Paid product or service promotions

I have a business degree. With that came studies in sales and advertising. Part of this involves knowing whether a certain venue will reach your target audience.

A good example of this came four months ago, when I received a solicitation from a small company that makes holsters. I’ve posted two holster reviews (here and here) – likely how they found me – along with being a Second Amendment advocate, so their offer to send me a holster to try out and review is perfectly acceptable. (Ultimately I declined as none of what they had interested me.)

But then there’s this solicitation I received earlier this week, reproduced below:

Hi Kenneth,

I just read Observations? ? ?from an apartment somewhere in Kansas City, I’ve shown it to some colleagues and we think a collaboration between us could work well. I represent a digital marketing agency currently working with a leading home interiors company who operate in the same marketplace as Houzz and We would like to feature a unique piece of content on your site on behalf of our client. For the privilege, we’d be happy to pay you somewhere in the region of $65.

Let me know your thoughts.

Best wishes,

Now there’s a telltale sign that this is an initially-blind e-mail solicitation. Any guesses? It’s the ??? placeholder for the ellipses in the blog title – this is a telltale sign of a character conversion error when my contact information and site name was put into their database. So I know right away they didn’t actually look at the site. For one, this post is #665. And while a heavy amount of my content deals with projects I’ve decided to showcase, and talking about technology, most of the content here is political.

Beyond that, the site is called “Observations from an apartment somewhere in Kansas City”. So posting paid content wouldn’t really fit with the site’s title since I wouldn’t be posting my point of view on something. Beyond that, they offered content regarding… interior decorating. I’ve never written here about interior decorating! Ever!

I really wish companies would do some research before sending out solicitations. I mean, is that really a lot to ask? This was my reply:

Ms Robertson,

With all due respect, I’m not interested in paid content on my blog, as it would defeat the purpose of the site’s title, for one. And given the view statistics for my blog, I’m sure your clients would prefer placing it elsewhere with more exposure. Especially since I can tell you didn’t actually read any of my website or otherwise you’d know that 1. it’s only a personal blog that 2. has a heavy amount of political content that your clients may also find an unsavory place for their content.

Thanks for your inquiry, but, taking your clients’ best interests into consideration, I decline.

There really is no reason for anyone to be talking to me about paid content. This blog gets… about 100 views on a good day, a few hundred on a really good day. A lot of what I discuss is very niche or very disagreeable or both. But that someone would solicit paid content to me for a topic I’ve never discussed on this blog is just…. bizarre.

Now if you want me to review something in line with what I’ve already discussed on this blog, then I’m open to ideas – e.g. the small holster maker mentioned earlier. If you want honest feedback about your product, I can give it – e.g. Black Rifle Coffee’s AK-47 espresso. But before contacting me about product placements or reviews, at least search the site to determine if it’s something I’ve already discussed. I mean that’s just… common sense.