Writers Wanted? Guest Blogging Training

Little-Known Writers TrickIf you’ve been hanging around Facebook at all lately, you’ve probably seen this ad, complete with its clickbait headline. (Note: any ad whose title contains the words “a little known trick” is clickbait. But you knew that.) Sounds legit, right? I mean, everybody wants to write for the Huffington Post. It’s a huge name in online media, and having a post there gives you legitimacy (and, hopefully, eyeballs on your other work) like whoa.

I wondered what the little-known trick was, so I clicked. Here’s what I found. File this under We Do It So You Don’t Have To.

The first click brings you to this screen.Guest Blog 1 Huffington Post ScamSee that big, enthusiastic button? Clicking it gets you a pop-up box. You have to type your email address in the box to get any farther. Well, what’s a little spam if it’s going to get me a primo spot at HuffPo, right? I gave them my information and went on.

The next page is full of typical marketing copy. HuffPo and other big blogging sites are the place to be. They won’t pay you, but you’ll get eyeballs on your work, etc. The key is to write stuff that’s worthy of their interest, and to know who to send it to. Of course, HuffPo and other sites don’t publicize contact info for their editors. But we have that info for you! Want to download it? Just click here!

So I clicked. And here, at last, is the meat of the thing: They’ll give you the “Rolodex” for $7. Major credit cards accepted.

Seven bucks is pretty cheap for the endgame of such an elaborate marketing pitch, so I suspected there was more behind it. Take another look at that pretty blue landing page above. The website name is guestblogger.com, but the copyright holder is Boost Blog Traffic Inc. The guy behind that site is Jon Morrow, a former associate editor for Copyblogger. At Boost Blog Traffic, he offers a GuestBlogging Certification Program, which he promises will “bump you to the head of the line” with editors at the top blogs and will “change your life.” No, really. He says so in the video here.

If you guessed that the certification course costs more than $7, you were right. It’s $297, payable in three convenient monthly installments of $99 each. Major credit cards accepted. (Some online reviews say the price is $591, or $197 per installment, but the $297 price is directly from Morrow’s website. I’m thinking maybe he’s knocked the price down since some of the reviews were published. Or hey, maybe the lower price is a little-known secret.)

I was too cheap to pony up the $7 for the email list – especially with no information about how recently it’s been updated (although if what’s he’s offering are blind-box addresses like books.editor@topblog.com, it wouldn’t need to be updated as often as it would if he were listing the editors’ direct addresses). But I can’t help thinking that the low price is a way to get you to open your wallet for the more expensive certification course. I’m extrapolating from my experience in retail stores, where I’ve often found that I’m more amenable to spending money after I’ve put a product in my cart. It’s like committing to buy that one thing opens a floodgate, and I start looking for other stuff to buy. In marketing-speak, you might say the small “yes” is the precursor to the big ask.

The good news is that Morrow (or his bot) only sent me four emails over four days to remind me about the $7 offer. It’s been a couple of weeks and I haven’t heard from him again. Maybe he’s dropped me from his mailing list. Time will tell whether he’s sold my address to anyone else.

Author: Lynne Cantwell

Lynne Cantwell grew up on the shores of Lake Michigan. She worked as a broadcast journalist for many years; she has written for CNN, the late lamented Mutual/NBC Radio News, and a bunch of radio and TV news outlets you have probably never heard of, including a defunct wire service called Zapnews. But she began as a fantasy writer (in the second grade), and is back at it today. She currently lives near Washington, DC. Learn more about Lynne at her blog and at her Amazon author page.

28 thoughts on “Writers Wanted? Guest Blogging Training”

    1. To be fair, Morrow seems to have credibility in marketing circles. But I just couldn’t help feeling that it was going to be $7 now, and endless pestering for the big-ticket purchase later.

  1. What a game. I’ve noticed Facebook advertising a lot of these types of things. Most seem scammy, though I don’t click.

    Thank you for clicking for me.

  2. Jon Morrow has been around for awhile now. He’s done podcasts, and has blogged for years. He is famous for his blog about marketing. Yes, he is a Marketing King, working his way up the hard way. I never thought of him as a scammer – he has a talent and will probably teach what he claims. He had to do this online since he is restricted to a wheel chair. (check out his site and get his brave story) Check him out, he’s legit, but yes, he makes a buck off of people like us – just like every other entity out there who has talent and wants to sell the classroom routine.

    Better advice would be to check out free college courses via https://www.coursera.org/ and learn the skills needed in business and content marketing, etc. for no money BUT some hard work.

    1. Agreed on looking for free courses first, Elisabeth.

      The thing I found misleading was that the ad promises a “little-known trick,” the landing page offers a “strategy guide,” and the later pages call it a “Rolodex”. A list of email addresses hardly constitutes either “little-known trick” or a strategy guide. But maybe that’s marketing hyperbole, I dunno.

      1. Yes – he’s using the ole’ hook em’ and pull em’ in routine. Classic marketing scheme. We are bombarded with these techniques all the time. Not sure he deserves to be singled out as a scam, however, I thank you for posting this Lynne, because we all need to evaluate what we read before we commit. Agreed – He was a bit deceptive.

  3. Thanks for this great post and expose. It is a rip-off, and I used to get his “offers” ad nauseum, and have unsubscribed from him and others of the same ilk. I’m up to my ears with all these bandwagon people who are marketing with no objective but to feather their own nests! I now have a few valuable people I follow, but even then, still way too many! I’ve also noticed that in some cases the emails are getting longer and longer, and monopolizing time that could be better employed. It’s their effort to hold you captive. So in many instances, “I’m outa here!”

    1. I posted this on all the social media sites and it’s already been favorited. I think all should see it, particularly the people who offer scammy deals so they will think twice before they post misleading information, or author-gouging offers. It worries me that so many writers are unaware of these tactics and pay up!

  4. It’s amazing what people do to make a buck. Too bad I don’t have the energy or ethics to screw people like that … I’d probably be rich by now. No Thanks, I’ll stick with my IU peeps. Thanks Lynne, another one to not get fooled by.

    1. You bet, Jim.

      I feel for folks in p.r. and marketing. I’ve known a ton of them over the years, and most of them are nice folks with a tough job. Sometimes they get carried away. 😉

  5. Thank you all, starting with Lynne, very much for this information. I have been speculating that these ads were not necessarily leading to anything I could not learn in other ways and it is good to learn this from you rather than the hard and expensive way. BTW I just completed the Coursera composition class and it was very helpful and very well structured.

    1. I’m hoping that since I never responded to the four emails he sent me…and never ponied up the seven bucks…he’s put me on a “lousy prospect” list and I’ll never hear from him again. But time will tell…

    1. Alejandro, I think his real target audience is people who would like to quit their jobs and blog for a living. Which would be great, but then I wouldn’t have time for writing fiction, so… 😀

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