Because some things are worth more than a box of cereal

Hi.  I’m about to overstep my boundaries.  You might want to back away slowly because I don’t usually do this and I might get blood on you.

Okay, I’m pissed.  Legitimately, ridiculously, slightly irrationally pissed.

A few minutes ago I got a pitch from a company who wanted me to write a review for their cereal on my blog.  And they would pay me.  In cereal. Two boxes of cereal, specifically.  Except that the cereal wouldn’t actually go to me.  It would be used as a giveaway.  To promote their cereal.  On my blog.  Because as a blogger I’m so desperate for material that I will happily regurgitate any commercial bullshit that anyone puts in front of me.  Apparently.

I’m really struggling with writing this because I fully believe that people should be able to write whatever they want but if you as a blogger are accepting a box of cereal as payment for helping to grow a commercial ad campaign then you are undervaluing us all.  Companies have advertising budgets and some of those companies spend that money on bloggers.  And those companies should be applauded for helping to grow our community and for giving bloggers the same respect that you would give to any other profession.  Other companies give their advertising budgets to PR firms who are paid quite well to get bloggers and other outlets to advertise the product in exchange for cereal.  I can almost guarantee you that none of the PR people who contact you are working for cereal.  In fact, let’s explore that scenario…

Cereal company:  Hi!  We need a large, professional PR campaign so we’d like you to contact everyone on your mailing list with a pitch about our product, where you can buy it, and also convince them to write all about it on their personal blogs.  For cereal.  And we’ll pay you!  In cereal.

PR Company:  What the fuck..?

Cereal company:  But you can’t eat the cereal.  You have to give it away to someone else.

PR company:  Right. Is this a joke?

Cereal company:  No!  It’s real!  You get two boxes of cereal!

PR Company:  Um…we don’t work for cereal.  We all have mortgages.  And…desk payments.

Cereal company:  The cereal is worth FIVE DOLLARS!

PR company:  Is there something wrong with you?  Because we’d like to tell you to fuck off but we’re afraid to because we think you might be mentally unbalanced.


PR Company:  Never contact us again.

*end scene*

Look, I’m not saying that there aren’t good PR companies out there or that if you review products you’re a bad blogger or that writing about a product that you honestly love is bad.  It’s great, in fact.  Write about what you love.  Write about who you are.  Write things that are worthy of you and of your audience.  Because your voice is worth more than a goddamn box of cereal.

And don’t let anyone ever tell you any different.

UPDATED: To answer your questions, yes, this was a totally serious proposal. And no, it wasn’t even for Cap’n Crunch. It was for some obscure, made-from-applesauce, marshmallow-less crap WITH NO PRIZES IN IT.

I might have actually considered doing it for Cap’n Crunch. But not because I eat cereal. Because I support our Navy.

Comment of the day: I got one of these the other day. They want to send me two bags of candy which I would then in turn send to other people. Which just seems like a huge waste of postage.  I am letting them send me the candy. And then I’m going to eat it. ~ Abi

254 thoughts on “Because some things are worth more than a box of cereal

Read comments below or add one.

  1. With that being said, you should be thrilled they didn’t ask you to review toilet paper. They might have asked you to try it and THEN give it away, and that would totally suck for us. (please do not use this comment as part of any future TP give aways)

  2. I always write about what I live. Coincidentally, this is probably why cereal companies don’t contact me. I’m too abrasive to give away cereal. Fuck just doesn’t sell fiber.

  3. But doesn’t it depend on what kind of cereal? I mean, I know damn well that I am worth more than a box of Frosted Flakes, but a box of Lucky Charms or Count Chocula might give me a run for my money.

  4. Jenny, I love you. And yeah, so glad they didn’t ask you to review toilet paper and give it away. Or OMG, tampons…then you really MIGHT get blood on us!

  5. they’re ahead of the curve, it’s not long till the American dollar is devalued to the point that we start trading in cereal that we can’t even eat but have to send to the winner of a giveaway we have to host on our blogs.

    also I have no concept of my own self worth so I would gladly write a review of pond scum if you would send me a sample – and then I will send that to my readers as well – I’m sure that will keep them coming back.

  6. and the cereal they give you probably tastes like dirty styrofoam, and even the animals outside won’t eat it.

  7. You are worth at least three boxes of cereal! You should get to not only EAT the damn cereal you should be able to pick the flavor! For cripes sake at EF I get to choose the product, try the product and THEN blog about it. Seriously, what are these people on? OMFG I get to give away TWO WHOLE boxes of your sugar coated crap??? WHOOOOT! *Virtual headshaking*

  8. Did the cereal have marshmallows? Because if it did, and you turned it down, you’re a FOOL! Unless the box had one of those crap toys that they have in cereal now, like something that you think is going to be seriously cool, and then it’s just a painting of Abraham Lincoln on a piece of cardboard. Or is that Cracker Jacks I got that prize in? Was it Cracker Jacks cereal? Because if it was Cracker Jacks cereal I would totally eat that. Even with the crappy toys. Seriously, though, why don’t they put the little tattoo books in Cracker Jacks any more? Man, when I’d get one of those, I’d spend the entire friggin’ afternoon tattooing my little brother everywhere with horses and rainbows and stuff. Those tattoos rocked so hard.

  9. This makes me so happy because I am low-carb and don’t eat cereal, but it is so true. They don’t get the reach that some bloggers have to promote something. They will reap what they sow, as we all will, so it will work out in the end.

  10. FUCK, I read this so fast I have a stiff neck. (not your fault, but happened at work today and I work for my MIL who just fractured her ankle and hates pain pills so my stiff neck has had some pharmaceutical help from the MIL)

    Did they give you Cocoa Puffs or Lucky Charms because I REALLY love both of those but I don’t need either to pay my bills. In fact, I need none of them to live a healthier lifestyle. Did they offer you organic eggs that don’t have e coli, because then I could ask you to send them my way and I will totally write something that would never compare to your review….but I would eat it that afternoon.

    Also I may have had some wine… go fucking figure.

  11. I would write a blog for cereal to give away, but only if it were Rocky Road. Does anyone remember that cereal?? It was the best shit ever! Might as well have been candy for breakfast. And I would make sure to give away the cereal to my closest friends that are diabetic, so they would give it right back to me!

  12. YES. This is my rousing cheer, because those PR pitches are increasing in number every day and we, as bloggers, we’re worth MORE than cereal. Or as mine was, a free membership to some online community, but not for me, for one of my readers. SERIOUSLY.

    We are worth more.

  13. I’m definitely worth more than cereal, but I just hope no one ever offers me beer or scotch. Not that they would for my writing, cause the first stage of my writing process is usually a six pack.

    Though I do think you’re missing out on the opportunity to use the line “Stuff that, I don’t even get out of bed for 2 packets of cereal…”

  14. Although, as usual, your way of tackling this subject is spot on and HILARIOUS, I’m actually pretty pissed at this. A box of CEREAL? Oh, wait…TWO boxes. I don’t care if they WERE for you, this is fucking insulting. Please, send this post AND all the comments to the stupid ass cereal and/or PR company that had the audacity to send you this shit. You make a great point: none of THEM would be working for cereal, not the PR firm and not the people at the cereal company itself, who I’m sure get a real PAYCHECK that they can use to buy whatever fucking cereal they want. Obviously they know you have some clout or they wouldn’t be asking you to write a goddamn thing. Tell them if they like paying people in PRODUCT to let you review some diamonds or Cartier watches or a damn CAR.

  15. You would laugh at all the ridiculous fitness minded companies that want me doing work for a vitamin or DVD or whatever…you always bring a smile to my face.

  16. um well I mean lets not get carried away here. Are we talking the good stuff? Reese’s Puffs? :O)

    But seriously I cannot do anything but laugh. They were dead serious. woah.

  17. I’m exhausted and can barely form a coherent thought, but if there’s a new Bloggess post I must read it. So I have nothing interesting or witty or biting to say in response to your post. So I’ll just say I concur and when I get famous enough to get any kind of pitches I promise I will not do anything for cereal and when I turn them down, I’ll look over to my Netbook and say “Here’s to you, Jenny… here’s to you.” Of course if they offer french toast… that *I* get to keep and eat… well, all bets are off.


  18. Thank you Jenny. I know this isn’t a dialogue you’re ultra comfortable having here, but your voice means so much to this community. And this shit needs to be said. I think the more it’s said, the more those who don’t know their own value or don’t have enough experience will stop and think “oh fuck, I’m getting screwed in the face.”

    Hang in there lady. Rage on.

  19. I got contacted by a daycare chain who wanted me to post an article they had written….on my blog….for free. They didn’t even offer me a box of Lucky Fucking Charms, let alone 2. And certainly didn’t offer up free daycare service. How about a hand job? No?

    So I replied they were welcome to purchase ad space. 2 days later….I got the exact same letter from they same company signed with a different name. Form letter….or possibly conjoined twins sharing a brain. I don’t know. I started to reconsider. It would probably be worth it to post their shitty article because imagine the hand job I could get from conjoined twins.

  20. I think if it was golden flakes and it was just a shitload of gold flakes a box of cereal could be worth $58976458957 and then you really screwed us dude… 2 of us could have won $58976458957!

    I mean if it is sold in safeway(I am assuming it is) Golden Flakes could be a real thing at the rich people Safeway where they buy Dodo eggs and Hens Teeth.

    I want Coco Pops can you send me some under the guise that I won a competition on your blog and the cereal company gave them to you as a prize for me?

  21. I’d blame all those soulless, giveaway whore-to-the-masses blogs for this kind of behavior. Companies learned to think like them. So that’s where the state of things are now. The companies aim for any blog that has something to do with mommies or daddies and want you to whore their products. Sad. They lose.

  22. What morons! You’re at least worth three boxes of Cap’n Crunch! And not that imitation, generic, grocery store version that’s always in a bag and tastes just like the real thing if it was made of 50% drywall. Not that junk. REAL Cap’n Crunch. Seriously!

  23. Yeah… toilet paper would not have been a good idea.. or cotton swabs…. The least they could do is let you try out the cereal first… Hey.. a 1/2 eaten box of cereal is still a giveaway prize right???

  24. You know, though, I have worked for some companies who have sortve done the equivalent of wanting me to work for cereal that I wasn’t even going to get to eat.

    But, yeah… doesn’t sound like much of a deal. Good for you for having some moxie!

  25. Preach it, girl. I was recently offered a “GREAT OPPORTUNITY” to blog for $10 a post. At a huge web magazine. I said I’d do it for 100 times that price because that was how much I thought I was worth. “$1000 dollars a post and nothing less” said I. And I meant it. Because. FUCK. THEM. I’d rather write for free! I’d rather pay THEM $10 a post! It’s MIND BLOWING to me how blindly PR AND (online) publishing companies wander into the doors of professionals (even if we don’t LOOK like professionals) and ask us (while getting our names wrong) if it’s okay if they can take a shit on our foreheads. The only person I want shitting on my forehead is James Franco. Everyone else needs to go find themselves a toilet. I love you.

  26. But…what if it has a really kick ass toy in it, like cereals of yore used to have? And what is with that, anyway? Why don’t cereals have toys in them anymore? I WANT TO KNOW WHAT HAPPENED TO THE FREE TOY I’D HAFTA FISH OUT OF THE ENTIRE (FULL) BOX OF CEREAL WITH MY GRUBBY LITTLE KID HANDS, GOD DAMNIT!

    What did the cereal makers DO with them? Why do none of the “modern” cereals have them? What’s with this “mail in in fifty UPC’s” bullshit that I can’t do because my handwriting sucks and I have a mean husband that refuses to address envelopes and/or looks at me like I have some sort of conspiracy theory going on headquarted in Battle Creek, Michigan?!

    That’s the real travesty here!!

    You could start a crusade with this, Jenny. A Cereal Movement! And maybe even a Bowl Movement after, since we all need to have good cereal bowls handy in which to eat our cereal, but make sure to enunciate the “bowl” part or else people will think you’re talking about the gross ones with fiber and NO ONE wants to win that.

  27. Well, I’m out. This blog is hilarious, but if you’re going to deny me the opportunity to compete with your other readers for the chance to win a box of cereal that I could just as easily buy at Safeway, then I’m going to have to cancel my subscription.

  28. I rant with you oh mighty Bloggess! I had a company contact me this week, lets say it rhymes with “overhock”. They wanted me to write a dazzling review for them (on my blog which currently has maybe one review on it) for absolutely nothing in return. The told me they would give me a discount code for my readers. I’m sorry? Kiss it lady. I have a FAMILY to spend my spare time with. Hell, I’d rather scrub my toilet than write a fake rave about a company I have never used so my readers could get a discount. Sorry to my poor discountless readers and all but seriously?

    Ok, sorry. Anyway. Needless to say, I hear you on this one.

  29. It was a totally serious proposal. And it wasn’t even for Cap’n Crunch. It was for some low-fat granola crap WITH NO PRIZES IN IT.

    I might have considered doing it for Cap’n Crunch. But not because I eat cereal. Because I support our Navy.

  30. Heck, send me your address and I will pay you five “REAL DOLLARS” to never write about said cereal ever again. That’s right “FIVE” real dollars. Cereal isn’t even a good product as it requires another product to make it work, MILK. That’s like giving a toy without the batteries, cheap-bastTURDS!!!

  31. I would spoon-feed two full boxes of brain flavored cereal to a yard full of ninja zombies just to have the opportunity to read your blog. Thank Fucking Gawd I don’t have to. But I would. For you. You are, quite frankly, too fucking awesome to waste even one keystroke on those jack asses.

    In protest, tomorrow morning I shall feed my family toast.

  32. What kind of cereal was it? I’m sorry but this is important. Yes, I’m a fat ass.

    On another note, I kinda like you when you’re angry. And you really should’ve used your blog superhero drawing for this post because as I read this it’s precisely what I imagined you as. You flying with the birds, cape and confidence ponytail flapping in the wind.

  33. Wait, how are you suppose to “review” their cereal, if you can’t eat it, but have to give it away? Tell them to fuck off!! Your time, energy, and talents are best served elsewhere, like telling us which vodka goes best with cranberry juice, the thrills of stabbings, and all the wonderful USEFUL information we need. Now, i’m not sure that you have ever shared what brand of vodka would go best wit cranberry juice, but that would be AWESOME if you did, and the only way the cereal would truly interest me, is if it were MADE of vodka!! Ya know, “to help the mom deal with the stress of the morning rush”……wait, never mine. DON’T do that, because I just got a new marketing idea!!!!

  34. So, here is a very good example of why going to a conference like BlogHer actually does help one do more than just get hammered in a room with a thousand women.

    I learned at BlogHer 2009 that there are two very different groups of people approaching bloggers: marketers and PR people. Marketers have budgets, and can and should buy ad space to promote their product. PR people have nothing but the product itself.

    The job of the PR person is to get the word out about their client’s product, in sometimes creative and sometimes mundane ways. Bloggers are publishers and PR reps are trying to get their stories in front of eyeballs. Reviews and giveaways are cheap ways to get the story out, and they aren’t always insulting to do, and they aren’t always insulting pitches. (The cereal one is bad for a couple of reasons. Later.) They are “Hey, my client has a product; you have an audience. You like to write about things. We find the product interesting, do you?” kinds of story ideas.

    A good pitch says “It’s a good product. Why don’t you try it and see if you like it. Whatever.”

    A great pitch says “It’s a good product and we’re having all kinds of promotional events for it and you should come to this and this and this and…well, whatever.”

    A bad pitch says “It’s a product. How about you write about it?”

    It’s the “whatevers” that make the difference. Sure, the good and great PR folks want you to write about their client’s product; but they also want it to be effective writing, so they will have selected the blogger well and offered something of actual interest to them, playing the odds that writing will happen.

    Some people want to be paid for their time or their words. That’s fine. Don’t write a review though. And don’t ask PR people for money. They don’t have any. Mostly.

    So. That’s what I learned at BlogHer. Between all the drinking and parties with a thousand women. It might even be true. I’d ask Liz.

  35. cereal is REALLY expensive in Hawaii, unless you buy the damaged boxes for a discount.

  36. It’s astrological – they forgot that Mercury is retrograde and that all communications and contracts are positioned to go bad or at least take a lot of work. I can’t imagine that they’d offer product for blogging in the first place. Did you know these people or was it unsolicited.

    Glad you took a stand!

    All the best


  37. You said it perfectly. I know before I’ve accepted small campaigns to “Hopefully” be able to help build a relationship with the rep but-I also realize when I’m flat out getting screwed. I also love the 300 massage chair pitch that I can review “high-res images” to share with my readers. I’m not dumb people. MOST bloggers take the time to put effort into what they are writing. The rest? Well, I think you just said it.

  38. I got one of these the other day for a new kind of candy. They want to send me two bags of candy which I would then in turn send to other people. Which just seems like a huge waste of postage.

    I am letting them send me the candy. And then I’m going to eat it.

  39. Girl, I am totally cutting and pasting this for the eleven hundred freaking emails I get like this per day.

    Cause my physio I need from all the typing of irate profanity filled responses to these fuckknuckles won’t take payment in cereal… Or sexual favours.

    Bastard doesn’t know what he is missing… bow chicka bow bow.

  40. Amen, Backpacking Dad. Key point there, just say no if you don’t want to do it. Some people are blogging to make money, others aren’t. I fall in the latter group and ironically my current post is a product giveaway for which I am not being compensated — in money, cereal, or even product. I just thought it was an interesting product that my readers might enjoy winning.

  41. Oh, shoot. I set my cereal post to run after midnight.

    I KID.

    I don’t even EAT cereal. (Munches on a celery stick.)(Dreams of cereal.)

  42. Seriously. The sad part is that responses to “um, my landlord/mortgage company doesn’t take ‘other people got cereal’ as a payment option” are just not appreciated by the same PR companies.

    The best part? The old “earned media” argument. My reaction is “yeah, I pay for my internet hosting, and so far, they don’t take ‘earned media’ as payment either… but have your client’s advertising folks call my split personality and we can discuss a serious business transaction.”

    I’d link you to my 2 YEAR old post about this – but I have to get caught up on my fees to my old hosting company. Irony.

  43. Can everyone just calm the fuck down for a minute? So you get TWO boxes of cereal, correct? Do you get to eat one and give the other away? Or do you have to give both of them away? Because if you have to give both of them away that would be dumb.

    If I had two boxes of cereal and I had to give both of them away I’d take the prizes out first, THEN give it away. Unless there were marshmallows. Then I’d eat the marshmallows AND take the prizes out THEN give it away.

    In other words how in the hell am I supposed to form an educated opinion on this matter without the proper information? Maybe you should start proofreading this shit before you post it lady.

  44. I wrote a blog post for cereal one time. Why? They offered me four big-assed boxes of the cereal of my choice. In exchange I wrote a short blog post that took me all of five minutes, if that. I was perfectly happy with the exchange. Cereal is freaking expensive. That’s one of the best things that I ever got from my blog.

  45. Point taken, Lisa. They wanted me to give both of them away. But they did offer to send me a sample of one, which I assume would be a handful tossed into the bottom of the shipping box. Also, this cereal offers no prizes or marshmallows. It’s healthy cereal made from applesauce. Not making this up.

    Also? No judgement if you’re getting something that you’re happy with in return for writing. You’re the only person who gets to decide what is worthy of your voice.

  46. quit being so judemental, jenny… healthy cereal is expensive nowadays. i would START a blog just to advertise healthy cereal & give away the 2 boxes to the only two kids of mine who can write.. so i save $10 in cereal, and my kids are eating healthy for a week. its a win-win situation if you ask me!

  47. Thanks for writing this. I recently received a similar request: Review our product, and we’ll give you the product for free (worth $4.99), and we’ll give you two additional products for a reader giveaway. At first I was flattered, as I’d never received any kind of request like that before. And I didn’t think it would be so bad to sell my voice for that little in return – isn’t a little better than nothing? I gotta start somewhere?

    But the more I think about it, the more it just made me upset. And I really couldn’t put my finger on WHY until I read this piece. So thank you!

  48. You can also blame this low-fat granola crap WITH NO PRIZES IN IT cereal maker for totally bumming me out further… already bummed out because I have a horrible cold, among other things….

    In any case, I got to thinking about Cookie Crisp cereal… my brother and I used to dream about our vacations to Vermont because you could only get it in the US and we lived in Canada. I just found out, via Wikipedia, that FOR THE FIRST TIME EVER it was made available… in October 2009… but just for the holidays… I missed this monumental event… 43 years I have waited… it was here… I probably walked by it at Costco’s on my way to pick up paper towels… people in Canada were shoveling in bowls of Cookie Crunch but not me… no, not me….

    Now, it seems to be gone… because I live in Canada… a land where we have awesome health care for all, you can marry your same sex partner and eat maple syrup and frolic with beavers, you can make really bad TV shows and have all your cities pretty much look exactly the same (except the provinces with the big mountains… they lucked out)… but apparently you can’t have cookies for breakfast here… Health Canada feels that is not healthy…. we still have beer though… beer is still okay….

  49. LOL You are right on that we are worth more then a couple of boxes of cereal. I think your letter back to them was worth shipping a few boxes as payment for a good laugh.

  50. I’m suddenly craving cereal for some reason. Dear PR people, I will TOTALLY whore myself out for cereal. Or, if that is not an option I will whore my friends out for cereal in the hopes that I might win on of their cereal giveaways. I just really love cereal is what I’m trying to say.

  51. UM, how do you review something you don’t get to try? I mean seriously, they send you two boxes of cereal and you give away two boxes of cereal – where exactly does the material for the review come from? I don’t want to ‘win’ an opened box of cereal or re-gurgitated cereal.

    HOWEVER, I would be absolutely positively thrilled if any PR company contacted me at all. PERIOD.

  52. UM, how do you review something you don’t get to try? I mean seriously, they send you two boxes of cereal and you give away two boxes of cereal – where exactly does the material for the review come from? I don’t want to ‘win’ an opened box of cereal or re-gurgitated cereal.

    HOWEVER, I would be absolutely positively thrilled if any PR company contacted me at all. PERIOD.

  53. Hurrah! They think they can buy your influence for a couple of boxes of cereal they won’t even let you eat? How absolutely INSULTING! Like your time is worth nothing, and you have nothing better than to act as their shill?

    Yay for speaking up for all of us!

  54. My landlord accepts Grape Nuts as payment so I guess I’m gonna have to ask for their email.

    On a random note, Kashi sounds like a nickname my grandmother would give to my shit when she didn’t want to say shit. “Do you have to go Kashi?”

  55. Ah, Jenny. This is why I love you (plus my latent guilt worthy of a Catholic priest for having misunderstood and perhaps, maybe, possibly having called you a “drunken volcano”. Maybe. No jury can prove it, right?)

    Yes, yes – let us write about things we LOVE. I am okay with reviews, I see them for what they are and I appreciate learning about new products. But truly, in my heart, I adore the review that comes from the pocketbook of a blogger. You paid for it, you loved it, YOU WROTE ABOUT IT.

    That sort of review is certainly worth more than a few boxes of cereal.

  56. This reminds me of the people who get to be on the Wait, Wait Don’t Tell Me show from NPR. They perform, make a funny, and if they win…someone else gets Carl’s voice on their answering machine.

    I don’t know all the particulars though. Perhaps those “guests” get paid in dollars?

    It seems to work with that show. But it is *part* of the show. But cereal review on thebloggess = Weird.

    I’m a little worried now. If there’s a “review” of something on your blog next month will I know whether or not you were paid by the reviewee? Dammit. I was going into the late evening virtually worry free!

  57. I love how they try to make it look like they’re the ones doing YOU a favor.

    And it’s cereal for fuck’s sake. It’s not even one of the good breakfast options.

    Props to you, Jenny.

  58. So… Say no?

    I wish that all bloggers had great integrity and were focused on honing their craft but the truth is that at least half of the blogs I come across are shit layouts with shittier writing, with the only goal being to “review” whatever they can get sent their way for free. You can’t expect PR companies to take those bloggers seriously as writers when they are obviously NOT real writers. It’s a shame that it reflects on the entire blogging community but in the online world where anyone can start their own blog, the average blogger doesn’t automatically deserve the same respect as a print journalist with an editor to answer to.

    A lot of bloggers are definitely worth more than cereal, making the offer to them an insult… but there are others that I think should frankly be flattered to receive a free box of Apple Jacks.

  59. I got paid with a book once, to review the book. Saved me $17.99, plus I got to trash the asshole the book was written about. As part of the permanent record. Totally worth it.

    But I’d NEVER lower myself to blogging for foodstuffs. Because, y’know, you have to draw the line somewhere.

  60. You know, there could have been a car in the bottom of the cereal packet. You missed out, lady.

    (Incidentally, if PR offer me a car, I can take that, right? Right? And if they ask if I gave it away, can I just tell them it never arrived? That’s ok, right? Right?)

  61. I might do it for macaroni if I could make necklaces out of the noodles instead of eating them. I mean, there’s not usually a requirement that you prepare and eat the food as directed. I’d go craft project on that shit. Mix it up.

    When reviewing juice boxes, add your favorite alcohol and serve at happy hour. No need to be so limiting in these reviews. Get creative. But, God help the tiny turtles, I’m still not writing a single sentence for less than I’m worth.

  62. LOL at that dialogue – just excellent! I’d say we’re all worth more than a box of cereal and it’s every blogger’s duty to set their sites MUCH higher. In my about me section I’ve asked for a Land Rover and a new tumble dryer – and I don’t plan on giving either of them away…..

  63. 2 boxes of cereal bolex, i wouldn’t accept either, what a rip off, the slave trade days are over. You go Bloggess stand up for what is right.

  64. This PR firm sounds like a spammer. By offering that little, thinking so little of our blogs, they’ve sunk that low.

    And now that I know the cereal doesn’t even have marshmallows… they’re despicable.

  65. I would reply with “I’ll see you two cereal boxes and raise you a million dollars”. Which is a nice way of saying f**k off.

  66. This reminds me of those Trident Layers commercials where people get paid in gum… except you wouldn’t get any gum.

    I actually do review cereals and this sounds dumb to me. I’m curious to know what company and cereal, but I think that would jade my future reviews. 🙂

  67. As a blogger who frequently does reviews, I have often wondered what some of these PR reps are smokin’. Many of the pitches I’m sent are not worth the time they take me to hit delete, never mind the time it took them to write it.

  68. Were they going to give you review cereal in addition to giveaway cereal or were you supposed to buy your own review cereal? Also, as an established blogger it’s easier for you to say no to that kind of thing. As a semi food-based blogger that kind of offer may be what I need to increase traffic (everybody loves a giveaway) and so my time may currently be worth a box of cereal. As I’m currently unemployed as well as ignored in the blogging world, it’s not worth much more.

  69. You should explain to these folks that you are a Texas gal and so might well have access to a lot of guns. and that you just lost your dog and are angry and sad. And then ask them something along the lines of WTF is wrong with you? Jeez.

    Did you at least get through the rain?

  70. We have had similar experiences-plural.

    As long as anyone still thinks a box o’cereal to give away is payment we are all in trouble. We could go on and on, but yes, Corporate America want a slice of free pie. Is new media is difficult for Corporate America to understand?! Or do they think they don’t have to understand it because it is not “legitimate” media and we don’t have a voice or influence?

    Wake up Corporate America.

    Our soap box has now been properly stowed in an upright position and is locked to the seat in front of us. By the way, we had to pay extra to carry it on the flight.

  71. That…was…sensational. First, I cannot believe the cereal cmpany was ligitimate about that form of payment. Second, the way you handled it should be textbook protocol. I’m still in awe and the entire situation. Thanks for sharing.

  72. I once VOLUNTARILY wrote about how Cap’n Crunch made my poop green (what are you doing to my colon, Mr. Crunchberry?) and was NEVER offered a box of cereal in return.

    This is why the Cap’n now pitches cereal instead of ruling the high seas…had to be some sort of mutiny.

    Probably a good thing I didn’t get free cereal, though, because the green poop kind of freaked me out a little.

    True story.

  73. Is there a chance that the cereal people have seen the Trident commercial where the dude’s all excited to get paid in gum and thought, “gee that’s what the kids are doing these days.” Yeah, probably no.

  74. That’s one of the things that I found a little odd about BlogHer. I think I met just as many “pitch my product” people as I did actual bloggers. As a nobody blogger, this wasn’t a big deal. But I could see how this would be really annoying to bloggers with lots of readers. It also felt a little … dirty.

  75. You’re voice is worth more than a box of cereal.

    My voice would sell itself for three layers of gum flavor.

    My voice is kind of a whore.

  76. I just wanna say…

    I eat cereal.

    And i also work for a PR Firm.

    And that little conversation you just did up there? I pictured the company on the phone with my boss… and yeah– you’re pretty spot on.

    Just saying.

  77. Yeah, I’m totally freakin’ sick of this crap too. If I had a dime for every crappy pitch that comes through my inbox I could wallpaper my house in cereal boxes. Not the no name brand stuff either, I’m talking Kashi for the dining room and maybe Fiber One for the loo. Seriously, why do they expect us to pitch them for free? I personally hate when they offer to give me something to review and nothing to give to my readers. WTF? Blatantly advertise that a company gave me something for free and you can just read me rave about it? C’mon! I mean maybe I’d consider that if I was offered an Audi, but certainly not for a box of cookies ($2.00 cookies even). I agree, bloggers who settle for that crap are not helping the rest of us!

  78. I just filled up a manila envelope with granola and I’m mailing it to my mortgage company. I’ll let you know what happens.

  79. Well, it’s official. The world needs “My voice is worth more than a goddamn box of cereal” badges.

    Or maybe a “Your voice is worth more than a goddamn box of cereal” hotline for bloggers who are THIS CLOSE to accepting two boxes of shit applesauce cereal as payment for their writing and just need someone to hold their hand through the Go Fuck Yourself letter.

  80. You’d think they would do a little research first. Few people read my blog, and I doubt I would review cereal. The cereal company is the one getting ripped off by the PR firm. Are there really bloggers that would fall for this? Writing blogs that anyone reads? Real people?

  81. I wonder if this is the same large multinational PR agency that approached me to become a spokesperson for one of the two largest toothpaste brands in the world and offered to pay me in toothpaste samples. The kind that the dentist gives away. AND I was supposed to mail them out to giveaway winners at my expense. When I told them that when I was young and employed I was a product manager at the other largest toothpaste brand in the world and I knew that the samples cost less to make than the postage to mail them to me, they upped the offer to a FULL SIZE tube of toothpaste. I basically told them to fuck off. And I don’t curse.

  82. I’m always somehow amazed at how devalued writers are. Until now – TWO boxes of cereal? Lady, you are crazy to give that up. Do you know how much ONE box of cereal costs? That’ll pay off one of my student loans with a little left over for milk [name brand, not store brand] for breakfast.

  83. Ugh. As a belly dancer and photographer, I deal with that mentality all the time. People want free photos or belly dancing in exchange for the “exposure” it will give me or to “help me build my portfolio” with my target audience. Um. I already have a portfolio. It’s what you looked at when you decided my photos were something you want to have.

    I get tons of offers to do “Trade for Print” photoshoots. As if I can go to a restaurant or store and say, “Oh, you don’t need to give me the bill, I’m going to pay you something worth even more than money! I’ll give you prints of a random person you don’t know and who’s not photogenic enough to get paid to model. Isn’t that generous of me?”

    Also, have you ever been to It a blog that posts submissions from people about all the crazy shit clients ask for/expect. It makes me both laugh and die a little inside.


  84. So I was thinking about this more last night as I lay in bed (clearly there was nothing BETTER going on) and I started wondering – how DO we handle this crap? I mean, we’re worth MORE than a box of cereal. On the other hand, I don’t want to get paid $200 to write about the box of cereal either. I mean, I DO, but if that happens, the cereal people are going to expect a good review, and yet if I happen to WRITE one, my readers (all 3 of them) are going to assume that I wrote a good review because the cereal company paid my light bill.

    I don’t know what the answer is. As someone else said upstairs somewhere, the PR people don’t have money to give away anyhow, all they CAN give is the product. I just wish they’d find a better way to do it that doesn’t make it sound like they’re doing US a huge favor – because they’re not.

  85. You should ask them for milk. And then spoons. Then sugar. Then say the grand prize cereal winners want to pick up their winnings in Paris. Then say you couldn’t possibly show up to the grand prize giveaway of applesauce nuttios in Paris wearing your regular old blogger clothes. Etc.

  86. Good for you for staying strong, even though cereal is SOooo tempting. WTF? Do they think you live in a third world country? You’re a rock. Keep rollin’.

  87. They didn’t offer any milk? Do they expect all of our blog readers to be nursing mothers? I hate dry cereal except for Fruit Loops and when my kids aren’t looking I swipe a few pieces from their bowls. I need to stop drinking energy drinks, I’d totally do this for two cans of Full Throttle or a pixie stick.

  88. Nobody knows my blog exists. So I avoid these headaches.

    My brilliant plan to be the most irrelevant blogger on the net continues!

  89. was it at least brand name? Not those bags you find on the bottom of the cereal aisle that pretend to be the same as the brand name?

    What pisses me off even more are the companies that will come to blogger A and say “write a post about our cereal and we’ll give you $50!” then they go to blogger B and say “write about our cereal and we’ll give you $5!” and when blogger B says “my going rate for a paid post is $25” they say “oh, we don’t have that in our budget”. BS. The blogging community is a lot smaller than these PR reps think it is. People talk. A lot.

  90. What you obviously need to do is send this pitch idea to Prozak to see if they’d be game with giving away two free bottles to your readers if you do a review for them. Just imagine the possibilities here. Everyone’s penis would fall off and we’d all be hungry because we didn’t have our cereal. Worst day ever.

  91. AGREE. I keep getting pitches offering me the “opportunity” to do a publicity event on my blog, for no compensation. One of them ended “You’re welcome!” I AM NOT KIDDING.

    Another offered me seven dollars. Seven. Dollars. For what amounted to a full-page ad (written by me) on my blog. Who is taking these offers? Someone must be, or the PR firms wouldn’t keep making them.

  92. I was going to type “I’d give you a whole box of cereal – which you can totally eat yourself! – for a hug”, but then I realised that it sounded like the beginnings of some sort of weird prostitution where you pay for intimacy in non-money things.
    And then I realised they already have those: crack whores.

    I’ll just excuse myself and go to bed now…

  93. Hi! This is the photographer/belly dancer again. Something else just occured to me.

    They say, “and also convince them to write all about it on their personal blogs.” So not only do they want you to market for them for free, they want you do PR work for free and get others to market for them for free, because you sure as hell know any other blogger you convince to do this wouldn’t even get paid in cereal they don’t get to keep.


  94. So, they wanted to send you two boxes of cereal to give away, I’m assuming you told the world through your blog that this was the greatest cereal man ever created and rainbows and puppies would come out of your butt if you ate them- but without you actually even tasting it in the first place and actually liking it. They totally could have sent you the cereal and you could have told the world it was a disease carrying cereal that, if you ate it would cause the wallpaper to peel from your great aunt Edna’s bathroom! That’s some crazy shizzle, man!

  95. I´m a Baby Boomer but I´m willing to bet many of these PR firms have hired baby-face newly minted college grads with empty folders still waiting for the newly printed degeee to arrive in the mail. They don´t have a clue about someone´s worth because mim & dad have always paid for everything. They haven´t been taught in classes about bloggers and their reach and the new social media influence. I blame the crappy pitches on the colleges that teach advertising & marketing-but mostly I blame it on the PR firms who aren´t watching what is being sent out. Some of these reps have no clue as to the controversy going on. If the principles in PR firm aren´t keeping their finger on the pulse in the blogosphere shame on them. And if they´re allowing this to go out before their eyes then they are in for a rude awakening.

  96. So your saying I got shafted when I wrote that post about condoms for condoms. I’ve still got so much to learn….. 🙂

  97. Wondering if they have a Twitter contact. Oooo boy, I want to follow that cereal company. It would be an explosion of wonderful tweets.

  98. I was so clueless why you were upset until I came to the part about no prize, or marshmellows. That’s not even real cereal. Stupid non-cereal cereal company.

  99. You know, if they’d have said “Hey, we’ll donate two boxes of our cereal to starving kids in Africa, orphans in China, or a local homeless shelter” then why not write? But seriously, who has time to enter a giveaway for an obscure organic cereal? Someone who has enough money to sit at home and surf the Net all day (and doesn’t need free cereal) or someone who sits at home all day watching Jerry Springer and eating ice cream (and already gets cereal for free from the government).

    Perhaps you should write them back and offer to sell them a spot in your new Marketing for Idiots online seminar where you teach companies that they at least have to fake giving a crap about what their market audience needs and wants. It could be an easy $499 for you. 🙂

  100. We get this crap all the time in the music world too. People think we should be giving free music lessons and/or performances because we LOVE WHAT WE DO, right? And if we love it so much, we should be excited to have the chance to do it for free. Out of LOVE. And, true, none of us went into music to make a fortune, but we also have mortgages and kids and bills and stuff, and if you think the banks won’t accept cereal you should try paying them in sheer passion for song.

  101. This pitch over at Twitter mom’s really chapped my ass –>

    They wanted us to write a post (400+ words) that had many requirements and then put a graphic ad on our blogs (widget of some kind).

    Then IF, IF you met all the requirements and they really liked it, you might be one of the 50 chosen to receive a $50 gift card.

    HUH? There were people scrambling to get their posts written and the graphic up.

    REALLY people? You’re going to write a post and post an advertisement for which you MIGHT be compensated for.

    It didn’t help that the post instructions were condescending. It remind me of a junior high school English assignment handout.


  102. I get these insulting pitches ALL. THE.TIME. And I usually reply with “I am so sorry but I do offer promotions or advertising on my site.” And then I might add “Who the hell do you think you are to think I would subject my loyal awesome kick ass readers to a frickin commercial about your product with out you even attempting to make it worth my while? You are insulting me and the medium of blogging you assholes. Clearly you see that bloggers are an essential part of reaching your potential customers but instead of actually building a frickin relationship with me, AND OFFERING TO COMPENSATE ME you want me to be a frickin BLOG SLUT and give it away for free? You suck. Go to hell and oh yeah. Bite me.”

    Or something like that.
    Also? I am starting a blog. Anonymous of course called “BAD PITCHES” for all of use to shame these damn PR people and brands into treating us with the respect we deserve.

  103. So they would send you two boxes of cereal, then you would run some kind of giveaway and then ( at your own expense ) have to send to the winner two boxes of cereal? Yeah.. that would work ……. NOT.
    Why nor just giveaway two boxes of steaming, soggy turds? Applesauce, marshmallow cereal would probably taste just as bad.

  104. Here’s what I don’t understand. This kind of crappy pitch has been coming around for years. Years, I tell you! This can’t be the first time you got a crappy pitch for your most excellent and widely-read blog. Why did this one become the straw that broke the camel’s back for you? Personally, I just ignore those pitches, because none of them have made me that angry. But you must really hate this cereal.

  105. Made from applesauce? Are you sure they weren’t Powersauce Bars, the only power bar with six different kinds of apples (Unleash the Power of Apples)? Because if they were, they totally stole that shit from the Simpsons.

    Look on the bright-side, I write for two totally irrelevant blogs and no one tries to scam me. I mean ffs, I’m not even worth hand-me-down cereal. My morning is ruined, Jenny, and it’s all those marketeers’ fault.

  106. Cereal was delivered with my morning paper this morning. A box of cereal. Wheaties, it was, a brand spin-off called “Fuel.” A free box (albeit small) of cereal with my newspaper. What would have impressed me is if they put an add in the paper that said they’d given 200,000 little boxes of Fuel cereal to the homeless shelters and the not-for-profit agencies helping women and children. That? That would make me check out the cereal.

  107. Oh shit! I got that email, too. I hadn’t even looked at it until I read this. You’re totally right, two boxes of cereal to give away, no compensation, “samples” if we ask for it. Wow. And I like low-fat granola shit, too, but I’m worth WAY more than my breakfast.

  108. Bernie Madoff originated this scheme from prison. I guess he thought he’d taken so much money out of circulation that cereal would become currency.

  109. Just for shits and giggles why don’t you agree to blog about the cereal and then just post lots of photos of you eating it, using it as bird seed, packaging it up into tiny baggies to raffle off. Kinda like your post – only with visual aids.

  110. Yeaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa, you need to go ahead and stop taking blogging so seriously. I mean, especially considering your last post was about using dogs as comforters…..

  111. I don’t understand how you could host a review without knowing how it would taste like. You should have accepted the two boxes, and split it into four packets. LOL! I would also be mad. Bad reviews coming their way.

  112. I think you should let me be your PR person. I will contact the ceral company asking them to please advertise your website on the side of their ceral box and in return you will let them send you two free boxes of ceral captain crunch of course though because really who eats ceral that doesn’t have a prize in it.

  113. I got this email yesterday- Congrats! You’re A Winner Of The BlogHER 2010 Butterfinger Snackerz Halloween Giveaway. They want ME to give it away for them. Why doesn’t this sound like a good idea?

  114. I was wondering if you would write a blog about my blog, which is about the trials and tribulations of a single mother of 3, her dog, her cat, her fish and her struggling career as a burlesque performer.
    I’m willing to pay you in children, dogs, cats, fish and/or tasseled pasties and you can keep them all.


    You can have them.

    All of them.

    For keeps.

  115. Okay okay okay.

    I get it. You’re worth more than cereal.

    BUT … I’m kind of over bloggers complaining that PR companies are trying to get FREE publicity out of them. That’s what PR departments DO. They try to get free publicity. Maybe these douchies did it wrong (clearly they didn’t read your blog, so clearly they don’t know that they’d have to come up with some sort of hilarity, like a custom-made cereal wig, in order for you to play their reindeer games), but there’s a vague hint in here that they should offer you money. This was a pitch, not a sales call. If they wanted to pay you, they would have had their advertising department contact you.

    No? Am I being a dummy?

    Really, I just want someone to make you a cereal wig. Chex would be cute. Maybe with some fruity pebbles around your face, to emphasize your eyes.

  116. I worked for a public relations for 10 years. At one point, we were representing a Very Famous Maker of Donuts. We were putting together an event for them and they wanted professional talent. But get this–they wanted US to hire the talent and offer to pay them in donutes.

    I wish I were making this up.

    I’m not.

    Thankfully, our agency refused to do this and insisted they SHOW US THE MONEY, not the donuts. Which sounds almost vulgar, but you get it.

  117. In my defense, Jenny, I only do giveaways for one company. Seventh Generation. Furthermore, I only do giveaways for Seventh Generation because one of my best friends is the PR Maven for SG. Also, how many other bloggers do you know that give away TAMPONS and PANTY LINERS on their blogs? That’s right! I’m the only one.

    Moral of this comment: If you want free tampons, you can come by my place. If you want business cards, cereal or any other worthless doohickey, you’ll have to find it elsewhere.

    Also, if someone asked me to giveaway cereal and they wanted to pay me in cereal, my hourly rate is C25 per hour. That’s 25 entire boxes of cereal. I’m sure your hourly cereal rate is much more than mine because I’m not famous or near as pretty as you (according to Texas Law if you are a pretty blogger your HCR (hourly cereal rate) automatically increases by 5%. Don’t believe me? I’m pretty sure HCR is covered in Texas Code C-202.73H. Google it, but I think that’s right.

  118. As a small “mom” blogger, I get shit like this all the time. And it irritates me to the core. If you want me to take you seriously, and in turn blog about you seriously, contact me with respect. Contact me for $2 worth of crappy products that I probably won’t even like, and I’ll either not reply at all, or reply with a less-than-happy response. I’m not wasting my time.

    When I started blogging, I felt like I had to do the bullshit to get the readersship I was looking for. Now I realize if I’m me and blog about what I like to blog about, more people read. It’s great. Slowly but surely, I am getting the numbers I want to see, and none if it has to do with free boxes of cereal.

    If I had two boxes of cereal, I’d send it to you just because you’re awesome and I nearly pee almost every time I read your posts. But I don’t have any extra cereal (in fact, I’m not sure I have any cereal), so I guess you just get my ultra-lame comments.

  119. If anyone ever read my blog, I think the only offers I’d get would be for anti-depressants or anti-anxiety meds. Possibly something self-hypnosis related. I’m still trying to interpret what a cereal offer for you means. A lame one, at that. You’re worth a billion times that. Thanks for the laughs, sweetie – much better than those meds, imho. <3

  120. Wow! I cant believe these companies are so cheap! Dont they know it takes money to make money????? Lol @Abi! I would let them send me the candy and eat it too! Lol!

  121. I got one for ya…. I run a small handmade jewelry business on etsy. Once upon a time some idiot, I mean nice person, asked if I would give them one of my pieces of jewelry (which I usually sell for $30) and in exchange they would blog about how wonderful it was….. yuP.

  122. It they ever offer you vaginal itch cream for your readers, could you please lower your standards? I’m embarrassed to buy that at Safeway.

  123. Amen. I got roasted for sharing this idea with a room full of PR folks at one of the Bloghers. But I do believe that this is your intellectual space bloggers and it is worth something! Go Jenny!

  124. I just have to say that if this is you without Zanax, you should go without it more often! Not that you are not always hilarious.

  125. Oh shit! Now some big ass truck is going to show up at your house and dump endless loads of Cap’n Crunch cereal. That’s totally why you wrote this post, isn’t it? Smart girl! 😉

  126. i wrote about the same thing, a couple of months ago. i was approached by a BIG liquor company to promote some of their new flavors. for free. no giveaways. no free bottles to try. no ingredients to make the recipes they wanted me to promote. no. nothing.
    so, i wrote them an email explaining…very politely…i don’t do free. like a hooker, i charge.
    and i gave them my fees.
    apparently, they just wanted to go with a slut who gives it away for free. i never got a response. not even to tell me to fuck off.
    yeah. nice.
    i don’t do free. none of us should. we are worth WAY more than a $5 box of cereal and a recipe to give away!!

  127. So far, I’ve been offered a discount in exchange for text links at a major online retailer, nothing at all in exchange for links in my sidebar, and (this is my favorite) one company wanted me to review a baby product if I would a) donate a specified amount of money to a charity of my choosing b) return the product after review and c) I could buy the product at a discount if I wanted it after trying it.

    What are these people smoking?

  128. It’s crap. Honestly, it is. But here’s something worse: when they write and they tell you that because they love your blog so, they are offering you this informational video/press release/[insert bullshit item here] because they are sure your readers will appreciate it. As in: Look, we are allowing you to promote our product for free by posting this commercial on your blog! You’re welcome.

    Which makes me want to bang my head against the wall. Or theirs.

  129. Have you read Letters from a Nut? It is a hilarious book. A person (anonymous) wrote crazy letters to different businesses. The letters and the serious responses are what make up the book. I think you could put a book together with the same premise. It would be really funny.

  130. I don’t get asked to do this, mainly because I tend to blog about wetting my pants and having brief, unsatisfactory sex with my husband.

    It warms my heart to see how many people love Lucky Charms and Cocoa Puffs, sugars of the Gods.

    I’m a freelance writer, and this is akin to the websites that offer you $5 to write 700 word press releases. People take the offer, and then it takes 10,000 jobs to pay off your college loan. Well said, Jenny.

  131. I read your post and started to think about what I’d do for two boxes of cereal.

    My list includes:

    * Calling for a pizza (only on a weeknight, and max two toppings, no hold time or deals off)
    * Sucking in a helium balloon and making a new outgoing phone message
    * Throwing it down for a round of Thumb Wrestling.
    * Blowing out some birthday candles for an asthmatic child

    I would not:
    * Smell anything to see if it smelled funny
    * French braid your hair
    * Wear a paper bib
    * Flush the toilet for someone else. Even if it was just pee.

    All that to say… I don’t give two shits about strange cereal!

    At least they didn’t phrase it as an “Opportunity”. My favorite is when there is an “Opportunity” for you to call in and hear a two hour time share presentation, that you can post to your blog and share with your readers! Yay! Sign me up! As soon as I get back from giving two shits about the cereal.


  132. This:

    “I might have considered doing it for Cap’n Crunch. But not because I eat cereal. Because I support our Navy.”

    … is as funny as the original post. Ha!

  133. unless of course they were hoping to piss you off so much that you’d write a blog about them, for free, with the actual name of the cereal…

    lesson to be learned by the cereal companies of the world: you need to piss The Blogess off even more

  134. Very well said! My favourite crappy PR pitch was from an Aussie parenting forum. First they wrote to me telling me I was their ‘fave Aussie Mummy Blogger’. Then proceeded to offer to pay me with a Johnson and Johnson hamper and told me that they were jealous they couldn’t have it! The irony is, that anyone who reads my blog would that my fiance has a deadly petrochemical allergy, meaning that the items in this basket would kill him!!

    Anyway, stupidly I agreed to do it. They had a couple of options for posts. One was a happy mum moment, one was to write about how wonderful Johnson and Johnson is, and there was another option which I can’t remember.

    I figured ok. I’ll write about a happy moment, then give the hamper to my pregnant friend who would probably love it. This website was claiming they would post a link back to my site, so I thought ok, they have not bad traffic…

    I told them what I was prepared to do. They wanted the post both on my blog and their site. I said no, I don’t allow duplicate content. Would you like me to write one post for me, and another for you? I offered to write on the other topic offered.

    They came back and asked me write about how we used the Johnson and Johnson’s crap and how much we loved it. I said uh… I don’t promote nor use Johnson and Johnson products because they kind of uh… well, KILL my fiance. (Something I would imagine she would have known if I was in fact her ‘fave Aussie mum blogger’)

    She also ‘directed’ me that I MUST place the logo of their site in my sidebar for two weeks. Keep in mind there was no money being paid! Then I noticed other bloggers were writing for them, so I went over to the site to check where they’d linked back to these bloggers. They hadn’t. I sat after the last email wondering how to tell them that I didn’t think it such a good idea to work with them.

    Thankfully they considered the whole thing of me hating their product to be not such a good idea to work with me either.

    The thing is, I look back and wonder why on earth did I even bother considering them? It’s certainly made me become a bit more assertive about the whole thing and more selective:)

  135. I hate reading these horror stories. It’s just makes me sad because it gives people like me a bad name. And my name is already George Smith which is like the most boring name in the world – so I don’t know how much worse my name could be.

    Someone just informed me that my name could be one of those foreign ones that mean like sunshine or awesome but when you move to a new country, it means Fuck or Puke Monster or I always have diarrhea. So I guess George Smith isn’t that bad.

    Also, Jenny, I always wanted to ask you – do you ever get pitches for really fancy knife sets that can cut through anything – steaks, wood blocks, people’s chest plates. I feel there’s a natural synergy there. I could see you as the spokesperson for that.

  136. That sounds a lot like a chain letter! Are you sure there wasn’t some threat of doom, perhaps in fine print, if you didn’t respond by midnight?

  137. I think we should all team up and request that they send each of us two boxes of cereal. Or else we will all dress up in Halloween costumes and have a Pro-Blogger-And-Anti-Cheapo-Cereal-PR-People march. Or better yet, “bubbled” protest march (It better be warm where those cereal people live).

  138. Some companies are really out of touch with reality. I know sometimes they get somethings right, like advertising Hefty bags and stainless steel kitchenware during a break in CSI, but sometimes they’re really off the mark. Like calling a fifteen year old girl’s cellphone in class to try and sell her viagra. That’s a miss-miss.

  139. Here is the power of YOUR suggestion: at the fro-yo place I go, I usually top my vanilla with butterfinger. Today, I thought, why don’t I try Cap’n Crunch instead—-that sounds really good for some reason. It wasn’t until I was halfway through that I realized why, suddenly, after decades of not having the cereal, I thought of it. I guess that’s what my subconscious took away from this post: other cereal: BAD; Cap’n Crunch: GOOD

  140. I support the navy…fucking classic. I believe my language is to fucked up for me to promote products…but I sure the fuck am not going to work for cereal…..that I can’t even eat. I will however mock your product if it is bad….maybe if it is good.



  142. So why don’t we bloggers get our shit together and come up with some sort of plan on how much our voices are worth?

    Okay, I just came from a conference advising me to make up a blogger kit with my stats, blog description, advertising rates, etc. and have it ready to send out when PR offers come my way. But *no one* was willing to stand up and say, “Asking $40 for a 1 month ad is totally appropriate.” Instead, it was a lot of mouthing about “whatever you’re comfortable with” and “what you think your worth”.

    Why is this so hush-hush? We can start an ENTIRE NEW MEDIA from scratch, but we can’t put together a pay scale for companies?!? We can’t stand together as legitimate writers?

  143. As usual a great post. But isn’t it an unsurprising offer in a world where blogger services are being advertised in well known locations for $5 per post!?
    If writers don’t put a value on themselves, as I wrote at Sydney Social Innovation Barcamp, why should cereal companies who don’t know any better do it for them?
    But they must know nothing about you if they are making an offer like that to you!

  144. I’d have told them that bloggers everywhere would croon about their product if they set up a free breakfast stand for the homeless in several city centres but they would probably expect the homeless to provide their own milk. CHEAP BASTARDS.

  145. I wonder if they get Cap n Crunch in the Navy? They could totally use that as an incentive to enlist into the armed services.

  146. i’m waiting for the day franzia will reach out to me. it’s happiness in a box. i already tell the whole world about the joys of franzia (or the 20 people who read me). two free boxes to sing their praises more – yahtzee!

  147. It’s 2:15am…can’t sleep. Got a snack, found your post, began laughing………….and choked on my Cap’n Crunch.

  148. oh man the same thing happened to me a few weeks ago. this guy wanted me to do a review of his new “sci-fi” book on my blog, but he wasn’t even going to give me the book for free…only fourty percent off…. um no.

  149. Once, someone pitched to me saying “Hey there, Blogger!” I wanted to say, “What’s up, douchebag? How’s your momma?” but what I actually did was hit *delete* and then write a passive aggressive Tweet about it cuz that’s how I roll.

  150. No more than 24 hours after this post did I get contacted by to write a review post about their website and in return they’d give me a discount code for my readers? I responded and was like, how am I supposed to review your shit if you don’t give me a gift certificate to try the fucker out? They responded that they simply couldn’t do that. Within ten minutes of the initial request from them, I got the same email from the chick three cubicles over from the original one, I’m sure of it. I pretty much told them that the Bloggess says I’m worth more than a box of cereal and they totally didn’t understand what I was talking about. Then today, the original chick emailed me again, SAME FUCKING EMAIL, like I forgot what she was up to to begin with. I emailed the bitch back, “It truly baffles me that you marketing folks don’t keep notes as to whom you’ve already contacted, seriously! ” SHEESH!

  151. Oh that’s too great. I would feel so cheap personally. Just being paid in Cereal is pathetic alone, wait but you have to send 1 box of cereal out. Are you kidding ME?

  152. I was offered the same thing but they were diamond earrings. I said “Sure! Who doesn’t love diamond earrings?” and gave her my address. I thought I’d get the little diamond chip earrings. Nope. I got the ‘diamond earrings’ in the mail. It looked like some that my kid would get out of the plastic egg dispenser at the grocery store entrance. So I went to the website again to check it out.
    Under the FAQ I found this:
    Are they real diamonds?
    No, sorry – as much as we’d like to give away real diamonds for free, I don’t think our accountant would go for it.
    So, they are promoting their diamond earrings website with fake diamond earrings. Yeah, that’ll work.

  153. I get these pitches every day and I’m never any less offended. I have to give props to Pepperidge Farms who did an excellent Strawberry Milanos campaign with bloggers recently and they totally knew how to treat us professionally. And we got to keep the freaking cookies too.

  154. I get those, which is stupid because A) I only have about 50 readers, and B) they never specify a product they want me to sell and C) half of the freaking email is misspelled, which makes me think that you are not smart enough to remember to send me the money, or you’ll send it to the wrong address, which means that someone else is rewarded for my sell-out-ness. Get your shit together, people.

  155. Cereal’s more stable than the US dollar these days; I say stuff your mattresses full of Weeties and await rainy days. (That advice is free.)

  156. It’s a shame how little some ad companies try to get away with. I have a podunk little blog that never gets any offers for free stuff, really, and sadly I may jump at the chance to get free cereal… but those are words (for a lemming like me) to live by! =)

  157. Just came home from Type-A Mom. I think the word is spreading that we ARE worth a lot more than a box of cereal. Especially one you aren’t even allowed to eat – wth?!

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