Friday, September 21, 2012

Stupid Press Release: Squatty Potty

One of my colleagues sent me this press release she received. My comments are not about the product's usefulness (if their claims are valid, wouldn't any stepstool do the trick? Like my kids' baby stepstools they use to reach the sink?), and more about their choice of language and the double entendre. The "hold your coverage" line was hilarious - especially given the constipation theme.

"People worldwide have been pooping better since the Squatty Potty was released last fall. That’s because the Squatty Potty, a toilet stool, improves bathroom posture, making it easier to assume the squatting position for more effective colon elimination.

A rising trend in health circles, experts say squatting helps in the prevention of colon disease, constipation, hemorrhoids, pelvic floor issues and similar ailments. In an effort to help alleviate the strain caused by using the modern toilet, Robert Edwards created the Squatty Potty. Its convenient design helps properly align the colon, and can easily be stored at the base of the toilet to prevent bathroom clutter between uses.
Next Tuesday, Squatty Potty will be announcing that it has sold 10,000 stools in six months. Would you be interested in talking to Robert prior to the announcement? We would just ask that you hold your coverage until Tuesday."

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Deseret Digital Media wants you write content for them for free

Lately, I've gotten a lot of emails from companies asking me to write for their blog or website - for free. There's a time and a place to write for free, but if I complied with each of these requests, I'd have no time for paid work. The latest one really ticked me off, and it prompted me to respond to the company. Read on:

Dear Debbie,  

I work for Deseret Digital Media, and I wanted to know if you’d be interested in writing for an exciting, new family-based website launching this fall. We are looking for exceptional mommy bloggers who want to build their fan base and share their expertise with the world. will provide practical answers, ideas and solutions to help educate families. (E.g. “How to be a good listener”, “How to deal with a picky eater”, or “10 things you should never say to your wife”.) Selected articles will be translated into 25 different languages and published on 100 country-specific sites.

This is a unique opportunity and outlet for writers to gain exposure to huge worldwide audience. The Deseret Digital Media sites have more than 4 million unique visitors and 200 million page views each month. Through social media, we already also have access to 11 million readers, and at launch, we anticipate that will be highly successful.

Contributors can chose how little or how much they want to write. We do not compensate for articles, but we do provide bylines for contributors to link back to their websites to drive traffic and build their Google ranking.

If you are interested, please contact (content editor) for more information!


Dear (content editor) - I'm very honored that you want me to write free content so that your site can make money. Last time I checked, my mortgage company and phone company didn't accept "exposure" for payment, even if I was exposed to international audiences. Maybe one of those readers will actually click through to my site and I'll make a penny from Google Adsense!

If you manage to find some spare cash from all those 200 million clicks a month, I'd be happy to talk about blogging for pay, as I've done for several corporations who actually value my writing.

All the best, Debbie

Debbie - Thank you for your response. I can understand your frustration, and I respect your need for needing to make a profit. Our goal for our site is not to make a profit at all, but to help and reach hundreds of millions of families worldwide  with their struggles and problems. In all honesty, we are just trying to break even. Our project is heavily subsidized by generous donations. We are extremely grateful for those people, and the thousands of writers who chose to give up their time to make a lasting difference in people's lives. I don't want you to have the impression that we are out to make a lot of money — because we're not. 

I'm sorry that you've taken offense. 

(Content Editor) - I very much appreciate your response and found it quite interesting. Given the plethora of quality parenting websites and blogs out there, I find it difficult to understand how any large media company only wants to break even on a new site aimed at families. There's certainly no lack of information out there - and some of it is actually quite good.

However, upon doing a little research I see that your company is owned by the Mormon Church**, so it looks like the Church and Mitt Romney's tithings are bankrolling your project. Maybe you want to make that clear to the writers you seek to provide you with free content. 

All the best, Debbie

Not shockingly, I did not hear back from said content editor. However the next day, someone else from their company contacted me with the same email as the first, only they didn't even bother to put a subject line on. I forwarded her the correspondence, and...crickets. Ha ha!