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We cannot be accused of selling out. Whatever you have to say about the staff of this site (and I’m sure that there’s probably a fair amount), we cannot be accused of putting money before pride. However every man has his price, as they say, so you can imagine our intrigue when we were contacted by a firm called “Total Marketing” a few days ago…

Date: Tue, 7 Feb 2012 20:02:45 +0000
From: xxxxxxxx@totalmarketing.com
Subject: Advertising on trivialpursuits.org


Could we buy advertising space on trivialpursuits.org?

Our client is one the most recognised brands in the UK, in fact you’ve probably bought flowers or wine from them or received them as a gift.

We could pay you £50 annually for an ad to our client’s website and payment can be made via PayPal.

I know time is valuable these days and I appreciate yours.

Marketing Assistant

Email: xxxxxxx@totalmarketing.com
Phone: (919) 890-3927 x306
Web: http://www.TotalMarketing.com

Now, these are financially turbulent times. And we here at Trivial Pursuits cannot deny that that a crisp £50 note would sit very comfortably in our collective wallet. Or PayPal account. But while we may need the money to continue sending Ed Lines and Em Bell to art galleries and restaurants, we valued our artistic integrity a little higher than that figure. So, being a mature adult, I decided to pen the following reply… Besides, as they said: “time is valuable these days”…

Sent: 10 February 2012 19:11
To: xxxxxxx@totalmarketing.com
Subject: Re: Advertising on trivialpursuits.org


Good afternoon xxxxx,

Thank you very much for taking such an active interest in our humble site. It is immensely complimentary that someone would be interested in wanting their brand associated with our writing and it is, naturally, an exciting opportunity for both of us.

Despite the fact that I am both teetotal and have Hay Fever, I am sure that while I may not have personally indulged in the fruits (metaphor, unless they are actual fruit) of your client’s labour, many of our readers will have. This fills me with a warm, gleeful confidence in this potentially fruitful (also a metaphor, unless aforementioned metaphorical fruits are in fact fruits. In this eventuality, this would become a cheap pun and a potential advertising slogan – something to think about…) business partnership.

Upon receiving your email a few days ago, we immediately called a Board Meeting. Our CEO was helicoptered over from Calcutta, while I myself took some valuable time out from wandering round the more abstract recesses of my own mind. This was big news. After several hours deliberation, we have agreed on some figures that we feel would more accurately represent a fair figure for the proposed sponsorship deal.

The viewing figures for our site are best represented as follows, on a monthly basis:


Now as you can see, since November’s inception, the site has suffered a bit of a lull around Christmas, when people are too concerned with giving thanks to Our Lord Jesus Christ™ to read the daily capers of our minds as they scamper gaily (not gay) across the screen. However the new year has seen new promise and a hearty reversal in fortunes.

Our numbers rose by 49.3% month-on-month between December and January. Looking at the growth models of companies with similar prospects to ours, namely Facebook and Google, I have predicted that this is a growth figure that is likely to continue, if not be exceeded for the next 24 months. Expanding on this theme, the technical number boffins in our accounts department have run off the following projections:


Given that your initial offer of £50 per annum was based on our figures to date, I’m afraid that we find the figure somewhat short-sighted. However, they are not necessarily figures that we would be unwilling to work with. So let’s see if we can meet halfway.

Currently, based on the December figures, your client has offered us £50 per annum on a projection of 3,000 views per month. This works out as £0.0013888 per viewer. For the purposes of this calculation, we shall call this the “going rate”, although in economic terms, I’m told this coefficient is known as “Wheeler’s Nifkin”.

In two years time, we have a projected 66 million hits per month (conservative estimate). On a pro-rata basis, using your figures, this would give a advertising deal in 24 months a value of £1,099,929.60

Given that there is an exponential growth period to hit this figure, we would be willing to settle on a 2 year deal with the rate set at £549,964.80 per annum.

If you wanted to discuss an advertising deal in excess of two years though, I’m afraid you would have to come into our offices and go through some statistical modelling with us. Within the blogging world there is a quirk that occurs during the 29th month of existence, known as “von Happen’s theorem”.


German internologist Claus-Gunter-Diedrich von Happen discovered that once a blog had existed for over 29 months, the viewing figures because so wildly unpredictable that you might as well just fly all over the chart in a tiny cartoon aeroplane. Your blog will, by this stage, have the ability to gain and lose viewing figures as it pleases, before eventually gaining the ability to move back in time.

Remember that I only tell you this on an informative basis, as I don’t want to appear disingenuous in my proposal.

So, in summary, I think the figure that we would be looking for would be a 2-year advertising deal, valued at £549,964.80 per annum.

I hope that this is a workable figure for you, let me know and I will send over my PayPal details.

Many thanks


Harry Harland


Trivial Pursuits


Now, without trying to put a value on our time, this is a figure that I felt that we could reach some form of agreement on. I’ve always been a firm believer that any deal is possible, provided that both parties have an understanding. Hence my attempts to inform and educate the clearly raw marketing agency on some of the factors in this deal.

Quick as a flash, they were back to us…

Date: Fri, 10 Feb 2012 20:17:45 +0000
From: xxxxxxxx@totalmarketing.com
Subject: Re: Advertising on trivialpursuits.org


I fully understand. Let me know if you change your mind. I could probably get you £100 for a guest editorial or banner.

Have a great week!



Marketing Assistant


Email: xxxxxxxx@totalmarketing.com

Phone: (919) 890-3927 x306

Web: www.TotalMarketing.com 

An improvement on 100% on the previous figure. If that’s not progress, I don’t know what is…

We have respectfully declined their offer. I don’t think they are taking us seriously.

by Harry Harland