They’d like to know!

By Mir
February 2, 2010

Chris wrote a hilarious post the other day about the ridiculous pitches we receive as bloggers. We’ve all been through the “I don’t respond to email addressed to ‘Dear Mommyblogger’ or addressed to someone else” thing, and Chris does a great job of explaining why pretending to hype an “opportunity” to someone that is really a request for advertising in return for some crappy free product is just insulting and dumb.

But I’ve been thinking about it, and I’ve decided that that at the very least, you kind of have to admire the chutzpah of those pitches. I mean, they’re terrible. AWFUL. But someone must be falling for them, right? So maybe even at a low rate of return, it works out to be advantageous for them. And if you want to be completely technical, offering free product in return for space on someone’s blog is indeed an “opportunity,” albeit one that doesn’t seem like it would appeal to many people with brains.

But I’ve decided that my favorite pitch to hate has got to be the ones that are even dumber than that.

I mean, yes, I’m not interested in being pitched diapers when my “baby” is 10, true. However insulting it is, I’m being offered SOMETHING. But even more often than I get those sorts of pitches, I get all of these SUPER FRIENDLY pitches that are really all about INFORMATION.

[Cue the “The more you know!” television commercial music.]

“Dear Mir,” they start out, “I’m writing you today with some exciting news!” (Oh, good, I think. Maybe I’ve won the lottery. Or we’re bringing all our troops home. Or I lost five pounds and didn’t notice.) “Your readers will be really excited to…” it continues, and then the thing that comes after is something like “view this new YouTube video” or “hear about our contest” or “find out that webbed toes are completely normal.” The theme is universal, though—they’re just reaching out to me with some information “to share with your readers.”

I dunno. I mean, I’m pretty sure that no one is coming here for press releases, but I could be wrong. Do let me know if that’s what you’ve been looking for, all this time. Anyone? Anyone? Buuuuueller? Right.

But the JOY and ENTHUSIASM with which these people assure me that they have the information my readers are dying to get, and their UTTER CONVICTION that I won’t want to delay in disseminating said important facts immediately, well, it’s kind of endearing.

Of course, taken out of context a bit, it’s also just plain weird. Think about it: Basically someone is contacting me out of the blue to ask me, as someone they don’t know, to share the information they give me with a bunch of other people who THEY don’t know. I don’t remember putting anywhere on any of my sites a little “Do you have something completely unrelated to anything I’ve ever said or done which you’re certain will be of the utmost importance not only to me, but also to my readers? PLEASE CONTACT ME IMMEDIATELY!” button, but maybe I’ve forgotten.

I often wonder what it’s like to be one of those marketers. I’m thinking I want to know how it feels.

Which is why I’m spending the rest of the day with the phone book. I’ll be randomly dialing people and saying things like,

“Well hi there, John. I happened to notice from glancing at the phone book that you live on Main Street, and that’s such an incredible coincidence, because I’ve DRIVEN on Main Street! Small world, huh? Anyway! I just wanted to let you know that I’ve decided that the Caramel Crunch rice cake snacks are the best flavor, and I’m sure everyone you know cannot WAIT to hear the news! Feel free to post this to your Facebook and other pages at your earliest convenience. No, it’s okay. My pleasure!”


“Is this Sue? It is? That’s fantastic, because I was hoping to reach someone named Sue. You see, I have been known to use the letters S, U, and E in my everyday writing, which I’m pretty sure makes us second cousins in some countries. Anyhoo, I just wanted to let you know that not enough children in the United States are getting their recommended daily allowance of selenium. I know, I couldn’t believe it either! But it’s true, and you should probably talk to your doctor about vaccinating. I mean, supplementing. Oh hell, I really don’t know. Could you just find the time to mention it to everybody, though? I’m sure everyone you’ve ever met is dying to find out all about it. You don’t mind, do you? Awesome. Thanks so much.”

I share because I care, you know. Now go tell at least twenty people. No need to thank me!


  1. Leandra

    LOL! You will, of course, let us know if anyone ever sends you a press release announcing the fact that chocolate is in fact calorie and fat free, right? I mean, that’s information we’re interested in!

  2. Melissa

    I think somebody must be falling for it, the same way someone must be responding to the Nigerian bank funds with actual cash…otherwise they’d just go away, wouldn’t you think?

  3. Pam

    Yes, it could actually be kind of dispiriting, that this sort of thing has been going on for years now, with no sign of its going away, so clearly it is working: the penis-enlargement, the stomach-flatteners, the free money, the miracle cures for whatever ails you.

    But maybe the other side of all this suckerdom is that the human spirit keeps bobbing right on up again: it’s the triumph of optimism over experience. And that’s kind of sweet, really.

  4. Kate @ And Then I Was a Mom

    Optimism never hurt anyone. Just look at those Nigerians–you know they wake up with a big smile every morning, eager as they are to get on with those bank scams.

    Yay for selenium.

  5. Dawn

    I’m only here for the news releases. I thought you knew that.

    I’m poised and waiting…

  6. jess

    I think this could end up being a weird sort of chain letter type of thing: “If you do not tell at least 20 other bloggers/readers about this amazing opportunity, you will sprout a second nose and three extra toes – on your forehead!”

    THAT would be a pitch worth getting, at least for entertainment value. (And how do you get the kind of job where you just randomly email people out of the blue about odd and obscure things?)

  7. Karate Mom

    OK, just wanted to let you know that, when I read this, I laughed so hard I snorted. Could you tell everyone on your blog about that, please? Thanks!

  8. Starling

    Laughing, snorting, and still not past the first comment about the lovely chocolate being calorie and fat free …. for that kind of press release I’ll check by every hour!

    As always, thanks for writing.

  9. Nicki

    Thankfully I’m too little (not a weight reference) to have to deal with these big headaches.

  10. Marsh

    You are so funny and so right! It’s also terrible to be on the OTHER end, too. My daughter works for an upscale jewelry company, and people call her and say “I’m a blogger. What can you give me for free?” It’s outrageous. I’m glad you are so balanced, Mir. (Not like those greedy bloggers who demand free stuff. And not like those bloggers who write just to get people to buy stuff from them.) I love all of your blogs.

  11. Little Bird

    Blogs not withstanding, I’d like to know why I get e-mails for “Male Enhancement” crap. I thought it was fairly obvious that I am female.
    And I very much like the idea of chocolate being free of calories, particularly dark chocolate.

  12. Mare

    I don’t have any children, but I’m so worried about vaccinating…supplementing them with carbohydrates…that’s what you said right? Oh but the gospel speaks through the mouths of the wise. I’d be a fool not to inseminate my children that I don’t have with massive doses of ink. Please keep me posted when the next medical study comes about, would you?

  13. Lady M

    You know those empowerment lectures they give to women, “If you don’t ask, the answer is no!” These marketers have listened to those a few too many times.

  14. Burgh Baby

    Just before I came over here, I read an email about a dinosaur app for iPod and thought, “Who the eff writes about this stuff?” Then, I saw two people tweet the information, complete with links. WTF? WHY?

  15. chris

    Everyday I come here waiting, no HOPING, for some completely irrelevant and useless information. With lots of CAPS and explanation points!!! Get on it please.

  16. Aimee

    LOL. Thanks for sharing!

  17. Katie in MA

    I think you should call those advertisers back and tell them ALL! ABOUT! your DAY!!! and tell them you thought they’d be SO EXCITED to have an opportunity to hear the information you’ve shared with them! It might be very therapeutic. :)

  18. adhocmom

    It is rather insulting isn’t it? For marketers to assume that moms are THAT DESPERATE for exciting news? I mean, um, sometimes I am, but still! It would need to be something along the lines of. . THERE IS A MATCHMAKER MILLIONAIRE MARATHON ON RIGHT NOW AND YOU WILL BE PROVIDED FROZEN MARGARITAS AND FREE DAYCARE. Now that would be exciting. A diaper or cereal bar. . not so much.

  19. Lulu

    I think you totally need to add that button to your webpages and make it a link that takes them to a form where they have to give you their credit card number so you can charge them anything you want for reading their “offers.”
    Good luck.
    Can I have a small percentage of the proceeds?

  20. Half Assed Kitchen

    I hate those, too. If they’re not offering me a hot butler who serves lattes and gives massages, no thanks.

  21. mom, again, again

    It’s like the telemarketers that call at dinnertime. We’ve all been bitching and moaning about it for years. Comedians and late night talk show hosts have been ragging on them for nigh on 2 or maybe nearly 3 decades now. Everybody HATES them. But somebody must be buying, because they’re still callin’. If there weren’t some profit, they’d stop *snaps fingers* just like that!

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