This week I received an email from a marketing firm offering to pay me $40 if I let them guest blog on Very VERY Busy Mom. So many emotions rumbled through my body as I mulled over this request.
First of all, I’m very flattered that someone I’ve never heard of would seek me out to write for my website. It’s kind of like guest hosting for Jay Leno. Only they might end up being funny.
Secondly, I am thrilled about the prospect of free cash. Although $40 seemed like chump change when I was in my carefree and wasteful late 20’s, today $40 can mean the difference between gas in my tank or sticking out my thumb on a street corner (That was a lie. I’ve never hitchhiked before, but with the price of gas these days a free ride sounds very enticing).
However, there were three reasons why I wanted to turn them down. First, Very VERY Busy Mom is my blog, and I’m a little territorial about it. I’d feel like a hypocrite lamenting how I’ll take a little Me Time when I’m dead, then have someone guest blog about the 10 Best Spas in LA, especially since I couldn’t even afford the valet.
I also don’t do ads. I think it’s a little creepy when I’m on a website and the Google Ads are offering me products for hygiene. Am I not bathing enough? Am I choosing the wrong deodorant? How does Big Brother know?
The final and most important reason that I didn’t want the deal was because Very VERY Busy Mom is a humor blog, or at least I try to make it humorous. And I suspected that the subject matter they were proposing was not very funny.
No, it wasn’t selling cemetery plots or raising money for an orphanage in Cambodia. It was for a website advertising dentists – specifically cosmetic dentistry.
I figured that I would be a terrible choice because I would be inclined to mention the famous scene in Marathon Man with Laurence Olivier stabbing Dustin Hoffman’s cavity and asking, “Is it safe?”
That could be my tagline:
Is it safe? Only if you go to one of our dentists.
I can just imagine the first paragraph written by the guest blogger:
Do you brush your teeth regularly? Do you floss? Is your answer an embarrassed “no?” Fear not. Make an appointment with one of our dentists and in no time you’ll have a winning smile!
Would you keep reading? Or would you close the screen window and never ever log onto my blog again?
On the other hand, if they let me write it, it might sound more like this:
Have your teeth become the color of your Starbucks’ cappuccino? Do you knock over large animals with your bad breath? Do strangers compliment you on your realistic Halloween Billy Bob teeth? Then let’s hope that you have a great personality to attract a mate. Otherwise, you’ll need to bring your fat checkbook or great credit over to our dentist if you ever want to get a date.
I checked out the website they wanted me to promote. It has a lot of quick information about things like root canals, tooth decay, and gingivitis (a great vocabulary word I learned from a Listerine ad before I had a DVR and could speed through commercials). The site invites you to find a dentist in your area by entering your zip code. I tried it, but my dentist wasn’t on the list. What? I’ve been seeing him twice a year for over 20 years. Perhaps he has enough regular clients like me, so he doesn’t have to advertise online.
The home page of the website contains a photo of a hunky 50-something guy and one of those blonde natural beauties you see in ads but not so often in real life. They’re smiling at us from the beach. If this was a tv ad, they might even have some CGI sparkles emitting from their perfect teeth.
My real dentist ad would have the hunky 50-something guy lying back in a dentist chair, drooling on a bib while a dental hygienist shoves a sharp poker, a mirror, and a small hose into his mouth. She tells him he needs to floss more often. “Aaaaakaaagaaa,” he answers, as the hose sucks his gurgling spit. Suddenly he’s not so hunky.
Then there would be the ad where the blonde natural beauty is not so naturally blond or naturally beautiful. She has just finished her checkup and therefore all lipstick and foundation applied below her nose has rubbed off. She is told that she needs to have x-rays taken, and the semi-blonde bursts into tears because her co-pay just went up and insurance now only pays for 60%. She pleads that she’s got a Smartphone, so can’t she just take a picture of her teeth and email it to the dentist?
Another ad would be the hunky 50-something guy awakening from a root canal, getting a prescription for Vicodin, and relapsing after 25 years of sobriety as he chases more pain meds.
These would be my ads if I wrote them. Which is probably why the marketing gal wanted me to hand my blog over to the guest writer, who would most likely write about the virtues of whitened teeth and how crowns make you more appealing to a prospective employer.
Should I take the $40 and run? Maybe to a beach with the hunky 50-something guy with a winning smile? Probably not, or my 40-something husband will stop writing witty replies to my blogs. He might even stop making me dinner.
I decided to take the high road, stick to my morals, and make some fun of dentists myself rather than let somebody else promote them. I emailed the marketing gal back and thanked her for the offer, but told her no.
She emailed me back and offered $90 instead. She also said I could write the blog myself, and I could even mention halitosis. All I had to do name the company and provide a link to their website.
I posted this blog around noon, naming the website and providing a link. Then an hour later I received an email from the manager of the marketing company who told me:
… we would really appreciate you not disclosing our client in the post or linking to it as this could harm our relationship with the client.
He offered to pay me if I would just take down the links and delete any mention of his client.
Should I hold out until they offer to pay for my kids’ braces?