The other day I received an e-mail from a start-up company. I thought I'd share it with you, along with my response. The name of the company has been changed, as I don't want to encourage them by giving them publicity. I have left their e-mail "as is," so don't even go there with "There are spelling/punctuation/grammatical errors!"....
In a message dated 4/4/2007 12:04:41 P.M. Pacific Daylight Time, email@example.com writes:
Hi Fat Sparrow,
From what I read, your blog seems to cover a lot of interesting topics around your original and personal vision on everyday's life . Your blog is quite visible (I found you in the first results of Technorati), so I guess you must receive loads of messages.
We are just a small tech startup running a beta test for a new widget for blogs.
As the topic of your blog fits pretty well with the type of high end blog we are looking for, it would be very interesting if you could join our AnnoyYou Roll beta test.
What's all about? AnnoyYou is the blog roll of your readers. It’s a widget that displays links to blogs your readers are visiting the most often.
How does it work? We trace the number of visits of each unique reader on each blog that has installed AnnoyYou Roll. The more often a reader visits a specific blog, the greater his affinity is with this blog.
What are the benefits for you? First of all, you will provide your readers with a very entertaining blog roll, based on other readers with similar reading habits. Moreover, you will get highly qualified incoming traffic for your blog. Indeed, as other similar blogs display your blog on their AnnoyYou Roll, they will feed you with new readers with a strong affinity with your blog.
It takes 1 minute to install: http://widget.annoyyou.com/
I would be really interested in your personal feedback on this widget.
Thanks for your help.
Project Manager AnnoyYou
PS: I apologize in advance to be another guy sending you an email! I am NOT here to sell you anything whatsoever.By the way, I guess I hate those stupid spams as much as you.
Dear Peter --
Thank you for your kind and flattering remarks. It is a difficult business sending out e-mails to strangers, is it not? Therefore, let us pretend we are dogs; you have sniffed my backside, and now I will sniff yours.
I have been on your website, but short of installing your program, I cannot find any way to test it beforehand, to see what kind of sites would be linked to me. Perhaps you could let me know how your program differs, if any, from blog-coding programs such as BlogCode.com, or Blogroll.com, or WhoLinksToMe.com. If it does not differ, I fail to see how it would be useful to me, quite frankly. If, for instance, your program could generate new commenters to my site who are not assholes, this may be a plus. Or, on the other hand, if what I get is new assholes (and I cannot find that your implied promise of "highly qualified incoming traffic" precludes this) commenting, who have had their sense of humour surgically removed, and insist upon commenting on subjects of which they know nothing, that would be a minus. People often think that they are funny or intelligent when in fact they are neither. I can safely say this, as I am both funny and intelligent, and therefore am in a perfect position to criticize everyone else.
I also find that if people want to see whom I read, they can easily look at the blogs listed in my links. Unlike many blogs who will do automatic reciprocal links, I do not list people whom I do not read at least occasionally. Many other people link to me, yet I do not link to them. I would be uncomfortable with a program that would automatically link me with such people. It appears to me that your new program is this type of system. If I have misunderstood, please feel free to correct me.
Also, I notice that you mention that if I use your system, I would have "a very entertaining blog roll." Just how entertaining should my blog roll be? I would hate to have a blog roll that is more entertaining than my actual blog. It would rather defeat the purpose of my blog, would it not? I mean, upstaged by my own blog roll.... Just think of the pressure, and then of the sad and possibly untimely demise of my blog, all because I could not live up to the expectations of those who had looked at my very entertaining blog roll! And then there is the thought of more traffic on my blog. Do I need more traffic, or should I be more of a "planned growth" kind of blog? A virtual Master Planned Community, if you will. I wouldn't want to have so much traffic that I was accused of succumbing to that dreaded disease of planners everywhere -- sprawl.
I would suggest that maybe you could come up with a blog program that screens commenters. I know Blogspot (which I use) has "word verification," but I have found that even idiots, unfortunately, can type in a random string of letters and then attach their inane comments to my perfect post. I think that if you were to come up with some kind of IQ test, or some type of litmus test that would use some basic, predetermined requirements before a person would be allowed to post, you would be doing a great service for all of Bloggingkind. If and when you develop such a program, please feel free to contact me.