When you’ve had a blog for a while, you’ll eventually start to get some business offers. Requests for sponsored posts, press releases or offers for paid guest posts. Sometimes they pay you. Hmmm….
As some of you may know, I do accept guests posts. Generally, I let other bloggers who are interested in using my blog’s platform for various reasons post anything relevant to my blog with very little intervention from my part. and I have enjoyed it a lot. There are some really amazing guest posts on this blog.
However, this hands-off attitude can also lead one astray. Like I said, I have had great luck up until now but I almost made a mistake.
I regularly get emails from people that want to pay to put a post on my blog with a number of “discreet” links. The reason you have never seen any of these posts is that I am still not completely comfortable with just directly advertising to you guys unless I have thoroughly tested what I’m advertising and most of these offers don’t allow that. Second, even though they claim to be “relevant” posts (always a good sign, when they can’t actually tell you what you’re blog is about when it’s in the name) they often suggest generic self-help posts that definitely wouldn’t fit with the rest of my blog.
A little more tricky are the professional writers that sometimes send me pitches. I would love to give them some work but I make negative money from my blog (as in I invest and make no profit) so it would be a pretty unsound financial move to start paying authors. There are professional anime blogs out there and I’m sure they could easily sell their posts there.
I decline politely, try to be encouraging and usually, that’s that. In fact, that’s always the end of it except for this one time when the blogger bafflingly responded that’s o.k., I don’t need to be paid. From what I know that’s a big No No in the industry. You have to be paid for your work. But he went on to say he just liked my blog a lot and wanted to contribute. Awwwww. How can I say no to that?
So I did what I always do, I sent him a link to my guest post policy and told him to let me know if he had any questions. On a separate note, I notice that everyone who asks me to guest post has not read my Guest Post post. It’s the first thing on my menu. This leads me to believe my blog’s organization isn’t that great but I’m not sure how to fix it. Anyways, back to the post.
As these things usually go, he disappears for a week or so after that but actually does come back with a post he wants to publish here. Like I said, I’m usually very hands-off but I do read over the posts before publishing. Just to make sure they aren’t completely irrelevant. And if they go against my own values, I probably will still publish them but I want to have a heads up. It’s one thing to publish posts you disagree with because you still think they’re good posts or you see value in opposing ideas, it’s another to do so because you were too lazy to proof.
So I looked it over. It was one of those numbered tips and tricks lists but it had an anime/manga connection so I thought the subject matter could be interesting to my readers even if it wasn’t exactly the type of post I would ever write. I just scanned it quickly when I first received it and I noticed he put in an author bio at the end. This is good, I really prefer when gues posters put in their author’s bio. But his bio didn’t have him as a blogger but as a school essay writer and he worked for one of those sites that students pay to “help” them write term papers and the like. The site was linked.
This sort of bothered me a little. I know next to nothing about essay writing sites. I have never used one and the classes I took mostly had us writing research papers that can’t really be outsourced. It would be more trouble for me to explain the experiment and results than to write the paper. Actually, me explaining the experiments and results, more or less is the paper. But I do remember these services not being well seen when I was in university.
That’s all 4th maybe 6th hand info. A vague feeling of distrust based on nothing concrete. For all I know these are completely legitimate services that really do help students who need them. But I was already a bit uneasy. Not only about tacitly endorsing this site but also, why would a guy with a full-time job writing academic papers want to post on my blog? His post was impersonal and professional. Not a passion piece or editorial about a subject that was dear. So I put it away to read through more carefully when I had the time.
It took me a few more days. I may not come off that way, but I actually have a pretty time-consuming work schedule. In any case, I finally got to it and well, it was a decent post. Nothing life-changing and sort of standard internet tips and tricks post but it was pretty well written. There were a lot of links throughout, this guy knows his SEO. Some linked back to my own blog but kind of randomly. The word manga linking back to a random manga impression, that sort of thing. But others linked to external sites. The first few I tested were also essay writing sites and my Anti-Virus absolutely forbade me to actually visit the second one of these. Well, that’s not good.
I wondered if I should ask him to remove the links. Mention my unease and how my antivirus assures me these sites are crawling with infectious code. I really don’t want to send my readers that way. And to be clear, I visit some pretty sketchy sites to read manga and find anime I can’t find anywhere else. My antivirus has never done that before.
I actually took a day to try to figure out how to approach the situation. I was trying to find a wording that wouldn’t come off as rude. I mean the guy took the time to write something for me and I’m being super ungrateful. Then again, he was the one who wanted to… I was torn.
Finally, I figured I would put all my issues in one email so that there’s no back and forth. I mean if he does agree to remove the links, I didn’t want to then write him back with an actually there was this other thing… So I did a real editorial read-through. I wrote down that his style completely clashed with mine. I didn’t think he should change it but to keep in mind that my readers might not respond as well to it. I warn guest posters about this whenever it’s the case.
Then I had an idea. I never do this but I figured why not. I ran it through my Grammarly checker. Aside from the spelling and grammar features, it tells me things like inconsistent tone or how the post comes off. I figured I could elaborate on my previous point to be a bit more constructive. And it has a plagiarism chek. I hadn’t considered that but pretty substantial plagiarism was detected. For me, that was the final straw.
I gave up anything else and just wrote back that the post wasn’t a good fit for my site. Interestingly, despite how insistent he had been up until now, the blogger just said, ok, that’s fine and I heard nothing from him since. The thing is, if I had been a bit busier or in a more laissez-faire mood, I might have published that post. And I would have regretted it. I would have reread it once it was out and probably tried the links and been, whoa…
And maybe this guy simply sold this post to a few blogs which is why the plagiarism check went off. I’m not sure if that counts as plagiarism when it’s your own work. It seems like it’s not that bad. Still, I would have liked to know about it. Something like, I published this a few years ago on that blog but I think it would be perfect for yours. That’s cool.
All in all, this isn’t a super bad experience. I’ve actually had people be very rude and condescending when wanting to guest post. By comparison, this guy was a sweetheart. But it was the experience that left me the most unsettled. Like how easily you can put out something you don’t mean to. I already misspeak enough in my own posts, I don’t need the added stress.
I’m not going to stop accepting guest posts over this mind you. Every other experience has been lovely. But if you also open your blog to other authors, you might want to be a little careful.