Wednesday, January 05, 2005

How very odd.

I received this email this morning:
From : Alexa <atdotcom>
Sent : 05 January 2005 02:44:05
Subject : Saw Anyhoo (yes &quot;anyway&quot; was already taken).
I recently came across your blog Anyhoo (yes &quot;anyway&quot; was already
taken)., and I think it's fabulous! I hope you had a great New Years.

My blog "A New York Escorts Confessions" has a bunch of regular visitors and I
think that some of them would enjoy your blog. What would you think about doing
a link exchange? If you'd like to, here is a short link to my site:

New York Escorts

Please let me know what you think.


On my initial scan I see fabulous, great, regular visitors and enjoy. Then I notice: the address; the misspelt name of the site; the odd little full-stop comma construct in the first line; the way the quote marks in the name of this blog are replaced by coding, yet the author's appear fine.

[Coincidentally, Blogger cannot do a literal blockquote, as the quotation marks all appeared even when they should not have done].

Why does this read as the product of mail merge? And hang on, didn't I mention within the last post or so that I did absolutely nothing on New Year's Eve? Once again the aversion to apostrophes kicks in. It's all insubstantial and generic. She couldn't possibly have set some program to mine information out of databases like half the BlogWhatevers which appear in the Buttonfest section on the left, could she? Either that or she did a basic cut and paste job, although I'd think most people would just get a machine to do it.

So do I check it out or not? It could be anything, just like any other automated spam. Well, I have Firefox in full down-boy-down pop-up killer mode, and can sit with my fingers posed over Alt Ctrl Delete. And as the website is not either a random selection of characters, or modelled on the by classical structure of I suppose it might not be as bad as I had feared.

I click. An image fills the newly opened window. Oh. It might as well been the Russian website, as the image depicts tooth-scrubbing fellatio. Er...but hang on there are words, and they don't appear to contain XXX, FREE!!! or VISA, so it might not be a porn site. Next item down is some nomination for some award. First mention of Belle de Jour. Then there's a film review. So maybe it is a blog after all. However at this stage I get distracted by the sidebar mentioning the lack of apostrophe in the name. Reading the linked entry, and perhaps I'll admit it is a blog then. But I have to disagree with her stance over the apostrophe, as she seems to think it's a purely aesthetic decision (said he suddenly noticing just how clumsy the bit in brackets is in the name of this blog). And she does know that the whole to-may-to ta-mah-to thing might just predate the Meg Ryan film she cites, right?

So it's legit then? Apparently. Not actually the most interesting of blogs, but not amongst the worst either. I'd put it down as someone wanting a publishing contract, and thinking they are working along the lines of BdJ. But it doesn't read as well. But maybe they'll do an illustrated edition (although, please God, no pop-up versions).

It is a real blog. So do they really want linking?

Maybe it's my innate Englishness, but to write basically saying "link me", just seems odd. Thus far, the links that have appeared here, and those to here from elsewhere, have been generated by people using links elsewhere, liking what they see (or not), and commenting on it. It's the internet: interact.

And if you do choose the mailshot approach, try customising it a bit more. Reference specifics. And check for minor errors. Otherwise I feel no more special than I do when I am informed that I have made it through to the 6th round of the Readers' Digest prize draw, and am guaranteed a prize (which I duly apply for by putting the letter into recycling, and magically within a fortnight later I have made it through to the 7th round).

So if we link exchange what do I get? Possibly nothing. Possibly to been included in her sidebar. Her sidebar which goes on for more than 5 screens worth, and includes 4 different lists of blogs. The second longest is "New friends", and below that, is a list the new people get bumped down to once they've had time to explore and become blind to the sidebars.

Am I being too cynical? Probably. But she's got what she wanted: a link. If she reciprocates then fine, and if she's really lucky she might get into my sidebar, but only I think her blog is worth reading.

I've also just received a letter from a publishing group, who with their customised frank claim to be "The areas leading [X] Group covering [A], [B], [C] & [D]."

So I'm a bit sensitised to dismal grammar at the moment. Come on though, the occupation of this group is the written word, and yet every letter they send out suggests their priorities lie elsewhere. And if it is something as stupid as the Post Office not doing apostrophes (dafter things have happened, especially when Royal Mail is involved), then what would be wrong with any of the alternatives which do not use apostrophes.

I'm sounding like I've become a cathode - spewing negativity in every direction. Oh well.


Post a Comment

<< Home

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?