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Monday, 18 June 2012

No Way to Treat a Crabby Elderblogger

Crabby Old Lady has been on a rip-roaring tear for most of the weekend and it is about nothing – or very nearly nothing - that affects you, dear reader. Nevertheless, she is going to carry on about it for the next few paragraphs to no purpose whatever except to bitch. You are welcome to take the day off from here.

BACKGROUND
Time Goes By is an ad-free zone. Many years ago, Crabby tried taking advertisements but they cost way too much in maintenance effort than the amount of payoff that is possible for a blog with only a few thousand readers.

Now, after all these years, Crabby enjoys living and working on a website where no story is ever sliced in half (or thirds or quarters) with text exhortations to spend, spend, spend; where no screen yo-yoes up and down from gigantic banner ads opening and closing; and where she never needs to frantically punch the audio-off button when a video commercial starts shouting at her from the sideline.

(Please don't tell Crabby about ad blockers. She has her reasons not to use them.)

The Elderblog List – what others call a blogroll – lists only personal blogs maintained by people who are age 50 and older. The several hundred on the list cover about every topic under the sun but the key (and requirement) for inclusion is that they are all personal blogs.

Business blogs are not allowed and personal ones cannot carry advertisements beyond a smattering of text-style Google Ads or similar services for those trying to make a few extra pennies from their blogs.

THE PROBLEM
This is not new but it has escalated dramatically over the past couple of weeks so that Crabby has been fending off up to half a dozen business owners a day requesting to be added to the Elderblog List.

The only goal of these requests is to flog their product or service to a fairly large, ready-made population of a certain age group – that is, they are trying to fool Crabby Old Lady into giving them free advertising.

And get this: when Crabby explains via a short, polite email why they don't qualify – damn - as often as not, she gets return messages arguing with her. Geez, that's a fairly high level of hubris.

What pissed Crabby off more than usual, however, was a request on Sunday morning from the owner of a business specifically targeting elders.

Not that it would make any difference for inclusion on the Elderblog List, it's a pretty good business idea, even useful for old people. But the owner, besides attempting to fleece ad space from Crabby with a “blog” that is a minor section of the marketing site and hardly ever publishes new material, nowhere tells readers or potential clients how much it costs.

Not anywhere on the website are there individual prices or even price ranges for service levels.

Now, depending on how much she needs or wants it and how good the product/service appears to be, Crabby Old Lady (and probably most of you, too) knows nearly to the dollar how much she will pay for a given product or service.

If it's in her range, she will reveal personal information to a website to learn more or continue the transaction. If it is out of her range, she will not and it is ludicrous for a business owner to expect otherwise by not listing prices.

What makes this lack of price more than a nuisance, contemptible in fact, and infuriates Crabby is that the service – help for elders with downsizing and moving – is often necessary when people become frail and, possibly, confused enough that they are easy prey for zealous sales people.

Many who run small businesses are just trying to get by in a bad economic climate and it can't be easy. But that's not an excuse for bad behavior. Call her paranoid if you like, but Crabby suspects that anyone looking to fool her into giving them free advertising on her blog would not shrink from conducting their business in a similar manner.

That is not to say that Crabby has any recourse but to deny a place on the Elderblog List (which she would have done anyway) and bitch a bit in public.

Oh, my. Crabby feels so much better now.


At The Elder Storytelling Place today, Dani Ferguson Phillips: Flat Feet


Posted by Ronni Bennett at 05:30 AM | Permalink | Email this post

Comments

I too am getting a parade of email requests, not for blog roll links, but to publish material that has NOTHING to do with the themes my blog explores.

You are more polite than I. I ignore them.

Well said and done! Too many people assume that if you are older you are senile and cannot spot a scam.

On a blog with far less traffic than I am sure yours has, I also get emails like that. The one that gets me is when they write requesting to do a guest blog because it's in their expertise and it relates to elders. When I write back that it might be okay if I read it, it is related as they claim, AND if there is no product to sell. That's when I never hear from them again.

As always, you are waging the good fight - mostly on our behalf, I think.

I, too, get requests from some who wish to do guest blogs for me (how kind - not!) Not being as forgiving as Rain, I do not grace the requestor with a reply. It's almost a puzzle how they (actually, I think it's an "it", as in a bot of some sort) find my blog in the first place since my blog is closed to search machines.

Keep up the good fight, Ronni!

Crabby Old Lady is my hero.

Maybe these folks are systematically going down the Elderblog List because, I, too, have been solicited to post a guest blogger's piece on... aging. Delete, delete.

Crabby gets many of those "expertise" guest post requests too. She just sends them to the junk file.

Crabby loves it, Rain, that they quickly disappear when you ask if a product is involved. Well done.

Since I've been involved in the senior services universe over the past ten years, I have been *shocked* at the caliber of many of the providers. In fairness, some are wonderful too. If you look at buying a franchise for example, on Entrepreneur magazine, home care agencies are springing up everywhere due to the demographics. I've become very cynical about the "community liaisons" or marketing reps for these organizations. Since I'm still in the job market, I see the ads for these positions on Craigslist and they are commissioned sales people and IMHO have the cred of car dealers, realtors etc. I'm sure these are the people who are contacting you Ronni for ad space. If only there were a litmus test or some such...

Blogger automatically dumps the "bot" type requests into my spam folder. I did sign up for Google Adsense at some point in, I think, 2009, with the ads relegated to a strip along the right side. It was clear after a few months that this would never produce even a modest additional revenue stream in my retirement.

Then it became a source of amusement. But recently the ads have started appearing in other positions. The technology involved leaves me frustrated but I have to do something quick. When the old blogger dashboard choice disappears, I won't be able to access my Adsense account to cancel. Or at least I couldn't access it through the choices available on the new version. But no problem on old version. Aack! and Grrr!

I am with you about not cluttering up your blog with ads. Your blog provides good information for our age group as well as sharing your space with the rest of us to participate with comments and stories. Your occasional venting is a caveat all of us can identify with.

Thanks, Ronni, for holding your ground. These people who want the rules bent "just" for them want to take advantage of your own hard work and success. They should do the work themselves, build their own base as you have, define their mission as you have. They're all about shortcuts and me, me, me, me. I agree with you - they probably run their business the same way and seriously lack customer service skills.

Just this morning I got a request from someone I thought I had discouraged about a "guest" post on my blog. Thank you for staying vigilant on my behalf, Crabby. You are my hero and I read you every day.

Hurray for you, Crabby!

That's one of the things that conributed to my becoming a regular reader of your blog, Ronni -- your integrity and policies regarding advertising, blog content and comments.
Advertising seems to be increasingly prevalent on blogs that specifically purport to be for the benefit of people who might be especially vulnerable, e.g. the frail elderly who are alone, and those with cognitive impairments or physical disabilities. I never was a blog reader at all until about eighteen months ago, when I became a fulltime caregiver for my mother-in-law, and then I began researching Alzheimer's and dementia, and all manner of age-related issues. Many of the sites I came across I dismissed after just one or two visits, as their true intent, money-making, was almost immediately obvious. There are others, though, which I've had a more difficult time separating out, as they have useful content, but are still very heavy on the advertising. Sadly, it seems to me that the Internet is rapidly becoming as advertising dependent as commercial television. Thank you for sticking to a higher level of standards.

Hurray for Crabby!!! Long may she rave!!!!

Good for you Ronni. I HATE ads. I hate it when they materialize as I am reading and article and I hate the flash sequence types that dazzle you to get your attention.

Ads are hype, hyperbole, hubris and just plain ordinary bull---- most times. They sugarcoat their product and leave the consumer to figure out what the negative side effects or conditions are from the use of their product.

I seldom visit Huffington Post for this reason though there are times when they have the right story I am looking for as a resource. But I do not keep them or others like them on my "Favorites" list.

I am glad you are an ad free blog otherwise I may not have stayed as long as I have or intend to.

Cant' agree with Crabby more!! Keep on. I hate the idiots who try to hijack my blog for their advertising by pretending to comment on my blog. It is my blog not theirs and my rules are simple--nothing anonymous, no advertising links.

I like TGB just the way it is! It is my haven, a peaceful ( though I like it when Crabby rattles things around now and then) place to go and hear what others are up to. Don't change a thing!

Damn, you're beautiful when you're mad! I love how you say what you say.

Thank you for doing what you do every day. You provide a wealth of information that is timely and helpful -- and I like your attitude!

well, in spite of the english/american name, I am a French Female Blogger who likes this site and precisely this post... I am over 50 and I did'nt find many blogs by 50sthg women in France.. Perhaps I could be on your blogroll in spite of the difference of language? Anyway thanks for your blog!! Bises...

You go girl!

Crabby the Younger here. Keep fighting the good fight. I don't allow ads on my blog (I pay WordPress to keep their occasional ads off) and I use Adblock. I've not received solicitations like you describe, probably because the spammers know WordPress doesn't allow outside ads or for-profit blogs.

It's always good to "unload" on a friend ... and that's what your readers are, I think. And that's what friends are for -- to listen to you and to love you. ;-)

One of the emails I got was a request to put an ad alongside my blog and it claimed they would pay me $85 a year. I turned it down obviously as I don't do ads. After reading all who have been contacted, now I wonder if they would have ever paid me anything. It wouldn't matter as I would feel it was unethical to advertise something I didn't use or even if I did.

Good for you Ronni, our flag bearer into the murky trenches of ad warfare.

I had a few "guest" requests but the one that sticks with me is a second one from the same source telling me how rude I was for not responding.

Oh lol that....:)

XO
WWW

I've also been getting the "guest contribution" requests lately, so it is good to know I'm not the only one. One recent inquirer provided links to what he claimed were samples of his work. I looked at them out of curiosity, and none appeared to be original, just transcripts of features that appeared in more traditional news sources, like NPR or the AP.

One of the links was to an article warning about scams aimed at elders. Irony?

Go get 'em Ronni! We're with you all the way!


(PS still trying to arrange my next jaunt to Portland...August?)

Cheers, ~Kathi

I got one of those requests today to put stuff on my blog. I just said no.

Well done and said Ronni

I like your blog and respect your judgment on this.

Hooray for Crabby! Your position on all this has served as my guideline all these years on how to handle the sometimes covert requests I've received for what is clearly an effort to obtain free advertising.

The flattery sometimes used is so very transparent as to be laughable. The "guest blogger" scam is a favorite, or wanting to feature the blog and writer on their "related interest" blog.

I reply to most with a few short, precise sentences that leave them no wiggle room -- most of the time.

I think they must be going down your Elderblogger list figuring one of us will fall for their blarney. They must have us stereotyped as a naive bunch of oldies.

TGB is an oasis I continue to enjoy though my visits are not daily, and I have long since ceased to write when most are actively debating in the daytime hours.

Maybe someday there will be a well-deserved bona fide sincere lucrative TGB sponsor offering to support this blog and its author requiring only discreet classy advertising.

Is it just me who seems to be more crabby more often these days? I used to be able to just let this stuff roll off my back, but lately I find myself simply losing patience with stupidity, injustice, unfairness and bullying. My feelings of righteousness are aroused and I find myself taking them on more often-even over small things. Maybe I am turning into a crabby old lady for real....or is it normal for this accumulation of small things to finally overflow?

How curious? The post above from "Q" is from me. Who and how did "Q" get in there??? I just noticed it was going to show up again on this comment but I was able to delete it. Guess I must have accidentally deleted "Joared" earlier and hit the "Q" key -- another blogging glitch first.

When you're right, you're right. Way to go, Crabby!

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