Michael 84

Blogging Tips – Advertising: How To Spot A “Fake” Advertiser

Blogging Tips, Tech Blog
Wednesday, 23rd January, 2013


When you start to generate traffic to your blog and get visitors and a following, you will almost certainly get contacted by marketers, stores and PR people who want to advertise on your blog. At this point you may be thinking great, lots of money will be rolling in, but you have to ask yourself, at what cost?

First you have to understand who is contacting you. There are a few different types of people who will contact you. The 3 main types are: The brand/company directly, an external PR company, and an SEO guy/company (usually external, sometimes internal).

Ever since I started Michael 84 this fashion & lifestyle blog gets contacted all the time from a variety of sources. It could be clothing brands, PR folks, other bloggers, fragrance companies and shops directly selling fashion or other goods.

Once you have understood this, the second part is understanding exactly what they want from you and your blog. Many companies or PR companies will send out press releases so you can choose whether you would like to publish their release.

Some will be more direct, and ask you specifically to promote their brand/site/product, and interact with you. These will usually be within the same niche as you, and may offer things such as products for review.

Then there are the SEO minded people, most of which only care about having a link on your site, this is very bad for many reasons, which I will go into later.

So, what do I define as a “fake” advertiser? Well when I use the word fake I am talking about non-genuine. They are companies, usually SEO (search engine optimisation) companies who are only interested in having an article on your site, usually written by themselves, with keyword rich text anchor text; This means the article has keywords embedded into it which links to other sites (for example “rolex watch” to a rolex website, rather than “click here for rolex watches”). They care very little about your site, and offer very small payments in terms of compensation for having this article on your site.

Here is a real email which I have been sent (of the many I get) which I would describe as not genuine.


Check where the email is from – In my opinion, any reputable companies would use their company email address. So if you check it should be @company-name and not @gmail or @hotmail. This is not always the case, but it is a good starting point to check the authenticity of the person contacting you.

The introduction – I understand that when companies send out emails such as these they create a template and then send to many people; Since I’ve also done this kind of marketing I know this, but I have always went to the trouble of researching the site a little, and managing to at least get the person or companies name! I think the introduction should start with my name, it’s all over my blog so if the person really wanted to advertise with my blog then they’d address me.  However the intro is not the be all and end all of spotting an email which is not genuine.

The main content – They have referenced my site, but an entire URL, and it doesn’t even work and have parts missing. This may have not been written by a human, and just sent out as a bulk email, spam.

They offer “free content” and mention that the article would be “100% unique”. These are key phrases which an SEOer would use, meaning all he wants is a keyword rich article, not beneficial to my blog at all.

“All I ask in return is that I include one of my sponsors in the post as a hyperlink” –  And there you have it! From giving me a free article he’s now asking for something in return, a link.

This is the typical kind of email which I consider to be non genuine. The person does not care about my blog, and only wants a link. He does not mention the content of the link, or the company which the article will be linked to. All that is mentioned in the email is a unique article, and he wants a link.

Of course posting a review of a product, brand or website is not always a bad thing. For balance and to compare the difference, here is an example of a genuine and good email which I was sent.


Introduction – It’s addressed to me, and they introduce themselves and the brand they are working for, along with a few compliments about my blog (don’t get too flattered by things like that).

The Main Content – They write about increasing brand awareness, and are asking for a post, and offer something in return. They have already mentioned the brand, and it’s a large high street name with a good reputation. They say they will “work with me” which is always a good sign, better than offering me a post already written.

I do not understand why the first guys think a blogger would want free content and give away a link; The majority of bloggers write their own content, so an offer for content is usually a key sign of a spammy post written by someone else for their own gain.

Tips to always consider when dealing with potential advertisers:

  • Ask yourself what good will the post be to the blog, and the visitors. Will it add value?
  • Always know the brand/product/site you are linking to – If you link to a website you are telling your visitors and search engines, “I recommend this website”. Is that true?
  • If you do allow someone else to post an article on your blog make sure it is well written and fits in with the theme of your blog. Be wary of links within the post; If they insist on certain keywords as links, I would stay clear.
  • According to the Google Guidelines, they recommend you use a “nofollow” tag when linking to a website if they have influenced you with a freebie or money. If you mention this to the potential advertiser and they object, they are only interested in having a link for SEO purposes and not for brand awareness or promoting their brand on your blog.

You should be very careful who you are linking to, and how you link to them. I will cover that in a different blog post.

If you have any questions regarding fake advertisers, please let me know 🙂

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Michael Adams

About Michael

Michael Adams is the founder and editor of Michael 84, blogger and T-shirt designer from Newcastle, UK. Sharing men's fashion tips, style advice and lifestyle information for all guys.

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