I get mad at spammers so you don’t have to
This isn’t exactly a huge site that’s bursting at the seams from all the traffic it receives (in fact, I’ve done zero promotion other than linking to it on a few forums I use), and yet I receive a disgusting amount of spam. Spam from developers. Spam from PR people. Spam from people only tangentially related to gaming who want to pay me to write things about this product or that product. One developer sent me a LinkedIn request that pops up a picture of him with his kids, no doubt in some vain attempt to tug at my heartstrings and give him an “in.” That one irritates me the most because LinkedIn spams like crazy and demands a response, and I’ve gotten numerous reminders from them over the past few months that I have a pending friend request from him. The amount of blatant whoring that exists in the gaming industry is nothing short of embarrassing, and I had no idea about any of it before I created this site. Most people who dive into the review world buy in to this stuff, forge mutually beneficial friendships, take money for paid advertisements (“native advertising,” if you’re familiar with the term), and otherwise sell out.
But I’m not them. This is a site about games, not a podium for paid cheerleading. I have enough friends, and I could care less about a bunch of kids who are being used as little more than props in their father’s marketing tactic. Every so often I like to remind everyone of this, sending my spammers a not-so-nice reply. Consider this a warning about pushing my buttons, spammers. For the rest of you, consider it a token of my respect for readers (whether longtime, people visiting for the first time, or just potential readers) and my unwillingness to let anyone jeopardize the integrity of the content/opinions I put up.
This is what I received (with personal information obscured):
Let’s unpack that
At a casual glance, there’s nothing wrong with this email. On its face, it looks like a friendly shout-out from a frequent reader who also happens to have a site and is looking to get the word out about something they made. I’d never oblige, but there’s nothing egregiously wrong there, right?
Except I’ve seen this before.
Every so often I’ll receive spam that claims to love my site, and yet 100% of the time they have no idea what I actually post. Once I got past the initial human reaction of “aww, how nice,” it occurred to me that I’ve never actually posted a single thing about VR technology. Not once. I even used the search function to be sure of it. I don’t know why this got under my skin so much more than regular spam, but it did, and I knew then that I had to reply.
My reply (with personal information and profanity obscured)
I’m sure plenty of you will disagree with that last part
I know VR technology has its die-hard adherents who swear that it’s the future, but we’re going to have to agree to disagree on this for all the reasons I bring up in the email. I’ll be more than happy to endure any I-told-you-so I have coming should I prove to be wrong about this, but that’s really getting away from the point that I—again—have never actually written about VR on this site. Never ever ever. This is a site about games, not technology that may perhaps one day possibly overlap with gaming. Beyond that, my opinions aren’t for sale and I’m not interested in sharing your content unless I’m already interested in the project in question, so any of you PR people out there who want a parrot can look elsewhere. Maybe try a pet store or Ben Kuchera’s house.