It looks like Annie Slaminsky and I have received exactly the same email from a marketing person keen to have us review a new online product.
I have to say that when I received an email from a 'Ria Campbell' that began 'Dear Patroclus, I think your blog is great; I am a regular visitor and your writing is never less than fun, insightful and entertaining by turns' I was initially flattered, then a mite suspicious, given that I don't know this person and that - to my knowledge - she has never commented on the blog before.
I was made even more suspicious by the fact that some of the punctuation marks in the email had rendered badly, making it look like text that had been copied and pasted from somewhere else. Then I saw Annie's post and realised that Ms Campbell is sending the same flattering email to everyone. I'm not special at all!
Having worked in PR and 'social media marketing', I'm quite painfully aware that a lot of companies are trying to court bloggers these days. Sadly, they're mostly going about it all the wrong way - either by sending bloggers press releases and hoping the blogger will write about them, or by pretending to be a fan of the blogger when in reality they don't read the blog in question at all.
But I did a bit of digging, and was surprised to discover that Ria Campbell works for a company that ought to know better. A company run by one of this country's most successful dotcom entrepreneurs, famed for her successful online and offline marketing techniques. (Can you guess who it is yet?) And a company, therefore, that really ought to know how and how not to approach bloggers. Tsk.
So sorry, Ria, I won't be writing about your 'cool' online service, and if anyone else is reading this who received the same email, I hope you won't be either.