Please allow me to vent.
Last Wednesday, I was shocked when a company owner sent me an email to confirm a pitch email sent to her by a certain Rachel using the email address firstname.lastname@example.org.
If you’re not a blogger, a pitch email is one that bloggers send to companies for promotions so that we could show more product reviews and offer more giveaways on our blogs.
From: email@example.com [mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org]
Sent: Friday, June 29, 2012 7:10 AM
My name is Rachel and I organize product reviews and giveaways for the Blog called bayareamommy.com
The Blog mainly focuses on product reviews on great products for moms and children, as well as frugal living.
The Primary demographic is the San Francisco Bay area.
We were interested in doing a review on a product of your choice.
We can do a review and giveaway, or just a review – this is entirely up to you.
Here is some information on the reviews and giveaway as well as some stats:
Reviews written are 100% my opinion. I will not recommend any product that I believe is not worth recommending. Products sent for review will not be returned. The review will include:
– company and product details
– images taken from your website
– images of the actual product received
– 2 links to your website or blog (please let me know if you need me to include more links and/or specific anchor keywords)
– links to your company or product Facebook page and Twitter profile (kindly provide this information in your email)
– purchase information
Giveaways are an effective way of driving traffic to and generating interest in your website and products. Should you opt to do a giveaway, I will run it for 2 weeks starting on the day I post the product review. I will be using Rafflecopter to manage the giveaway and I will email you the winner’s details after the giveaway ends. I will include the following as entries:
– visit the company website and comment on a product thus increasing traffic to your site
– “like” the company Facebook page
– follow the company Twitter page
Kindly include in your email a list of other options you would like to be included as entries. We ask that you ship the prize to the winner within 14 days of receiving the winner’s information. If you are giving away a gift card/code, we ask that the amount cover the cost of one product including shipping.
Bay Area Mommy’s statistics have only been improving every week!
Stats updated as of 6/2/2012
Alexa Rank: 44,621 (Worldwide); 9,821 (US)
Unique Visitors: 9,612
Klout Score: 53
Twitter Followers: 9,620
Facebook Fans: 17,307
My reaction: WHAT??!!! OMG!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I didn’t think someone would actually stoop to this level! And for what? Free stuff??? Ugh!
My mind was filled with questions! How many companies has this person emailed using MY BLOG’S name and stats? How many companies actually sent her products for review and are now expecting to see a blog post about them on MY BLOG? Who is this person? Why is she doing this? At 7:10 in the morning??? Is there a way for me to file a lawsuit against her? Are there even laws against what she’s doing? How can I trace her?
For almost the whole day, I didn’t know what to do. I tried to keep my mind off of it but I know I had to do something if only to warn companies and my fellow bloggers about this kind of scam.
For almost the whole day, I searched the internet for any information I could get about this email address. Now, the username mixie3stp isn’t a common one so when I saw that one of the search results was a blog giveaway where the person commented with her Twitter name mixie3stp, I immediately checked it. And what do you know, the name of the person that commented is Rachel. And with her Twitter name and real name is her Facebook name and URL as well as her other email address which is email@example.com. And checking the FB profile of this person, I found out that she’s from Pleasant Hill, CA, about an hour from where I am based.
This person probably thought it would be nice to just email companies telling them she does reviews for a blog so that they could send her free stuff and she wouldn’t need to do a review because she doesn’t actually have a blog! And what better way to do it than to say she does it for a blog based in the Bay Area, where she’s also based? UGH!
I sent her an email to just express my dismay for what she’s doing. Of course, I don’t expect a reply. Anyway, I guess something good can still come out of this situation.
For one, it’s a warning to my fellow bloggers that there are people out there who are desperate enough to do this. I didn’t think this could happen to me but it did. This is something that can hurt my reputation as a blogger. As a fellow blogger has recommended, get an email address that has your domain name (firstname.lastname@example.org). That way, companies are sure they’re talking to the right people.
And this also serves as a warning to companies. I mean, thank God this company owner noticed that the email wasn’t from my blog’s domain and decided to shoot me an email just to verify. Imagine if she didn’t. She would have sent an item to this Rachel and not get anything — no post, no promotion, no feedback, nothing.
I suggest, if you are a business owner, that you check the email address in the blog’s contact page/form and see if it’s the same as the email address from which you received the pitch email.
These few additional steps for both bloggers and business owners might seem like a hassle but it would benefit both in the long run since you’ll be preventing scammers or posers from victimizing you.
Do you have any other tips? Let me know.