Fun with spam, part 3

It’s time to comment on more idiocy from people who have something to sell. Let’s begin with this gem:

I work In business development with Newsmax Media, in Boca Raton, FL. I just wanted to drop you a line and say I am a big fan of your site, and I am interested in a digital partnership with Monoblogue

The goal of this campaign is to place a 300×300 box on Heavy for pay.

Newsmax can generate a substantial amount of passive revenue by adding a small, but valuable bit of content that your readers will enjoy.

We currently have over 700 publishing partners, You can see examples of our “newsfeed” on (redacted)

By adding the newsfeed, you are generating a tremendous amount of guaranteed revenue, you are increasing run time, you will be engaging your readers longer, and most importantly, you will not be cluttering your page with ads. We value your sites readership and will provide world class health/finance/world/ political news for them to enjoy.

The newsfeed is a non-performance based model, unlike Outbrain and Taboola which are perforce based or ppc products, we will guarantee you a fixed monthly fee every month for hosing the newsfeed. It doesn’t matter if the newsfeed gets 1 click or 1,000,000 you will receive your fee.

As far as compensation, I would be happy to review your traffic , and discuss the revenue Newsmax can generate for your site. We pay a $.50, CPM, because this is an editorial based module, we pass less than banner or display ads.

When a reader does click on a newsfeed story, a new window will populate, helping increase your sites run time.

During the test period we track clicks/impressions, our long term goal is to come to a 12 month agreement.

Please let me know what you think, all feedback is welcome. Please let me know what I have to do, in order to satisfy your needs.

Thank you so much for your time and efforts.

I look forward to hearing from you.


Kevin Mallon

Admittedly, this guy is apparently a living, breathing human being. But I think I need to make a little more than a couple dollars a week since that’s what 50 cents CPM would translate to. In fact, for most sites it would be pocket change, although at one time Newsmax was getting 3.8 million pageviews a month – that would be $1,900 in revenue based on their own calculations – and they’re a PR7 site with a top 300 Alexa rating in the U.S. I don’t read it all that often, but Lord, do I hope this guy doesn’t do their actual writing.

But if you think that offer is funny (or insulting), the skewering this guy gave them was priceless.

Even so, I actually made this guy’s e-mail look a lot better than it was – it came double-spaced but still riddled with the errors you see there. As I often say, proofreading is your friend. I’ll grant you probably sent this out to 200 blogs at a time (hence, the way the field took the word “monoblogue” with an additional space) but there’s no excuse for some of these errors.

So, Kevin, my friend, if you are out there and you REALLY are a fan of my site, you would see that I have a menu item up top called “Ads.” In it, you would see that an advertisement such as the one you seek is $100 per year. My public school math tells me that’s $8.33 per month, or revenue in your case from 16,666 impressions. If you “value my site’s readership” you should be falling all over yourself to pay that premium to advertise on one of America’s best state-based political sites (not my words, it’s in the Washington Post.) I’m not just some schmuck out there.

Oh, and for the rest of you: feel free to clutter my page with ads.

Apparently I’ve also become popular with Mike Thomas, the “Success of a Salesman” pitcher from last time. He reminds me of that bit from Animal House with the hapless fraternity pledge being whacked with a paddle: “Thank you sir, may I have another?” Well, here you go:

My name is Mike and I am hoping you can show your support for fair trade by mentioning this fair trade directory. I had done some searches about fair trade and found this page of yours where you talked about it:

I was hoping that you wouldn’t mind just adding a link to the words fair trade in here to the directory:


Maybe there is a better fit page or you would like to add something to your blog. If you would like, we could write an original post on any topic related to fair trade for you.

Also, if you would like to be added to the directory you need to become a member and contact us to add your company. To do so you will need to first link to the directory and than we will add your company. That is all it takes to get more traffic to your site coming from this directory.

Let me know which option you would like to take and I really do appreciate your time in helping to show your support for fair trade. If you have any questions or comments please let me know.

I about busted a gut laughing at the idea of getting “fair trade” from a Shorebird of the Week post. Upon reading the piece in question I figured it out:

There’s no doubt Branden Kline would like to go to Baltimore and ply his baseball trade as a member of the Orioles, but his next step would be to go home. (Emphasis mine.)

Talk about a deep search! Of course, now that I have mentioned those key words in this post, Mike will be writing me back in a few weeks and pestering me about adding his content to this post. No thanks; shoot, you’re not even dangling the princely sum of 50 cents per CPM like old Newsmax Kevin above.

I probably don’t get a player to be named later in the trade, either. Then again, I may be negotiating from weakness as evidenced by yet another SEO guru wishing to help:

Dear Sir,

– Your site has been affected by Google Penguin due to over optimized with poor quality links. There is more than thousands of anchor text links found in poor quality directories and bookmarks sites.

– As per coding error validation, there are errors in coding found. This creates big problems in the path of search engines crawlers when they visit and navigate through your website.

-Your site has Alt-tag missing. You need to optimize the images from search engine’s point of views.

– Keyword stuffing: There are over use of keywords in your site which is all spamming.

-All your pages haven’t been indexed. Only a few pages have been indexed. It shows Google has banned some of your web pages.

Above mentioned are some of the most important issues which need to be taken care of, if rectified, these issues can rank your website on the top of search engines like Google and you can easily dominate the market.

If you are interested, we can help you to recover and improve your site.

Oh yes, I’m sure I can easily dominate the market. But I don’t feel like dealing with the “more than thousands of links” and “errors in coding.” Really?

Listen, I just write. I don’t write to please a Google Penguin master, and I don’t have a lot of time for “Tania Delmar” with an address of website (dot) marketing (dot) sales (at) (common e-mail provider) – who, by the way must suffer from multiple personality disorder because he/she has a Skype handle with “Tony” in it as well. Maybe he/she is related to marie felipe from last week.

But it’s interesting to me if Google indeed banned some of my web pages; after all, I am a conservative so I suppose I can wear this with a badge of honor.

Perhaps this is the start of a new business idea, though: I can take the vast sum of money Newsmax is promising me and open a new website, hiring Mike Thomas to wrote all the content, and getting Tania/Tony/Sybil to optimize it for SEO. That’s the ticket, problems solved!

I’l just sit back, collect a cut off the top and laugh at the dog chasing its own virtual tail.

Fun with spam, part 2

A few weeks back I poked fun at the hapless people who have plenty of advice on how to build my business through link sharing and SEO suggestions. They didn’t get the hint, so I decided to make this an occasional series and really ridicule them.

First off, someone’s Maryland site needs help:

Good day!

My name is Marie and I am the site administrator of the site (redacted). I’m emailing you because our site is quite new and we need help from our fellow Maryland blog.

Can you please let me guest post at your website’s blog with the link of our site at my bio at the end of the article. Since your blog is about Maryland news, I can write about that or I can write about any topic you would want me to write.

It would be a pleasure if you would allow me to guest post at your blog. Thank you and I’m hoping for your positive response.

If Content Is King, Then Keywords Is Queen…

Number one, who in Maryland uses the salutation “good day”? I think “marie felipe” is somewhere across an ocean.

Second of all, why would I mess up my brand by awarding guest posts willy-nilly? I have had guest posts in the past, but they are germane to the broad subject at hand. Moreover, if you could write about any subject I wanted, it would likely have nothing to do with the site you claim to represent.

But the postscript gives it away. To me, content IS the absolute king and keywords might be the royal taster. Or maybe it cleans out the royal stables. My keyword is integrity. And shouldn’t it be “keywords are queen”? Seems awful plural to me, although I suppose the analogy would have to be extended to “keywords are queens” and that may raise the ire of some special-interest group.

Speaking of keywords, these damn SEO experts still seem to think my Google page ranking isn’t high enough. By the way, aside from redacting the free advertisement I post these exactly as written.

Dear Website Owner,

While searching the web we found that your website does not rank page 1 on google. 85% of users searching the web will never find your website unless you’re ranked on first page of Google, MSN and other major search engines. On the top of this with all these google update animals around ( Penguin & Pandas ) Its not easy to get page 1 and stay there to keep getting business.

Would you be interested If we can help you rank your online business first page of major search engines ?

Our company is on the first page when you search on Google for our primary search term “SEO Company.” We would like to do the same for your web site so you can come up for your main keywords as well? All of our processes use the most ethical “white hat” Search Engine Optimization techniques that will not get your website banned or penalized.

Leave aside the fact this is poorly written and came from an e-mail address with “carolyn” in it but was signed “Billy S.” There is a conundrum they don’t address: how is it they found my e-mail address and website if it wasn’t on the first page of Google? (And yes, Billy/carolyn, Google is always capitalized. Proofreading is your friend, although being actually fluent in English would be a close second for you.) Obviously I have enough of a ranking they felt they had to address the issue.

So why does my website: needs SEO? (Yes, that’s the way it was written in the subject line.) Hell if I know, so I think I’ll pass on the generous 15-day free trial they offer. So far I’ve done well enough with the 2,700+ day free trial of building my audience from scratch in an SEO-free manner. And by the way, my wager is that they are Page 1 because they sponsored a link. If I wanted to pay I could be on page 1 that way as well.

They didn’t even argue content was king.

Finally, we have this:

My name is Mike and I noticed you talked about sales success and CRM software so I thought you would be interested in this infographic resource on the Success of a Salesman.

The reason why you want to post this (besides the fact that people like visual resources) is because it has a lot of great statistics and information for those interested in sales. For example, searching for information takes up to 24% of a sales person’s time which costs approximately $2.6 billion a year in lost revenue for a Fortune 500 company. Having an infographic like this will bring traffic to your site for years to come.

If you want to post it, all you need to do is copy and paste the text above the graphic. If you have a piece of content that you are trying to get out there please let me know. Also, to return the favor, let me know the URL you post it on so I can build links to your page, increasing your traffic, rankings and authority for that page.

If you have any questions or comments please let me know. I look forward to hearing back from you.

I’m not sure I’ve talked all that much about sales success, but I can pretty much guarantee you I’ve been silent on the subject of CRM software, well, until today that is.

The one thing Mike failed to mention is just how “an infographic like this will bring traffic to your site for years to come.” Now I will admit this seems a lot more legitimate than most offers I receive in that Mike had contact information at the bottom of the e-mail and the company he represents has an internet presence selling – you guessed it – sales CRM software. But I have several pictures and cartoons on my site and all they seem to bring me are spam comments. Yes, they are there to tell a story so they are indispensable but the one he was marketing did not.

And I think I know how I attracted their attention. This is from the company’s PR release announcing its American operations:

At the foundation of the development of the company and the Pipeliner product is a business philosophy based on the Austrian School of Economics.

With my somewhat libertarian leanings I’m sure my site has devotees who favor the Austrian School. This one wasn’t so bad but I simply have no context in which to place their infographic. Now if they want to buy space, we can perhaps work something out.

Maybe the Google search for “libertarian-leaning sites which poke fun at spam e-mailers” struck gold with that one.

The SEO blues

When I write, as I often do – some might consider me a serial writer, since I have a website closing in on 3,000 posts over 6 1/2 years – I do so for a number of reasons. First and foremost is my enjoyment of doing this, with a close second being the ability to educate on the benefits of conservatism.

And of course, there’s money involved too. I get a monthly stipend from one client, have another I have occasionally contributed to which pays me on a per-article basis, and there are other one-off deals as well as my Examiner page. I also sell advertising and have a tip jar here, so on rare occasions I find a little extra in my generally anemic bank account.

But I also know some who have a different style of writing based on the concept of search engine optimization, better known as SEO. Some do it rather well and some have a hackneyed approach, but all are after that elusive goal of standing atop Google when you do a search on a particular subject. Obviously my SEO is generally anemic as well – a quick look at my site analytics tells me that just 3% of my visits come from search engines. Yet my Alexa world rank hovers in the 280,000 range, which tells me people somehow find this site.

Where I’m going with this is that I had an interesting e-mail exchange with a person representing a company which “has leveraged the power of the Web to create a unique group of specialty e-commerce stores,” according to its website. I’d rather not divulge the company but if you Google the phrase (as I did) it naturally sits at the top.

Originally he wanted me to add guest content to my site, but when I told him that monoblogue works because it is in one voice (with a few rare exceptions) he changed his tactic. What he wanted me to do was to create a post which had three instances of a particular key phrase, one of which linked back to his site, and establish a permanent link back to his site on mine. In return I would get “a total donation of $150.”

That’s a nice chunk of change, but I told this gentleman that, for that amount, I could give him a prominent advertising link on my site as opposed to a post which would eventually both fade off the front page of my site and probably Google in a short amount of time. It seemed like a better solution for both of us, but this person wanted the post.

Could I have written it? Probably, and perhaps I could have made the content interesting and relevant with my point of view. But it’s one of those things where I believe the post would have come out flat and not up to my personal standards of integrity and excellence.

Moreover, does this really contribute to the quality of the internet as a whole? Obviously the World Wide Web has panned out to be a gold mine for certain types of e-commerce (just ask those who benefited from Facebook’s IPO) but it also has its seedy dark corners and people who try to use it for destructive purposes. I’m not naive enough to believe all is sweetness and light in this realm or that every writer of any sort of quality is entitled to riches and fame, but I often wonder if writing just for the purpose of being on top of a search engine – whether the content is really relevant or not – is contributing to the quality of the discourse or the internet as a whole. Search engines also have a way of pulling the rug out from under those who simply exist to take advantage of their system.

So I suspect this gentleman and I will part ways. I offered him the opportunity to advertise on my site and he turned it down, which is his right. I’m certain he will find a writer who will do his bidding – after all, $150 for maybe a half-hour’s worth of work is a pretty good deal, and souls have likely been sold for far less. But I like to sleep soundly at night and the quality of this website is under my control, so if I can’t do something to a satisfaction standard I can live with it’s just not worth doing for any price.