You got to hand it to these buggers, they are persistent!
In the mail today, yet another missive:
I reached out last week but haven't heard back. I wanted to see if there was an opportunity to sponsor a post on your site.
Please see my initial email below.
On Thu, Dec 20, 2018 at 8:11 AM, Debbie wrote:
Hi RobertI came across your site while looking for resources for our next blog and I knew I had to reach out immediately, kudos on a fantastic blog. My name is Debbie, and I'm reaching out on behalf of a leading adult social media platform.This month, we're looking to secure sponsorship placements with five prominent blogs and your site jumped straight to the top of our list. Please let me know if this is something you're interested in discussing further. We would be willing to offer you somewhere in the region of $20 for a sponsored post. Would you also be willing to accept link placements on pre-existing content on your site?Let me know your thoughtsKind regards,
$20 to spam your blog with ads for a "Naughty Debbie" adult porn site? WTF? I left out her full name, as it appears to be the same as another "Debbie" who sells antiques and furniture.
I get about one of these a week now, and frankly, I don't understand it. From what I see on Google Analytics, my pathetic blog gets only a few hits a day, maybe a few hundred a week. Well, maybe more than that, but hardly the millions of hits that are needed to make a real money-making blog:
This sounds impressive, but half those pageviews are me re-reading and editing entries.
I suspect that "Dirty Debbie" would not follow through on her promise of $20, even after I installed the link placement and did a "sponsored post" about her porn site (which ties into my content, how?).
The point is, and I did have one, is that missives like this illustrate how the Internet is spammed, shilled, and groomed to sell you things. You may think you are on an impartial review site, or someone's homespun blog, or some schmuck's YouTube channel, but what you don't realize is that the person writing the "review" about a product often got free product in return for the review, or was in fact paid for it.
We looked at a truck bed cover for the new truck, and YouTube videos abounded with "reviews" of various covers. Some reviewers were right up-front about it, that they received the product free in exchange for making an online video review. Others were less clear about it. Usually you can spot the professional reviewers - they have a YouTube channel that is about little more than reviewing products, such as the famous 7-year-old who makes a million a year (well, his parents make it, anyway, I suspect he will see none of it) just playing with toys.
This is the new reality of advertising - not putting in blatant ads into programs, which are demarcated and separated from content, but embedding advertising into content, in a not-too-subtle way, much of the time. When a can of Coca-Cola appears in the movie, label facing the camera, you know someone paid to put it there. When the star of the movie drinks from it, they paid more. When he mentions the product by name, they paid a lot more. And when he looks into the camera and says, "Gee, this coke is sure refreshing!" they paid a boatload!
I am sorry I can't help out Debbie with her project, and I hope I have not provided any clues here as to what her "leading adult social media platform" is all about (I googled her name, but could not find any link to a social media platform, adult or otherwise, unless facebook counts). After all, I don't want to provide her with free advertising much less paid advertising.
Given that she has no clue what my blog is all about, I suspect the e-mail she sent me is a SPAM message, sent to thousands or millions of bloggers. Some may bite on it, others might just take a pass. And probably some will post something about her "social media platform" and never see the $20. And that seems to be the amount they all promise - $15 to $20, or in one case, a bag of potato chips I was supposed to review.
It may also be an attempt to just get me to visit her porn site. It is amazing how many platforms are SPAMMED these days - including Google Analytics! It used to be I could see what sites referred traffic to my blog and what queries people used to find my blog. And that was fascinating stuff. But Google changed the algorithm so I can't see explicit URLs to sites linking to my blog, and oftentimes, not the actual search queries (which I used to see).
Instead, I am seeing URLs to porn sites! Yup, the porn sites!
For example, the "all-time" referral data looks something like this:
Pretty mundane stuff. But if I click on "today's" data, I get more "interesting" sites:
The "*pornsite*" site, as you guessed, is a porn site (I have removed the actual URL to prevent inadvertent promotion of their site!). And sometimes, these types of sites are the ONLY data appearing on google analytics. Why do they do this? They know that bloggers like me are curious as to what sites are referring traffic to them, and that we will click on a link to a referring site out of curiosity.
Curiosity killed the cat. It could be these URLs are to sites that want to download viruses or whatnot.
On some days, all the referring URLs are from porn sites. They hope I will click on one and drive traffic to their site. Do they get a lot of traffic this way? Well, probably not. After all, the number of bloggers in the world is pretty finite. But then again, if they get just a few hundred or a few thousand, that's something - and all for the labor involved in writing a simple bot to link to thousands if not millions of blogs out there. It would probably juice up my page ranking, if I was still monetizing my blog. It probably juices up theirs.
There is probably something else going on, and someone more savvy about the Internet could explain this better. I do know that Google rankings are based on how many links there are to your site and how many sites you link to, as well as page hits and whatnot. So, like I said, these porn sites, by embedding hidden links to my site, are boosting my page ranking, and I guess they want me to return the favor.
Thanks but no thanks. If you can't find porn on the Internet, you probably aren't trying very hard. They really don't need me to advertise what is the Internet's #1 selling product - outselling even Amazon, Google, and Apple combined!