I write to you on behalf of X – one of the leading international footwear brand for men, women and kids. X would like to collaborate with your blog —– for a barter association. X would like to provide you the footwear of your choice. Post that, the coverage done on your blog with the footwear will be further amplified on X’s Social Media pages. In addition to this, you will also receive the title of “The Blogger of the Month” on X’s social media pages. You can find a wide variety of footwear at <URL>

At least they were upfront about the “barter” association, even if they added not one but five hyphens before it. Like they were almost embarrassed to mention it but they had to because, well, PR client.


“…footwear of your choice…”

Unfortunately, this is not a brand I’d purchase or wear, so my choice here would be entirely dependent on the campaign and the creative freedom I have to photograph the product or play with is as I please. If you come to me and tell me, “Here’s our product, do with it whatever you like, this is our budget and these are the deliverables we’re aiming for.”, then I’m in love with you.

It’s a dirty little not-so-secret that if the MRP of a brand’s product is Rs. 500, the blogger / influencer is not going to deliver work that they otherwise price at Rs. 2,50,000 for “barter”. We – bloggers – are happy to build relationships and we love to over-deliver and delight our clients. But we don’t want to start from zero and then deliver work that might come at great expense to our business.

As a brand, have you given it a thought that my brand might not want to work with your brand because there’s no “brand compatibility”? Maybe it isn’t a good idea for your brand to be associated with Naina.co – maybe it isn’t a good idea for Naina.co to introduce it’s audience to your brand – maybe my audience would hate the brand if I featured them here because the callousness would be transparent.

When there are so many red flags in the initial enquiry email, it makes no sense to move forward. Best to end it with, “Thanks but no thanks.”


“…you will receive the title of…”

Show me the money bro. You can keep the title.

Titles like these mean nothing. I know my audience is NOT going to be impressed if brand X suddenly decides to announce me as their “blogger of the month”. They will see right through the charade. After all, me or my blog have no prior relationship with this brand!

And you’ve sent this email to hundreds of other bloggers, you don’t think we can put two and two together when your brand announces the “Blogger Of The Month”? What kind of credibility are you aiming it? None whatsoever clearly. I’d rather be paid well for the good work I deliver than suck up to brands for “awards” and “titles”. Nope. No thanks.


Fuck you, pay me. Always.


More anecdotes and stories in the #WTFNaina series. ( These are all inspired by true stories. Some written emails, some from face-to-face meetings. They have all been piling up for years now and I’ve decided to put them to use! )




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