You're an idiot, thanks for asking

There's an old expression, "too clever by half".
Here is one permutation of that in real time.

We woke up yesterday, checked on our Etsy store, and there was a sale
from one Rhonda Ryan. Hurray. Nice way to start the day. Or so we
thought.

Checking with Paypal revealed no payment, but this could mean all kinds
of things. so we wrote:

"Hi Rhonda,
We have received your Etsy order for the 2Roses Frugal Earrings.
Paypal shows that payment for the order has not been placed.
If the order was placed by mistake, that's OK. Just let us know and we
can cancel it on Etsy. If you still want the Frugal earrings, we'll be happy to ship them as
soon as payment is confirmed.
Please feel free to contact us if you have any questions.
thanks
Corliss & John"

The next day we received this response:

"Hi Corliss and John!
Sorry about that, I was trying to add it to my favorites, not buy it
right now. I'm a blogger who gets a whole group of things that I'm
inspired by, and then pick a few as 'giveaways'. Please let me know if
you would be interested in sponsoring a giveaway. Thanks, and again,
sorry about that.
This is the last and most successful giveaway that I've done.
http://thestyleshepherd.blogspot.com/2010/05/baskets-by-sadi.html
Best,
Ryan"

Now, we have a pretty hard time believing anyone could mistakenly hit
the "buy" button when attempting to add an item to their favorites.
Particularly since Etsy engineers the interface to make this damn near
impossible unless you are suddenly taken with an epileptic fit while
browsing.

We don't care about the phony "purchase". Its an inconsequential amount.
We are offended that Rhonda would use a dishonest tactic like this to
initiate a business relationship. Does Rhonda think we are so stupid
that we would not notice the bait and switch routine? Or perhaps we are
so hungry for publicity that we will overlook the ruse?

If this is how Rhonda starts things off, is it reasonable to think that
she won't continue lying? We are appalled at such a pathetically
ham-fisted attempt at getting free merchandise to promote her blog. Most
telling is, why does Rhonda feel this kind of tactic is necessary?

One answer lies in the blog itself. Rhonda has nothing to say.

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Comment by 2Roses on June 18, 2010 at 10:08am
Harriete, browse the Internet a bit and you will find many sites that offer tips on:
1. How to get free stuff.
2. How to build traffic on your blog.
In both cases "Give-aways" are the number one piece of advice. In the first case, the advice is that you can get crafters to give you "free samples" for publishing their work on your blog. In the second case, the advice is you can build traffic to your blog by getting crafters to give you stuff that you can give-away to your readers (be sure to ask for several items so you can keep one for yourself).

Basically, this is a corruption and bastardization of "cross-promotion", a technique that is honorable and effective when done properly. Unfortunately, 99.9% of blog give-aways are neither honorable or effective. They are simply another Internet scam that preys on artist's lack of business knowledge and experience.

In the first case, the artist is simply getting coned out of merchandise. Legitimate sources don't ask for free samples to review. They may ask for a piece to photograph (we have supplied pieces to Vogue, Elle, Art Jewelry,ect many times for photoshoots), but these are almost always returned. When they are not (rare) they are paid for.

In the second case the artist is being coned out of merchandise to enable the blogger to buy a temporary audience. The value of this exposure is extremely marginal if not completely worthless. NOTE TO ARTISTS: you don't need a third party to give away your work. If you feel a give-away is an effect tool for you - do it yourself. Drive people to YOUR blog, YOUR site.

Better yet, learn what makes for an effective cross promotion so you know one when you see one, and when you don't. Knowing how to structure these deals will enable you to reach out and be proactive in promoting yourself rather than reactive and waiting for the scammers. There are legitimate bloggers with serious audience penetration that are excellent candidates for cross promotion. Know who your promotional partner is. Its good business.
Comment by Harriete E Berman on June 18, 2010 at 12:30am
The story is kind of funny, really.
What has happened to honor and integrity?

Personally, I am not really into the "giveaways" and promotion aspect that seems to be a pervasive, lowest common denominator approach. That said, if she wants stuff to give away, she should make it herself.
Harriete
Comment by Miriam Rowe on June 15, 2010 at 8:50am
Heh, and apparently "Rhonda" is really "Ryan". Maybe they confused their own gender the same way they confused the "buy" and "favorite" buttons...

There are so many spammers out there- it's really annoying!
Comment by Francesca Vitali on June 13, 2010 at 6:49pm
Interesting stories guys!
I must say that my experience with Etsy sales not followed by an immediate paypal payment have 99% of the time ended up with a non-sale, but I have never had such a shameless excuse!
Comment by 2Roses on June 13, 2010 at 5:38pm
Not sure about statute of limitations, as this varies by state. Regardless, this is one of those situations that benefits from prompt action. We actually try to stay away from the frame of mind that makes actions like this seem like the next indicated step, but sometimes we get dragged down into the pit with the a*******.
Comment by 2Roses on June 12, 2010 at 12:02pm
Michelle, here's a true story from the restaurant industry that applies here. A woman was having dinner at a very famous eatery in New York several years back. Raving about the dish she ordered, the woman asked the waiter if she could have the recipe. The waiter promptly returned, recipe in hand, and the woman was most grateful. At the conclusion of the meal the bill was presented, listing $100. for the meal and $5,000. for the recipe. The charge was eventually upheld in court and the woman paid the bill.

Since you have a written admission of intention to copy your intellectual property accompanied by a written request for a material sample, you would be justified in sending the customer an invoice.

Now, some of you out there may be thinking, "wow! 2Roses, you're getting really shitty". Yes, this is business at its worst. When customers, galleries or other people you do business with abuse the business relationship you should not be afraid to stand up for yourself. This really is no different than standing behind the cash register at your store and watching someone steal stuff off the shelves.

You wouldn't want to offend them by saying anything, would you?

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