Let me share this email I got recently, with commentary, of course.

Hello Hillary,

Hey! What’s up?

I’m writing to you from Picollecta.com, an online community of collectors. Due to your love of toy collecting I was hoping you’d be interested in writing a regular guest blog for our website.

Hmm, probably not as I already have way too much going on but if it pays well enough, maybe…

Each blog post contains a back link to your chosen blog or website, so it’s a good way to get that extra bit of site traffic and publicity.

Wow! A whole link! I’m crapping my pants right now just thinking about all that sweet traffic and publicity your obscure site no one has ever heard of is going to get me. Here I was thinking you were going to pay for my work, how small minded I was!

Traffic! Publicity! Exposure! All for just regularly giving you content for free? What bestselling author and playwright WOULDN’T just JUMP at the chance to write completely for free just so for a taste of traffic from a completely unknown site! I can’t even imagine a better use of my time.

In return we’d promote your blog and website to our readers, in our weekly updates and firmly establishing you as our ‘go-to’ expert on toys.

I’m sorry for the pause there, my heart stopped from sheer excitement! You’re going to promote me to your readers and on your website and all I have to do in return is furnish the actual content that’s on your site in the first place? That’s like offering to give a chicken a little bite of your omelet as a special favor! Lucky chicken, am I right?

And I’m so excited about your offer to establish me as an expert on toys. Why, just imagine, if I had you to establish me as some kind of an expert, people would email me and ask me to write about collecting for their sites just like you did!

Whoa. I just realized something. How did you even find me and know that I was an expert on collecting when you guys hadn’t even established me as one yet? Is time travel part of this amazing deal? What CAN’T you guys do?

We’d also be able to give you a free advertising pic in our Toy section, which we’d also link to your site.

Holy funking duckballs! One free picture that links to my site! Back it up now, that just sounds too good to be true. A picture! That links to my site! For free! There’s nowhere on the entire internet I could have that! And for the amazing low price of ONLY of my time and writing skill on a regular basis? WOW!

Feel free to take a look at our Toy section on our site if you’d like to get more of a feel for it: www.picollecta.com/collectible/toys/news/mostrecent

I have a great feel for it already! It’s so cool how you managed to make a site that’s simultaneously a rip-off a Pinterest AND eBay but with non of the features people like of either AND you made it look about as professional as a Geocities site from the 90s. Who wouldn’t want to work for free for the sheer privilege, nay honor, of being associated with such an amazing site? And asking people to create your content for you for no compensation but your life changing link and image offer, that really speaks volumes about the kind of company you run and how you value your users.

If this is something you’d be interested in doing, please let me know.
Many thanks for your time,
Jamie Mackenzie,

Oh I am definitely interested, Jamie. It’s been weeks since a company made such a complete fool of themselves and my readers love a good take-down post.

(I love how she put a comma after her name like it was going to say, Jamie Mackenzie, Internet Shyster)

But you know what my favorite part of this whole pathetic email is? That if she had really spent three seconds on my bio she would have realized that, a) maybe a someone will as many publishing credits as I have is a little too savvy to fall for the old “work for free for the exposure!” scam and that she might have to look for someone a bit more gullible and b) instead of trying to convince me to write for them for free for such amazing offers as A Link! An Image! and Basically Nothing!, all she would have had to do is introduce the site to me as seller’s marketplace, which it apparently is, and I would have done a real review and write-up of it as an e-commerce option with no snark. Instead she tried to play me for a sucker with the “write for free angle” and cast the company in the worst possible light and now they’re just getting a mocking, no link and a spank from me and nothing else.

I just can’t understand how people screw this stuff up so badly and I am endlessly amazed at the stupidity.