I get a ridiculous number of "corporate" guest blog requests. What these guys do, under contract with some vendor they never seem to want to disclose, is write generic motorcycle content. The catch is they want to include a link to said vendor despite the fact the vendor is so rarely in any way related to the content of the article. "Writes article about great roads in Europe then ends the article with a blurb about some dealership in Kansas." It's a ploy to increase link popularity and search engine ranking. Before I knew better and had a come one come all approach, I hosted one of these but later regretted the experience.
Most of these corporate bloggers are terrible. Some actually write moderately well but it still feels so contrived and disingenuous to me. In the end they are pretending. It's kind of like the nice guy who's nice to a woman simply because he wants something. It feels dirty.
If you're going to be a corporate blogger on contract at least try to be honest about it and write something compelling that involves your sponsor. If your sponsor is a tire manufacturer, interview some of their experts and write an article about tires! I think we would find that interesting. But don't try to put together generic "compelling content" and then bait and switch something that is unrelated.
So something interesting happened today. Some generic corporate blogger contacted me about hosting a guest post. As I usually do, because you never know if it's a real rider or just some blogger for hire, I asked him for a sample of his writing and, unlike so many others, he actually gave me several. They were much better than most, but he still wanted to do the bait and switch thing at the end.
So I politely declined the request. Unexpectedly, he replied back offering me a wide range of gear options in exchange for the post or even to pay me outright to host his content.
I admit this is something I have not considered. The idea that someone would want to pay money to put some corporate content on this site is not something I thought would happen. It's just a very little site after all with a programmer that desperately needs to be fired.
But it raises some interesting questions. Where do we draw the line? There are companies that I think really add something to our experiences as motorcyclists. For instance, if Lee Parks or Keith Code wanted to write an article here talking about their respective schools the answer would be "HELL YES!".
But what about other companies? I guess it comes down to whether or not someone wants to be involved in what we are doing here in a human way. Aerostich? They link to the review I wrote about the Transit Suit from their Transit Suit product page and have included a number of photos of me in their catalogs. That's pretty cool and in a way gives me some street cred. The people I've talked to up there have always been nice and they were very receptive when I reached out to them. They seem to really get it. They host a rally. I think I should probably go. Revzilla is another company of people that really get it and frankly I owe those guys, especially Chris, a big thank you for exposing this little site to a much wider audience. Because of that post, I've gotten to meet a few compelling souls online; some have even joined the site and post regularly to the forum. There's also Bob's BMW, another company that gets it who I talk about probably too often.
So maybe that's the metric. Maybe, if you represent some company and want to post something here you just have to be someone who gets it and be willing to be involved in some real way. You have to be about motorcycling and motorcyclists first.
So I paused for a very brief moment when the offer of money was forwarded. As many know, I'm hurting for revenue, badly. Before too long, I'm going to have to figure out a way to generate some revenue which may involve having to get this thing they call a "Real Job(tm)". But my pause was not about whether or not to take the cash offer.
It was how to say no, politely.
How much is my integrity worth? Clearly, more than any blogger can pay.
I'm taking this break from life to spend some time trying to build this thing, this Miles By Motorcycle, because I want to do something of high integrity. I want to do something honest. I want to find a way to sleep through the night again. And, frankly, right now for this moment in time there really isn't anything else I want to be doing.
I just don't want to do something evil, which really limits my options.
To add insult to injury, someone reached out to me on Twitter and asked me if I was interested in doing some corporate blogging for them ... yea, no.
But then I think about my buddy, Duncan. He had just started watching Game of Thrones when he walked into the office the other day and said, "I'm only on episode four, but I can tell that it's not going to end very badly for that Ned Stark. He's screwed. Things always end badly for men of principle."
"Ned Stark was the only character I identified with." I replied.
He then looked at me knowingly ...