Monday, 2 September 2013

DISCUSSION: Beware of Grammarly's Intentions!

A couple of months ago I got this email:
Hi Amber,
You know better than most that putting your writing "out there" takes a tremendous amount of courage; readers will find and comment on even the simplest mistakes. At Grammarly we know the feeling - and we've made it our mission to improve writers' confidence. Putting our money where our mouth is, we'd be honored to sponsor your next blog post with a $100 Amazon gift card.
In case you haven’t heard of us, Grammarly is an automated online proofreader that finds and explains those pesky grammar, spelling, and punctuation mistakes that are bound to find their way into your first draft. Think of us as a second pair of digital eyes that can spare you the cost of hiring a proofreader. If you'd like to join our 3 million users and try the premium version of our proofreader for free, let me know and I'll make it happen!
Please send me the expected publishing date and topic of your next appropriate blog post (ideally something about writing) so I can give you all the details you need in time.
Cheers,
Nick
P.S. Let me know if you ever find yourself in foggy San Francisco; I’d love to grab some coffee. ;)
Before I get in to why you should be wary of this email, may I just point out that there are various grammatical mistakes in his email. Forgive me if I'm wrong, but here's an example: 'putting our money where our mouth is'. 'Our' makes it seem like there is more than one person, and then he said 'mouth' which clearly isn't a plural. So, you all have one mouth as a collective? ...Dumbass. I don't pretend to use good grammar, but if you're working for a proofreading company, you should surely have a good idea of basic grammar in the first place.

Secondly, did you read the last line? It's more than a little creepy. 'I'd love to grab some coffee. ;)' Erm excuse me but I am fourteen years old so no, I will not go for coffee with you. Ever. You can stick that wink face where the sun doesn't shine, too.

Now I'll get on to why you should be extremely wary of this email. It is a scam. Firstly, 'Nick' hasn't stated that in the sponsored blog post you need to have a disclaimer stating that you are being compensated for writing the post. In short, if you don't do what I just said, you're going against FTC regulations and that is against the law. So...that seems a bit off, doesn't it, that he wouldn't include that vital piece of information. One of my bloggy friends actually replied to the email so she could get the 'more details' and even that didn't include encouragement to add a disclaimer.

Plus, to have your post proofread by Grammarly (which was the requirement if you wanted the gift card) you needed to put in your credit card details. Do you hear those alarm bells ringing now? They're ringing pretty loudly, right?

I will never know if they actually intended to send out the gift cards, because obviously I didn't even bother to reply to the email in the first place. I would just like to add, why would you pay to use Grammarly when programmes like Microsoft Word offer a perfectly good FREE grammar check service?

Sloppy, Grammarly, very sloppy. Wouldn't it be funny if we took him up on that coffee offer...

Have you had an email from Grammarly or something similar?


20 comments:

  1. I've never had something like this (I get a lot of those weirdo Please Help Me phising emails though) and that's just kinda horrible... First up, bad grammar in a proof reading service? What? And omg pervert. Wow. I'll know not to even bother to open an email from them if I ever get one.

    Charli x

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    1. I've had some of those phishing emails too, but this one was different as in it was very clever and didn't look like a scam at first. I hope you don't get an email like this, Charli!

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  2. I got exactly the same letter, word for word. And there were regular follow ups until I did reply. Grammarly, it's not a good idea.

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    1. Really? Luckily I only got that first email and nothing else. I completely agree - Grammarly is the worst idea. :P

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  3. This post made me laugh - love how you went about it! And all us book bloggers should get a plane and go and meet him for a coffee. What a lovely surprise he would have... ;) So funny how there's terrible grammar in this email, and he also seems to be showing-off with the use of a ton of semi colons. Those alarm bells are ringing very loudly right now.

    With that type of email, you need to be addressed properly and they should have all the details of their company at the bottom. Obviously, it's meant to be in the junk-mail.

    Thanks for this, Amber!

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    1. I don't even like coffee but I'm up for it, haha!
      There are a lot of signs that this is a scam, they're just very well hidden.
      Thanks Sophie! :)

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  4. I've heard of Grammarly before but I've never gotten an email like this...If I have, it's gone straight to Junk so I don't open them... What I hate about this email, is that it looks completely harmless, but now that you've pointed everything out, the alarm bells are ringing so loud only dogs can hear them..

    What really disturbs me is the last line... "Grab some Coffee?" Isn't this meant to be a professional email? What was that about.....

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    1. Haha exactly! Who asks a complete stranger to fly halfway across the world for some coffee? Especially a teenage stranger? O_O

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  5. I didn't get this email but I do remember a book blogger (cant remember who) talking about how amazing Grammerly was very recently. Now it makes me think they just did it for the money....

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  6. oooh. This made me laugh SO HARD at his grammar errors first, and then go a bit quiet for the next bit. That's just plain creepy!! :/ I've had waaaay too many spam emails, though now they just go straight into my junk folder!

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    1. This one looked so legit it went straight to my inbox >_<

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  7. That last line is definitely spooky and off, eesh! Luckily I've never encountered anything like this, I'm not sure how I would react to it,m probably ignore it but I think it's great that you've promoted the dangers on your blog here to warn others!

    P.S. I adore your blog name! The header is ace too, did you make it yourself? :D

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  8. I have to be honest, the most disturbing thing to me was the use of quotation marks around "out there". I read quotation marks as sarcasm mostly so he's all, "Hey, you know better than most that putting your writing "out there"" and I'm all OUT WHERE, NICK? OUT WHERE? STOP SNARKING ON MY INTERNET, NICK. SHEESH. So, um, I mean I read the rest of the email but honestly I was so hung up on his snark I forgot to check it for creepiness.

    Never had the pleasure myself but if I am invited for coffee I'll be sure to send him a picture of a plane ticket from the UK to foggy San Fran. :) Can't wait for the invite!

    <3

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  9. You don't half get some flipping weirdos!!! I feel so bad for the people who actually fall for these scams and end up losing a lot of money :(

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  10. I hadn't heard of this, but wow. That's weird. At first when I read the email, I thought 'That's nice...?' but that last line was creepy. It's always bad when you need to enter your credit card number anywhere. Thanks for warning everyone about this!

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  11. MUAHAHAHAHAHA you make me laugh Amber..but CREEP ALERT.. wanna go out to coffee with me Amber..;)

    LOL but thanks for the warning! x

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  13. I told them that I would only participate if I followed FTC guidelines. I wrote that it was a sponsored post, even signed up for a free trial (and cancelled before my CC was charged).

    Now, after putting them as no-follow links, which is what you MUST do when you are compensated, Nick @ Grammarly is refusing to compensate me. He did NOT ever specify in any previous email that the link must be do-follow or I would not have agreed.

    Follow-up: After sending multiple emails to both Nick and others at the company, I was finally compensated. I highly advise that you make sure you 100% know what you are getting into with Grammarly. Make your expectations well known BEFORE agreeing to the post.

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  14. I got one of these emails recently. It went to an email I don't use much, so it sat there for a couple of weeks before I saw it. What made me suspicious is that when you hover over the links in the email, not one of them shows a Grammarly url. Instead they show this weird url (for example: http://cts.vresp.com/c/?GrammarlyInc./3703c05c59/555237a88e/82e69a93b9). So needless to say, that email is getting deleted.

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Feel free to leave me a comment. I will get back to you as soon as I can! :)