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can not, WILL not advertise your stunningly bad pages



1:28 am on Mar 22, 2001 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member rcjordan is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member

I have someone asking to sponsor a section of my website. But no amount of advertising will overcome the crude html and many, many K of images packed on those pages. We're talking $1k annually for just a few links, but I can't do it. Does anyone have a nice, tactful refusal letter handy? This is as far as I've gotten, then writer's block hit:
I've reviewed the YOURdomain.com pages. While I certainly do not wish to offend anyone in your organization or belittle their efforts as webmasters, I do feel a professional obligation to advise you that, in my opinion, these pages are simply not ready for prime time....


2:18 am on Mar 22, 2001 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member mivox is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member

Ouch! Err, having never been in a position to turn down money, I'm not too familiar with the etiquette, but something along these lines, perhaps?

I've reviewed the YOURdomain.com pages. While I do not think a sponsorship would be appropriate at this time, it may be a future possibility as YOURdomain.com evolves.

I'm sure you understand that we are limited to providing sponsorship opportunities to sites and organizations of national caliber and exposure. While YOURdomain.com may be a valuable <insert local/community/or some other 'small' word here> resource, it does not currently meet our requirements for a major sponsor.

Thank you for your offer, and we look forward to working with you in the future as YOURdomain.com grows!

OTOH, you could just be totally cruel, and tell them that you can't conscionably promote a site of such low design caliber, then refer them to a reputable design firm for help. ;)


2:38 am on Mar 22, 2001 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member rcjordan is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member

Thanks, mv. I can work with some of that... but I'd like to see more examples if you or anyone else has them. You see, this is a particularly awkward circumstance since the firm is in my town and is actually a competitor in one of my business fields not related to web publishing. They know I produce plenty of focused traffic and want in. (Yes, I do routinely sell traffic to my competitors, that's not the problem here.)

>refer them to a reputable design firm for help

They have an html-hanger that they must somehow believe knows something about web pages. D*mn, I hate this ...it's going to be sooooo messy.


6:58 am on Mar 22, 2001 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member

rc - Could you get away with:

-All ad space is currently sold.
-An exclusive arrangement with a major advertisor precludes...
-I presently have no ad space that I feel would be appropriate for your site/content and mutually beneficial for us.


7:08 am on Mar 22, 2001 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Administrator brett_tabke is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member Top Contributors Of The Month

Try to sell them webmaster services along with the ads rc.

I wouldn't emphasize their problems, emphasize your high standards instead.


3:32 am on Mar 25, 2001 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

Set up a really bad web site on GeoCities and apply to an ad network. Use their rejection notice as a guideline.


9:53 pm on Mar 25, 2001 (gmt 0)

Dear $sponsername

First of all, I would like to take a moment to thank you for considering my/our website. It is indeed very thrilling to know that a organization/company like yours is willing to sponser us. However, No matter how much I appreciate your proposel, at this time I am unable to make any decisions, as we have contracts with all our current sponsers.

However, I am sure in the near future we will be glad to provide you our adspace.

Thank you again, and please feel free to contact us, if there are any other issues you would like to discuss.


rcjordan, I don't think above note is tooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo bad, but still, above note praises their business little bit more than yours, but well, sometimes, that works more [specially when their business/website does not deserve any appreciation]. In addition, you might find few typos or errors in them [sorry, English not my first language]. But well, I tried.



10:01 pm on Mar 25, 2001 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member rcjordan is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member

Thanks guys. I'm just checking in to let you know your posts are appreciated. However, I don't want to stop anyone from adding their thoughts or comments, others might find an idea here on handling their difficult situations.


10:52 pm on Mar 25, 2001 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member woz is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member

My only thought would be to follow suggested management techniques when you have to criticize an employee.

First, compliment their work and show them how much they are appreciated.

Second, ciritize the problem, not the employee, and work out solutions for either eridicating the problem or increasing the quality of the emploiyee's efforts,

Third, again compliment the employee on their work and thank them for their efforts.

ie, leave them with a good feeling.

The above email suggestion from web_t, whose english is very good BTW, goes a long way in that direction. I would however add some more compliments at the end. You don't want to burn bridges with these people, they may get their act together site wise and come back to you again in the future.



9:01 am on Mar 27, 2001 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member

Too many cooks.....

Short and sweet is how i would do it.

Dear sirs/whoever

Thank you so much for your generous offer of fusing our commercial interests together.

Unfortuently I am unabale to accept your kind offer at the moment but would be very interested to hear about any other ideas in the near future

lots of hugs and kisses RCJ

well i spose you could chnge the last bit ;)


1:01 pm on Mar 27, 2001 (gmt 0)

perhaps honesty would work without blame. it is simply a technical problem that can be solved. they must respect your ability since they want to advertise with you. thus, I would phone them and say stuff like:

Hi Mr.*** or even "first name",
"I received your package, but their are problems with your html and graphics. These are real problems because....It is important the graphics be smaller because....etc. etc.
then perhaps ask the person, "so what do you think we should do about this?" if he/she says, "well can't you post it anyway?" you simply say: "no, i can't because.......'repeat reasons'." you can also say, it would be harmful for their business and yours, perhaps more details, reasons, stats... then again ask, "so what should we do?" if he/she keeps bothering you and doesn't get it then say, "perhaps you need time to think about this,i understand." [pause] "you might find the following reference material helpful", and then maybe give them some info url's on the subject or whatever. [pause] "if you decide not to sponser with us now, please let us know. if at this time we can't meet your needs, perhaps later. [pause] i was looking forward to your sponsership, so if I can help just let me know.


5:39 am on Mar 28, 2001 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

My advice:

Be brutally honest. I'd tell them that they would be wasting their advertising money if they advertised on your site. Why would they be wasting money? Because you would tell that you are confident that you can send them ample traffic, but then explain that the visitors (the ULTIMATE customers) will not have pleasant experiences once they hit their site because of the "images packed on those pages"

Just write it in a way that is positive and shows concern for their well being. If they are smart, they will heed your advice and make the neccessary changes. People do, believe it or not, respect honesty and goodwill.


4:56 am on Apr 3, 2001 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member

I vote for the honest route, but let 'em down easy.

If I were in their shoes, I would surely want to know your real reason so I could go about correcting it. Even if it means bad news for their webmaster, I think they would thank you in the end.


9:07 pm on Apr 5, 2001 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

go with the brutally honest thing before they go and embarrass themselves further with other ventures.


11:31 pm on Apr 5, 2001 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member marcia is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member

I'd be inclined to be honest, but go with the gentle approach. Some good information about usability and conversion to sales (briefly, with a few links) would educate as well as potentially soften the blow.


8:01 pm on Apr 6, 2001 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member

Take the money, my friend!
If you need to reject the site based on content, do so, I wouldn't reject it based on design. Some of the more cheesey sites are the most successful (look at yahoo! to understand this concept) . The collective mindset of the internet design community at large is to keep up with the competition, use more tricks and widgets, blah,blah. But we must remember that the whole issue of design needs to center on usability. If I am designing a site for a contact lens retailer, it might look cool to lay out all the copy at 8 pixels using style sheets, but most of the folks wouldn't be able to read it. get it?


2:55 am on Apr 12, 2001 (gmt 0)

Here's a question for you to think about RC.

If you refuse them without telling them their pages are not good quality, then are you really 'being polite'?

If I, for example, I had a big tree of brocalli stuck in my teeth, I would prefer that someone discreetly tell me before I further embarrass myself.

You are doing them a favor by telling them the truth, because if you believe their pages are horrible, then so do other people.

Of course, if you don't like these people, then tell them nothing and let them hurt themselves.

Old topic I realize, but it makes me crazy when people believe 'polite' means 'don't tell the truth.'



8:38 am on Apr 12, 2001 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member

Ahh but what does being polite really mean in a business circumstance?

By telling them that their pages look crap may communicate 2 things:

1) you are telling them they have inferior design skills to you
2) you are critisizing them

Peope dont always take kindly to having their work dissed, and in a business situation may cause unwanted friction and bad feeling.

Its not like having a piece of food in your teeth where its obvious that something is'nt quite right, its more like them having nerd like side parting which they think looks great.


1:18 am on May 5, 2001 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

I'm 3 weeks late responding to this but I just had to say that your answer in the first post
is exactly right. You should say it just that way. You'll feel great and you'll be helping them.
If they take offense it's their problem.