19 October 2011

Web Promotion

I quite often receive a message from someone (who shall remain anonymous), and the message goes something like this:
My name is XXX from XXX.net. Just wanted to drop you a line as a new fan of your Blog. It's great finding a blog with such informative resources and creative insights. On a related note, we recently published an article that deals with Language. So we thought you might want to share it with your readers.
At first sight, this seems rather nice: this person has read my blog and thinks it is informative and creative. Splendid! In addition, she thinks her own material might be of interest to my readers, so she hopes I might pass on the link to them.

But look again: she has not actually said anything specific about my blog. In fact, she almost certainly has not read it. The reason I know this is that I have received this message, or something rather similar to it, many times now, and although the message I get is always carefully worded and very complimentary about what I write, it never actually says anything specific about my material.

This is just quite a clever spam message that is trying to promote another website by means of saying nice things about mine. My guess is that this message is sent out to hundreds and hundreds of bloggers in the hope of fishing for a few extra links to their site. They probably have a database of email addresses, and they send a message like this out to all of them automatically once a week or so.

You really have to be careful about the messages you receive in this Brave New Electronic World. Things are not always quite what they seem.

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