What are the potential downsides of letting strangers post on your blog?
September 7, 2012 4:47 PM   Subscribe

Friend of mine runs a small niche non-commercial blog. A stranger wrote in asking if he could write a post on it. How common is this, and more to the point, what could possibly go wrong?
posted by IndigoJones to Computers & Internet (20 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
That is a super, super common form of spam. Metafilter gets dozens of those "Hey we thought you'd be interested in a guest post on topic x" emails a week (which, given that it's Metafilter, makes it really clear that they're just keyword-searching and not actually looking at the site.) I would assume spam first and ignore.
posted by restless_nomad at 4:50 PM on September 7, 2012 [4 favorites]

Not only is it a common form of spam, but guest posting is the backbone of 9 Things You Should Be Doing To Monetize Your Blog blog posts by people who claim to make money monetizing their blog posts and would like to sell you blog coaching conference calls for just $450.
posted by Lyn Never at 4:55 PM on September 7, 2012 [8 favorites]

I often do this, and it's not spam. Typically, I reach out to bloggers who are writing about the same things as my clients (software, travel, real estate) and offer to write a guest blog post. It's no different than pitching a magazine or weekly newspaper or whatever - my pitch has to be on topic, and has to explain how my guest blog post would add value to the blog or website. The blog posts that I write are well-written and informative. I don't typically approach blogs or websites where it's obvious that what I am pitching is completely irrelevant.

The whole point, of course, is to get a link for my clients. I think it's a fair trade off. But the pitch has to be relevant, and it must be obvious that I have taken the time to get a good idea of what the site is all about.
posted by KokuRyu at 5:03 PM on September 7, 2012 [1 favorite]

So people do this for legit reasons, and they do it as spam. Your friend should ask what the proposed guest blogger wants to get out of the post, and why he chose your friend's blog as a possible venue, and see how it unfolds. A spammer won't have a good story.
posted by Sidhedevil at 5:09 PM on September 7, 2012

You don't need to over-complicate this. Tell the emailer that sure, they can write a blog post with a link. Your conditions are as follows: a) the content must be entirely unique b) you reserve the right to pull the post at any time c) you reserve the right to reject the post, in which case they are free to pitch it to another blog. It's pretty straight forward, really!
posted by DarlingBri at 5:16 PM on September 7, 2012 [4 favorites]

It's spam. Ignore.
posted by yoga at 5:17 PM on September 7, 2012

It's likely that he is doing it to drive more traffic to his own site. Ask if you can write a post on his blog in return.
posted by twblalock at 5:32 PM on September 7, 2012

I run a small niche non-commercial blog and I get these requests too. What I don't get is, what's supposed to be the upside for me? I just don't answer those e-mails.
posted by escabeche at 6:02 PM on September 7, 2012

Some people try to post to their blog on a pretty consistent basis (like 1–2 times daily), and some of these use guest posts when they go on vacation. That's the only upside I can see for the host blog.
posted by grouse at 6:09 PM on September 7, 2012

I get a lot of email like this. Some of it is spam. Some of it is people trying to build traffic to their own blog. That isn't bad and it isn't spammy - if you've got a small blog, you're not going to get people to know about you unless you reach out. As long as they write well, provide relevant and unique content and are judicious in their use of links and meet the requirements set out by DarlingBri, you should be fine.
posted by Chaussette and the Pussy Cats at 6:40 PM on September 7, 2012

what's supposed to be the upside for me?

Unique relevant content for your blog you don't actually have to write? This is a thing people want. In fact, some people want it so much they pay other people to write posts for them.
posted by DarlingBri at 6:57 PM on September 7, 2012 [2 favorites]

As KokoRyu points out, this could be an offer of a legitimate exchange, value for value.

However, following restless-nomad's and Lyn Never's lead, I think it could be a scam in addition to being spam.

As a scam, it would work by having a bunch of fake clickers or commenters waiting in the wings to respond to the guest blog.

Your friend would run the blog, the clickers or commenters would show up in droves, then they would hit your friend with an offer of more guest content that he or would have to pay for this time, and your friend might be tempted to accept because the extra traffic would look like it could easily pay for the content-- but it would all be a lie.
posted by jamjam at 7:14 PM on September 7, 2012

'he or she would have to pay for...' it should read.
posted by jamjam at 7:16 PM on September 7, 2012

I always understood the gain to be traffic exchange. His readers find out about your blog.

If he didn't mention his blog in the email, it's spam and/or not worth the trouble.
posted by drjimmy11 at 7:47 PM on September 7, 2012

I would worry that the "author" really isn't the author. At least with your own content you know with 100% certainty that it's yours. Too much potential trouble. I'd pass.
posted by brownrd at 8:15 PM on September 7, 2012

If you do decide to take a chance on this, then when you get his proposed post, try taking a few moderatly-long and somewhat unusual strings of words out of it and google them.

You may find that his "unique" post has shown up a lot of other places. Or you may find that he stole part or all of it from someone else.
posted by Chocolate Pickle at 8:37 PM on September 7, 2012

You can also search the text using Copyscape.
posted by Chaussette and the Pussy Cats at 8:46 PM on September 7, 2012 [2 favorites]

I get plenty of these.

9 times out if 10, it is spam. Occasionally the sender will follow up with a slightly more aggressive-sounding email to ask you why you haven't replied to his fantastic offer. The emails will sometimes contain a number for you to call so you can chat about the guest blog post - the phone number will always be an expensive foreign one. Avoid.

I sometimes host guest posts on my niche non-commercial blog, but I always reach out to the guest blogger myself in order to make sure that a) the post reaches a certain standard writing-wise, b) I like the blogger's 'voice' and c) the post is relevant to my blog. I never let anybody register as a contributor as I have seen blog hijacks in my community.
posted by kariebookish at 12:37 AM on September 8, 2012

I get lots of these too. Spam, ignore.

> I often do this, and it's not spam. ... The whole point, of course, is to get a link for my clients.

Sorry, but to me that = spam.

posted by languagehat at 6:55 AM on September 8, 2012 [3 favorites]

I have my answer. I'm walking on air.

Many thanks to all, all were good, and consequently none best.
posted by IndigoJones at 7:15 AM on September 8, 2012

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