After being a blogger since 08ish, the past year has brought a change for me, I’ve been on the other side doing blogger relations. I’m still consider myself more of a blogger than a PR/blogger outreach person. I felt the need to throw that out there before getting to something completely mind boggling I’ve witnessed this week.
A few weeks ago, a blogger posted in a bloggers Facebook group with a link to an interest form for anyone that wanted to hear from a company. Not many details were given, but it was definitely stated that it would be a paid opportunity to install a widget on a page. I decided to fill out the form even though chances were slim to none that I’d want something like that on my main blog, Cora’s Story. I was curious, and you never know.
I heard back from someone at the company, Ubokia.
My name is Conner (Redacted), and I am an associate at Ubokia. (Redacted) has informed me that you are interested in working with us.
Ubokia is a social online marketplace. There is great freedom in how Ubokia can be used. We allow people to post either what they would like to sell or what they would like to buy. However, our focus is in allowing people to place specific ‘want’ ads and have the sellers compete for their business. One of our most recent developments is an embedded marketplace for blog owners with all the functionality ofUbokia. I would love to open a discussion detailing the pros of embedding Ubokia and whether we can create a mutually beneficial partnership. Let me know the best time and best method to contact you.
Looking forward to hearing from you!
I’d forgotten filling out the interest form, so I checked out the site and decided I would try a call with them, after all I have a bazillion blogs and perhaps it would work on one of them.
I replied that I looked forward to speaking and gave my phone number, still with the understanding that this was *truly* a company looking to legitimatelly work with bloggers.
And then the bait and switch, I get this email.
First, let me give you some information about Ubokia. We are trying to spread the word about our website. The idea is to create a more satisfying buying experience on the internet. There are so many ways in which the current e-commerce market model lets us down. For one, the seller has all the power. Current internet shoppers are forced to search for the product they want through internet. This can be very time-consuming and is usually at the expense of valuable free-time. Internet shoppers are faced with the choice of settling for what is convenient to save time or to waste precious free-time doing an exhaustive search to find the best possible solution. Instead, at Ubokia, we have the buyer place what they want and the sellers come to them. This way, the buyer can spend their free time doing as they wish because the seller will send them an email describing their item. The other pitfall that people run into on the internet is not knowing whether the person they are doing business with is reliable or safe. So, Ubokia has tools in place to ensure not just the best buying experience, but also one that is safe and reliable. This starts with allowing users from eBay to import all of their user feedback from that site. Also, we allow for user feedback on the Ubokia website. One of the greatest assets to ensure safety and reliability is the synthesis of social networking with the marketplace. OnUbokia, users are able to create groups that can be open or private. These groups allow for a smaller number of users to interact, where the likelihood of an unknown or sketchy seller decreases dramatically. Lastly, Ubokia has a unique verification algorithm that continues to ensure the safety of both the buyer and the seller.
Recently, we have rolled out our iFrame widget. With this, we are hoping to start mutually beneficial partnerships with bloggers. We are hoping to get more people to hear about, know about, and useUbokia. We are hoping to do this by having bloggers embed the iFrame into their website. This benefits the blogger because now you, as the blogger, can drive your traffic to safe, secure marketplace, that is unique to the blog as the users will be comprised of blog followers. Since the iFrame is embedded in the site, the traffic never actually leaves your blog site. Also, it creates another page on your blog, thus allowing for more space that could potentially be used for advertising. Furthermore, embedding our widget creates a social group on our website that is visible to all Ubokia users. At this group site,Ubokia users will be exposed to your site.
I hope this information was useful. Please let me know if you have any further questions, or if you would like to proceed with embedding the iFrame
Oh, yes, that sounds so mutually beneficial. I’d love to promote your company, for free. All for traffic I’m not sure I’m going to get. And, oh yes, thanks for blowing off the phone call with me and turning it into this.
I was totally turned off and archived the emails and moved on.
Then, in the same group that I first saw the sign up, threads started popping up from bloggers. It was so odd. Their offers were all over the place, $1000 to one blogger, $35 a month to another and $10,000 to another. Okay, you might be thinking, not so odd the bloggers were at different levels. However, I think we were all within a reasonable gauge of each other numbers wise. They tried the bait and switch on a few others, too, trying to get bloggers to promote them for free.
It was all sounding so strange, but not post worthy yet.
Then I started reading updates from my friend Emily, she was negotiating with them, and was willing to offer quite a fair rate.
After several emails back and forth (and trust me, Emily is always uber nice and professional), she gets this, from Connor as well:
“I would also like to mention that the market decides the fair value of something. For example, Honda cars are priced at $20,000 because that is what people are willing to pay, not because Honda set the price there arbitrarily. According to you, there are sites out there that will make a marketplace for your site, which is the exact same service we offer, and by your own admission, those websites will make you a marketplace for free. So, by your own admission, the market value for embedding a marketplace on your site is free because that is what the other vendors are willing to pay you for it. We are actually offering you money, which is more than the actual market value.”
So now hundreds of bloggers have not only sworn off working with you, but I bet they aren’t going to use your services either.
And, I guarantee, Ubokia will not see returns from their “free” placements.
Lesson learned: When it comes to blogger outreach, don’t try to cheapskate your way onto blogs, in the long run, it will almost always cost you much more than paying bloggers a fair rate.Pin It