I've removed personal and identifying info.
In August I got an email from a new candy store owner asking to be added to my list of links. I didn't answer the email but I did bookmark the site. I checked back on it at least twice. At first it was just a promo site for a little candy shop, but eventually they added a webstore and I was thinking about visiting them when I was in the area (they're not near me but somewhere I visit often).
In December the person started posting comments to my blog, she always used her full name but never identified her affiliation to the store (at first I didn't put it together but when back and found the email from a different address but with the same name):
12/6 (Candy Cane Review): A great location for all types candy is [website] - Yummy !!
12/19 (Barley Sugar Toys Review): The pops and free standing candies can also be found at [website] in [city] - YUMMY! And unlike Regennas, you can still order these.
12/20 (Zotz Review): Zotz and all kinds of retro candy can be found at [website] - Yummy!
1/10 (Joseph Schmidt): [website] - Atomic Fire Balls to Zots - nothing pretentious, great variety
After this morning's comment I decided I'd had enough of her self-promotion. The previous comments were vaguely on topic and for the 12/19 & 12/20 it might even be a service to readers to help them find some of the less common candies.
So I wrote her a note:
I considered adding your site to my list of links but was waiting (a site needs to be active for at least three months) but your more recent abuse of my commenting system to promote yourself is distasteful.
I don't know if you're doing this on other sites, but leaving promotional comments off-topic does not make your site or your store appealing to web-savvy readers, especially when you don't reveal your affiliation.
I think you should develop a new strategy to get the word out about your company.
She replied within 30 minutes:
I'll be sure not to visit again. After such a mean email, I don't think you should sign it "Sweetly"Okay, maybe I wasn't sweet, but I certainly wasn't mean. I was professional, which is not what she was.
At that point I'd only removed the most recent comment. I've now deleted all of them from the site and "banned" her email address from posting any longer (just in case she decides she'd like to share more advice with my readers).
Now, as a rule I don't mind when stores chime in that they carry a particular item that may be hard to find, as long as it's something that someone has requested already in the comments or I mentioned in the post itself. I also prefer that they divulge their affiliation with the store in question and I haven't had much of an issue before.
Could my email have been nicer? Certainly.
Was her reply professional? Certaily not.
I have a "comment policy" buried in my About page but now I'm thinking that I need to make it clearer.
So, please advise. Do I need to be nicer? Do they need to be more savvy? Should I have just "called her out" within the comments section like some people do? I'm sure I'm not the only one who's experience this ... give me the dish on yours.
This Post was written by Cybele from Candy Blog