Zen Duck Penpal

Zen Duck Penpal
Zen Duck Penpal 1

So, just in case you can’t read my atrocious writing, here is the rather daft game plan.

I would quite like to get a real letter, actually in the mail, every month.

I want you to step forward if you would like to be my Penpal.

Leave a comment stating why you would like to do it and I will then pick one of you at random. I want it to be a letter that I can scan and publish here and preferably it will be a mix of you talking about whatever you think would be cool and a few IM questions thrown in that I can answer and the readers may find interesting too.

Then, I will reply to you each month and talk a little about what is going on here and answer your questions if I can. I will scan my letter that I send to you and after you let me know you have received it then I will publish it here as well.

I think it will be fun and you will be given the honorary title of the “Zen Duck Penpal”

Not much of an honor I know but I think it will be pretty cool to get back to basics and have a real live letter in the post to read and to respond to.

Any takers?

p.s If any of you want to join in and do something similar we could try to set something up somehow. Maybe someone could start an IM Penpal club via a website or you could do the same on your blog. No details from me, I haven’t thought that far ahead, but a letter in the mail would be cool and fun each month. Anyone still have a real life Penpal?

If you do set something up let me know and I will send out a link. IM Penpals Unite!

p.p.s Comments are open until Friday at 5pm my time just before I nip off for a quick vino or two πŸ˜‰

p.p.p.s Yeah, I know, 2 posts in a week, crazy huh?

p.p.p.p.s I know it may sound a little wacky, but not as daft as the way the time is leaking post was received! Which, by the way, worked like a dream. I have been number one for most of the year since I applied future time bending backlinking techniques to my content.



49 Responses to “Penpal”

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  1. daveh says:

    +10 for originality. Also, it sounds like fun. But I’d rather just clog up the comment threads.

  2. Bruno says:

    I’m up for it πŸ˜‰

    I have a small notebook that I write every now and then … It’s good to plan stuff out

    I would like to do it because I want to ask some more profound questions that will deal with SEO just as much as ‘life’ itself which sometimes we talk about here in the comments πŸ˜€

    The SEO questions will be in between my noobish status and some more advanced, long term, stuff


    • Dave says:


      Cool, I am getting excited about it, it will be fun. It would also be cool to maybe do it on unconventional bits of paper, the dafter the better πŸ˜‰

      So far you have a good chance of being the Penpal, wonder if anyone else wants in?

  3. Seth says:

    Are you in jail? All my pen pals are locked behind bars for life that way I know I’m safe. (just joking)

    • Dave says:


      I will take that as a “Yes, Dave, I would love to be your Penpal”.

      They shackle my feet but my hands are free to do with as I wish πŸ˜‰

  4. Joel says:

    Yeah,it would be special to receive a hand written letters like the good old days. BUT hey! Are you going CRAZY? Poor Dave, I would understand….Christmas time is around and your IM Brain in doing overtime.

    • Dave says:


      I thought it was a good idea. But then, After the Christmas madness last year I did write the Time Is Leaking post, even though ti worked I got a few peeps rather confused. Expect more of the same my good Man πŸ˜‰

      We don’t just want to talk backlinks and be boring all the time, do we?

  5. ChrisCD says:

    Was this post hidden? I don’t recall seeing it in the feed email that I get. I saw it at the bottom of the Christmas post. Sounds like good fun. Real letters, how cool.

    We sponsor a child in Bolivia. We write back and forth to her through Compassion International. I always enjoy receiving her letters.

    cd :O)

    • Dave says:


      The feed is just slow to update, I only did it a few hours ago.

      That sounds great, I think it would be brilliant to get back to some old fashioned communication.

  6. mian says:

    Damn, your post has forced me into commenting! I was quite happily lurking. I do miss the days before emails, but i’ve not written a single letter for over a decade! should be fun! a letter comes through your door that is not either bills or junks and it was handwritten for YOU, where can you buy that these days?

    ps. can I write in CHINESE?

  7. Terry says:

    Dave, you live up a mountain in Spain. Do you even have a postbox, or for that matter, a postman?

    The mail here is diabolical. I bet the service is better in Greenland! I’m still waiting for cheques from Amazon they posted in July and August! Mail always goes missing in the summer and this is the supposedly civilised Costa del Gangsta!

    I never got any mail to my mountain place – postie probably couldn’t be bothered riding his donkey all the way down the track…

    • Terry says:

      …poor donkey… sob…

    • Dave says:


      We have to drive for 40 minutes to get our post from an Apdo Correo in the nearest large town. It is a serious drag. The time delay here is the same, although it has got better recently. But the main gripe is that it costs a fortune to send parcels. Absolutely horrendous prices.

      • Terry says:

        A 40 minute drive to collect your mail… now that I can understand LMAO!

        I recently had to renew my passport – €165 for a little red booklet jeez! And it cost something crazy just to post the paperwork to Madrid. Lucky they use DHL to send the new one, or I’d probably still be waiting.

        Man, we’ve had registered post parcels go missing from the UK too, they vanish into thin air.

        Its the only real drawback to living in this otherwise wonderful place. Anything official you just gotta have the patience of Job! πŸ™‚

        • Mian says:

          Please don’t put me off moving there. I’ve started my Spanish course!

          • Dave says:



            Entonces sabes que las playas son las mejores del mundo?

            Well, maybe not πŸ˜‰

            • Bruno says:

              EstΓ‘ enganado caro Dave, as praias do Brasil sΓ£o as melhores do mundo πŸ˜‰

              • Dave says:


                You are probably right, never been to your side of the world.

                • lissie says:

                  My hand writing is so bad that a teacher at school turned me to learn to type (in the days that typing was only useful for a secretarial career) – because she couldn’t read it!

                  But I can offer you NZ stamps – that’s unique!

                  PS Las playas de australie son lo mejor del mundo IMHO

                  • Dave says:


                    lol. Must have been REALLY bad. And no way missus. All joking aside I think some of the beaches off Thai islands are some of the best.

                    A NZ Penpal would be cool though πŸ˜‰

                  • Bruno says:

                    Indeed, Australia beaches are beautiful …

                    The only problem is that pretty much anything that moves in australi, may potentially kill you =/

                    That reminds me of this video here

                    Lis I must say, for nature in general, there is no better place than NZ … it is simply amazing! We rented a car over there and went from Queenstown up ’till Christchurch through the West coast .. absolutely fantastic!

                    You have one fine country Lis πŸ™‚


            • Mirjam says:

              lo que daria yo, por estar hoy en una playa …. “la calΓ³” aqui en Sevilla mata!

              • Dave says:


                I wish I had a pool, problem is we have no running water source. It would take forever to fill by tractor delivery!

  8. Sam says:

    Hi Dave, quick question; do you do any kind of social bookmarking to your money sites or your web 2.0 link building sites? I was curious because all of the seo services such as senuke make it seem like social bookmarking your link building articles are essential. Curious to know what you have to say about social bookmarking!

    • Dave says:


      I used to do it well over a year ago but have not done it since. I never found it to be of any help at all. A few peeps have had success of sorts with Bookmarking Demon but I have never used it. There are free things like IMAutomater you can try but personally I don’t bother, gotta draw the line somewhere.

  9. Abigail says:

    I must say, I think it is a great idea, but I was no good at letter writing regularly even when we did write letters way back when. I think Dave that you may have to go on a handwriting course first though ;->.

    P.S: Pienso las playas del Africa de Sud es la mejor en todo el mundo :-). (Espanol mas o menos, estoy solo aprendiendo ahora :-)) Spell check is terrible for trying to type another language, it turned “mas o menos” into “has o menus”!

    • Dave says:


      My writing has always been awful, in School it was even worse in exams as I would fly through my essays like a thing possessed.

      Lol, you may be right, another place I have never been.

  10. slvrsrfr says:

    Dude, I couldn’t leave ya hangin’ I got my chicken scratching up some of the finest paper with his Montblanc… that cock-a-doodling punk.

    • Dave says:


      Cool Dude, I like it πŸ˜‰

      Your handwriting is worse than mine, which is nice to see. We should have been Doctors, it is a big part of the training!

  11. Rachel says:

    ‘Twas ZenDuck Dave from sunny Spain who longed for days of yore,
    When once upon an olden time the postie had quite a chore.
    Dave yearned for paper, envelopes, no more this email stuff,
    For postage stamps from foreign lands he couldn’t get enough.

    A plea went out upon the blog, some mentioned the donkey too
    How ’bout this – in Aussie land, the postie’s a kangaroo;-)
    A crazy backward world it is where IM people dwell
    Nonetheless to correspond by post would be rather swell.

  12. AMK says:

    This is the CRAZIEST, COOLEST, most ORIGINAL idea I’ve EVER read on a blog! Full marks – even 11/10! – for craziness but go for it! I’m not sure I would want the commitment, but I think it could be lots of fun and VERY motivating. Why not – yes, put me on your list of potential pen pals.

    • Dave says:


      You are on the list, I think it is going to be great fun, the longer the letter the better too. It will be very interesting to see what peeps right about their life when it can be written down.

  13. Norm says:

    Hey Dave,

    Long time lurker and admirer.

    Great idea both for forums and penpal, however my biggest fear is spending too much time on reading and lurking on places like this … unfortunately I am one of the 99% of the newbies who spend too much time reading, thinking and not spending nearly enough time actually doing it.

    I love your strategies, I am incorporating your link building one which as starting point into my Amazon Killer plan…hopefully once I completed it I can share it here or be it on a blog or forums or ebook lol! Thinking like a marketer!

    Anyhow keep up the good work.


    • Dave says:


      Good to hear from you, I like it when a lurker shows themselves. I understand what you mean, it is getting a balance that is the tough bit. You just have to set some daily goals and not let yourself get distracted until they are met. Then go read blogs, forums etc.

      Norm’s Amazon Killer, I like the ring to that. A featured article on the forum if it happens?

  14. ScottT says:

    I suppose it’d be better than writing a check πŸ˜‰

  15. Mia says:

    You know, Dave, I’m thinking this might be an interesting addition to the forum idea you’ve recently surfaced… which I’m somewhat torn about, personally, because I think it would provide useful info if I were to spend the time to “pan” for it… but that time is WAY-more of an investment than the $10/month…

    I know you know.

    Maybe do a “postcard pic” scan + a “where I’m at” and “what I’m wondering” communique scan of the other side… that seems WAY-more FUN to me than text-based Q&A. Anyhoo…

    If you build a forum, let it bear the mark of your intelligence…


    • Dave says:


      Ideas noted and stored Mia. Hopefully the forum will grow based on all of your suggestions. I just have to now figure out how to set this all up. Yikes! You will have to bear with me on this as I find my way around setting it all up.

  16. Dustin says:

    Having a free place to stay while in Spain….I mean, being a pen pal would be quite nice…a good break from all the dang BMRs I have been writing lately…

  17. Shaun L says:

    Hi Dave. I’m a bit busy to do the Pen Pal thing at the moment, but have seen something that I think could be of interest to you.

    I noticed it first yesterday during keyword research. In the version of Google, when you search a term with a buying keyword (I tried ‘on sale’) the buying keyword is stripped out of the results. At the bottom of the page it has a message:

    “Tip: These results do not include the word “sale”. Show results that include “sale”.”

    This is a mega bummer, especially as I know a lot of your readers use buying keyword to help them rank above the big boys. Your average searcher isn’t going to scroll to the bottom of the screen to opt for the buying keywords to be counted, they probably wouldn’t even know they weren’t counted in the first place.

    Have you seen anything like this? Here’s hoping this isn’t rolled out on a wide scale…

    Note: Just tried a few other buying keywords and they seem to be kept in, so maybe it’s not as bad as I first thought. Still, hopefully they don’t roll it out any more…

    • Dave says:


      That is a bummer. Checked a few terms on .com and they are all working as normal. But you are right, if that came the norm it would be a real issue for a lot of peeps. But this is a real possibility as google gets more in to ranking brands, this may be their way of doing it. Cutting the longtail would see a lot of peeps lose a lot of money.