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 2013 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 on 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?