I received another email the other day requesting that I mention and link to their website. I almost dismissed it as spam, like the many I get requesting link exchanges with their oh-so-complementary shoes/garment/vitamins discount sites.

But this one was different. It actually had a genuine bit written specifically to me. The sender mentioned a specific blog post, posted a comment on said post, and requested a LinkedIn connection. So this was clearly a real person, who has at least glanced through my blog. And they were from a technology company – a relevant industry for a change.

I still did not end up mentioning their site. Because there is nothing in the request for me!

Let me clarify…

Showing appreciation is always nice. But not enough.

I don’t have a relationship with this person or this company. I don’t know them from a bar of soap. So I am hardly going to do the Internet equivalent of a personal recommendation by linking to them! If they had taken the time to build a relationship with me, that would be a different story.

It didn’t help that the request too one-way and imposingly prescriptive (please mention our business with these specific keywords…) This could be unintentional of course, but nonetheless created a sense of self-centredness. I would feel slightly used if I fulfilled their request.

If the business were doing innovative stuff in the various areas I talk about on my blog – perhaps they have a truly unique service, or doing something really differently. That would be providing me with a story I can tell on my blog that dovetails with my passions. That would be doing something for me.

Similarly, if the business were engaging in a cool community project, using their services/technology for the good of their community or the world; that would also give me something to crow about – on their behalf no less!

I am a big believer in “you’ve got to give something first to get something in return.” Don’t just ask for something, ask AND give something in good faith first.