One of the delights of blogging is that certain people out there occasionally send me emails offering me stuff. One of the annoying things about blogging is that most of these people are only offering me stuff in the thinly disguised hope that I might promote it on their behalf. Afraid not, chancers. There's a thin line between altruistic generosity and brazen product-whoring, and I'm not playing along with your games. OK, so maybe I'm missing out on receiving free stuff, but I don't care. I'm not susceptible to your shameless self-promotion, and I spit in the face of your carefully targetted marketing spam. So if you're an opportunistic PR-fiend who thinks my blog might be a useful platform for your product, let me save you the effort of asking. The answer is 'No'.
Here are a few of the things that other people have urged me to promote recently. Just to annoy these people, I'm not going to mention the precise thing I was invited to mention, nor link to the webpage they hoped I'd link to. So there.
Angela wondered whether she could send me a free luxury chocolate Easter egg so that I could "review it". As a valued web partner I could also host a special Treasure Hunt competition for you, my readers, giving you the opportunity to win an exclusive chocolate egg hamper. Like a fool I turned her down. Don't shoot me.
Jason thought that I would be interested in contributing to his wholly artificial debating website, full of "really insightful passages of prose" and sponsored by a not-quite-well-enough-known laptop brand. Jason was very wrong.
Tom sent me a limited edition invite to attend a West End preview of an upcoming Hollywood blockbuster, "solely for influential bloggers such as yourself". There was a chance to chat to the film's director afterwards and, as the real clincher, "drinks and nibbles" to follow. But Tom only gave me 8 hours to reply, which hinted that perhaps I wasn't one of his first choice targets, so I refused to bite. After the screening Tom showed his true colours by emailing me links to "QT, WMP, and Real zip files" of the event I'd missed, as well as a special embedded media player I might want to use. "The footage looks great and I really hope you're able to place it on your blog", he chirped. The sheer cheek of it! But all credit to Tom's opportunistic methods, because I've since seen this particular film promoted on blogs far more than any other in the history of the online world.
Lauren hoped I'd want to mention the magazine she works for, based in a metropolis across the Atlantic, which has just published a special edition comparing their city to London. Perhaps she thought I'd be antagonised into writing something really outspoken in response to an article entitled "Has the Food Over There Really Become Edible?". Or that I'd rise to the provocative bait of a comment like "But let's get serious: Would you really want to live there?". Oddly enough, Lauren, yes. Now stop being so smug and take your inaccurate one-sided editorial elsewhere.
Mel noted that I had, at some point in the past, linked to the website of The Daily Show with Jon Stewart. And so, for some inexplicable reason, he offered to send me me a free pair of jeans "to review and/or to use as a giveaway". I can only guess that he overlooked the postage required for transatlantic shipping, and failed to notice that my readers in the UK can't actually buy his special brand of jeans over here.
Guy offered me the opportunity to go for a free ride on a major London atrraction. This was part of an exclusive preview of a milestone-related photographic competition, to be launched at a champagne reception, which I might then hopefully plug shamelessly on my website in return. Like that would ever happen.
Ah, but hang on, I actually said 'Yes' to that last request, didn't I? Maybe this "freebies for bloggers" thing isn't as cut and dried as it first looks. But trust me, oh ye pushers of online advertising, that I forward 99% of your promotional emails instantly into my deleted items folder. Please don't waste your time sending them to me - target a few keen cut-and-paste bloggers to do your dirty work instead.