Sunday, 22 December 2013

RE: 'Beware of Grammarly's Intentions!'

Before reading this post, please read my original discussion about Grammarly here.

Have you read it now?

Awesome. So as you now know, in that blog post I said the guy was creepy for saying 'I'd love to grab some coffee. ;)' I mean, I'm still a 'minor'. What he said is weird. I also went on to say that Grammarly is a scam and that they're going against FTC regulations.

Well, guess what? Three months after I published the post on my blog, they read it. Grammarly read my blog post. And they emailed me about it.

"I just wanted to let you know that I'm very sorry for creeping you out and clearly failing to do Grammarly's Blogger Partnership Program justice in my email."

He also went on to say that my comment about credit card details took him by surprise and that I asked "a great question about Microsoft Word. The key difference is that Grammarly checks for around ten times more mistakes. We also offer plagiarism detection to make sure you're citing sources correctly."

He has also set up a Grammarly account for me so I can check it out properly (which, before writing my other blog post, I had done. I don't write stuff like that without doing research.) It's a bit strange that he set up the account for me without my permission, but I checked it out anyway and I must say it's a pretty good tool. So, thanks for the premium account, Nick.

"Hopefully you'll be able to edit your post to reflect the fact that my email wasn't a credit card scam."

I'm not going to edit my original blog post to change what I've said, but I will add a link to this post so people can get the whole story. Honestly, I still think Grammarly seems a bit strange. A lot of book bloggers were speculating about whether Nick actually worked for Grammarly, while others like me thought the whole site was a scam in general.

This is going to be a pretty long blog post so you should probably go and grab a snack.

I do think Grammarly is a good tool. I've used it and, for someone like me who is crap at grammar, it's really useful. It offers spell check, plagiarism detection and more, and I've actually learnt a few things about grammar whilst using it. And you know what? I recommend it. I do.

But.

There's still something a bit off about Grammarly. So, no, maybe it isn't a credit card scam after all, but firstly, my Mother who isn't even a book blogger got almost exactly the same email from him about a month after I did, saying he liked her review of Wreck This Journal. The thing is, she has never reviewed Wreck This Journal, only did a giveaway of it back in 2011, so why would she get an email like that?

Secondly, Grammarly is still going against FTC regulations by not mentioning that the bloggers in question should write a disclaimer saying that they were sponsored to write the post. I could be wrong, maybe they say that in a further email, but it's worth mentioning. Someone who commented on my original post said:

"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. 

Do NOT participate! Grammarly will not compensate you if you post ethically!!!! They are looking for bloggers who are willing to bend the rules. Don't stoop to that level, be ethical."

So, Grammarly, I'm going to give you a few pointers because you need them, really.

  • Proof-read the emails you send out. When promoting a grammar tool, it's really not going to help if you have a ton of grammatical errors in your email.
  • Please don't ask the blogger if they would like to meet for coffee. With a wink-face. Just...no. It makes the whole thing seem more suspicious, and quite frankly it's weird.
  • Check who you're sending the automated gift card email to. I've had two emails from you offering me a gift card and one of them said you'd found me through my Divergent review. I haven't reviewed Divergent, what are you on about? If a blogger gets an email about something he/she hasn't done then your email is going straight in the Junk folder.
  • Don't encourage the bloggers to go against FTC regulations. That's just common sense.
  • Treat bloggers better. Referring to the comment I quoted above, if a blogger is doing the right and ethical thing, don't refuse to give them the gift card you promised them because you're in the wrong.
  • Stop harassing bloggers. You have emailed me so many times these past few days that I can barely keep up, and each email is full to the brim with aggressive and manipulative comments. The things you wrote to me were so unprofessional and eventually I had to email you and ask you to stop contacting me. I was reasonable. I was polite. You, however, crossed a line.

Lots - and I mean lots - of other book bloggers wrote blog posts similar to my original one, and most of them have received emails like I did, asking them to edit their posts. I just wanted to let you guys know what happened since that first email because I've always been honest with you and I always will be. To conclude, I think Grammarly is a great tool (and no, I'm not being compensated to say this), but I don't think the way they go about their business is very professional.

I'll leave it up to you. What do you think about them?


13 comments:

  1. It's difficult to describe what I think here. Personally, I believe it sounds like a great tool and it would be incredibly useful for my circumstances - I'm a blogger, I write a lot in my free time and I'm a fanfiction author.
    However, as much as I am intrigued I would never go near this site following on from reading what you've said in the past two posts. I'd be very alarmed if the same situation happened to me and I wouldn't want to be contacted in such ways as you have been. Also there's no way I'd be able to afford it after the free trial.

    Holly x

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    1. Yeah, it is a great tool and so useful. Very expensive though...x

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  2. GREAT post Amber. I've seen on Twitter some of the problems you've been having with Grammerly and I'm just relieved that I haven't had any emails from them.

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    1. Thanks Maya! I'm glad that you haven't had any too, they're weird emails to receive!

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  3. I got an email much like yours, ages ago, saying he found me by a review I never wrote. That and the request to grab coffee just made me ignore the email altogether. I'm sorry to hear he's getting more aggressive, it's just rude and unprofessional and I hope he gets the message soon

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    1. Yes, they definitely need to work on their people skills! Thank you Anya, I hope so too. :)

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  4. I actually got an email from this guy yesterday and it began with 'Dear Nickolaus' or something. So I replied I think you've got the wrong email and he apologised and asked me if I was still interested. He did mention if I agreed, I'd have to write something about plagiarism being 'uncool' at the beginning of my post... I didn't reply because I simply wasn't convinced it wasn't spam... I do think it's really unprofessional because, one, he addressed the email with the wrong person's name and, two, if he was being rather blunt and rude to you!

    I know my grammar isn't near perfect but I don't think I'll be trying this out. :/

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    1. Nikolas is actually his name so I'm not sure why he addressed an email to himself, haha!

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  5. Ewww. This guys does not do customer relations or PR very well does he. Talk about putting off a major portion of people who would use Grammarly just by being totally unprofessional. Blergh. To me, it sounds like Grammarly needs to get rid of this guy, although it makes me wonder if the guys who own the company realise how bad this Nick is. Just really weird.

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  6. Thanks for this great post, Amber! I recently received an email from Nick too - although admittedly the one he sent me seemed more professional than the one he sent you. I very nearly replied to sign myself up but thankfully read this and have now deleted said email :)

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  7. This dude sounds like a creep! I'm thankful I haven't received one of these, these email sound way off. Thanks for the warning.

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  8. The thing is, if you have never requested or initiated contact with a company, and they email you out of the blue, that actually IS spam! And there are laws against spam.

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  9. I just got one of Nick's emails. Ergh. Did a blog post about it and linked back to both of your posts. This Nick fellow is not giving Grammarly a very good name at all.

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