Every now and then it seems advisable to discuss the operation of one's blog. A couple of weeks ago, I posted a story with rules for commenting at Time Goes By. Today it's promotion policies. This should hold us for at least a year before I address these topics again.
In the past two days, I have rejected more than a dozen requests to write about a variety of goods and services. That number is about par for the course around here.
One is raising money for a senior job website. Another is holding some sort of blog contest related to Alzheimer's research in the U.K., but the link is to a retail website selling products for disabled people.
Someone else is hawking a book on a sure-fire investing technique (there are always a lot of those going around). Another writer has a trademarked estate planner. And yet another, for the “small fee of $19.50...” - oh, never mind.
All want me to promote whatever they're selling and each one is certain that you, dear readers, will jump at the chance to throw money their way. I email all of them this short reply:
“Time Goes By does not review, write about or promote for-profit or non-profit products and services.”
But that doesn't stop them. Some respond with further urgings for me to promote their product or service and if I don't answer, I get another email asking if I received the last one.
That's when I permanently block their IP and email addresses, but there appears to be an infinite number of PR people to take their place. It's a horrendous time waster for me plowing through the inbox to find the stuff I need or want.
(The most recent repeat offender seems to think you are eager to buy a wristwatch – priced from $395 to $22,395 – that alleviates arthritis symptoms through technology, according to the copy, in which “the body is exposed to frequencies in the individual’s biofield, regulating the body’s energy.” Uh-huh.)
I'm not just venting – well, not entirely. It is an opportunity to explain a policy that a few readers have asked about.
To repeat what I tell the flaks: Time Goes By does not review, write about or promote for-profit or non-profit products and services. Full stop.
And why should I?
This blog is all about aging – any- and everything that applies to and affects that with occasional forays into my second obsession, politics. Certainly there are products and services that would be useful for you to know about, but how am I to know which ones they are?
I am not Consumer Reports. I don't have the time or resources to vet, test or investigate them and I would die of embarrassment to have recommended something that turned out to be shoddy or a scam.
This is how it is: if I mention a product or service, it is based on personal knowledge and experience, something I have discovered on my own or, when recommended by a friend or reader, that I have tried myself and found useful.
Exceptions (there are always exceptions) are, occasionally, books and movies related to aging, the latter usually documentaries. Most are sent to me not by PR people, but by the writers and producers after emailing to ask if I am interested. (They have a much better grasp on how to promote their products than PR people.)
I turn down the majority and I don't write about all that I accept. I am a deeply tough critic and made the choice a long time ago to write about books and movies only if I believe they are outstanding.
So, for those of you who asked, that's how it works around here.