Tuesday, 11 November 2014

Weird expat site requesting an 'interview' with yours truly

Two weeks ago today, I received a rather strange e-mail out of the blue.  It was from an expat site, requesting me to do an interview for them to publish.  This mail was sent to my website e-mail address, not my personal account, so they had clearly taken the time to look at both my blog and my website.  Of course it was sucking up, saying how much they loved my blog, blah blah blah.  I must admit, upon reading it I did feel slightly honoured to have been chosen.  What they were asking was a simple question and answer kind of interview that they could publish.  It was to be in my own words, and the questions were rather basic daily life experiences as an expat.  So  I'm sure my answers were nothing new, and only second what millions of other expats around the globe would say.  Some were specific to the country I live in, but didn't even state the country itself!  So I could tell it was nothing special, just the same set of questions for each person, whether living in the Netherlands, China, US, or wherever!  Of course they wanted a photo (well, plural actually, but they got ONE!).  The expat site who requested it is a huge site offering info for work permits, visas, schooling, legal advice, changing driving licenses etc....and has a very small expat interview section.  So I just assumed they found me by chance, or contacted a load of bloggers just to get some fresh content for their site.....the interview section is half empty by the way!  After much deliberation, I decided to do it.  In all honesty, I wasn't too happy about the giving away of quite a lot of personal details....name and age specifically.  But if you dig deep enough, you'll find those things both on here and on my website - they are both my sites though, and I choose to show I'm a real person, and I choose what and how much personal info I give away.  This is both my personal and work blog, and with my work, I do like to show a bit about who I am as I think it's nice for people to see that.  I am a handmade and bespoke business, so somebody buying from me deserves that little personal, and human touch.  That doesn't mean to say I want my entire life history broadcast over the net though!  Anyway, after much thought, I decided to do the interview.  After all, my details are online anyway, so what's the harm, I thought.  So I took a couple of hours of my time to complete it.  Made sure it was worded nicely, added extra in so they could choose a little what to publish or not, spell checked etc....oh, and the attachment they sent me was in such a funny layout, that I even had to retype and reformat it in Word, as I couldn't add my answers to the original....I probably could have, but being an expat, and on a Dutch computer, Word is in Dutch (funnily enough!).  So even the basics, completing their interview was a challenge in itself, not exactly user friendly!  From start to finish, it probably took me about two hours.  I returned it, as requested with a photo.  Obviously I publish photos on here from time to time, both personal and work related.  There again, I do like to show who I am on my own site, but there is a boundary too.  I'm not a big celebrity, that people wish to see my latest new outfit or shade of lipstick - who cares!  The odd photo, I think is nice, but beyond that, nobody wants to see it, I'm sure.  I also have a private life, and need to respect that of Theo's too, and of course his family and our friends.....so I can't and won't publish everything online.  I'm usually the one with the camera too, so I have very few photos of myself....and most of those are real personal ones.  Times that Theo and I have gone out for a special meal for example, and nobody is getting those mugshots!  So, I provided them with one photo.  Then I sat back and waited.  I did half expect an automated reply, actually.  But I didn't get one.  So then I thought in a day or two somebody would contact me to say if/when they were going to publish this so called interview or not.  Nobody did!  So they had taken the time to seek me out (I'm probably one of many they did that too), but that's it.  They've got quite a lot of my personal information - too much for my comfort, and don't even have the decency to reply to even say sorry we're not going to publish it - don't forget, they contacted me out of the blue!  I'm not a member on their site or anything!

Sadly. after much deliberation over the past few days, I've decided to retract my consent for them to use any of my information (that I foolishly gave them, I might add).  If I had chased them, then I could understand the lack of reply or acknowledgement even, but they approached me.  That, I think is really bad.  I don't want that kind of unprofessional association either on a personal level or business, I'm afraid.  I'm an expat blogger already.  I write about expat life on a constant basis.  I'm one of millions who do, so a questionnaire from one person is just trivial, and on an informative/legal kind of site, it is also irrelevant!  Also, the links to other businesses/people that I display on here are the ones that I myself am happy to be associated with, and that I have chosen.  They didn't ask for a link, I might add, but I think that was probably the goal.....they'd never get one.  Not because of this, but because I don't want my sites full of advertising, but I'll happily display links to a select few, that either I support, recommend or simply like.....not people who approach me out of the blue, and unsolicited!  So, I am now keeping a close eye that my content and mugshot does not appear on this site.  Maybe two weeks isn't long, I really don't know but I have no interest in being 'interviewed'.  I'm just a nobody, and happy to be just that!  So, to fellow expat bloggers out there, just beware, as I'm not so sure as to this sites motives.  They're a little strange to say the least.  To approach somebody out of the blue says to me they must be desperate for content to publish - only after two weeks of sitting on it leads me to question how desperate!  I don't feel it right to publish their name, as at the moment they've just acted a bit unprofessionally, but haven't actually done anything wrong.  I won't hesitate to name them (and won't stop at that) if they ignore the mail I just sent them retracting my 'interview' and consent to use any of it or my picture!

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