RECORD STORE TALES #897: Spam
Making a long-ish story short(er): before launching this site in 2012, I was an active reviewer on Amazon. On a good day I could finish two or three. Those reviews became the bulk of content when I launched my own site. I must have written so many that I ended up on the Amazon Canada “Hall of Fame”.
From my Amazon profile, you can get to this site. I figured, “Hey, if somebody liked my reviews enough to click my name, then maybe they’ll like the ones I have on my site even better”.
It took me a little while to put two and two together, but a year or so ago, I started getting bombarded with emails asking me to do Amazon reviews. The emails would come through the contact page here. The requests would be for USB cables, lights, HDMI cables, you name it. Anything but music.
The first few requests were vague. “Would you like to write some Amazon reviews and get the product for free?” I would respond, “Sure, I am looking to review the new Metallica album,” and that would be it. I wouldn’t hear back. They clearly didn’t check to see what kinds of products I was reviewing, which were almost exclusively CDs and DVDs. They just saw “Hall of Fame” and jumped.
Some of the requests were more detailed — like a form letter. I would have to buy the selected product myself, but after posting the review, they would refund the money and I keep the product. Some of the emails specified a “positive” review.
I don’t need extra clutter, and am generally uncomfortable writing reviews on request like that. I know a lot of those products and I would be writing a negative review on some of the USB cables and lights. The whole thing seemed kind of shaky to me.
The requests kept rolling in, so I put a disclaimer up on the contact form on this site: “no Amazon review requests”. And the request emails immediately stopped…
…Only to continue on my Instagram and Facebook pages. I have to admit the first one to come in on Instagram surprised me. (Nothing on Facebook surprises me.) An Instagram one really bugged me by calling me “dear” repeatedly. I blocked that one, and then suddenly mysteriously was contacted on Facebook by a seller who called me “dear”. Persistence like that only earns the Instablock.
The last request was for an electric toothbrush review. Eventually I figured out that I needed to put the disclaimer directly on my Amazon profile — “no review requests please”. That was a couple months ago and I haven’t had a single request since!
One small victory against spam. Then again, maybe I really blew it. Maybe I could have had the best USB cables and lights. My teeth could have been whiter and shinier than ever! I don’t know anyone who’s gone for one of those review deals, so if you have any insight or feedback, let me know.
Just don’t ask me to review your damned electric toothbrush!