Now that RubyGlasses has gained a bit of PageRank, I've noticed a marked increase in the amount of people emailing me requesting "Link swapping".
I've generally been deleting these along with most of the spam... google doesn't like linkswapping, and I won't do it. (all hail oh mighty google!)
However, I've also received one or two offers of advertising... and, to me, that's different. I'm happy for an advertiser to pay me to put ads on my site that are relevant to my audience.
However, after a recent email-conversation, I now have to make it clear to potential advertisers that these ads are going to be obviously ads.
I will freely confess that I don't get very many offers of advertising. I've had two so far... one that I've accepted (see if you can spot them) and one that I have most definitely not.
The first did want me to *not* use certain ad-like keywords in proximity to their ads... no doubt they're after a bit of my pagerank "link juice" as well as the actual click-throughs that are likely to accrue (yes, I actually asked them about this). That was ok to me, as long as it was obvious to my readers that what was going on was actually an ad... ie paid-for content inviting people to purchase something.
The reason I turned down the second offer, however... was different. In fact, I didn't even need to turn them down - just stated what I was and was not going to do.
The second exchange began with an offer to "have cooperation in marketing". I'll admit that maybe I didn't completely read the email in question because it also explained that they expected me to "add our product information with links to < thecompany > on your blog"... I read this and thought "advertising"... but in the following exchange (I asked if that's what she meant), discovered that she expected to write articles about her products... and put them on this blog.
After explaining that I write my own articles she responded with (and I paraphrase) "Oh ok, so *you'll* write articles about our products on your site, and put links to our products"
I had to then explain that I write articles about Ruby-on-Rails or web-development or freelancing... if her products were relevant to that then I might write an article on them... but I would *not* promise to be favourable.
She then responded with a "suggestion":
I have read your email, I have one suggestion, how about we write articles suitable for your site, and you put it on your site. We can also pay for you on adding them, but how much per article will you charge?
I mean, what does it take to get through to these people? My final email to her reminded her that I write my own articles, and that I will happily post paid advertising at the bottom of my articles - and that she could even dictate the text of the advertising... but that I would not post fake articles written by somebody else about her products.
She said she'd stay in touch...