One of the downsides to writing a popular blog is extra email from advertisers and PR folks who want you to write about their product or service. For at least five years (following the lead of Larry Lessig, who I first saw use the service) I’ve used a POBox.com public email address, and that has SIGNIFICANTLY cut down on my email spam. Of course I’d get even less spam if I didn’t list my email address on a public website, but I’ve always felt that’s not only courteous but the right thing to do. That decision has drawbacks, however.

Spam by dok1, on Flickr
Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic License  by  dok1 

Since I still receive a ton of press releases and requests to post content via email, a few years ago I also started to use SaneBox. SaneBox is an email “whitelisting” service which also attempts to categorize emails and sort things into folders. It allows you to “train” your inbox, which means giving instructions about how to handle messages from certain senders. Both POBox and SaneBox are services I pay a small yearly amount to use, and I like them both. They have not “solved” my email management challenges, but they definitely help.

The other strategy I’ve employed to try and manage messages from my blog is to use electronic contact forms. Contact Form 7 is a free, outstanding plug-in for WordPress that I’ve used for several years. I started using electronic contact forms on websites sometime in the late 1990s. Even though I have different forms for speaking inquiries, advertising, and other messages, I inevitably get spam on all the forms I have online.

Today I made several modifications to my blog advertising options and procedures, and created a submission form with more “required” text fields. I’m hoping this will reduce the number of inquiries I receive on that specific form which are outside my advertising terms. Here’s a recent example from last week:

Example of Unsolitited Advertising Inquiry

The previous request is particularly dangerous, since a stranger is asking to put PHP code on my website for a year. This is something I haven’t seen before and would never do. Now that my advertising terms and request form has more required fields, hopefully it will cut down on submissions like these.

How are you navigating requests for advertising, press release posts, or guest blog posts? I think Tony Vincent and JoAnne Jacobs both have excellent pages and policies about this. See Tony’s disclosure on the bottom of his LearningInHand.com’s About page and JoAnne’s advertising page to see their terms and approaches. Richard Byrne, as far as I know, is doing the best job monetizing direct advertising on his blog of any teacher in the U.S. Check out his advertising information page too. Richard is running more ads than I would or will, but he’s also on another “plane” of blogging frequency than I am or most people probably will want to be.

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