A couple of fellow bloggers have gotten in touch with me recently wanting my take on some odd messages they got via their blog contact form. I get strange contact form messages on a regular basis, but it’s not something that seems to gets talked about much in the blogosphere, so I thought I’d share a few highlights (or lowlights).
The vague messages
I received one message that said, in its entirety, “Hi I’m interested in blogging what would be my next step?” Um, can you narrow that down a bit?
The “link to me baby” messages
I get quite a few messages from businesses wanting me to include a link to their site somewhere on my blog. There’s been only a single time I agreed to this, and it was because it was a high-quality site that I already linked to in multiple places on my site. They wanted a link to a certain relevant article on one of my pages, and in return, they’d mention my page on their social media. I thought that was quite reasonable.
Then occasionally there’s the really sleazy message like this one asking me to mislead my readers about a link:
“I work with clients in the timeshare and anti-snoring industry who are looking to purchase text-based link advertising on your website’s homepage. Each ad would be about 30 words of text with two dofollow links pointing to my client’s website. The ad can not be labeled “advertisement” or “sponsored” to avoid penalties.”
The “I can’t even come up with a decent lie” messages
On a related note, there are the people who are asking you to link to something of theirs, but they pretend they’ve been inspired by one of your posts. If they include a link to one of your posts in their message but make no mention of its content, that seems to be a good indicator that what they’re talking about has nothing to do with your post.
For example, take this message – apparently, I write about working remotely. Good to know!
“I stumbled upon your work and was very impressed with the quality of your content. Great job! I actually gained a lot of insights from it that inspired the work I’ve done with my team recently. It’s an infographic titled “52 Remote Working Statistics.””
The “I want to publish on your site” messages
I get a ton of these. Just recently I decided to explicitly state on my contact page that I don’t accept guest posts other than for specific series, and I’m curious how much of an effect that will have on the frequency of this kind of message.
Some of these messages are really vague, and I’m not quite sure the point of sending them. Is anyone really going to be tempted to respond to this?:
“I am Silvia, I recently came across your site and found it very interesting.
I want to publish my unique and informative Health/ Lifestyle Niche article on your site. The article is related to your website and will be appreciated by your readers. Please let me know if it sounds good to you so that I can send the article for review.”
The “put on your Nancy Drew hat” messages
Sometimes there are messages that leave me wanting to know more, so I put on my detective hat and do some searching.
The message below came from someone who claimed to be a psychiatrist, and the name they based was an actual psychiatrist. However, it made no sense for an actual psychiatrist to be sending this message, and I eventually concluded it was a rather odd duck who had briefly interacted with my blog around that time.
“I’m a psychiatrist. I always listen to my patients. But what to do when they say they need a medication, say Thorazine, but I think they should try a different medication. Then anxiety and hyperactivity pose another problem. Med seeking or therapeutic need for an amphetamine or benzo?”
Recently I mentioned the “registered nurse” who wasn’t actually registered as a nurse in the state where she lived. Below was the message that set off my spidey-senses, as it seemed quite odd to not mention the name of the book.
“I came across your site when I was looking at mental health resources. I really like it and looking forward to reading your blog. I wrote a mental health book based on my experience with patients. I would love your input.”
The “things that make you hmmm” messages
Then there are the blog contact form messages where there’s nothing to investigate; they’re just weird.
The message below I received after mentioning in a post about my grandma giving me some money.
“Hi Ashley; I just spent a bunch of time (at work, LOL) reading all of your blogs and many of your posts. So many of your comments are spot on and I enjoyed hearing them from an intelligent mind. I have major depression and although I have made progress learning how to deal with it, there are many times also that I do poorly. Only a few people know I have it, which may or may not be all the best for me. Sadly, I want to caution you about your grandmother’s early gift you wrote about. This world is filled with many who have wrong intentions, and no need for you to give them a reason to target you. This is my private email address and I would enjoy chatting with you if you ever need someone to speak with. I wish you all of the best!!”
Then there’s this one. I have no idea what’s going on here.
“Greetings from UC Davis! I have been admiring your writing and style for years and I was wondering if you would you be kind enough to share with me your favorite lead, either by you or some other great writer, for an assignment in my Thursday night journalism class with veteran journalist Steve Magagnini?”
Have you gotten any wild and weird blog contact form messages?