I get all sorts of strange email. Recently the volume of email asking what I'd charge to run an ad, or sell “sponsorship” has gone up from every-so-often to several per week.
Today's was a little odder than usual:
My name is Alex [surname] and I am the manager of the project for [erotic lingerie web site].
And I would like to buy the text link advertisement on your blog https://www.discourse.net for my website [erotic lingerie web site]. Can you send me the monthly rates for the blog-wide text link on your blog ?
I would appreciate your reply.
This doesn't seem like a form letter – it has my name. On the other hand, what is this “blog-wide text link” he speaks of? [Update: forgot to add, and why if it's not a form letter, does Alex think I'm about to run an ad for his stuff?] I always say “no thanks” to ad solicitations for the reasons set out in Blogs, Ads, and Insurance. Then again, maybe this deserves a custom reply…
May be wrong, but I think by “blog-wide text link” Alex is saying s/he wants to harness Discourse.net as a search engine optimizer.
Ann is right on the money. A “blog-wide text link” means that you agree to put a link to the site in question, with some sort of text chosen by the ad purchaser, on a part of your site template (such as the footer or a sidebar) that allows that link to appear on every page of your blog. As a result, when your site gets spidered by Google and ther search engines, the link gets picked up and the site gets the benefit of your “Google juice.”
There are legit text-link-ad suppliers who would probably pay more than this guy and offer a better class of advertisers. If you wanted to accept that kind of ad, which of course you don’t.