Supplies: Piggybackers

Alice with pig 2013
from the original illustrations of Lewis Carroll’s Alice in Wonderland

Piggybackers are the people that find a way to benefit from your projects… while often doing none of the work themselves.

Writers, among other artists know them well:

“This will give you great exposure!”

“Well, we can’t pay you, but …”

For small businesses that produce widgets, there is one word that SAYS IT ALL: Consignment.

I used to just lay down and let the piggybackers hop on. But those that would hop on have realized I’m on to them and try more subtle approaches. It’s especially dangerous in the day of blogs: the Huffington Post is nothing but a pile of people with a giant pig on their back. That’s the classic example. But it’s also very grey pigs: the Huffington Post actually does give great exposure, which most things that claim to absolutely do not.

I’ve found marketers that approach blogs not only fall into the piggyback category, they often find ways to tweak collective guilt about why we’re doing what we do. While being ONLY about making money is a terrible way to run a blog, it’s just as bad an idea to provide a universe where marketers get something for nothing. We’re constantly shouting at people to buy, buy, buy and it’s destroying them – that constant shouting. They’re buying wrong as a result of it. And bloggers have to walk that line, while navigating that the buy is also shouted at them from all corners. In the Internet system, piggybackers are the first predators of a successful career.

There’s one specific example I said no to over and over – requests I write free for major corporations. I’m dealing with a piggybacker in another sector of my career right now. I was unaware of how much of a piggyback was in … until I’d signed on the dotted line.

But now I know. And I’ll be getting that pig off my back soon.