It's hardly surprising then that there are some people out there who like to prey on this need. Case in point, here's an email I received last night:
Subject: Hi, I'd like to publish a 600-word feature on your Start-Up
Hello from San Francisco! My name is ****. I hope this message finds you well.
I run a site that features start-ups, ********.com. Our aims are simple:
• Host a thoughtful and creative review of your site on ********.com
• Provide helpful suggestions to improve user's experience
• Provide a keyword focused marketing boost for your site
I found your site on KillerStartups.com and would like to write a 600-word feature on it. Here are some recent examples.
The feature will be promoted on multiple social media sites including Digg, Reddit, Stumbleupon, LinkedIn, and Buzz Up. We also include multiple links on Yahoo Answers.
Check out what other clients are saying about us: ********/buzz
It costs $65USD to be featured on ********. (Paypal'd to Paypal@********.com).
Let me know if you'd like to be featured or discuss this further.
This week Any New Books? received coverage from sites such as The Next Web, MakeUseOf, KillerStartups, wwwhatsnew, as well as from an Indian newspaper (Mumbai Mirror). They all loved our idea and execution, and decided to give us some exposure. Hundreds of people have signed up with our free new book notification service in the past 48 hours as a result of this exposure. We haven't paid a single cent for such coverage.
Reputable, genuine tech news sites like TechCrunch, ReadWriteWeb, LifeHacker, or the aforementioned ones, do NOT ask you for money to write about your site/startup. It's their job to give coverage to startups that will genuinely interest their readers. (As far as I can tell the site from the email doesn't even disclose that the reviews on it have been paid for.)
While we're bootstrapped at the moment, we could afford to pay $65 for something that we felt was worthwhile. That's not the point. A review for which I have to pay is not a review though, it's an ad.
You may think it's worth paying a relatively small sum of money to get some coverage from this little-known site (according to Alexa), but I recommend that you don't encourage sites like this, which prey on entrepreneurs' desire to succeed. Overall, be mindful of such emails and propositions. Resist the urge to give into the temptation they may pose. Try to get legitimate coverage instead (more on this in future posts.)