Peevish Pen

Ruminations on reading, writing, rural living, retirement, aging—and sometimes cats. And maybe a border collie or other critters.

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Location: Rural Virginia, United States

I'm an elderly retired teacher who writes. Among my books are Ferradiddledumday (Appalachian version of the Rumpelstiltskin story), Stuck (middle grade paranormal novel), Patches on the Same Quilt (novel set in Franklin County, VA), Them That Go (an Appalachian novel), and several Kindle ebooks.

Sunday, January 26, 2014

Blog Spam?

Not long ago, I received an email that looked a bit, er, suspicious.

Not from George. He'd rather sleep.

Someone I didn't know wanted to blog on my Frugal Living blog, one I rarely even update. Why?


Hey there Becky,
My name is Jennifer and I am writing to you on behalf of Phone Power, one of the top players in the internet phone service industry.
Currently, I am looking for bloggers who are influential in frugality and saving money. I have been reading Becky's Frugal Living for a while now and really enjoyed your content and depth of commentary. After reading many of your posts, I would love to partner with you to provide some new, unique content that would be relevant and interesting for your readers 
If it’s something you’d be interested in, I would like to write an article, guest poxtpost, or even supply one of our infographics to your site. A few topics I have in mind are:
  • 14 Ways to Save Around the House in 2014
  • Using VoIP on the Go: The Advantages of Free Mobile Apps
  • 3 Secrets to Cutting Household Expenses
I'm also open to writing about any topic suggestions you might have. In the meantime, I welcome you to also look at some past guest posting submissions we’ve done for other blogs:
http://www.financemagazineonline.com/2013/03/internationalbusinesscallsmadeeasy.html
http://www.techsenser.com/2013/03/voip-new-technology-that-has-changed.html
Also, feel free to learn a little more about our company and what we’re all about here: www.phonepower.com.
I look forward to hearing back from you Becky!

Thanks!
Jennifer

Hmmm. Jennifer-with-no-last-name thinks thinks I'm "influential in frugality"? My Frugal Living blog has "depth of commentary"? Uh, no on both counts. I could tell that this email was a cut-and-paste job sent to probably any blogger who used the words "frugal" or "frugality" in blog posts. Anyhow, I answered her email:
Hi Jennifer, 

I have never used a guest blogger on my "Frugal Living" blog, and I rarely update it. However, I'll address some of your questions.

. . . I am writing to you on behalf of Phone Power, one of the top players in the internet phone service industry.
I'm not really interested in the "Internet phone service industry," but I do sometimes use Facetime on my iPad. I have an app for Skype but have never used it. I often go for a week or more without even using my landline, and a month or more without using my Tracfone. Sometimes I think the main purpose of my landline is to call CenturyLink every time our Internet goes out—which it usually does after heavy rains.

Currently, I am looking for bloggers who are influential in frugality and saving money. I have been reading Becky's Frugal Living for a while now and really enjoyed your content and depth of commentary.

It's possible you have been reading someone else's blog and confused it with mine. I don't have a "depth of commentary," just pictures of things I've acquired cheap—or for free—and a few remarks about the picture. I rarely even update that blog

After reading many of your posts, I would love to partner with you to provide some new, unique content that would be relevant and interesting to your readers.

Anytime someone uses the word "unique," I'm suspicious. 

. . . I would like to write an article, guest post, or even supply one of our infographics to your site. A few topics I have in mind are: 

  • 14 Ways to Save Around the House in 2014 
  • Using VoIP on the Go: The Advantages of Free Mobile Apps 
  • 3 Secrets to Cutting Household Expenses

I looked at this site that had a "14 Ways to Save Around the House in 2014"  and found it a major bore. Nothing that would interest my readers, who want to know where to buy stuff cheap, how to repurpose old stuff, etc. Not even any photos on that blog! And stuff like "Start evaluating your food needs more closely. . ." I mean, really—who talks like that?! I don't think my readers go around "evaluating their needs."

I'm also open to writing about any topic suggestions you might have.
Do you have pictures of stuff you've you've rescued and repurposed from the dumpster or Goodwill? If not, how about "14 Hints for Successful Dumpster Diving"? Or "Don't Declutter; Repurpose!" Or "Cheap But Cozy Cold-Weather Barn Clothes" Or "How to Cut Your Horse-Keeping Expenses: Vet Work You Can Do Yourself" Or "When in Doubt, Don't Throw it Out! At Least Recycle!" Or "Goodwill Vs. Your Local Thrift Shop—Which is Better?"

My readers are mostly rural as well as thrifty. They're do-it-yourselfers.

In the meantime, I welcome you to also look at some past guest posting submissions we've done for other blogs:
http://www.financemagazineonline.com/2013/03/internationalbusinesscallsmadeeasy.html

When I clicked the above URL, I got this message: "Sorry, the page you were looking for in this blog does not exist." (And what's this "we've done"? You're not working alone?)

Also, feel free to learn a little more about our company. . . .
I took a quick look. It didn't interest me. As for the "Keep in touch with family and friends around the world" bit, between email and Facebook, I'm covered.

There were some things—besides her solicitation to use my blog as a commercial for "a top player in the internet phone service agency"—that aroused my suspicions. Her signature (no last name!) in a smaller size than the rest of the text of her email told me it was a cut-and-paste job and was likely the same email sent to goodness-knows-how-many bloggers she'd Googled up. I knew she hadn't even read my blog—probably didn't even look at it!—or she would have known that her suggestions wouldn't fit. Plus, if she was going to include a link to a site she wanted me to look at, she should at least have checked the link to make sure it actually worked. 

Her email (a gmail account) tipped me off that if "Jennifer" really worked for the company she was pushing, wouldn't she have a phonepower.com email—with maybe her name in it? I suspect she (or maybe he?) really works for a marketing company. At any rate, I'm not impressed with her/his comma errors.

It's been several days since I replied to her email, and she hasn't gotten back to me. Gee, I wonder why not? Meanwhile, I think I'd rather have George guest blog than some stranger who wants to plug a business. 


OK, George—go for it:

Hey, George the cat here! I just want to let you know of my household service, George's Rodent Relocation and Property Patrol. For a small fee, I'll walk around your property and "relocate" any rodents I happen to find. Is that a great deal or what?! It's a win-win situation for both of us, though not for the rodents. Just call—oh, wait. I don't have a phone number. I don't know how to answer the phone either. Never mind.


Meanwhile, the day I replied to "Jennifer's" email, I updated Frugal Living, but I didn't provide much in the way of "depth of commentary." I did post pictures, though.
~
Update: On January 31, I received this email from Jennifer R.

Hi Becky,
I appreciate your breakdown of my email. If you don't want to work with us, a simple no would have sufficed. But, I appreciate your constructive feedback.
Have a great day,
Best, 
Jen

But sometimes a simple "no" isn't so simple at all.

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