Monday, October 14, 2013

Blogger Alert: Grammarly Scam Sponsorship?

**PLEASE NOTE as of 12/11/13 I am investigating further.  I received a new email, a more personalized one I might add, from Nick and have emailed other bloggers who have taken part in "Grammarly's Blogger Partnership Program".  Once I'm done, I'll write a follow up post.  Thank you.**

All right folks, originally I was going to post up some overdue interviews and guest posts that for whatever reason are now disappeared from my Blog.  (I was cut off from my blog for the last week with no idea why.  Finally had to call to find out that someone had changed my information) However this email I just got ticked me off enough to say something.

Some of you my have seen this around the blog-o-sphere in the last year, but I haven't seen it on an of thousand or so blogs I frequent.  I was emailed a chance to be sponsored by "Grammarly", an automated program that helps folk find writing errors, plagiarism and some other stuff.  Now to be fair my grammar sucks.  I admit this to everyone.  Spelling is pretty good and I've never been accused of plagiarism (nor have I ever done it, to be more specific).  The idea of a program that could help me sounded good...but I wasn't likely to ever use it.

All well and good since all "Nick", of Grammarly's 'Online Partnership Team', offered was for me to include a blurb or something of the service in an upcoming post.  For my trouble I'd get $150 Amazon Gift Certificate.

Guys I was rather tempted.  $150!  That's 6 hardcovers or 18 paperbacks or 15 graphic novels!  Heck that's almost enough to cover the cost of a 3DS if I was so inclined (which to be fair, I kind of am).  Or buy christmas gifts.  Or practical stuff.  Basically its a lot of money to just blurb about something.

I am however extremely paranoid.  Like extremely so.  Been burned a couple of times and I wouldn't want it to happen again.  So I did my research.  I went looking to see if this was a new thing or if this was a fake thing.  In this day and age it only makes sense quite frankly.

Here's what I found:
Lily's Notes in the Margins - Figures it to be a scam.  She did her research as well.
ideatrash - Actually used the 'free' service and gave an accounting of it
Goodreads Group (UK Amazon Kindle) - folk chiming in on receiving the email and scammy nature
Charm Quark Writes - is a writer, decided it was scam
Anaea Lay - Wrote back and got impersonal responses
The Global Indie Author - actually breaks down the email and all the proofreading mistakes therein
Writers' Village - and then this writer put several other programs to the test
The Mile Long Bookshelf - gives a bit of a breakdown as well

I'm sure there's loads more, but those are the top hits.

For reference here's my email:
Hi Lexie,

I just stumbled across your review of “Divergent” (which is fantastic, by the way) and thought to myself, “What a perfect fit!” We’re currently looking to sponsor bookworm bloggers like yourself with a small text ad to appear in one of your blog posts in exchange for a $150 Amazon gift card.

In case you haven’t heard of us, Grammarly is an automated online proofreader that finds and explains pesky grammar, spelling, and punctuation mistakes that are bound to find their way into any writer’s first draft. Think of us as a digital second pair of eyes that saves you the embarrassment of making a silly mistake on anything from book reviews to manuscripts. If you'd like to join our 4 million users and try the premium version of our proofreader for free, let me know and I'll make it happen!

Please send me the expected publishing date and topic of your next appropriate blog post (ideally something about books or writing) so I can give you the details you’ll need.


P.S. Let me know if you ever find yourself in foggy San Francisco; I’d love to grab some coffee. :)
I wrote back explaining that I wasn't comfortable with his approach and he should rethink it.  
If this is a legit thing then Nick should go to marketing training classes.  This is just awful.  In an age where I could type in a sentence I remember and be given thousands of options in a search engine where I read it, this is just lazy.   If this isn't legit, Grammarly - which seems to be a legit service - should figure out a way to disassociate itself from this scam.  I typed in the line everyone who responded (positively) receives and its astounding how many folks did so.  Whether they received their giftcard I can't be sure (nor will I ask, that smacks of privacy invasion in my opinion), but a lot of folks seem to have done as "Nick" asked.  

I like the ones who were obviously mocking the request the best.

Anyone have any other information on this?