Hasslein Blog: The Price of Integrity


Hasslein Blog

Wednesday, April 6, 2016

The Price of Integrity

By Rich Handley

Today, I received an e-mail from someone calling himself "Tim Glasow, Marketing Assistant" at a Raleigh, N.C., company called "Total Marketing." I thought I'd share the exchange, in case there were other bloggers out there who have received similar correspondence. Tim's initial e-mail said the following:

We are interested in producing editorial content for your site, hassleinbooks.com.
The content will be professionally written in line with your site's theme and voice.
A $120 administrative fee will be provided to you for your time spent reviewing and publishing our content. Payments are made daily via PayPal or check via FedEx (US & Canada only for check).
Thank you very much for your time and I look forward to hearing from you.

Now, I'm not a stupid person. I recognize a potential scam when I see one. It's something we at Hasslein Books know something about. But I was genuinely curious what the catch was. So I wrote back to him, asking a simple question:

Hi, Tim. What's the catch?

His answer actually intrigued me:

Hi Rich,
Thanks so much for your reply. Let me provide some further clarification. Our client is casino.betfair.com, however, our article would like to highlight news within the geek world (perhaps something surrounding star trek or star wars, or another relevant theme of your choice). The link to betfair will appear organically within the body of the article, and in no way will it detract from the article's overall theme.
You can see a few of our previous articles below:
Here are the details to get us started: One of our writers will supply you with a professionally written article that is relevant to your site's theme and we will pay you $120 via PayPal for your time spent reviewing and publishing the content. We would expect the content to appear on your site like a regular post until newer content pushes it off. It should then remain accessible in your site's archives for a total of 12 months from the original publishing date.
Our goal is to write an editorial that you and your readers enjoy. If you have any guest post requirements or topic ideas for this article, please let me know.
I am here to answer any questions and I look forward to working with you.

Now, I have to admit, this made me curious. The three articles he supplied as samples were surprisingly well written and relevant, and the link in question was unobtrusive. So I asked my partner at Hasslein Books what he thought of it, and then I did some research. And what did I find? Well, do some Google searches for "Betfair fraud," "Betfair scam" and "Betfair refuses to pay," and you'll see for yourself. Let's just say that Hasslein Books wants no part of it. So here's what I wrote back:

Wait... so you want us to shill for a casino site well known for defrauding people out of thousands of dollars? You want us to give up our integrity by pretending to be presenting journalistic pieces when, in fact, we'd just be posting thinly veiled ads for thieves? And you want us to do this for an extremely low dollar amount? Sorry, Tim. No thank you.

If you receive an e-mail from anyone at Total Marketing, offering to pay you to post their content on your site, my advice is this: delete it. Our parents' wisdom from our childhood still holds validity: if it sounds too good to be true, it is too good to be true.

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