By November 25, 2013 Read More →

Bloggers beware!

A warning for bloggers about ‘guest’ posts

Bloggers beware!I don’t know if it’s just me, but every so often something happens during a working day that really gets to me and knocks me off balance. It could be in a nice way – like the day my article unexpectedly made it to the home page of The Guardian. Or it could be something darker, as it was this morning, that could happen to bloggers on any topic.

I received an email from a digital media agency saying ’We would like to publish the attached article on your website as a Guest Post (not Sponsored)…’ Their bold. Followed by instructions on where to send the invoice.

Spot the problem with this? I’ve already blogged about where we stand on the subject of sponsored posts. The fact is that it’s against UK law to publish a post you’ve been paid for without making that fact clear. Which is why you’ll see me use the term in the opening paragraph of every sponsored post, so you’re clear before you even start reading.

Plus Google penalise sites that pass on page rank (by using a ‘follow’ link) in return for payment. So all our sponsored posts carry a no follow link to the sponsoring company, something you can only see if you check the Page Source.

So this agency want me to break the law and risk losing page rank or being delisted by Google after four years of hard work, for the sake of a few quid. I find it hard to believe there are agencies still operating in this underhand and short-termist manner towards both bloggers and clients. Because if my site disappears way down the rankings, then that client’s money has been thrown away.

You don’t have to have a particularly active blog or a huge following to be on the receiving end of these emails. A gets them regularly for seeamanaboutablog.co.uk, which he’s been able to update less frequently as his client list has grown.

They offer you payment for posting a ‘guest’ post and if you do it once you’ll get more similar emails. I’ve even been told by a representative of an agency that it doesn’t matter whether the link is follow or no follow.

Yeah, right. Also watch out for emails purporting to come from someone with a Gmail account who ‘loves blogging’, is an avid reader of your site and would be overjoyed if you would publish their post. They may even give you a choice of titles or ask you to suggest one. Sound too good to be true?

It is. The post may be thinly veiled advertorial or it may be reasonably informative, but it will always contain a link to another site in order to boost its page rank. I suggest you either ignore such emails or send a stock reply quoting an eye-watering fee for sponsored posts. Usually you won’t hear another thing, or occasionally you’ll get a short message saying they have no budget.

Bloggers are often people who are passionate about a particular subject and far more interested in writing about that than in keeping up-to-date with what’s going on in the outside world.

But it doesn’t have to be difficult or time-consuming to keep up. A good source of sound information for bloggers is Cybher. Sign up for the blog and you get helpful updates on the latest developments in the blogging and social media worlds, like this recent post on blog disclosure.

Thank goodness I don’t get such blatant emails very often. The companies and agencies I deal with are much more concerned with getting good quality information about their products and services in front of the right audience than in trying to clumsily manipulate Google and make a quick buck.

Have you been on the receiving end of similar approaches or know bloggers who have? I’d be interested to know how you deal with it.

Posted in: Social media

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