Prospects and clients often ask if they really need to invest time, money, and effort into blogging. After all, what if no one reads the articles? And if no one is reading the articles, doesn't that just mean blogging is just a waste of resources?
We're always quick to reassure those who ask that blogging is a necessity: it improves your search engine rankings, helps bring authentic personality to your company and brand, establishes you as an expert, and allows you to directly address and engage with your audience.
And to make sure you get readers, we often suggest publishing a mix of blogs that relate directly to your business and its product and service offerings, as well as a few that may not tie directly into your business, but are still relevant and informational, providing value to readers in the form of education.
I always knew it in theory, but I recently learned firsthand that that education is priceless. Or, in my case, it was valued at about $180 and my dignity. You see, if it were not for a blog article, I would have fallen victim to a Craigslist scam.
Thanks to that blog, I not only saved a couple hundred dollars... I managed to get out of the situation with my dignity intact.
If you've ever doubted the value of blogging, I hope my little fiasco here will change your mind.
A Little Bit of Background Info
I love dogs. Like, SERIOUSLY.
ALL dogs have a special place in my heart, but no breed quite speaks to the very pits of my soul like a Cavalier King Charles Spaniel. I have wanted one ever since elementary school when I bought a poster with 2 Cavaliers snuggling up next to each other and "Puppy Love" written in big pink letters at the top.
Unfortunately, these dogs come with a hefty price tag, and since I'm a millennial and spend all of my money on avocado toast (and by avocado toast I mean rent, food, and student loans), I have not yet been able to acquire one. Remember that nugget of information about their price, it'll be relevant in a minute.
Love At First Sight is REAL (Especially When They're Looking Back at You With Puppydog Eyes)
So, of course, a few weeks ago when Danielle and I were looking at dogs on Craigslist—our favorite activity—I had her search for Cavaliers for me.
Craigslist spit back just ONE listing for an available puppy in Charlotte, NC and let me tell you, love at first sight is real. I read her description and she was perfect!
Just 10 weeks old, the smallest in her litter, and snuggly just like her mom? SHUT UP AND TAKE MY MONEY.
Speaking of money, there was no price listed, so I messaged the seller to get the details and see if she was still available.
I must have refreshed my email 50 times that day. In the time I spent waiting for a response, I had given her a name (Eloise, for the record), planned our whole life together, and got my boyfriend all excited about us getting her.
FINALLY, about 24 hours later I got a response from the seller. The puppy was still available, all I needed to do was text for more details.
Nothing Sells Like a Good Sob Story
I texted the seller as fast as I could type, asking for the price of perfect, teeny Eloise. Unfortunately, his response didn't actually answer my question. Instead, he wanted to know my location.
When I told him I was in Upstate South Carolina, he replied, "I'm in L.A., but I can ship her to you if you want."
I sent him an apology text, along with a screenshot of the listing which was CLEARLY just outside of Charlotte, NC and NOT in Los Angeles. Ugh. Stupid Craigslist getting my hopes up like that.
The seller kindly offered to have her delivered, but just because I might have puppy money, doesn't mean I have puppy and puppy plane ticket money. I sent him my regrets (my deepest, darkest, saddest, heartbreaking regrets) and hopes that Eloise would find a great home (even though I knew it would never be as great as MY home).
He replied with a story that moved me to tears. "They're not my puppies," his text began. "They were my wife's, but she just passed and I just can't take care of them. They're free to good homes, just pay delivery."
He then sent me a newer, more recent picture of her, which I have helpfully included so everyone can agree with me on how cute and perfect she is.
That certainly changed EVERYTHING. Eloise was mine again! State lines won't get in the way of our bond!
I wiped the tears from my eyes and sent my condolences for his loss, then asked how much it would be for Eloise to be delivered.
He said that delivery would be just $180, and I was positively (pawsitively) BEAMING. Cavaliers start at about $1,000 per puppy and can even exceed $3,000, so little Eloise here was the deal of a lifetime. "Poor guy doesn't even know," I thought. Somehow I just pulled off the scam of a lifetime without even trying.
I agreed to the price right away and gave him my work address for delivery since obviously I didn't want a random person coming to my apartment where I'd be alone. You can't be TOO careful when buying from a stranger on the internet, you know! (The irony turns my stomach.)
Everything was set! I asked for his PayPal info so I could send him the money and he could arrange her travel.
He didn't have Paypal, he said, but I could wire him the money...
"When You Look at Someone Through Rose Colored Glasses, All the Red Flags Just Look Like Flags."
I told Doug my exciting news: I'm getting a puppy! I can't even call her a puppy; I was getting Eloise—a Cavalier puppy! I was getting the puppy.
"All I need to do is pay for her, so I'm leaving a little early to go wire the guy the money."
Boy did that ever pique his interest. "You're going to do what?" he asked and told me to explain, so I told him the whole story I've just told all of you. Drawn by the excitement in my voice (which can be heard far and wide) my coworkers started to get up from their desks and listen to the emotional rollercoaster I had just been on.
Sam, who has the office right next to mine and who is not as apt to throw all judgment out the window upon seeing anything with fur, was the first to point it out.
"It's a scam."
My brain turned to TV static. "What?" No. This can't be a scam. We've already gone on so many mental walkies. We've already have a snuggle schedule. I have already named her. I HAVE BEEN DREAMING ABOUT HER SINCE THE THIRD GRADE. SHE IS ALREADY MY BEST FRIEND. WHAT DO YOU MEAN IT'S A SCAM.
"Don't wire a stranger money," chimed in EVERYONE. "There's no recourse if the deal is bad. Once that money's gone, it's gone."
By this point, proving that this whole thing was a scam concocted by literally the most evil person to walk this earth had become a company mission. "Keep Michelle from getting scammed because all bets are off when something has a tail" almost needed to be added to our culture code.
Before I knew it one person was Googling the phone number of the seller, and well well well, guess who had a Charlotte area code? Another was reverse-image-searching the photos I had been sent. A third was still trying to explain to me exactly how wiring money works, because I'm 24 and seriously, when have I ever had to wire money? (The answer is NEVER.)
The red flags were flying, but there was still a piece of me that thought everyone else was insane and this was no big deal. So, as I always do in times of need, I reached out to my boyfriend for reassurance.
In the End, It Was a Blog That Saved Me
I messaged my boyfriend—the man who willingly puts up with me knowing stuff like this happens sometimes—to let him know literally everyone was telling me I was the victim of a scam.
"How so?" he asked.
"Because they think it's too good to be true, and the guy doesn't have PayPal and he just wants me to wire him the money. And he said he's in LA even though the listing is in Charlotte and he has a Charlotte area code."
"Yeah, that's weird. Don't do that. If he can't do it legit, then just back out." NOT what I came here to hear, Pumpkin.
My brain and my heart were having a serious throwdown in the Thunderdome that is my decision-making center. My brain was pretty much convinced this was in fact a scam, but my heart could only see floppy ears, tiny paws, and puppy dog eyes. Please scroll back up and look at her again. I had to come to grips with the fact that I would not be coming home to that face everyday, and I did not go gently into that good night!
That's when my boyfriend sent me the blog article 8 Signs You're Getting Scammed on Craigslist.
I read through it and out of the eight signs, the first five all applied. That's when I accepted I was being catfished, but with a puppy. I was being puppyfished.
This horrible person was using that perfect tiny-pawed angel for evil! (Before you start to think, "I bet the puppy wasn't even real," I'd like for you to know that reverse image search turned back no results. That puppy was real... he just wasn't really selling her.)
I mustered the strength to text the "seller" that I wasn't comfortable wiring money sight unseen to a total stranger. He promised up, down, and sideways that he was "for real" and "didn't come on the internet to be dishonest and soil my name."
The listing promptly disappeared from Craigslist, and I went through all 5 stages of grief.
What to Take Away From My Tale of Woe?
Blogging Is Important Because People Really Do Read Blogs
Next time you're discussing your digital marketing strategy and an agency suggests blogging, don't ask, "Do we really need to blog?"
Remember this story. And remember Eloise's face. Just for fun. Because she's so cute.
In addition to keeping your site fresh with regularly added new content, blogs—if they're done correctly—really do help educate people and help them make informed decisions. They can even potentially help readers save money, and give them information they can then pass along to their family and friends.
Be Safe on the Internet!
I consider myself an intelligent woman. I am very logical and methodical, and I never commit to anything without thoroughly doing my research first. Seriously, I've been researching the same breed of dog almost my entire life. The proof is in the puppy chow.
All of that logic went straight out the window when I saw a little puppy face, heard a sob story, and was proposed the deal of a lifetime.
If you want something bad enough, it becomes so much easier to fall for a scam! Writing off a few red flags seems totally reasonable when you're literally being given the thing you want most in the world in return. I know it can be hard when you're excited and the clock is ticking, but it is SO important to keep your wits about you and be aware of EXACTLY who you're buying from and how.
Don't ignore the red flags.
The People Who Work at Waypost Have Your Back
If it were not for my coworkers and my partner, I'd be out $180 with no puppy to show for it. Plus, I'd be forced to live with the shame of having fallen for what, in retrospect, was a pretty obvious scam. Instead, I have the joy of living in a puppyless home (I might be a little bitter).
No one here wanted to see me get scammed, and the same goes for you, too. We want to partner with you and do what's best for your business.
We have no interest in selling you services you don't need, taking your money and then never answering your calls and emails (some agencies ACTUALLY do that). We treat your business like it was our own, and we want to do what's best for you. Always.
Finally, and most importantly, if you know of anyone selling reasonably priced Cavaliers (like, actually legitimately selling them) let me know! Or, if you have one, send me pictures so we can gush over them together!