Saturday, April 10, 2010

Annoying Spam and the FTC Guidelines

This type of spam annoys me.  I found this comment awaiting my approval the other day in response to a recent post about, no not furniture or modern decor, but food.

I'd appreciate if you can give me some feedback on our site:

I realize that you are home decor-modern design connoisseur :) I'd like to hear your opinion/feedback on our products. Also, it'd be swell if you can place our suede wassily chair in a bag set in a bag on your blog.
Thank you,
Nancy "

I am neither a modern decor connoisseur nor am I shilling for anyone in this blog. (Please see FTC Guidelines Expert Endoresments (a)). Nor do I lie or fabricate anything, in any blog or on any social networking site anywhere ever.  If I support someone's business, it happens only after I have experienced the product/service. I thought to myself, after this incident of spammage, "Self, maybe we should explore this just a little instead of outright deleting it".  Why on Earth someone would approach me for my skills as a "modern decor connoisseur" is a mystery to me.  I decided to follow up on this, just to assuage my curiosity.

Here is the email thread that followed this spamming attempt, I go first:

"Nancy from your site contacted me via my blog asking me to review your

Wassily chair on my website. I would be more than happy to review your chair if you send me one to experience.
Thank you.

Followed by this response,

"Sorry, we don't pay for links and plus, it is illegal for you to ask for compensation.
If you post a link to our chair it will be appreciated

To which I, somewhat incensed, replied,

"I didn't ask for compensation. I asked to experience a chair that you asked me to review.

And if it's illegal for me to ask for compensation, it should be illegal for you to ask me to review a product I have never experienced, and YOU solicited ME."

Please see FTC Guidlines, General Concerns (c), page 3.

It is, in fact, illegal for me to review a product I have not used. To this someone responded,

"Read the FTC guidelines before you blast reasonable replies

Good luck!".

How is it reasonable to ask a food blogger you have never met to wax poetic about a furniture product they have never ever seen, let alone sat in?  This whole exchange leaves me with a bad taste in my mouth.  MSNBC reported the new guidelines for bloggers back in October, 2009.  What incenses me is that I feel these guidelines imply dishonesty on the part of bloggers.  The bloggers I personally know are upstanding citizens, serious about what they write and do so with a huge amount of integrity, very much in love with food and spend boatloads of their own money to experience the ever changing face of food culture to share their experiences with others. Although I certainly understand concern over abuse of the blogger/business relationship. What incenses me about this email exchange is the idea that I somehow did something wrong by responding to a completely inappropriate spam requesting to actually experience said chair if they wanted me to write a review or post a link about their product.  That I went against the FTC guidlines and blasted a reasonable request. To this, I scoff.

There was no blasting, there was no reasonable request, and there was nothing in my actions that went against FTC guidelines. Now, if I could broil the chair in one of my new Le Creuset pans, serve it to a group of 10 at a dinner party, then wax poetic about its smokiness or lucious texture, that would constitute a reasonable request.


haircutting in high heels said...

I love this post and I agree with you 100% I loathe spam an it does come in many forms. BTW great blog have missed reading it lately.

Anonymous said...

Ridiculous. That is all.

burumun said...

These people are ridiculously presumptuous. I usually just ignore these spams so I never had the pleasure of experience an exchange like this. Hope I never will either ..

NomsNotBombs said...

And I thought the spam asking me to join cooking websites/blogs was annoying!

It's strange that they seemed annoyed by the fact that you asked if you would get a chance to experience/sit in the chair for yourself...

Tsz said...

Are they serious?!

Feel like this character pull this so you'll put her link on your site :(

That's Ron said...

great post!

Anonymous said...

hi liz! it is liz right?

anywhoot, i just clicked your link from gastronomnom's blog and can't believe how much i like you, i hope you don't mind me saying that, just love your 'tude to the whole spam situation you have to go through. but found your post rather funny in relaying your feelings about, i just hope it never happens to me and if does i'll just refer them to you if you don't mind, so you choo them off, lol.

another reason why i find you fascinating is that your name is liz, just like me, how cool is that...

anyways liz, i am now following your blog for sure, but not before explaining why i linked to your blog...i believe it was you i saw in last night's news on channel 7 about food blogging. i myself run a food blog but not quite to your caliber, mine is more about my favorite recipe, stuff i love to have in my kitchen and what not. i also have plenty photos of places i've had the pleasure of eating at and like you i only post what i have experienced and love and furthermore love to share that experience with others through my blog.

geez, i had hoped this comment wouldn't be so long and hopefully i still have your attention.

as i commented gastronomnom, i love how you, him and the parties in your group have the awesome privelege of tasting such delights and wondered how i could be part of such a group like yours and appreciate any feedback you can give. i love food, restaurants and new ones at that, ones that i have not had the chance of tasting and love it very much if i can join something like your group.

thank you so much liz in advance, i look forward to hearing from you.

have a swell weekend