Today I got an e-mail from the VP of a big New York City PR/marketing firm. The e-mail touted a WaPo feature article and its multimedia aspects in glowing terms. At the end, the NYC marketing guru-ess wrote: "Thanks in advance for your consideration in regards to writing about this. If you have any questions, please don't hesitate to contact me!"
Huh. Curious. Are things really so rough for one of the nation's leading newspapers that they are seeking free advertising from small-time bloggers like me? I get, if I'm lucky, maybe 100 hits a day, and most of those people find me on Google searches for "airplane lavatory sex", "cannibalism in Russia" or "dog condoms." Perhaps the Post considers this to be an innovative approach to achieving a wider readership online, but I'm not all that thrilled about it.
As folks who actually read my blog know, I'm dead broke - hell, I just joked (kinda) about selling plasma to get a ticket to hear Morrissey sing. Being broke, I'm really not in a position to write gratis advertising for commercial, for-profit entities. If the Washington Post wants me to shill their articles, they can pay me to do so. Or, I suppose, they can find other bloggers, just eager for attention, who will write happy copy for them.
Perhaps if this had been couched in a "hey, we're trying an experiment!" message, inviting bloggers to participate in a test to broaden exposure for this particular piece, I would have been more amenable to the process. But it wasn't presented that way. It was polite, but it wasn't an invitation to innovation. It's smart, but sneaky.
I'll pass. Maybe the Post should read its own articles...
Update: guess it must have worked for them. More than 900 blogs linked to that article WaPo wanted shilled. Go figure.
Mir (www.wouldashoulda.com) just had a similar post about people trying to get her to write stuff for free. My blog is small enough that so far I've been immune from this...either that, or the requests have gone the way of Gmail's spam folder.
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