I don't think a day goes by when I don't receive a couple e-mails asking me to promote an app, a website, a book, or some other educational product on the Blue Skunk. Obviously, lots o' folks have been going to "Using Social Networking to Advertise Good" seminars. While many of the promoters have figured out a way of placing my name and some rather generic compliments about my work in the form e-mail, I don't sense that too many of these folks are Blue Skunk devotees.
While not being a faithful reader may indicate a lack of taste and poor time-management skills, it does not mean that the product creator does not make stuff that is good for kids. And I genuinely feel kind of bad for these entreprenuers who are excited about their work and want to share it. So I do tend to reply - with another form letter:
I regularly get requests like yours and unfortunately I just don't have the time to review all posts, products and services. See my endorsement policy at <http://doug-johnson.squarespace.com/endorsement-policy/>.
Guest blog posts are by invitation only - usually an expanded version of a comment submitted to a post.
Thanks for thinking of me, however.
All the best,
A few folks, probably still in shock over getting a response to their e-mail, actually do read my policy. In the interest of saving a click or two, here it is:
Product Endorsement Policy for the Blue Skunk and my presentations
I will not endorse or mention a product (at least without a heavy-duty disclaimer) which I don't have experience using in our district. This is important. While the product itself might look very cool, it's only through experience that one learns about little things like support, compatibility, bug fixes, situational customizations, and unintended consequences of use.
I will not accept any form of remuneration for reviewing or writing about a product. (Exception listed below.) This includes trips, gifts, cash, cars, call girls or dictatorships of small countries. Not that any of these things have actually been offered to me.
I don't take paid advertising on my blog or website.
I don't accept unsolicited guest blogs from commercial enterprises.
I don't wear t-shirts, baseball caps, or underwear with corporate logos. (I do have a hip flask with the ALA logo on it, however.)
I do write "blurbs" for books and/or products that I've actually read or used and liked.
My recommendations are my personal recommendations - not the school district's.
I suppose there are other guidelines I should set for myself. That readers trust my objectivity is important to me.
Now there is one big caveat to all of this. If the price were right, I would probably say just about anything. I am thinking $100K would pay off the mortgage, allow me to fill up both family motor vehicles at the same time, and get the LWW that new garbage disposal she's been pining for. Cool.
There is an old joke about a man who approaches a woman in a bar and offers her a staggering amount of money if she will sleep with him. She accepts. Then the man offers her five dollars if she will sleep with him. The woman responds, "Just what kind of a woman do you think I am?" The man responds, "I think we both know that. We're just negotiating the price."
I suspect it's good for my professional reputation I work in education where the profit margin is so small that the temptations just aren't that tempting...
Doug Johnson, July 2008
Did I ever mention that I write primarily to amuse myself?
Oh, and no one so far has ponied up the 100K.