Friday 8 September 2006

you thought I was cheap, you were the sale of the century...

I've just been offered £40 to put an advert onto my sidebar. No, really.

I got this email today:

"I currently work at Endsleigh Insurance Services in the marketing team, and I am constantly looking at ways to divert traffic through to our websites. I was wondering if you would be willing to have a text link to one of our sites from your blog page on the side menu. This would not require any images or banners, and would be just text.

Please let me know if this would be possible, as we would be willing to pay £40 for this. "

It looks all official and everything, and comes from a kosher Endsleigh email address. I have a couple of questions for them though:

1) Have a look around. Do you really think I'm going to take that £40 off you? Really?

2) Do you seriously think that anyone will see a text-only link to your website in my sidebar and realise how they'd really been meaning to get some insurance?

Did anyone else get the email? What on earth are their selection criteria? What was it about this blog that made them think that it would help sell some insurance?

It's not quite the seven figure publishing deal I was hoping for, but it could still be life changing, so perhaps I should sleep on it before making a hasty decision.


  1. Nope, no offer of riches for me. They must have liked the moustache and thought it went with their corporate branding.

  2. Endsleigh advertise on the web already, obviously, so they know how it all works - and as far as I can see, it works by the advertiser paying the host for each sale generated by the ad - 5-20p per click, etc.

    It strikes me that this chap would be getting a tremendously good deal if you accepted his offer.

    I have to admit, my bullshitometer is twitching as this just isn't the way it's done.

    I can't help thinking whether the link he'd want you to put up would, eventually, redirect to somewhere that wasn't an insurance company. Maybe I'm just too cynical.

  3. Maybe he found you through the highly scientific method of Googling 'insurance' following your recent plumbing fun, although he can't have read what you'd written. Have you had any interesting referrals lately?

    I'm with lithaborn on this though; it's not how marketing's done. Perhaps if you agreed to host an ad you'd have to provide your bank account details so he could pay you, and you know where that could lead. That would, however, make you the recipient of the cheapest scam ever - it's usually millions of dollars left intestate so kudos of a sort for that.

  4. I know what you mean about the bullshitometer Lithaborn but more and more people are using Firefox and ad blocking software, I rarely see a banner add these days as pretty much all the ad serving sites are blocked from my machine.

    There's also been a lot of problems with click-fraud and administering a 'per click' system can be expensive.

    In a world like that flat fee text ads are the way to go. Perhaps.

  5. I wouldn't accept a one-off payment for an ad, personally, however legit.

    If that ad directly generates a million quid in sales, I'm afraid I'm greedy enough to want a piece of that pie.

    I'd feel sublimely cheated if I'd just accepted their £100 or whatever without some kind of reciprocal deal. £10 a month would be acceptable, though. It's only pin money, but it's acknowledging the permanence of the advert.

  6. they haven't a snowball's chance in hell of me putting that ad up here. Full stop.... I'm just (mildly) interested in the tactic and wondering how they stumbled upon it. Part of me is tempted to email back and fish for more information. Although of course, if she reads this, then I'll be rumbled, won't I? (although I imagine she's sent similar emails to hundreds of bloggers)


  7. .... and the thing is that I'd be astonished if even a reciprocal deal would be worth any money. Do you think someone is more likely to click a link to them than they are to (say) one of the other links in my sidebar? Have you been to bloglines recently? No, me neither, and I put the link there.


  8. Bytheseashore is on the right track (assuming I'm also on the right track).

    I'd imagine they've been googling keywords that they want to be associated with and approaching those blogs that come up. The deal is they want to put the keywords on your site with a link to them so Google will index them more favourably. They're not interested in your readers, just your pagerank (a respectable 4/10 as it happens).

    It's like comment spam, only they're asking beforehand. Which is nice.