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Buy Me a Gift … Like Joe Vitale?

August 26th, 2009 by Bob Bly

I was shocked the other day when I responded to an offer from my friend Joe Vitale.

It took me to his web site and a free article he had posted there.

But what shocked me was the copy above it.

It said (and I am paraphrasing): ?If you like my free articles, why not reciprocate by buying Joe his favorite gift, a gift certificate to Amazon.?

I haven?t fully processed this (to me) unsettling and bizarre request, so I can?t tell you yet whether I think it makes sense or is distasteful to me or wildly inappropriate.

I can?t imagine that anyone reading my free blog or newsletter or articles would feel a desire to reciprocate by buying me something ? and I don?t think they should.

But what if I am wrong?

Occasionally I have received gifts from people I have helped with my advice.

One baked me a cake. Several sent me gift certificates for fancy restaurants.

While I obviously like to eat (you?ve seen my photo), I don?t want these things.

If you are irresistibly compelled to do something nice for me, there?s nothing I like more than getting an e-mail or post from a reader telling me that they enjoyed and were helped by something I wrote.

If you feel absolutely compelled to spend money thanking me, I would much rather you make a donation to the American Cancer Society (ACS) in whatever amount you wish.

My father, whom I adored, died of cancer at 70, so the work of the ACS is particularly meaningful to me.

And given that one in three Americans gets cancer, and my wife has it now, our donations help fund research that may save our lives (or the lives of our kids or grandkids) some day.



This entry was posted on Wednesday, August 26th, 2009 at 2:33 pm and is filed under General. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

54 responses about “Buy Me a Gift … Like Joe Vitale?”

  1. Morgan said:


    I agree. I’m a Joe Vitale fan. Asking for a gift seems rather awkward in my opinion. I’m sorry to hear about your wife and her battle with cancer. I lost my father to colon cancer when he was 67, it’s a difficult experience as you know.

  2. Bob Bly said:

    Thanks. It has been a struggle, but Amy just had a PET SCAN and the doctor says she is, after only 4 chemo sessions, in almost total remission!

  3. Jim Logan said:

    Bob: I too am sorry to hear your wife is facing cancer. It’s great to know she’s responding to chemo!

    Like Morgan, I lost my Father to cancer a few years ago — he was 65. I hurts to even write about it now. His cancer spread so fast the primary was never diagnosed. As such, chemo wasn’t an option.

    Prayers and best wishes…

  4. Net Biz In Buzz » ‘Buy Me A Gift … Like Joe Vitale?’ by Bob Bly said:

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  5. Lou Wasser said:


    I’m sorry to hear about your wife. But it appears as though she has really fine medical attention. A number of years ago, I helped raise money to establish PET scanning centers in Texas and California. At that time, I learned about the amazing conditions and symptoms that PET scans manage to detect in very specific ways.

    Also, if she’s being treated in New York, you certainly have access to one of the finest metropolitan centers in the world for medical treatment.

    I’ve followed your career for a quite a number of years, and have always been astounded how many projects you manage to juggle at once. Now, I’m completely dumbfounded. How can you manage to get anything done with your wife’s illness looming in your life?

    One can only wish Amy, you and your entire family the very best as all of you navigate very trying times.

    Fondest Regards,


  6. Bob Bly said:

    Lou: because of her illness, I closed my outside office and moved my office into my home. To my great surprise, I actually am MORE productive now. The reason is that I am a workaholic, and now, since the office is always here, I am in it almost ALL the time. Amy is doing so well that she doesn’t really need much attention from me, so my time is mostly my own.

  7. Jodi Kaplan said:

    Bob, I am sorry your wife is ill, but pleased to hear she is responding so well.

    My favorite aunt died of ovarian cancer, and it was a terrible thing to watch.

    My thoughts and prayers are with you.

    I agree that asking for gifts, in return for a report that was supposedly free, is rude.

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  9. Bill Perry said:

    I think it’s awesome that Amy is doing better. I was surprised to read that you are more productive at home. I find it difficult to be productive at home, just because I have yet to set up that “boundary” of a REAL home-office. My “office” right now is a corner of the living room.

    In defense of Joe, the thing about the Amazon GCs he did was in response to a bunch of people calling him and asking how they could give him a gift of some sort. That is my impression, based on what I’ve read before.

    I think it comes down to the type of traffic that Joe attracts to his lists. His message is all about the Spiritual side of marketing.

    The line about giving him an Amazon GC isn’t just on his free report. It’s on his main site.

    It basically seems to be much like other bloggers and list owners having “Donate” buttons.

    Joe is a fan of reading, so basically what (I think) he’s saying is if you WANT to give him something, he prefers Amazon GCs so he can fuel his love of reading.

  10. Jeff Geist said:

    This is good news! Only the best to you and yours!!

  11. Ken Harrison said:

    Bob, So happy to hear that your wife is doing so well. My sister is also beating this thing. It’s so good to hear good news these days. Also happy that the home office is working so well for you. You were my main reason for wanting to open an outside office for my writing business. Maybe I’ll just remain in my basement office. Regards, Ken

  12. Ken Harrison said:

    Also wanted to comment on the request for Amazon Gift Certificates. I can see what some of your readers are saying about the type of marketing Joe Vitale does, but in my opinion… TACKY!

  13. Bob Bly said:

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  14. Dean at Pro Copy Tips said:

    Funny you mention this gift thing because I saw this the other day on someone’s site.

    Also saw a “tip jar” on Michel Fortin’s site. He links you directly to PayPal to give him money. I didn’t know how to take this and thought it was odd and more than a little ballsy.

    It’s not new though. Websites have had donate links since the birth of the Web.

  15. Bob Bly said:

    Dean: Maybe you and I should have tip jars!

  16. Ethan Brown said:

    I believe that it’s a man’s nature to expect something in return whenever we help somebody. It’s nice of you that you don’t expect anything in return from anybody else. Glad that you even ask them to do charity donation than giving stuffs to you.

  17. Ryan Healy said:

    It is a bit strange to ask for a gift as soon as somebody hits your blog. I think it would be more natural to say, “If you liked this post, please share it with your friends.”

    People like to share good content anyway, so a softer request like this would be more appropriate.

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