Question About “VWXYNot?”

Thus read the title of an email in my inbox this morning. The message continued:

I consult for a Canadian immigration lawyer who is looking to expand her presence online.  I am  interested in having a mention within one of your upcoming blog posts leading back to my client’s website, in the form of  an unobtrusive text link.
The post should not mention that it is sponsored or paid and should appear as natural as possible.
If you could help me out, I would be more than willing to compensate you.
Let me know if you are interested.

Where to start?

Maybe with why not to begin a business proposition with “Hey”? Or the fact that the Blogspot incarnation of this blog has been dormant for well over a year now? And that the only times I’ve ever blogged about Canadian immigration, it’s been abundantly clear that a) I never used an immigration lawyer, and b) it was in a “YAY, I’m a citizen now and don’t ever need to deal with Canadian immigration ever again!” kind of way?

Well, those are all good options, but I’ll go with this: I’d like to promise my readers that I have never, ever taken money, goods, or anything else in return for linking to external sites on my blog; all links are 100% “natural”. I’m not going to rule out, say, writing a review of a product I’ve been given for free, but it would have to be a very special product – and if such a thing ever happens, I promise to clearly mention the freebie at the top of that hypothetical post.

Last time I received a similar request (in this case to put a link to a tuna recipes website on a project description page of our department’s website), I replied “if you can explain how tuna recipes are relevant to the study of the hormone signalling axis in cancer cell metastasis, then I’ll consider it”, and never got a response. I’m tempted to do something similar this time… any suggestions welcome!

About Cath@VWXYNot?

"one of the sillier science bloggers [...] I thought I should give a warning to the more staid members of the community." - Bob O'Hara, December 2010
This entry was posted in Canada, cancer research, communication, idiocy, meta, personal, science. Bookmark the permalink.

16 Responses to Question About “VWXYNot?”

  1. Hermitage says:

    Make a polite* rebuff page, much like The Blogess has for stupid advertisement requests:

    *And by polite I mean something extraordinarily snarky.

  2. geez, Cath, you must be famous – that is just kind of creepy if you ask me…

  3. I got the same email this morning – obviously a copy and paste job.

    I hadn’t realized it was blanket job, though, otherwise I wouldn’t have bothered to responde to it. However, given that I have been writing about moving a new country, I actually thought it was quasi-relevant to my blog.

    Really, like you, my strongest objection to this scheme is that I won’t take money for saying something and then pretend I wasn’t paid. You can certainly bribe me, but I will make it clear that my opinion was swayed by a donation. I don’t mind the idea that someone will sponsor you to write about a particular topic, but then full disclosure is clearly necessary.

    Unfortunately, as yet, other than the spam above, no one has tried to actually tried bribe me to write anything…. rats. (-;

  4. Alyssa says:

    I’ve gotten a few of these in the past few months – even one about Google X Prize. I wish I saved them now!

  5. Cath@VWXYNot? says:

    Hermitage, I am nowhere near as awesome and hilarious as The Blogess I’m afraid, and Wil Wheaton no doubt agrees 100%! But maybe I could use a photo of RPG collating blog comments, or something…

    Sylvia, my first thought was “icky” rather than “creepy”! Also “targeted marketing FAIL”.

    Anthony, oh, and I felt so special! But it was just a blanket request to all bloggers who’ve ever used the words Canadian and Immigration, even if they’ve never had any dealings with Canadian Immigration!

    Alyssa, they make good blog fodder in multiple grant deadline weeks 🙂

  6. Frank says:

    It’s good to see that lawyers’ ethical standards are in such rude good health. Maybe you could write a blogpost about ethics and link to their site?

    • Cath@VWXYNot? says:

      If I knew the name of the lawyer, I might have done so in this post!

      (My brother-in-law’s a lawyer, by the way, and I know lots of his lawyer friends too. So I am aware of the existence of nice, ethical lawyers!)

  7. I once had someone ask if they could use some of my photos on a website assisting new immigrants. I asked for more information and got… you guessed it… no response.

    Of course, the requests I get for use of my photos on real websites are usually not of much higher quality…

  8. steve caplan says:

    Send us this “consult’s” e-mail! I have a lot of “Hey” style business propositions to make!

    This person deserves to have his/her life made miserable!

  9. Heather says:

    Wow. Targeted marketing FAIL perhaps – but how many of them need to be WIN to make this kind of thing worthwhile? Unreal.

  10. Cath@VWXYNot? says:

    Richard, do you get many requests? I wonder how the number of requests compares to the number of people using others’ photos without asking?!

    Steve, I decided not to post the person’s full name or email address – that seems a leeeetle harsh! But I might grant you an exception via a private email if you propose any particularly fun and creative punishments!

    Heather, probably not many. It probably varies greatly depending on which version of the Google algorithm is running that week 🙂

  11. Nina says:

    Easy! Just ask them if they can give 5 of your currently illegal-immigrant-friends immediate citizenship, and you’ll do it!
    I am now super excitingly awaiting a similar email from some “hey”-kiwi…

Comments are closed.