So today I wanted to have a chat about your blogging inbox and some of the potential blogging scams you might come across as a blogger.
Is it just me that seems to get all sorts of dodgy emails? I hope not. In fact, I feel like my bullshit detector (I don’t usually swear in blog posts but I feel a bit stupid doing the ** so it’s staying!) is pretty strong lately- and I seem to spend a chunk of time replying ‘it’s a scam!’ to various posts on blogger forums.
So, like anything I find myself commenting a lot about, I decided to turn it into a blog post instead.
From wondering what feedspot is legit or whether bloggers connected is legit, here are 8 blogging email scams you need to be aware of- let me know how many you’ve encountered in the comments or join my free UK blogging Facebook group to share your experiences there! If you’re a UK blogger, you might want to sign up to get free blogging freebies and blogging opportunities in your inbox-which you can do so here.
For some reason, I seem to attract these types. In a bid to avoid coming across as link builders, the sneaky SEO worker instead pretends to come across as a keen, enthusiastic writer-type who is just dying to get their words printed on your site. So keen in fact, that they’ll write completely for free and just want a tiny link back to their own blog (which is usually called something catchy like nailfungaltreatment.com).
This is always an attempt to link build- and very rarely someone keen to blog. You can always ask for their twitter handle and blog address just to be sure- but 9/10 these emails should go straight in the trash!
I’ve written about whether bloggers should work for free before. It’s a tricky one as in some cases it can be beneficial. However, usually, you will be asked to link to or feature a company for free with the promise of ‘sharing’ your work on Twitter. Usually, they have about 27 Twitter followers but even if it’s more substantial, think carefully! How many people will realistically click on the link and then follow your blog from one tweet? If you’re interested in freelance writing, definitely check out my freelance writing ebook which explains how to make a living from freelance writing.
One word: no. I hate these. Imagine if you asked ten engineers to come over to your house and you’d pay the best one? These competitions are very clever. You could pay 100 bloggers properly for their work and spend thousands, or you could come up with a prize of a few hundred pounds and ask 100 bloggers to compete it for it Hunger Games style. The later is far far cheaper and means the majority of people who enter get literally no compensation for their work.
I am so over blogging awards. Anybody can just create their own now and they’re usually rubbish. In fact, I actively refuse to enter any- even the big ones like UK Blogger Awards. The only people that benefit from awards are the people running them. I used to think ‘why not ask judges to pick winners rather than asking for votes?’ Then I realized: it is a brilliant way to get LOTS of traffic to a website and all you have to do is offer a small prize in return. Very sneaky.
The worst is when they email out of the blue to ‘congratulate’ you. Usually, they’ll want you to pop an ‘award badge’ on your site; which, embedded in the code, is a follow link. Sites like Feedspot are the absolute worst for this.
What is feedspot? It’s a site that claims to be legit but they will keep hounding you to put the badge on your site and they even replicate your content on their site without permission. I’ve emailed them several times about basically running my full blog posts on their site which they claim helps them with traffic. They still haven’t removed my site from there’s!
The only exception is the Healthline awards- I won one of these and it seemed legit. It’s a reputable website so I was happy to pop the badge on my site but I didn’t have to ask for votes. It is the only one I have put on my blog, however.
This is the same with brands too. Very similar to the above but this one is a direct call to get people to vote for you. Now, this is where brands are getting savvy. Not to single them out but My Protein has recently been emailing lots of bloggers saying they’re in with a chance of winning an award and to start getting people to nominate them.
I’ve also seen clothing and baking brands telling people they’ve been nominated for awards. It is sneaky with a capital S. Would you tweet daily telling people to visit a brand’s site for free? No, of course not. But in the promise of an award (which is usually a voucher and thus not really an ‘award’ at all), people will happily do this. Yes, it sounds nice to put ‘award-winning blogger’ on your Twitter bio- but come on it’s not an Oscar-in most case it’s just who can get the most votes by begging their followers.
This email goes something like this: ‘Hi, I’ve read your blog on xxx, I thought you might want to link to our article on xxx.’ Why on earth would you want to do this? You’ve already done research for the blog post; so it is again another desperate link building attempt (and a bloody cheeky one at that!)
How many agencies are there now? I think these people must work on commission as you’ll sign up and you’ll never hear from them again, I guarantee it. A lot of these also set up referral schemes for bloggers to refer other bloggers to so they can quickly build up hundreds of bloggers even if there’s no work. I talk about this more in this post and the dangers to look out for.
One of the agencies, lots of you have asked about is My Influencers so let’s deal with that seperately here…
My Influencers are an influence management company that takes you on for just £30 a year. A quick scan of their Instagram account reveals lots of bloggers who are ‘represented’ by them but most seem to have only a few thousand followers. So is it worth the money?
The answers I received was a resounding no! Please note the responses below aren’t my opinions and I’ve referred to the bloggers by the first name only:
“I joined in Feb 2020. They looked legit and even had a love islander on their books. It was £30 to join in the year and she makes it out that it’s some selection process (sound familiar?)but it literally isn’t she accepts everyone. She has everyone just follow everyone and does promos using loops (these are awful for your Instagram engagement). She gives you contacts but they’re all crappy Amazon ones. It was the worst mistake of my life!” explains Rachael.
Sammy agrees: “I paid £30 and they did nothing to help whatsoever; they just add you to engagement groups and don’t make any effort to try and make things work. They give you a list of “jobs” you can apply for but I didn’t hear back from any. They also try to get you to pay for a follow for follow page.”.
Rebecca had a similar experience: “So many instagrammers with My Influencers, especially in the parenting niche, have been asked to get their own collabs. They add you to a group chat and share email addresses but I signed up in the summer and haven’t received any work at all. I did email them once for some advice but I got a reply a week later and it didn’t make any sense. A waste of time and money.
Nicole explains: “I was stupid enough to join last year as well and left a few months after. Great for meeting new people but not much after that. I approached them on advice on a fee for working with a huge high street brand fee but they suggest £80 for a feed post, story and editorial shots for them.”
Unfortunately, like most things in life: if something seems too good to be true, it usually is. It’s best to keep doing your own thing until you’re perhaps big enough to approach a legit agency instead who will take a cut of your fees and do a proper application process rather than charge you upfront and take on anybody.
If you are looking for opportunities, check out my weekly opportunities board for blogging opportunities.
Actually, this is more often a tweet than an email. I’ve noticed a trend recently when people put they are looking for bloggers with a DA less than a certain value. Cue people scrambling to reply; my DA is only a little bit higher, can I be considered?
But why on earth would do this, you cry? Well, it’s so they can get less successful bloggers to work for free. By asking for low DA bloggers, they know they’ll be less likely to be successful and be newer- so they won’t have heard of ‘guest post’ scams. They can, therefore, sell it as a ‘great opportunity’ to work with brands- despite the fact you are receiving absolutely no compensation at all.
I’m sorry, find me an infographic that isn’t shit (oops, another swear.) Seriously, find me one and I’ll pay you. People need to stop trying to make infographics happen.
Now, I am not trying to say you should be asking for money for every single thing that lands in inbox but it always should be an equal transaction. And all of the above are examples of people profiting from what you do with very little compensation being offered in return!
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