on Half-Fast, more specifically they were looking for a little link love. I get these pretty frequently and I tend to be quite stingy with the permanent links unless there’s money on the table, but if you use the correct approach (read: effusive flattery) then it’s pretty easy to get a plug in the Weekend Splits, you know, when I’m actually posting them. Anyway, there was nothing particularly out of the ordinary about this e-mail, nothing malicious to speak of, but the recurrence of these types of e-mails has been increasing lately. This was just the unfortunate one that broke the camel’s back and now I’m going to take out my frustrations with all those solicitous e-mails on this one. Let’s dig in, shall we?

“Hi I’m Brenda [last name redacted] from [URL also redacted]. We offer one of the largest selections of flowers, hampers and wines and champagne gifts online, giving our customers useful tips and information to help them find the perfect flowers and gifts to send for any occasion. .”

At this point I’m thinking ‘why are you telling me this, why didn’t my spam filter catch this and why are there two periods at the end of that sentence?’

“I am looking for partners that compliment our site and seems a good fit.”

Really? Half-Fast seems like a good fit to you? Because runners are the largest purchasers of flowers? I’m pretty sure that the only thing my readers care of wine and hampers is that too much wine before a race hampers performance, so this seems like a strange request to me, but let’s see what you’ve got in mind.

“We can either:- 1) Exchange links with you”

Right, because I’d get tons of great traffic from a British Florist. (The URL ended in

“- OR - 2) Our team have been working hard creating content on our own site and we wondered if you would be interested in some free of charge content written just for”

Not based on the way that sentence was written. Seriously, isn’t that the clunkiest sounding sentence you’ve read today? The next one is pretty good too. It’s even missing a word.

“Our editors cover a wide range of subjects and can quickly agree a subject with you and write specifically for you - you will have full editorial control and it definitely won’t be a sales pitch for us. All we would ask is that you allow us to include one simple text link back to [URL redacted] towards the end of the content which will hopefully be found by the search engines in the longer term - which is how we would benefit.”

You know how else you would benefit? Proofreading. Also, by sending this e-mail to blogs that cover flower related subjects. That’s two freebies off the top of my head.

“Please let me know your thoughts.”

You want my thoughts? First of all, that was the best sentence you’ve written thus far. Secondly, I’m thinking that I’d rather find an IRS audit notice and a jury duty summons in my mailbox than allow you or any of your team anywhere near my blog with a post of your own. Believe it or not I’m pretty particular about what gets written here, in fact, I’ve only ever allowed one other person to write posts at Half-Fast and she had to sleep with me before I gave her permission to post. (BTW, she is on the record as saying that it was over quickly and she barely felt a thing so it was not as steep a price as it sounds.) I’d offer the same type of arrangement, but I’m pretty sure the last one was an ‘exclusive rights’ kind of a thing.

As if all that isn’t enough I received the exact same e-mail from her about two minutes later, further proving her incompetence. Brenda, I’m going to pass on your kind offer, because if I wanted a shoddily-written, double-posted blog entry I’d just do it myself. I’m getting quite proficient at shoddy writing. And before anyone else points this out in the comments, I’m aware that I probably don’t always use correct grammar (or even know what the correct grammar is), but then, I’m not offering to write a blog post for you, am I? You can be sure that if I was offering my services as a writer I would take the time to make sure that everything was correct or blackmail hire someone else to do it for me. That’s how I roll.


  1. Dang. I was going to ask for your help getting my inheritance out of a foreign country but now ... forget it.

  2. nipped in the bud.

    btw "the fidelity bank and trust is a tough customer... if you make a deposit somewhere else they close your account forever." :)

  3. I am not sleeping with you... 'Nuff said.

  4. I really wish you would provide a link back to my blog.

    Oh - I guess this does it ;)

  5. She sounds rather foolish. I wonder if Leptovox is right for her?

  6. Way to support the internet marketers, Nitmos. I had to google Leptovox 'cause I thought it might be a cool new drug to improve my grammar. Now the internet thinks I need to lose belly fat and the Leptovox hit count went up by 1. Internet Marketers = 1, Nitmos-following searchers = 0.

  7. I thought you would've liked to represent all the florists from your homeland. Huh. Union Jack, my ass.

  8. Tell her to start reading and commenting on all your posts and if you like the content of her comments, you'll consider letting her write a guest article. I'd really be curious what she'd say to that.

  9. What's even funnier is that the ad at the bottom of your post in my reader was for

    Now that's great!


  10. Doesn't she know that unless she's coming with free stuff, she doesn't have a chance of making it onto Half-fast? Do your research, hon.

  11. It's fitting that your post, in my Google Reader account, had a "1800 Flowers" ad below it.
    Looks like the flower ladies gotcha anyway!

  12. It's all your fault.

    If you didn't use such flowery language in your posts, sensitive and delicate women like these wouldn't be drawn inexorably, like bees to nectar, entranced by your noble lineaments and Byronic use of metonymy.

  13. okay first off, this is hilarious! I get the same random stuff. Secondly, the best part is the ad at the top of your post today is from pro-flowers! ha ha ha ha ha oh the irony.

  14. Other commenters have listed 1800Flowers, Pro Flowers, and now I'm seeing International Flower Delivery. Ahh the old "get them so ticked off at you through dumb proposals that they post about it and the post generates google ad listings" ploy. At least you get paid....

    As a side note, your "other people are so annoying" tag is a little underused, I'm only seeing five posts with it. Lose the "Up with people" slant already eh? :)

  15. omg, you crack me up!!!!!!

    love also the tags. quite fitting!

    i'm still wondering about those 2 periods, as well - quite peculiar, i'd say ...

  16. Dang, I was hoping to purchase some quality hampers from the UK after visiting this post. You know those guys have that market cornered.

    Oh well, there is always next time I suppose.

  17. Okay wait a minute, they sell flowers, hampers, wine and champagne. Why hampers? Are you supposed to throw your champagne and flowers in the hamper?

  18. Yeah, so now all the Google ads on your page read flowers or baskets or hampers. I think you have let the terrorists win.


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