This Is Exactly Why I Hate Guest & Sponsored Posts
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Apparently, I think differently than most.
I actually believe that bloggers should want to treat readers well and actually have some responsibility to do so.
I also think bloggers should respect themselves and publish the best content they can.
So, it shouldn’t be news that I’m not a fan of some tactics bloggers and internet marketers use to get noticed or make money.
That especially includes guest posts.
Jeremy at Modest Money and some others may disagree with me on this point, which is quite alright, but I have my reasons.
In fact, the reason I dislike “guest posts” so much is because they’re usually just that–a tactic.
It’s not like someone sits down to write something really unique or mind-blowing.
No, instead, it’s generally some crap thrown together around some product link using some arbitrary word-count limit.
Or, it can be one article spun off to several sites (as is the case of the credit score article I saw on at least 4 different sites that read suspiciously similar on each one from the same writer).
If you’ve read anything about writing a guest post (and there are plenty of references) you should know what the first rule is–like this one on ProBlogger where Darren tell you from the start to GIVE AWAY YOUR BEST CONTENT!
I happen to get a lot of things like Mike Sobol mentions in his guest post guide on Search Engine Journal–“some weak piece of content I can’t use” (although I wouldn’t be so nice in my own description).
I just happened to be at a breaking point when I received this latest offer (the heading markers are my annotations just so you can follow the points below):
Preparing Letters of Notice to Terminate an Agreement (heading)
Numerous small businesses have started taking advantage of previously big-business-only services such as credit card processors and business document preparation. While most of these businesses are legitimate, a few are not, and a few others employ technically legal but ethically dubious price gouging methods. In these cases, you can almost guarantee that they will have strict clauses in the contract that will keep you from getting out.
While you may not be able to find any legal loopholes to get out of your agreement without penalty, you can still take steps to end the agreement. Most of the time, these contracts have automatic renewals, meaning that if you do not send out the appropriate notice of termination, you will wind up being liable for a full period.
The Consequences of Not Sending a Proper Notice to Terminate (subheading)
As you can see from many LegalZoom reviews (Eric’s note: this was a link that had 4, yes 4 whole reviews but is now dead), failure to send out a proper notice to terminate generally results in the term automatically renewing. This means that the only way you can get out, short of following through with another full term of the agreement, is to breach the agreement. Most of the time, these contracts come with clauses that could make you liable for the full loss of profits that they could have realized if you had followed through with the agreement. Depending on your state, these damages might be based on your average profit over the years or a complex set of calculations from your current profits. It could also result in punitive damages. In most states, there are no caps to these fees, but generally, courts do not assess high punitive damages unless they feel you acted intentionally. Even so, they average around a few thousand dollars.
Preparing a Proper Termination Notice (subheading)
The proper termination notice should include all of the details of your original agreement. You will also want to make sure that you specifically note the date of the original agreement and the amount of time you are required to give to make the termination proper. It does not hurt to include a copy of your original agreement. Highlight the necessary clauses.
Most of the time, these contracts have a particular window of time during which you must inform them that you wish to terminate the agreement. Generally, this is no sooner than 90 days before the contract ends and at least 7 days before the contract ends. Make sure that you send it as soon as possible.
However, it’s not enough to just assume that one letter of termination is enough. While you can generally make a good argument for the termination being honored, you need to make sure that you confirm that it was received. After you have mailed the termination agreement, call the business. Send another copy confirming the agreement has been received. Make sure that you note the dates that you sent it and any proof that you have that it was received. This will help you to make sure that you get out of the agreement without any added consequences.
Now, I understand that the writer was probably told to crank out as many articles as they could using a particular link.
I understand this makes the focus of the copywriter’s job quantity over quality (wrong as it may be).
I even understand that this person was given one of those arbitrary word-count limits.
But let’s be real. This is one flaming failure of an article.
The headline sucks.
It is formatted the same as the subheadings for zero distinction.
The premise of the article is flawed at best.
The paragraphs aren’t very coordinated.
The “facts” are pretty much pulled out of someone’s ass.
The “many” reviews mentioned are actually 4.
In fact, they are all 4 years old!
None of the reviews referred to have anything to do with the statement made about them.
There are no references to back up any claims, link-wise or citation-wise.
No imagery, no flow, no problem solved, no issue tackled, no anything…just words on a screen.
This isn’t something I would ever feel comfortable turning in as my own work, and not something I would endorse either.
Essentially, by publishing stuff like this (and all the others that come through my inbox) I would essentially be doing just that.
Some people may say that I’m nit-picking.
Some would say that my expectations are too high.
Some may even say that my head is too big and I should take whatever I can get.
While all of that may be true, so is this:
My readers deserve the best of what I have it in me to offer, and articles like the one shown here are far from that.
That’s the bottom line.
I’m curious: how do you feel about the subject? If you are a blogger do you take the time to make a guest/sponsored post worthy of being on your site? Readers, when you see that a post is labeled as being a guest/sponsored one, do you find that they often lack the same quality as the publishers’ own content?
I think there is a balance, and there’s a big different between receiving a guest post from a blogger friend whose quality you trust and an unsolicited post from someone working to promote a company (and probably being paid for it).
When I first started, guest posting was a priority and I wrote some excellent guest posts. My best quality writing was for other sites! I wish I had kept it to myself, but I supposed it had some benefits and help me network.
I’ve had to turn down too many posts because it seemed like it was someone’s first foray into English. I don’t want to heavily edit a post for someone who is looking to post on my site.
Dude, I think you set the record for fastest reply. This was only up for a minute or two!
I totally agree that there is a difference, but at the same time, my thought process would be to make any guest offering great, so it would be hard for site owners to turn down. That way, even if it’s a marketing article, it will garner the most attention possible.
I can count on one hand the number of guest posts I’ve published and they were certainly from people who I absolutely trusted and respected in terms of their knowledge and writing.
Truth be told, even some of the people I am friends with tend to have quite a few lapses in grammatical judgment on their own sites, but I get what you’re saying about those obvious non-native speakers writing for pay.
haha thats what happens when I read a feed. Was wondering why there were no other replies.
Bottom line is people are lazy!
Amen! Thanks for the reminder. If I ever do guest posts, I make sure it’s my best work… very good read
Thanks man. It’s important to put your best foot forward when reaching out to a new audience. It’s especially important if those very people are going to see your work on multiple sites (should you try to get more exposure) and not see the same thing or something similar each time. That could just kill your reputation or at the very least make you someone people pass over thinking that they won’t be missing out on much.
I get so many guest post requests on Thousandaire and most of them are just businesses trying to build links. My rule is that I need a relationship with someone, either through commenting on their site or having met in person, before I ask to guest post on their site. And then when I do, I give them my best content possible!
Don’t bloggers edit the guest post to personalize it? It can keep the quality and earn them money at the same time. Most guest posters give us right to edit, keeping the link intact.
From what I see, many publishers do very little. I’ve seen grammatical errors pass through. I’ve seen factual errors pass through. I’ve seen guest posts that make little to no sense at times. I’ve had people refer to them as “just guest posts” meaning they don’t care about the quality since they weren’t considered to be part of the site guess. Me? I put integrity and quality before the cash.
Good stuff. FYI, the LegalZoom Reviews link is up in your bad sample guest post pitch in case you inadvertently left it in.
Hope the summer is going well!
Summer’s been hectic Sam. Shifting of priorities, behind-the-scenes changes, new projects, work. At least I can say there’s almost never a dull moment!
I did leave the link in there for reference purposes. It’s nofollow so I’m not worried about anything on that end. Just felt that it needed to be live for people to click through and see how poor of a reference it is.
I agree completely. Gone are the days when “real” bloggers would write fantastic guest posts on someone else’s site to generate readership. Nowadays, they’re almost all easy-to-spot, crappy articles filled with irrelevant links, and posted for pay.
I wouldn’t say that all bloggers are taking the easy way out, but I will say with certainty that there are a few who will either “cheat” by spinning articles for multiple sites and there are others who will publish stuff that is below the quality that many have come to expect from their sites. Sometimes money and popularity trump quality and originality I guess.
I’m a bit confused – when looking at the demographic of Payday Loan users on Wikipedia it quite clearly states that-
“Most payday loan borrowers are white, female, and are 25 to 44 years old”
And only after slight adjustments do the other 5 groups come in to play…
Why did you omit this fact that most payday loan borrowers are white females?
Maybe an oversight on your part…
Hey Mark, thanks for stopping by.
Just curious as to the content of your comment. Perhaps you just posted it on the wrong site?
It’s a spam, but cleverly done masking itself as written by the owner of the site. I had a few exact same in my spam box and exact same name “Mark Thatcher”. I am deleting this guy.
I must admit you have a point.