Annals of p.r. pitches

In the tradition of my 2/4 posting “Demented p.r. pitches, absurd ad copy”, I begin with an annoying initial p.r. pitch (on January 6th) for “optimizing ad space”, from a representative (JP) of a company I’ll call King Holdings to a blogger (KW):

I’ve been trying to get in touch with somebody in regards to learning about your site’s advertising strategy – specifically how you’re set up monetizing your site.

My name is [JP] and I work for [King Holdings], which is a premium ad exchange …

I’d love to talk about how you’re currently optimizing your ad space and what [King] can provide to scale it. Who is the correct person to contact regarding this opportunity?

Rather than just deleting the feeler, or replying that he was a blogger and not in need of advertising, KW chose to take the bait and throw it back with a big hook in it (a response to Nigerian Scam letters that people occasionally adopt, even understanding that they might be embarking on a major project).

Note 1. Thanks to Elizabeth Daingerfield Zwicky for the link to the JP-KW exchange.

Note 2. KW posted the whole exchange, with all the real names in it, on his blog, for its entertainment value. I’ve usually tried to conceal the sources in such cases, and Margalit Fox (who I wrote about in my previous p.r./ad posting) does this in her Facebook postings, so I’ve done it here, though that’s probably an excess of caution.

Note 3. I just delete things like this, but for a time Margalit wrote back, trying to carefully explain that what she did would never require the services being offered; of course, they never responded, and eventually she realized they were just carpet-bombing journalists, so she started chucking the stuff too. KW, however, is made of sterner stuff.

KW’s initial reply to JP, calling JP’s jargon and raising it:

Thank you for your inquiry. We have been officing here attempting to brainstorm a monetizing strategy without achieving optimization. We could be optimizing better. We also are interested in adding scales or whatever.

Would we, in working with [King], be able to ask for strategy paradigm initiatives that would direct particular types of advertising to monetize our scaling? We have some specific ideas and needs.

JP fires back:

Absolutely, our Marketing department has set up multiple resources for publishers like yourself to access and ask strategy initiatives from our experts in the industry on our … hub: [URL]

My role as a publisher advocate is to make sure that I closely work with my clients to ensure that we maximizing account optimization and exploring potential growth opportunities.

I would love to schedule a quick call with you to get a better understanding of your current setup and demonstrate how the use of a PA can help you towards your revenue goals.

Would you be available to talk sometime tomorrow?

Please let me know your availability and I look forward to speaking with you soon.

And then KW reels the fish in, with a crazed shriek of delight:

Thank you for your response!

My role as a blogger advocate is preparing the public for peril.

When I say peril, [J], I am not talking about entertainment. Modern America confuses peril and amusement. Hence we have popular television programs portraying zombies as suspiciously attractive and employable and entire series of movies suggesting that spider fetishists are “normal” and even heroic as opposed to vulgar and prone to wearing inappropriately tight clothing that distractingly emphasizes their genital region.

I speak of ponies, [J]. Ponies.

Let me pause a moment to allow you to regain your composure. I’m not a monster, [J].

Yes, we need to monetize. Yes, we need to raise our strategy’s initiative to at least +2 so we are not caught flat-footed and left standing around in the surprise round like a drugged stoat. (Yes, stoats stand. Watch a YouTube video, for Christ’s sake.) Yes, we need to optimize our account growth potential revenues.

We need to do these things against the ponies, [J]. Not for them. Against them. Against them, to the last of us, to our final breath, though it may cost us everything we hold dear and impact our credit ratings.

[J], I need you to frame a strategy for us to make money telling people, in an engaging, eye-catching, non-threatening way, that if they do not listen to us right now then ponies will be dancing in their children’s precious bodily fluids and viscera in a trice, like those awful people in the fountain at the start of the show where Matthew Perry gradually gained two hundred pounds and went mad.

Ponies spell our doom. Ponies never misspell it. Ponies are the cute, non-threateningly-ethnic, but somehow vaguely unsettling cherubic spelling-bee-winners who never falter, [J], and the word they are spelling is apocalypse. We need to tell the people. All of them, even Belgians. We need to tell them, [J], and we need to make money telling them so we can tell more of them, possibly with pop-up advertisements and auto-play videos that are very difficult to close because it is human nature to turn your eyes away from a weeping weal upon our collective soul if you possibly can without clicking madly for ten minutes and shouting obscene gerunds. I’m not talking about the band now because I would watch weeping weals upon them all day, obviously. In fact maybe that can be part of our advertising. “Ponies will kill your grandchildren. And it will be horrible, not like watching Collective Soul be trampled to death, like this. In fact quite the opposite. Do not conflate the two.” That’s a little wordy but I’m not in advertising, [J], you are, and I rely upon your skills for the precise nomenclature.

I am most certainly not adverse to optimized monetization of strategic revenue initiatives, [J], so if you can work this so we both fund our Pony Warning System and make some spending money, that would be most welcome. I have been investigating whether to buy one of those Amazon talking discs that you can yell at but am presently impecunious.

(Note that every few sentences, KW addresses JP by his first name. It’s a salesman thing.)

As far as I can tell, there have been no further exchanges since KW’s pony rant.


Bonus. I get a mind-boggling amount of comments spam on this blog. Every day I delete a block of it, and quite often the top message in that block is a long one that seems not to vary at all, even after thousands and thousands of repetitions. It starts by addressing me as Web Admin and tells me that my SEO Optimization (so described) needs to be fixed in certain specific ways, which the writer is of course ready to help me with.

SEO is, at least in its origin, an initialism for ‘search engine optimization’. Two things here.

One: I’m not a business, and I can’t see why I might want to increase my ranking in web searches. (Even if I did, I might not want to follow the the very specific directions the commenter recommends.)


Two: SEO optimization is one of those Initialism + N compounds (like ATM machine) that people often excoriate as being redundant, pleonastic — because they take SEO to be merely an abbreviation for search engine optimization (so you’ve got optimization twice). My position, expressed on other occasions, is that in contexts in which an initialism is used frequently and without thought as to its source, it can be treated as as orphan initialism, in which the historical origin of the parts is no longer relevant (at least for many people in certain contexts). So I withhold criticism of the compound.

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