Thursday, December 21, 2006

Like a Hole in the Head

I know that informative titles for blog entries can be important, but after a one-week experiment with following Clive Thompson's advice, I ditched them permanently in favor of less descriptive but hopefully more evocative headlines that clearly signal to readers that they will be reading an opinion piece. (I say this with apologies to all my friends and colleagues who are librarians.)

Now I'm particularly glad that I made this decision a year ago. Advertisers have been aiming for bloggers for a while, often to the point of suggesting copy to run, but niche blogs like mine tend to be ignored by marketing people. In fact, this advertising-free, albeit ugly, template was one of the chief attractions of the Blogger software, along with its resistance to commercial spam.

Yesterday, however, I received the following e-mail in my university mailbox.

Hi there!

I noticed your blog about Chinese Checkers at, and think you may be of some help to me. I’m reaching out to you on behalf of Sears and M80 regarding the Sears, Kmart, and holiday games. Because of your interest in Chinese Checkers, I thought that you might enjoy playing these games, such as Puzzler and Candy Cane Race. If you like the games, perhaps you would be interested in posting a banner, blurb or review on your blog? Anyone who spreads the word will get a special holiday present from Sears & Kmart.

Much to my amusement, I have to point out that "Chinese Checkers" is about Internet surveillance of web traffic in China and the government's attempt to censor political dissidents through electronic means.

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Anonymous Ian said...


1:57 PM  

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