About once a week, I receive an email request from a total stranger, often with poor command of the English language, sometimes in Twitter vocabulary, sometimes both. Always with negligible punctuation talent.
"i link wit u, u link wit me ok"
They've started a blog or a business and didn't become millionaires overnight. So they peruse any of the multitude of sites listing popular web pages, then with no research or interest other than piggybacking on someone else's fan base, they find an email address on a popular website and madly dash off the cure to fix their low visitor count: the cross-link invitation.
I often can't even check to see what it is they are trying to build or sell because their website has been blocked by my security net. Probably thank heavens.
Bottom line is they aren't willing to invest -- intellectually or financially -- to make their site grow. They want an easy fix, and they don't even bother to evaluate whether their cross link is a good match, whether the cross link would bring interested readers or buyers.
Then there are the spammers. They try to post some totally unrelated or cut-and-pasted and often meaningless but sometimes highly complimentary comment on a blog post with an extremely high page view count. Sometimes they use the name of a highly successful business, but that's not where their link takes you, as in the sample shown above. They think all the visitors to that [free pattern] post will jump right on their [usually bogus] website. They may have learned this ploy in a get-rich-quick farce they actually may have paid for, thereby perpetuating the intent to scam. I've seen some of these comments on unmoderated blogs and on blogs that aren't that popular yet. Newbie bloggers sometimes are so anxious for comments, they are willing to accept the spam just because it makes the author feel as if their blog is being read. If only they knew no reading was ever attempted by these spammers...
And then there are the semi-legitimate offers from semi-legitimate companies, and sometimes even legitimate companies. My gosh, how I HATE these ones and wish I could block them permanently not only from my inbox but also from my websites!!!
"We're running a special this week and offering you 10% off on anything in our store if you sign up for our corporate sharing program!" Bottom line is they want to run an ad on a popular blog without paying a single dime. Once again, they don't bother to research to find out if they have product the blog owner might actually want, and they don't even look at the blog to see if it has other ads. (BIG HINT: THIS IS NOT A COMMERCIAL BLOG!!!!!) They just look at the analytic stats and send their equivalent of a mass-produced form email, and sadly, probably get more takers than they deserve.
Most recently I had what initially seemed to be a complimentary invitation to review another website because I'd used the word "addiction" in a blog post. The website proposed my readers would benefit from me linking to them because they specialize in overcoming addiction.
Anyone who has followed this blog long enough would know without doubt my addictions are bicycling, photography, fiber crafts and gardening. Yep, I'm addicted. And probably inviting yet another stupid invitation just by writing the word "addicted" again!!!
Needless to say, the author of the invitation had not bothered to look at my site to see there are no gambling, alcohol or drug problems here. The worst part, though, is the author decided to attempt to bully me when I did not timely respond because we were reeling in grief following the sudden death of my husband's 38-year-old cousin from complications related to multiple sclerosis. All it would have taken was one visit to my most popular post that week to find out maybe other things were just a little more important and deserving of attention.
There was no concern for my well-being, only selfishness and an eye single to the easy road to riches. I wish more people could see through these stupid "offers" so they could be ignored right into oblivion.
Back in the late 70s when I was exploring publishing options and opportunities for my first book (as yet still unpublished), there was no internet. I had to invest, to the tune of about $25 or $30, in a book still to this day published every year: The Writer's Market. I had to read most of the 700 or so pages to find out what kind of books each publisher wanted to narrow the sea down to markets that might actually be interested in my work. Then I had to either buy books by those publishers or read copies from the library to get a feel for what they wanted. This was not a quick or cheap venture in any respect. It took a lot of time, energy, enthusiasm and money. It was high risk. I knew when I began I might not see success from my efforts. But I was willing to put my shoulder to the wheel in order to follow my dreams.
Now it seems any kind of investment in dreams is either unnecessary or a waste of time. Just do a simple internet search for "popular websites" then fire off a few emails. You don't even have to be professional or legible. Instant gratification is the name of the game.
Of course, I'm preaching to the choir. You think even one of these bozos will ever read this post, even if their popularily searches lead them to it? And even if they DID give it a quick visual scan, do you think they'd recognize themselves?!?