Last week I received an email from one Taylor Dardan:
I wanted to send you a quick message, and see if I would be able to write a guest blog on your site. I am very passionate the health concerns that can endanger first responders. I am trying to raise the awareness of the many environmental toxins that first responders can come into contact with on a regular basis. I feel that I could write a compelling article that would be of great interest to the readers of Notes from Mosquito Hill (http://notesfrommosquitohill.com/).
Please feel free to email me back if this interests you.
I don’t publish a bare email address on this blog; this person (or bot?) took the time to fill out my contact form. A few of the other bloggers I read have been approached by various people offering to create *fabulous* content for them, but this is a first for me.
As usual when something seems odd, my first stop was Google. I found articles by this Taylor Dardan person on multiple websites. Mr. Dardan is alternately identified as he/she, and is described as “a cancer treatment advocate and extremely interested in insuring [sic] that cancer patients’ medical privacy is fully protected in our current healthcare system,” “a dedicated advocate of veteran’s benefits,” and “a brave soul that is bringing awareness to those that are unaware of the sacrifices that not only a soldier makes away at war but those they endure most times with the families upon their return home.” You will note that above he identifies himself as “very passionate the health concerns that can endanger first responders.”
Whoever this person is, he seems very dedicated to multiple causes including HIPAA, veterans’ benefits, “chemotherapy and natural forms of treatment,” and public safety among others.
Each article begins with a paragraph or two devoted to the core interests of the blog in question. In paragraph three, we reach the dreaded (wait for it. . . . . . . . . . . )
All of the articles contain one link to the same website dedicated to information about the disease. A brief bit of digging reveals that it is owned and operated by a major law firm, of the type most commonly seen on mid-afternoon TV commercials.
I was curious to see how far I could push it, so I sent the following reply:
I’m interested in your proposal, but I have a few questions first.