I joined a social media group for writers a while ago and was welcomed by a member who introduced himself as Dave. He invited me to take advantage of his media outreach service, emphasizing it was free. Knowing that many such services charge from hundreds to thousands of dollars, I was curious and visited the site. The submission form looked simple and Dave’s only caveat was that the written material I submitted had to be worded differently from the way it appeared on my site, www.booksbycarolinemiller.com. I knew why. Search engines are fussy. When faced with identical materials, they ignore both.
The thought of rewriting my information was too daunting so I ignored Dave’s offer. Still, I was curious enough to do a little research on him. Dave, I discovered, was a face for Amazon and my social media group was its product. Dave wasn’t offering to market me. I was being drawn into his web to be used as a marketing tool for the company. It occurred to me then that good old Dave might not even exist. He might be a logo in the way that Mrs. See is the face for Sees candy.
A month later, a new member joined our social media group. He included his website and asked us to visit. I did. Immediately, Dave’s page popped up, superseding that of the author’s. It was loaded with adds, but none of them for the member’s book. How did the writer feel, I wondered, about being co-opted by a 2000 gorilla. Had the “merger” done him any good? Somehow I doubted it.
There are countless agencies eager to sell writers a marketing service. Some of them take the client’s money and then send out meaningless press releases which the public largely ignores. In the case of Amazon’s Dave, the service was free, but joining him was a bit like submitting your identity to a body snatcher.
Moral of the tale? Sometimes “free” is not a very good price.
(Mrs. See Courtesy of www.sees.com)