Tagged: Marketing

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PONIES FOR THE PONY GOD

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From: gemma@arialblack
Re: Fresh content for Popehat

Hi Ken

My name is Gemma and I work primarily as a freelance writer, I'm writing to you because I thought you might be interested in a contributed article for popehat.com?

Previous to starting my career as a freelancer I worked for many years in business and finance. When I became a mother, I decided to turn to writing to make a living and now pen articles on as many different topics as I can – from news and current affairs through to pieces on money matters.

I'd love to know if you'd be interested in a piece from me. This would come to you free of charge, and all I'd ask in return is that I'd be allowed to mention a partner as a resource within the text. If you're interested in this I'd love to hear back from you with ideas for topics I could write on. Otherwise I leave you with my best wishes

Kind regards
Gemma

Dear Gemma:

Thank you for your correspondence?

We at Popehat might well be interested in an article. Specifically we'd be interested in an article about certain security issues. If you think that your background qualifies you to write about security issues — about certain threats to our children, that you and I as parents must consider to do our jobs — I can elaborate.

Of course it's fine to mention your partner. We at Popehat unreservedly support marriage equality and are in favor of normalizing all relationships by mentioning them in writing.

Thanks,

Ken at Popehat

Hi Ken

I would certainly be interested in hearing your ideas and would be more than willing to put something together on what you suggest. Please do let me know what you had in mind

Kind regards
Gemma

Dear Gemma:

What I have in mind is nothing less than a comprehensive treatment of the greatest menace facing our race: ponies.

By race I mean the human race, of course. I'm not a racialist. Ponies are a threat to all ethnicities. Of course, some ethnicities are better able, because of circumstance, to repel the pony threat. Which ones is a matter of considerable debate. On the one hand white Americans enjoy superior wealth, agreeable climate, and the ability to be elected to our various legislatures without any apparent qualifications whatsoever. Arguably this makes us more equipped to deal with ponies through expensive security systems and various punitive zoning measures. Many whites would deny this truth; this phenomenon is known as Pony Privilege. But on the other hand, white Americans have become flabby, easily distracted, and generally unreliable with the sort of light antitank weapons that are most effective against closely-grouped clusters of ponies. I made my oldest child fire a LAW at a group of burros the other day — you know, for practice — and it knocked him right on his ass. What are they teaching our children in their physical education classes? The ponies aren't here to play dodgeball with us, Gemma.

I may have strayed somewhat from the point.

Yes. Back to your article. Listicles are very popular these days so to clickbait this motherfucker I'd like to see something along the lines of "The Ten Most Horrible Things That The Ponies Will Do To Your Children When That Day Comes. Number Seven Will Make You Soil Yourself And Curl Into A Stinking Ball." Then I'd like a series of ten cautionary tales, calculated to stir the complacent guts of America: Pilates classes disrupted. Facial hoofprints on children just before picture day. Great heaps of the dead making our electric vehicle charging stations almost inaccessible. HBO producers forced against their will to replace Peter Dinklage with a swaggering, abusive Shetland. Mere anarchy loosed upon the world. Blood-dimmed tides irretrievably staining my sustainable bamboo parquet meditation deck. And so on and so forth.

We need visuals that pop, Gemma, so if you and your partner could dress up as ponies, or people being hunted mercilessly by ponies past all hope and reason, that would be ideal.

I eagerly await your draft.

Very truly yours,

Ken at Popehat

Incessant Sewer-Dweller LegalMatch Has A Cunning Plan To Get My Business

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Late yesterday I saw a new email in my inbox. The subject line caught my eye:

Son under indictment

A new case? One never knows. I opened it.

I found not a new client, but an old friend: one Steve Kramer of LegalMatch, a "service" that purports to help match clients to lawyers. I've written before about emails from Steve Kramer and LegalMatch in unflattering terms. For reasons I cannot recall I previously did not name them; I referred to them with thematic accuracy as Feculent Q. Pus-Crust of the Society for Cornholing Unsuspecting Children. I'm naming them now.

Feculent — pardon me, Steve — has continued to spam me even after threatening me with litigation for criticizing him and even after I reminded him that he was spamming someone he had previously threatened.

Here are some of the email subject lines Steve Kramer has sent over the last two years:

Son under indictment (3/11/15)

My son has been charged with statutory rape (11/25/14)

intent to distribute (11/13/12)

felony arrest (1/4/12)

No, Steve Kramer's son is not — so far as I know — a one-man crime wave. Rather, Steve Kramer and LegalMatch use deceitful clickbait email subjects to get lawyers to look at their spam. As his latest says:

Ken

Let me know whether the following snap shot of some of our recent financially capable LA area criminal defense clients looks like a fit.

Cordially,

Steve Kramer
For Legal Match
310-990-3026

It's nice that Steve Kramer is so forgiving that he's still first-naming me after I've sassed him and written mean posts about him.

Emails from Steve-O and Legal Match contain a sort of list of client inquiries that consumers have apparently left on LegalMatch.

EX FELON WITH POSSESSION OF FIREARM
BELL, CA 02/16/2015 C154733487378

FREE MY SON
AUGUST F. HAW, CA 02/16/2015 ✔ C154721465270

VIOLATION OF PROVATION
SAN FERNANDO, CA 02/15/2015 ✔ C154646769498

LEAVING THE SCENE OF A ACCIDENT
LYNWOOD, CA 02/15/2015 ✔ C154643116086

2SUSPECTS TRAFFICKING 48LBS OF DRUGS
LOS ANGELES, CA 02/14/2015 ✔ C154536359337

Steve and LegalMatch represent in their solicitation that somehow they have determined that these people are "financially capable" — meaning, I guess, that they can afford to hire a lawyer. In any litigation I look forward to discovering what methodology they used to evaluate the assets of the "violation of provation" guy. They also represent that these are "criminal defense clients." Yet the emailed lists includes entries like this:

FREON EXPOSURE WORKING AT GENERAL DYNAMICS 80'S.
WALNUT, CA 02/09/2015 C154071310246

Perhaps this person has been criminally charged with exposing himself or herself to freon at General Dynamics in the 1980s. I presume they will explore a statute of limitations defense.

LegalMatch views its system — where people describe their cases, to be reviewed by potential lawyers — as a service to the lawyer-seeking community. Whether it is also a boon to the law enforcement community remains to be seen. It encourages customers to leave entries like this one in the most recent solicitation email:

ACCUSED OF MURDER OCCURRED IN SELF-DEFENSE ROLLING HILLS ESTATES, CA 02/10/2015 ✔ C154102776952

Who read that? Well, apparently, any LegalMatch lawyer with access to that client database, and any prospective LegalMatch lawyer to whom Steve Kramer sent the email. All of those people now know that there is a person accused of murder in or near Rolling Hills Estates, California, in February of 2015, who says they did kill the person but did so in self-defense. Did they get legal advice before making that disclosure? Did they think that the disclosure would be kept confidential? Did they know it would be sent out in spam emails? Would a court treat such an entry as privileged, despite how recklessly it is being bandied about? Is LegalMatch certain that it didn't sent this information to anyone with connections to the victim, or the victim's family's lawyers, or the prosecutors, or the investigating officers, or the media? Do you think that — assuming this is a real case — the media would be interested in hearing that the accused was admitting to having killed the victim but was asserting self-defense?

Of course, if that entry is entirely fabricated, I suppose it's not so much an amoral and reckless disclosure by LegalMatch as it is false advertising.

I've written to Steve Kramer, LegalMatch's press office, and their general counsel asking some questions.1 Among them is this question — does LegalMatch think that it is not bound by the CAN-SPAM Act, which (as LegalMatch's blog will tell you) prohibits misleading subject lines and requires clear opt-out-of-this-spam systems?

LegalMatch is not the only turd in the beclouded punchbowl of the legal marketing community. But, despite vigorous competition, it is one of the oldest, most noisome, and most persistent turds. Steve Kramer has been pestering the unwilling about LegalMatch for years, and LegalMatch has been using sleazy tactics (and promising to improve them) for a decade.

Yet LegalMatch continues to thrive. That means some lawyers out there are paying them. Those lawyers are equally responsible for perpetuating these practices. And the clients — oh, the clients. Citizens, know this: if you hire someone through LegalMatch, you're hiring someone desperate or stupid or cynical enough to accept this bad behavior.

Back in 2012 I told Steve Kramer "Remove me from your spam list forthwith." Perhaps this post will help get results.

Waiting Patiently For The SEOer To Reply

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Joel Marami

6:46 AM (5 hours ago)

to me

Dear Business owner,

This letter regards to the website www.popehat.com

My name is Joel Marami. I am the director of digital marketing at NGRWebTeam. We have some very good news. We have discovered why your website has not been effective as it could be.

OUR ANALYSIS IS AS FOLLOW;

No.1 – The organic traffic to your website has been extremely low. We have measured it at less than 40 percent. It really should be at 80-90%. Since it is not, you are missing out on at least twice as much exposure that you could and should be getting.

No.2 – People who are searching for your type of Business on search engine like GOOGLE, YAHOO and BING are not being driven to your website due to an insufficient number of in-bound links instead; they are being driven to one of your competitor’s websites. This is business that your company is losing to the competition. This is totally unnecessary. Certainly, anything worth doing is worth doing well. With some adjusting this can mean an increase in business of many thousands of dollars per year.

No.3 – The social presence of your website is minimal to be most effective; your website should be actively found on over 10+ high social media websites. This increased social presence will expose your business and your website to people who live, work and frequent your local market and geographical area…If people are not aware of your existence, they will do business with one of your competitors instead. As the saying goes.. OUT OF SIGHT …OUT OF MIND..

Overall, based on our research, we can certainly improve the results you have been getting by increasing your Company’s online presence and resolving any critical online reputation management issues that you are having. We would also like to discuss your website’s conversion rate optimization with you. We can convert more of your visitors into becoming actual customer.

Invite for consultation…CALL NOW! Or Email Back. We can proceed from our corporate e-mail ID…this is just a once-off measure to avoid spam.

Best Regard,

The NGRWebTeam

843-606-1147

Ken At Popehat

8:56 AM (3 hours ago)

to Joel

Dear Joel:

Thank you for writing! I was staring out at the vast expanse that is today, feeling the slight tremor in my hand, hearing the faint red song, and wondering, wondering, if today will be the day that . . .

. . . and then your letter came.

"We have some very good news. We have discovered why your website has not been effective as it could be."

Wow. That is good news. I've been thinking about that a lot, Joel, and it's been a complete mystery. The market for foul-mouthed easily-distracted clinical-depression-prone footnoted free speech over-analysis is HUGE. HUGE, Joel. I have built the better mousetrap, where "mouse" is "your free time and peace of mind." The world should be beating a path to my door. Other that incident with the Thai food delivery guy nothing of that nature has happened.

"OUR ANALYSIS IS AS FOLLOW;"

We're fallow? That's kind of harsh, Joel, but fair. We have plowed deep lands in the blogsoil but recently have not left our seed. That seed would grow into strong things — mighty things, Joel — things like police abuse rants and Downfall videos and apocalyptic fantasies and innovative communications paradigms like "snort my taint." But we have not left it, and so nothing grows.

Can you help us?

"The organic traffic to your website has been extremely low. We have measured it at less than 40 percent. It really should be at 80-90%. Since it is not, you are missing out on at least twice as much exposure that you could and should be getting."

This is outrageous. All Popehat content is organic, localvore, fair trade, and non-exploitatively cultivated, except the Clark stuff, but that's cultural. Why are we not getting organic traffic? Are the big blogs stealing it with their fake "natural" content? That chaps my ass. Should we market more heavily in Portland? I'm not going to have to wear skinny jeans again, am I? Because last time a rivet popped and the shopgirl lost an eye. She has to wear a patch. They will only let her work in pirate-themed stores and she's terribly allergic to parrots and morally I just don't think I can go down that road again.

"People who are searching for your type of Business on search engine like GOOGLE, YAHOO and BING are not being driven to your website due to an insufficient number of in-bound links instead; they are being driven to one of your competitor’s websites"

Unacceptable. Totally unacceptable. IF ANYONE IS GETTING DRIVEN AWAY FROM POPEHAT IT IS GOING TO BE BY DESIGN. Ideally as early in the process as possible. Is there a way to force a popup before people surf to Popehat? It could use algorithms. As many as 3 if they are reasonably priced. The popup could say things like "our analysis of your web browsing history suggests that you're a huge whiny fuckstick. Are you sure you want to expose yourself to the sort of blog written by someone whose parting words to his seven-year-old today were 'don't make me teach you Daddy's leisurely crawlspace game'?" That way we get only pre-selected QUALITY hits, like a record of the month club.

"The social presence of your website is minimal to be most effective; your website should be actively found on over 10+ high social media websites."

Got it. Question of clarification: does it have to be our website OPENLY hanging out on other websites, or can it be subtle? Because I troll 10 major websites every day, easy. Yesterday I left an Eid al-Fitr prayer on Townhall that made three guys so scared they got their camouflage sweatpants out of the hamper. Then I left a meditation on truck nutz colors on Salon that triggered an editor, twelve interns, and half the readers and apparently made Alex Pareene lose focus and get his foot caught in an escalator. But those don't say "Popehat." Do those still work building our social presence?

"resolving any critical online reputation management issues that you are having."

That would be great. I have a list of words. I want our site to be unassociated with those words and those words to have nothing to do with our reputation. The words include "taint" and "pony" and "twatwaffle," all of which we regret for various legal and philosophical reasons. What can you do for us? Can you manage us to be more cool-popular? Is it anything like managing a boy band? Can I be the cute one? I always have to be the sullen one. I've been the sullen one for forty-five years and it fucking SUCKS. I am THROUGH with it.

So see what you can do for me, Joel.

Very truly yours,

Ken

www.popehat.com

Also, The Pony Will Need Three References

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Hi Ken,

I’m Rebecca Gray from Backgroundchecks.org. I love writing guest posts for blogs that interest me. It's a great way to expand one's portfolio, network with other bloggers, and learn new things.

That being said, I was wondering if I could write a guest post for you. The article will be unique and specifically tailored as per the theme of your blog. I’ll just include a reference to my site in the author byline at the end of the article.

Please let me know if you are interested.

Thanks,
Rebecca

Dear Rebecca,

Happy New Year! I'm pleased that we can provide an opportunity to expand someone's portfolio.

We're excited to hear that you can offer specifically tailored guest posts per the theme of our blog. Most people don't get the theme of our blog quite frankly.

So: I see you are from Backgroundchecks.org. Can you provide a specifically tailored guest post about background checks? If so I have a few specifications and questions for such a post.

Ken
www.popehat.com

Hi Ken,

Thanks for the response. Well, I would love to write an article related to background checks. Please let me know if you have any specific topic in mind.

Best,
Rebecca

Rebecca:

Well, here's the thing. Most available articles about background checks involve people.

Now I grant you that in many ways this is sensible. Man, we are told, is the most dangerous game. Also not an island, and the bastard, and to the extent he is good, hard to find. Man is also a battlefield, if I recall correctly.

But what about other threats?

Is it possible to run a background check on a pony?

Now, wait. I recognize you will see this as immediately preposterous. "What kind of idiot has to run a background check on a pony," you might be thinking. "A pony is overtly hazardous, a patent threat by definition. You might as well run a background check on a puddle of acid or a board with a rusty nail or R. Kelly."

But there are gradations of risk, Rebecca. We deal with them every day. Do I speed up to make that yellow light, or slow down? Do I try skydiving, or not? Do I eat another Double-Double animal style from In-N-Out Burger even though my entire abdomen is so taut and bloated that my vision is blurred and I can feel my pulse in my scrotum?

All ponies are wicked and hazardous, but surely some ponies are more deadly than others. For instance, though all ponies would bite our precious children given a suitable opportunity, some have actually done so and developed a taste for man-flesh that torments their dreams and makes them shudder when darling little hands run over their manes. Any pony MIGHT kill a man, but some ponies HAVE killed a man, and have begun to develop . . . . skills. It's like the difference between a job applicant who has a proven record of being repeatedly fired for incompetence, and one who merely has visible barbed wire or tribal tattoos.

So: I guess what I'm looking for is an article on the extent to which modern technology and investigative methods has made it practicable to run background checks on ponies before one retains their services for one purpose or another.

Also: our readers have grown extremely wary to the point of unmedicated phobia about ponies. So the article should be ABOUT ponies but under no circumstances should the article SAY "pony" or directly mention anything clearly pony-related like "hoof" or "snort" or "rend." Kindly employ a euphemism instead, viz. "In this article I will discuss whether it is possible to run a background check on William Howard Taft, 27th President of the United States of America, in order to protect your children."

Trusting that these terms will be agreeable, I remain very sincerely yours,

Ken
www.popehat.com

They Shoot Ponies, Don't They?

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Logging into the Facebook account, I spy a private message.

Hello,

We think that the readers of your blog would be interested in our site. We have developed and launched the first completely Free Auction site with all the functionality of the "Other Big Auction Sites". With one big difference, our site is 100% Free! Our mission statement sums it up pretty nicely.

"Our mission is to promote Legal Firearm Ownership, Strengthen the 2nd Amendment and promote Outdoor Recreation via a FREE Marketplace."

If you have questions, please drop me a line or give me a call. Thank you for your time and have a Happy Thanksgiving!

Regards,

Edward Eddins
Tactical Auction LLC.
Founder & CEO

Contact information and website link removed.

Could this be the solution to all our problems?

Mr. Eddins, we certainly believe in Second Amendment freedom, and our readers do as well. Are you proposing a sidebar link to the tactical auction page, or would you like to write a guest post about the bargains and benefits to be found in a free market for guns and tactical equipment?

I ask because a number of big game hunters frequent our site. We ourselves hunt. I have a particular problem with wild ponies in my area. The ponies break through my fence, run over my property, and … well, you'd shudder if I said what they do next. It's horrible.

What rifle would you recommend for a man who needs to kill a number of ponies, and kill them quickly? A prompt reply would be greatly appreciated.

Patrick

My savior!

Hello Patrick,

I was hoping for just a general introduction to your readers. Our site is like Gunbroker with one Big Difference. Its totally Free.

As for your Pony problem, I have only been to 2 places in the us where there was free range wild horses. In both places they were illegal to kill and protected.

As for killing a pony, any caliber of 270 and above with a good TSX round will do the job.

Take Care

This man may be useful.

Mr. Eddin, thank you for the advice about proper calibers and ammunitions.

As for the ponies, I am afraid they follow no law except their own – the law of the jungle. The savage, stinking jungle of the ponies! I must take the law into my own hands, if I am to survive.

Mark my words: The ponies must die, or I will die in the attempt.

Best wishes for the upcoming holidays,

Patrick

Pony of Death

Dress For The Pony You Fear, Not The Pony You Have

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Ken,

My name is Annita Johnson, and I am contacting you regarding your site at http://www.popehat.com. I currently work for a company that maintains a website that offers kid's games; it's called dressup121.com- I'm sure you must have heard of it by now. We are nationally recognized, reliable source for kid's games, and we are located at http://www.dressup121.com/.

I was looking at a few different sites for realty information, and I thought yours was one of the best. I would like to request a link to our website. I realize that sometimes there are set rates involved in this kind of placement of text links, so, please, feel free to name your price. If you need more information in order to review and consider our site for linking, please feel free to contact me via email at [email protected], or, if you would like to talk about this by phone, my direct number is 5446999904.

Best wishes,

Annita Johnson, for dressup121.com

Hey Ken,
Amy,

I tried to reach you again some time ago but something obviously went wrong, or you just didn't have the time to check my email….that's all right. My name is Annita Johnson, and I am contacting you regarding your site at http://www.popehat.com. I currently work for a company that maintains a website that offers kid's games; it's called dressup121.com and it is located at http://www.dressup121.com/.
I was wondering if you'd be interested in us paying to advertise via text links on your site. I realize that there are sometimes set rates/fees involved in such placement of text links so feel free to name your price. We like your blog and we would love to be a part of it.
If not, thanks for the time and keep up the good work!

Best wishes,

Annita Johnson, for dressup121.com
mail to:
[email protected]

Hi Ken,

I tried to reach you again before, but obviously it didn't work; anyway I thought I should give it another-last-try. We are interested in working with you.
We are interested in a permanent post with a do-follow link to our site and a picture. We prefer you to write the post, but we can write it, too. Please let me know if you are interested, and your rates in both cases.

Regards,
Annita

Dear Annita,

My apologies for the delay in responding to your three attempts to contact me. I forgot how to computer.

I appreciate your praise for our website and the work we have done on realty information. Initially I wasn't sure whether you meant reality information — for we do supply a great deal of information about certain unpleasant aspect of reality, Annita — or realty information, meaning information about the purchase and sale of homes. While we have only provided limited realty information — for instance, advice not to buy in Destin, Florida — I am gratified that what we have done is of use.

I also very much appreciate your exhortation that we feel free to name our price for a text link. I shall do so! Money is actually a little tight these days Annita and I don't mind telling you that some cash to defray certain medical, legal, and psycho-sexual expenses would come in very handy right now. But either Sun Tzu or Cap'n Crunch said that we must never pass up the opportunity for a substantial long-term victory to secure a minor short-term goal. Therefore I would like to name a more creative price.

You wish us to link a site that specializes in dress-up games for children. We will do so on the condition that you create and feature prominently a game teaching children about the patent dangers of ponies. Children are taught to love and cherish and squeal over ponies, Annita. This is like teaching children that whirling sawblades taste like Strawberry Quik. If falls to us — we few, we desperate few — to push back against this message, just as we push back against messages that promote negative body images or tolerance of ironic facial hair.

Children love games, particularly video games with eerie bug-eyed avatars and art styles out of the methadone nightmares of Japanese pornographers, so I see a win-win scenario in a collaboration here. Our proposed dress-up game — tentatively titled PONIES LAUGH WHILE THEY KILL EVERYONE YOU LOVE — would have the following elements:

* Players could choose amongst a variety of high-fashion outfits to dress their avatar stylishly but in the manner best suited to defend against a pony onslaught, only to discover that their painstaking choices are meaningless because no protective clothing — however sparkly — is sufficient to protect against the junvilequine terror.

* Players could choose amongst different outfits suitable for a post-pony-apocalypse, including gnawed tatters, wretched tear-stained shifts, and gowns slick and dark with the blood of their cherished grandparents.

* Occasionally screens displaying, say, different hats would go suddenly black and a screaming pony would appear in 3D in an effort to teach vigilance.

* In-game characters would use fashion situations for pedagogical purposes, like saying "that's a lovely chemise you've chosen, but how are you going to work the buttons when ponies have bitten your fingers off?"

This serves both of our needs, Annita, as well as the needs of the world's children. You've asked us to name our price. That's it.

I eagerly await your reply.

Very truly yours,

Ken

www.popehat.com

P.S. I am aware that Cap'n Crunch may not really be a Captain.

UPDATE: A RESPONSE!

Hi Ken,

I was very surprised by your email! Please give me some time to
forward this to the relevant department; I'll let you know soon. Meanwhile, can't we find a way to sort things out, and do that post?

Best Regards,
Annita

But I'm One of the GOOD Marketeers! Let Me Help You Fight The Bad Ones!

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Hi Ken,

My name is Devin and I'm reaching out on behalf of Joe Attorney, principal of Badly Supervising Its Marketeers Law in Chicago, IL.

I'm interested in writing a guest post for PopeHat and was wondering if you are currently accepting guest posts? I have an idea I'd like to pitch.

Thanks,

Devin
www.badlysupervisingitsmarketeers.com

Really? Are you sure?

http://www.popehat.com/2012/10/08/a-dialogue-with-a-guest-post-spammer/

Ken,

Read your post and bookmarked it. I hope I'm not on your naughty list. Contrary to what you might think of me, I enjoyed the read and agree with you on all points. I think it's time to drop the hammer on downright shitty guest posting tactics.

I happen to write for an online marketing publication. Your post sent a strong message and I'd like to write about this issue citing your post. Alternatively, would you be interested in a more collaborative effort?

Thoughts.

Devin:

You cold-spammed me on behalf of a law firm, the name of which you revealed in your email. You did so without doing any due diligence on the blog you were spamming, because if you had done due diligence, you would see that (1) we despise spammers, (2) we despise guest-post solicitation, (3) we think guest posts are a cheesy form of attorney marketing that reflects badly on the attorney perpetrating it and the blog accepting it, and (4) we sometimes name and shame the people who perpetrate both. You risked me ruining your client's Google position with a post mocking Badly Supervising Its Marketeers Law for spamming people about guest posts, and using this as an object less for one of our favorite sayings; "outsource your marketing, outsource your reputation and ethics."

Now you're trying to recover and suggest you are one of the good guys.

You're not.

You're the problem.

Please don't write again. STOP SPAMMING PEOPLE. SPAMMING IS SCUMMY.

Ken

I changed the name of the law firm. However, I have sent an email to the law firm asking them to stop spamming me with guest post requests, and suggesting that if I ever receive another such spam, I will name and shame them like, say, this.

Biology-Online And Marketeer Entitlement, Revisited

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This weekend I talked about how Dr. Danielle N. Lee was called a whore by a marketeer from Biology-Online, and how Scientific American temporarily deleted her blog post about it. 2 I used it as an opportunity to discuss bad crisis management (on the part of Scientific American) and the entitled marketeer mindset (on the part of Biology-Online).

Since then, Scientific American has practiced damage control, belatedly restoring Dr. Lee's post and offering an apology and explanation that is competently executed, if too late and ultimately rather unconvincing. Biology-Online has offered an apology to Dr. Lee, acknowledging that the conduct of "Ofek" was unacceptable and announcing his termination. Biology-Online did not identify "Ofek."

I offer one illuminating coda. In its apology Biology-Online says that "Ofek was hired to grow biology-online's relationships relationships with bloggers and scientists." In other words, as I said, a marketeer. How should we react to rude marketeers? Well, rather than Biology-Online's apology to Dr. Lee, consider what Biology-Online forum moderator "JackBean" said in a forum thread there about the situation

Please, stop acting like crazy, people. Yeah, he did what he definitely shouldn't. However, we couldn't act earlier since we didn't know about it and DNLee decided to rather write a blog about that instead of handling it with someone above Ofek. I understand that since she didn't have any other contact than him, but it's her decicion.

In other words, upon being called a whore by a marketeer, rather than writing about the experience of a marketeer calling her a whore because she refused to provide free content to improve Biology-Online's traffic and advertising revenue, Dr. Lee should have sought to speak to the marketeer's supervisor. Surely the supervisor of someone who spams scientists asking them to provide free content to Biology-Online to make money for Biology-Online will be reasonable! Why must you make such a big deal out of this?

Pressed on this, Biology-Online moderator JackBean elaborates:

I never blamed her for being called a whore, I blamed her for the delay in our team's response. That's a difference. And I blamed the anonymous users here, who registered just two days ago from being out of their mind. If they could, they would lynch Ofek. How are they different from him?
BTW Ms. Lee called our team in one of her tweets "asses", very professional from her.

Yeah! Will nobody think of the feelings of the marketeers?

Remember: marketeers are entitled assholes. If you encourage to marketeers, if you give them content, if you give them links or accept their links, if you write guest posts for them or accept their guest posts, you help them make the world a worse place.

Why would any scientist write content for Biology-Online, or even use its forum? If you know such a scientist, maybe you should ask them.

Biology-Online.org, "Urban Whores," And The Many Axes Of Douchebaggery

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Biologist Danielle N. Lee blogs as "The Urban Scientist." She admirably strives to widen the audience for science and explain how the fundamental principles of science can be observed in any environment. A few days ago she received an email solicitation from Biology-Online.org, an ass-ugly advertisement-encrusted content aggregator site. "Ofek," a "Blog Editor" at Biology-Online, wrote Ms. Lee and asked her to contribute blog posts as a "guest blogger." Ms. Lee asked some polite questions — how often, and do you pay your content providers — and upon receiving the answers, very politely declined.

So Biology-Online "Blog Editor Ofek" called her a whore.

Because we don't pay for blog entries?
Are you an urban scientist or an urban whore?

Urban WhoreHOW DARE YOU NOT PROVIDE US WITH CONTENT FOR FREE.

Ms. Lee told her story more kindly than "Ofek" deserved, and used it as an opportunity to advocate for widening access to science and the audience for science. Ms. Lee rocks.

Here the story might have faded quickly into obscurity — it hit on a weekend during a news-heavy month. But remember the first rule of public relations: it may quite difficult to make things better, but it's always very easy to make things much worse by running your mouth before you have time to get a grip. Hence the venerable Scientific American — which for reasons that passeth all understanding partners with Biology-Online.org — elected to delete Ms. Lee's blog entry about the issue from their site. Called on that, Scientific American Editor-In-Chief Mariette DiChristina reacted with a stupid lie:

OhBullshitScientificAmerican

As other Scientific American bloggers pointed out, that's just bullshit. Scientific American allows such blogs all the time. Scientific American's online leadership — faced with a story about a scientist being treated badly by one of its "partners" — deleted the story and lied about it, inexorably prolonging the story, substantially widening its audience, and associating Scientific American with its villain. The Aristocrats!

Many bloggers have written about this as a clear example of how sexism is pervasive in the sciences. After all, how else can you explain the interpersonal dysfunction of someone demanding free content from a female scientist and then calling her a whore when she refuses?

But I think sexism is, at least, an incomplete explanation.

I have no doubt that the scientific community is awash in ignorant and reflexive sexism. I've heard too many stories from loved ones, classmates, and clients3 in the sciences to think otherwise. But human douchebaggery spins upon multiple axes. It may be that the most powerful axis in play here is not sexism, but marketing.

Perhaps "Ofek" is4 some kind of scientist. If he is, and his identity is revealed, he is likely to experience significant social consequences — that is, he is likely to be treated as someone who calls women "whore" when they decline to provide him with free content. But Ofek is currently in the business of spamming bloggers to ask them to contribute free content to a sordid little advertising-heavy aggregator site in order to increase traffic and thereby increase advertising revenue to Ofek and Ofek's team. In other words, Ofek has ceased to be a scientist and begun a career as a marketeer.

And marketeers are entitled douchebags. Within the context of online marketing, Ofek's behavior is perfectly typical. Ofek's belief — that he is entitled to profit off of Ms. Lee's work, and that she's worthy of abuse if she objects — is the apotheosis of marketeer culture.

You can hear echoes of Ofek in the marketeer who called the Bloggess a "fucking bitch" when she snarked about receiving Kardashian spam. You can hear it in the offense taken by the spammer who showed up in our comments, outraged that we called out his spam. You can hear it in the attitude of comment spammers who suggest that if bloggers don't want comment spam they shouldn't have open comments. You see it in the buffoonish look-how-successful-I-am rants of marketeers who defend their vocation. You hear it in the rancor of marketeers who believe they own hashtags on Twitter and that anyone who uses them for criticism is a spammer. You can hear it in the angry entitlement of the marketeer who threatens me with a lawsuit when I call out his deceitful methodology.

It is right and fit that people who learn about Ms. Lee's experience should use it as a teaching opportunity about sexism in science. But that's an incomplete lesson. It's also an opportunity to remind yourself and your readers about the culture of online marketeering. This is what online marketeers think of you. When you treat with them you only help spread this culture. Fight sexism! But don't forget to shun marketeers and their methods.

Note: "Ofek" clearly intended "whore" to be a gendered slur. His communication should be treated accordingly. But when you think about the use of the word "whore", it's a good thing to remember that sex workers are actual human beings, not abstractions. They are more than the collection of social attitudes about them. Read the words of a dozen sex workers and you'll get a dozen different attitudes about what they did and how society treats them. I recommend Maggie McNeill, who writes forcefully from one perspective. Since I started reading her I stopped using "whore" as a political epithet.

Why Won't Nice Girls Ever Write Me Back? :(

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Hi,

I am a writer looking for good blogs like yours where I can contribute professionally written and proofread articles. I'm just wondering if you accept guest posts?

If you do currently accept contributions, do you allow links inside the main article? Also, are there any fees I might need to pay?

Looking forward to hearing from you soon. :)

Thanks!

Victoria

Dear Victoria,

Thank you for your inquiry.

What kinds of subjects do your articles address? Would it be possible to suggest a topic suited for my blog?

Ken

Hi,

Thanks for your reply.

Generally I prefer to be guided by the publisher in terms of what they would like covered. This way you get an article that fits in with the overall voice of your blog. Do you have any strong preferences in terms of what should or shouldn't be covered?

Thanks!

Victoria

Dear Victoria,

Thank you for your response.

I appreciate your offer to craft an article that fits with the voice of our blog. The term I hear most often to describe our voice is "shouty," but that's mostly from people who are frankly very judgmental. I prefer the term "mellifluous" to describe our voice. I previously preferred "jumentous" because it sounds nice, like a combination of momentous and jubilant, but then I looked it up and no.

Right now, Victoria, we're particularly interested in the equine risks to our children — or, as we prefer to say to convey the fulsome nature and extent of the threat, Our Children. I don't know about Australia, but in America right now pony rides are very popular. You see pony rides at the birthday parties of imminently bankrupt social climbing parents, at open-air farmer's markets in the suburbs, at at fairs, carnivals, and other community events operated by persons susceptible to being depicted in HBO series. The sight of the ponies fills children with delight, Victoria. But too seldom is the question asked — are they SAFE?

Please let me know if you would like for me to elaborate.

Also, what type of links would you like to put in the articles? May I hope they would add value and provide information likely to be of interest to our readers?

Very truly yours,

Ken
www.popehat.com

[no response]

Victoria?

Victoria?

VICTOOOOORRRRRIAAAAAAAA?

qq

Today In Stunt Marketing: FATTY FATTY FAT FAT

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Back in April I noted that a prominent court reporting firm had started marketing by spamming me with somewhat unsettling short stories. Today I see a private investigation firm is taking the same approach.

I just received an email from this firm — familiar to me, and probably to many in Southern California — with a very brief subject line:

FATTY

Well, I thought. Fair enough, but I don't see why someone needed to hire a private dick to figure that out.

But the email was not a j'accuse — the subject line was intended as an attention-grabber, referring to the street name of a character in the possibly-true story that followed about how this firm uncovered an insurance cheat, ending with a pitch for their services.

Did the subject line grab my attention? Yes it did.

Will I ever use this private investigation firm? No. I forwarded the email to my office. The reactions were universal: "creepy" "pathetic" "unprofessional" "ugh".

No sale.

The Tesla, Or The Pony?

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Hello editor/admin,

I love your site popehat.com and think it may be a fit for my marketing campaign. What kind of advertising options do you offer?

How much do you charge for a one very relevant, do-follow, in-copy text link to a non-spammy website?

I will give you great content. I just need to know the cheapest rate you can offer for a link inside the article I will give you.

If your rates meet my budget, I will get back with relevant stories.

Thanks,
Susan

Dear Susan,

Thank you for your inquiry.

I am very happy to hear that Popehat.com may be a fit for your marketing campaign.

I am intrigued by your offer for an article containing a link. Can you give me a sense of the likely subject matter of the article you would offer?

Thanks,

Ken
www.popehat.com

Hi,

Thanks for responding. I was actually interested in sponsored post opportunities such as something similar to this article. The link below is an example to show the type of post. I can write content relevant to any niche.

http://smallbizbee.com/index/2013/06/19/conquer-these-three-big-business-tools-with-your-small-business/

Please let me know if you would be able to offer this and what your rate would be.

Susan:

Your linked post demonstrates exactly the sort of incisive analysis we aspire to on Popehat,and echoes some of our deepest and most ill-concealed fears and anxieties. We, too, feel like minnows amongst big blog fish. Although Patrick says that I am more of a grouper, and Clark wrote a 4,000 word essay about how he is the Megaladon. I had to set that post as private because there was too many capitalized swears. Some of them weren't even real words.

I think that it is possible that we could reach some sort of accommodation, Susan. I propose that you consider one of the following:

1. WE: accept your guest post with its embedded sponsored link. YOU: Buy us a red Model X Tesla, with a custom-installed electrical element in the seat that will give me a cautionary shock if I stare at the gigantic dash touchscreen too long, endangering pedestrians. The gazing, I mean, not the shocking; ideally the shocking would help pedestrians by preventing the gazing, which endangers them. Though I suppose technically the shocking shouldn't be set so high that it makes me flinch and swerve into pedestrians either because I think that would defeat the purpose, don't you? So: mild shock reasonably far from the genitals, please. I'm thinking about mid-thigh. In connection with the cautionary shock-device on my new Tesla, I mean, not in connection with anything else. THIS IS NOT AN OBSCENE EMAIL; THIS IS A BUSINESS EMAIL.

2. WE: accept your guest post with its embedded sponsored link, for FREE. YOU: ensure that the guest post includes a cautionary artistic rendering of a pony. This option is only acceptable if you can provide an artistic depiction that captures, to the satisfaction of an artistic panel consisting of us, the terrifying duality of a pony. The pony can't be rending flesh or breathing fire or sucking the soul out of a baby or anything like that. That's the subtext, Susan. No, the pony has to be doing pony things, like amusing children or capering or being photogenic even whilst shitting indiscriminately. It has to be pretty, Susan. It has to be — and I beg you to forgive my roughness here — one extremely Goddamned pretty pony. But it has to simultaneously convey the dark promises of every pony, the bleak and fell possibilities raised by every juvenilequine encounter. The pony has to exist in a visible dual-state of pretty and horrific. You're going to need quite an artist for that, Susan. You can't just hire anyone off the street. Street people are okay at caricatures and the artwork at the New Yorker and stuff but they don't get ponies. If they got ponies they would live off the street, in houses, because ponies are more likely to be on streets. See?

3. We: accept your guest post with its embedded sponsored link, but edit it to our personal satisfaction, potentially including but not limited to altering it until it addresses the Pony Menace to our satisfaction. YOU: help me get my left arm out of this vending machine. Long story. All I can say is: thank God for iPads.

I remain faithfully yours,

Ken
www.popehat.com

More Great Moments In Legal Marketing: MyMotionCalendar.Com

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I have a partner here in my office in Los Angeles. Today he got an email from MyMotionCalendar.com, an outfit that offers independent contractor attorneys to cover court hearings.

From: [email protected] [mailto:[email protected]]
Sent: Thursday, July 11, 2013 1:05 PM
Subject: Hearing Wednesday July 17, 2013 @ 10:45- Marianna, Jackson County.

Hello,

I was inquiring on if you were available to cover a hearing for us on Wednesday July 17, 2013 at 10:45 pm In Marianna, Jackson County. [Note: that part is highlighted in yellow in the original email.] This hearing simply involves a motion to dismiss. Please let me know if you will accept covering this hearing for us for the flat rate of $75.00. [Ditto] I will attach all relevant documents and information to assist you if you can confirm that you can attend. Please confirm that you accept covering this hearing for us with a response to this email. Thank you.

In re: US Bank National Assoc vs. [Unfortunate Person] Case No. 209CA1262 Internal Case ID 12-003054

Type of hearing Hearing Court's Motion Type: Motion for Summary Judgment
Representing Plaintiff City Defuniak Springs, FL Walton County
Location
Date: Wednesday, July 17, 2013 at 2:00pm (orderID:76446)

Best Regards,

Lisa Marie Rodriguez,
MyMotionCalendar
1001 W. Cypress Creek Road, Suite 407
Ft. Lauderdale, FL 33309
[phone numbers]
www.mymotioncalendar.com
[email protected]

Note that Ms. Rodriguez seems confused: the text refers to a motion to dismiss hearing in Jackson County, but the case information block refers to a summary judgment hearing in Walton County.

So: MyMotionCalendar.com would like my partner to fly to somewhere in Floria to represent U.S. Bank at hearing — maybe a motion to dismiss, maybe a motion for summary judgment — for $75. Or would it?

I have a few questions for MyMotionCalendar.com.

1. Is this a real solicitation for an attorney to join you as one of your contract attorneys for a real hearing? Or is this an advertisement, using a fake hearing, to solicit either our business (to pay you for hearing coverage) or participation (as contract attorneys)? If it is an advertisement, does U.S. Bank know that you are using a (real or fake) case bearing its name to solicit business?

2. If it's an advertisement, disguised as a shout for help on a real hearing, then why would anyone — contract attorney or customer — want to do business with a company that advertises by fraud? Also, if it's an advertisement, why haven't you — a company nominally providing legal services — complied with the CAN-SPAM Act?

3. If, on the other hand, this is a real solicitation, genuinely seeking help from some attorney on a hearing:

a. Why would any contract attorney, or any customer, want to trust a company that is so freakishly incompetent that it is soliciting Los Angeles attorneys to got to Florida to handle hearings for $75?

b. Why would any contract attorney, or any customer, want to trust a company that is so freakishly incompetent that it can't keep straight what county the hearing is in, or what type of hearing it is?

c. Do you honestly think that any competent attorney can prepare for, and attend, a hearing on a motion to dismiss or a motion for summary judgement for $75? Either of those motions can result in the permanent end of the case, or the wrongful continuation of the case, to the substantial detriment of one side or the other. For $75? Really? How much time do you think that attorney is going to spend, for $75, preparing to argue what may be the incredibly complex matters presented in the motion? What kind of lawyer, or client, would trust a business that says "simply involves a motion to dismiss?"

Also:

4. Who the holy hell hires you people? If lawyers or law firms use you, do they disclose to their clients that they are subcontracting out their legal and ethical obligations at $75 per hearing to a company that doesn't know how far Los Angeles is from Florida, or, alternatively, to a company that gets business by lying? Do they know that they are trusting their cases to a company that sends $75 lawyers to handle "simply" a motion to dismiss?

This is what the marketeers are doing to the legal profession.

Edited to add: If you share my questions, perhaps you could ask company founder Jonathan Broder at [email protected]