Making Strange Requests

I’ve been getting some strange requests over the past few months. Mostly from people wanting to pay me so they can use this blog to sell their stuff.

Since March four people/agencies have contacted me about inserting products into my posts for cash. So far the offers have been basically the same, fifty bucks for referring to a movie or book in a post or actually writing a favourable review.

Actually, I just checked and last month I would have made $250. But I mostly wrote about diabetes, a few ways to recover from manic depression and some general family tragedy. I guess I could probably mention my new iPhone in there somewhere… if someone were to give me an iPhone for mentioning their product.

There was something else weird about the ‘getting paid per post’ offer. Along with a request for my services one of the agencies included a list of other bloggers on their payroll… it actually included a blogger in my blogroll who I really enjoy reading.


The thing with those contracts is you don’t get paid, or the contract gets broken, if you’re up front with what’s going on, so I know why he’s being all hush-hush about it. And I’m definitely not judging, if I could write more often and with greater gusto I’d be getting paid for this crap as well.

And if the money gets into rent territory there’s a decent chance more of my adventures will include a soundtrack by an indie artist who happens to be releasing an album next month. Or toothpaste.

Then back in February there was that thing that I really should have paid more attention towards. Of course there was the health-blog survey put on by the “Mental Health Blog Research Group” at “The College of New Jersey” that wasn’t about mental health at all, it was actually a student study into communication strategies.

One of the cooler requests I’ve had was to be a part of a radio panel on blogging. CBC Radio basically ran down the Ottawa section of Zoom‘s blogroll looking for participants. Zoom was kind enough to suggest me.

The latest request was just a couple of days ago when an American publisher asked if they could send me a book called “Hurry Down Sunshine” by Michael Greenberg, published by Other Press… and the author would be available for any interviews.

There was another book offer I probably should have taken a second look at back in May. That book is called “The Bipolar Handbook for Children, Teens and Families” by Wes Burgess and it’s published by Viking Books. He was available for interviews at the time as well.

Thanks to a post by Experimental Chimp I found a book called “Manic”, a memoir by Terri Cheney, so I was already putting together a post on the books available to people recovering from manic depression, so I may take both publishers up on their offers. I’ve actually since exchanged emails with Mrs. Cheney.

It just kind of feels like this blog is heading into a weird new place, like it could become something serious. Some days I like the idea more than others.

Anyway, this was supposed to be a No Post Day post, but it turned into a post… which is okay, because now I have a post for Friday.

…in the spirit of No Post Day, I’d be interested if anyone else has been approached.




About Gabriel...

...diagnosed with manic depression when I was nineteen, for the next 14-years I lived without treatment or a recovery plan. I've been homeless, one time I graduated college, I've won awards for reporting on Internet privacy issues, and a weekly humour column. In 2002 I finally hit bottom and found help. It's now 2022, and I have an 8-year old son, and a 12-year old son... I’m usually about six feet tall, and I'm pretty sure I screwed up my book deal. I mostly blog at
This entry was posted in Bipolar Disease, Bipolar Disorder, Blogging, crazy people with no pants, Health, No Post Day, Publishing. Bookmark the permalink.

20 Responses to Making Strange Requests

  1. exactscience says:

    I was approached by and I agreed to something. I’m not getting paid. As best I can tell I have had a profile created that lists my blog as my website and says I live in San Francisco.

    Also, dude, what is happening with my RSS widget?

  2. Gabriel... says:

    Madainn mhath Scott… Where’s your “iwellblog” button? I like the one with the rainbows, it fits perfectly with the themes of your blog. Have you actually seen your account on their site? I don’t know… their site seems cartoonishly happy and joyous. And yours… has a blue stripe.

    What did they offer you in return for your RSS feed?

    Well holy crap, haileo tenderhooligan. Your not being contacted by a multinational cartel in the past has to be a mistake on their part… hopefully now they’ll turn their cold calculating eye towards your blog, much like the Eye of Sauron searching for its ring.

  3. thordora says:

    oooh I want to read Manic. It’ s on my wishlist…

    I’ve been approached. Not interested. I’d do a paid gig somewhere else, but I don’t want that crap on my main site. Plus, just doing a free second gig was too much pressure for me. 🙂

    And please, if you like me at all NO MORE HORNETS/WASPS/BEES!!! gak I cannot STAND those!

  4. Fourth Dwarf says:

    (a) Nobody’s offered me $$ for an endorsement, but that makes sense. I can’t figure why they’re not offering me $$ to say I don’t use their product or service.

    (b) I can stand bug photos. Love ’em. But the huge watermark across all your photos makes me not want to look at them. It seems to me that watermark is more harmful to your art than an unauthorized use of the photo would be.

  5. Lydia says:

    Someone asked to put a survey link on my blog. It’s about conditions that require life long medical management, which, happily, alcoholism does not. So I said no. They didn’t offer to pay me, though.

  6. bipolarlife says:

    I get little traffic and happily remain, ignored. But then I can’t imagine what anyone would sell on my blog.

    I like the wasp photo.

  7. Gabriel... says:

    Hi bipolarlife… thank for supporting my photo choice. I was actually stunned when the photo came out in focus. I spent more than five minutes standing over the feast taking photos… the freaking hungry wasp kept getting spooked and flying away. The dead one didn’t move so much.

    I’m actually surprised your traffic isn’t higher (not knowing anything about where it is). You’ve got a real quality blog going on over there…

    Hi Lydia… I’d be interested in knowing if you’ve ever joined an addiction blogging association. I’m looking for some to put into my blogroll.

    Bonjour Fourth Dwarf… I’m surprised the Elgin Street Diner hasn’t approached you and the Irregulars with advertising opportunities, maybe offering their banana-chocolate milkshake as payment.

    The watermark, or a watermark, stays on the photos. I’ve had too much of my work stolen and-or hijacked. I can give you addresses of sites that have stolen entire posts of mine, including the photos, and still have them up.

    Actually, here:

    Hi Thor… the next time I plan on posting a bug photo I promise I’ll email you so you’re not surprised. I was approached to do some ad work but turned them down as well… but I’m thinking maybe…

  8. zoom says:

    I’ve been approached a couple of times – just last week by Loblaws as a matter of fact. I wouldn’t rule it out entirely, and would judge each situation on its own merits. (But I would always refuse to do advertising by stealth.)

    As for the watermarks, maybe you could do fewer of them, or smaller ones, on each photo?

  9. giannakali says:

    people hit me up all the time…and I let them send me shit too…I just say I will not guarantee a review. So far no one has gotten a review—all the stuff has been shit—Charles Barber’s book was pretty good, but I didn’t have the analytical skills I would have liked to pick the book apart—my cognition suffers quite a bit from all the meds…as far as stuff like wellsphere or People’sMD I ignore all of them…as far as I can tell they just want free content…and those sorts of sites hit on me practically weekly.

    Am I missing something about People’sMD?

    I’ve never been paid for a review and I’ve not accepted offers to be paid.

    I do work marginally for a residential facility that I mention on my site and people ask for screening for appropriateness after reading my site—if they go to the program I get a bit of money…but that was created through a personal relationship and not some strange email request.

    I spent two days with the director of the program and we are friends…I feel very good about recommending the place and I’m very careful to screen for appropriateness…so most of the time I don’t make anything and I just get to talk to people which I find rather fun.

  10. Well I know!!! Someone could make millions from me! In, like, a week! 😉

  11. Gabriel, your blog is very cool. I think it’s nice that you’ve been contacted. It’s something to think about.

    I was contacted by a bookstore owner who asked me if I would consider changing a link in my sidebar for the book “Everything I Want To Do Is Illegal” from amazon to his bookstore. Since he asked me so nicely, I agreed to it. I was also contacted by an indie label promoter. He sent me a CD and I reviewed it on my blog.

    I would like to do a “giveaway” at some point on my blog (you know, make a comment and you get a chance to win) if someone who makes jewelry or aprons or whatever wants to offer that. I would let them use my blog for that purpose. But I wouldn’t let it become a regular thing because readers can feel “used” if the blogger goes overboard with that kind of promotion.

  12. Gabriel... says:

    Bziara bbant Zoom… being approached by Loblaws would be weird. Although I could totally understand if they needed to advertise king size bags of kitty litter.

    Ansomaa Gianna… when the PeoplesMD people contacted me I didn’t actually try to learn what they were doing. I’d like to go back and take another shot, or at least figure out what they’re doing.

    Goeiedag fightingwindmills… Thanks. Way back in the day, when I was working at a university radio station, I started getting indie labels sending me CD’s directly. Which was awesome because there was a great store in Ottawa that bought CD’s for $5 a pop. A giveaway sounds like a solid idea…

    Haileo again tenderhooligan, I’m not sure about the money but if I were you I’d definitely start gathering up some hobbits.

    About The Photo Copyright: The problem with the photos is this… people, designers, believe sites like Flickr and PhotoBucket are reservoirs of stock photos they can pick and choose from at will. I know this for a lot of reasons, one of which being the firm my step-father works at steals photos from Flickr all the time for use in their presentations and internal magazines.

    Another would be a case last year of a fourteen-year old girl’s self-portrait being taken from her Flickr account and ending up on the front cover of a DVD collection of pornography. Then there was a random American dude reading a magazine who found his photo of another dude riding a motorcycle being used to sell motorcycles to other dudes.

    This stuff happens a lot, but most people shrug it off just like most people shrug off blog theft — which is also extremely common. But I like making life difficult for people who steal my stuff. So I have a copyright banner, and links back to this site hidden in my posts so when they’re stolen I get informed as to where they are.

    And with my photos I keep the resolution really low (20 dpi) , the actual size relatively small and label them appropriately — keep your maximum photo size to less than 100k. The average person stealing photos, like my step-father’s firm, will skip past mine to find an easier mark.

    The idea of a copyright is to protect the image itself, which means the copyright has to distort the image in a way to make it unlikely to be stolen. Which means having something which cannot be easily cropped out or cloned away. I’ve played around with the size of the actual copyright part (the big, fat font in the middle), and with this one I can and do adjust the visibility.

    All that said… I will start playing around with the copyright symbol again. Maybe I’ll set up a popularity vote…

    …actually, if anyone’s interested I do have a photoblog: Salted Shambhala.

  13. thordora says:

    Not being bitchy. Just really REALLY phobic of hornets/wasps etc and I screamed like a whiny little boy when that showed up. Truly.

  14. Gabriel... says:

    I know, and I absolutely promise to warn you about wasps and bees. I was putting up a fence with my step-father today and I think I managed to get some shots of a huge daddy-longlegs… big red body and fully extended its legs might have been about four inches across. It followed us for about twenty feet of fencing.

    What’s up with your avatar? It seems to be hit and miss recently…

  15. thordora says:

    not logged in when I’m at home I imagine. Or it’s out to get me..

    lots of spider love here. They eat things. 🙂

  16. Em says:

    Late to the party – as always…
    I was approached by in July – they wanted to send me “feminine beauty products” so i would write reviews about them. Didn’t do it. They found me through my half-arsed “review” of The Dark Knight screening I went to.

    I was asked to do CBC radio too, but skipped that for a few reasons.

  17. Gabriel... says:

    Kwé Em… it’s not a party until you get here. When I received the CBC email I was definitely reluctant because I do my best to keep this blog at least mostly anonymous (so my sisters aren’t accidentally reading the bizarre stuff our father did). But after an hour I decided I was totally willing to out myself just for the experience of being interviewed on air. Apparently I’ve developed into a media whore.

  18. i was approached but i got scared, then thought it was spam, then thought it was an internet predator, then blocked him from my account.

    i don’t know if i would review something. i don’t think anyone would want me to review something since my content is completely random and isn’t always appropriate, and is entirely irrelevant.

    although i did pump up vitamin water the other day and their wicked awesome hangover flavour…. but, then again – i was hungover.

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