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Monday, November 8, 2010

Are Giveaways a Three Ring Circus?

Something I have noticed over the last couple of years is the giveaways in the blogosphere. They used to be simple and now they're so complex and I really started to think about this. Many of the bloggers who have these massive giveaways, are getting PAID to run them or at the very least they get to keep the sample prize they are reviewing. I have no problem with them keeping the prize they reviewed..that's an incentive to us as bloggers to have giveaways. But the thing that really clicked in my mind is for those who are paid to do so. Don't get me wrong..it's not that they are paid that is grinding at me...it's what the entrants are required to do to enter for the prize.

Think about it. The blogger gets PAID to blog about it, Tweet it out, Mention it on Facebook, etc. Then WE are REQUIRED to blog, tweet, Facebook, etc...for a CHANCE to win.

Why are these companies and bloggers 'requiring' us to do for a 'chance' what they get PAID to do?

The bloggers indicate clearly on their blogs that they require a FEE to promote a company's business.
Because those bloggers feel their 'influence' and 'time' is 'worth' getting paid for...but ours isn't?

So these companies and bloggers want us to do what they won't do...use our blogs, our audience, our influence, for nothing in return..except a 'chance' to win.

So if I want to win a 3 pack of honey valued at $10 I have to blog, tweet, Facebook, subscribe, LIKE something on Facebook, follow the blogger AND the company on Twitter, subscribe to the blogger's blog, the company's blog, comment for each and every entry I perform (which means re-type all my info AGAIN)... for a 'chance'

Are you kidding me?

Now if I am required to do all that for every giveaway I want to win, my blog would be ruined with "advertisements" that I'm NOT getting paid for.

I don't think so.

It sure seems like things are getting wildly out of control. I'm done with it.

So here's what I say to those companies and bloggers.... first of all, I'm not the only one tired of it.

Secondly, You're taking advantage of us and our readers.

For me personally, if I enter a giveaway, I will NOT be using my blog as your advertising venue for a 'chance' at anything. I don't want my readers to feel like I'm cramming it down their throat every time I want to enter a giveaway. I suppose if I ran a giveaway blog, they'd expect it..but that's not why I blog..so I won't be using my blog like that and I won't be using my readers like that.

(Unless you and the blogger are giving away a house or a new car..now that I can see the purpose of, my readers would WANT to know about that)

However, if there is a meme I'm already participating in and there just so happens to be a giveaway with it, I'll mention the giveaway. But that's all..a mention and a link. Erin did a fabulous job of keeping her giveaway simple. I totally appreciate that. And it's fun because there's a meme.

For giveaways on my blog..I will not require my readers to blog about a giveaway. Their blog is their cyber living room. If they had friends over for dinner, would she perform a commercial for them in her living room or at her dining room table over dinner? Would she really be having them for dinner because she enjoys their company or just so she can tell them about a product she's getting paid to tell them about? Then require her friend to do the same thing for a chance to win, but she has to do it for free.

My fellow bloggers who run these 3 ring circus giveaways...please think about what I have said. You require a fee, but you require us to do something for free. Is it like this?

Do as I say, not as I do. I'll get paid, you won't.
Do it, do it..I'm trying to build up my following with this giveaway.

So you want us to subscribe to your blog, like your fan page on Facebook, follow you on Twitter, tweet about your giveaway, Facebook mention your giveaway, follow the company on Twitter and Facebook and comment separately for all of those, etc....for the giveaway...not because we enjoy the content on your blog....but for the prize...hmm.

Is this manipulation? I'm not a sucker.

If you're a blogger and you think your readers are suckers, then what kind of blogger are you?

I thought there were Blogger Ethics. Maybe they don't matter anymore? Maybe your readers don't matter anymore. All that matters is numbers and money. Is a mega blog like a mega church?

Yikes! Did I really just say that? Yes, I did.

Can we get back to the simplicity of giveaways?

For a single one time giveaway... comment to enter and tweet about it. (Bloggers, you provide the tweet text and link for them so all they need to do is copy, paste and tweet) Use a hashtag so YOU can track the entries on Twitter. Entrants... just comment.."I Tweeted, please enter me"

{Simple}

Why Twitter? Things go viral on Twitter. People can RT quickly and easily. I count RTs as an entry..why not? My link I provided is going viral.

And if their Twitter is linked to their Facebook or Tumblr automatically, wonderful!

But I'm not going to do for free what you get paid to do.

Do companies really want to stoop that low to get customers? Do they think their customers are stupid? Will I give my business to a company that thinks I'm stupid through their manipulation?

{A good product speaks for itself}

Are these mega bloggers teaching these companies to treat us like this? Are they in cahoots together? I thought 'experienced' bloggers ranted about professionalism..they want good ethical PR with companies, but what about their readers? Did they forget about us? Or is it all about them?

What about being ethical with our readers?

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3 kind words:

Marlowe November 8, 2010 at 8:17 PM  

I couldn't agree more with this post and to be honest...I dont have a twitter and I wont get one, ever!
I enter alot of giveaways so I can hope to win Christmas gifts (I lost my job in August) It just seems somewhat of a hassle to do all they expect you to do so you can win a prize. I don't "like" a company on Facebook unless I really want to support their products. I wont friend a blog unless I plan to read it. But I can sure imagination what some blogs/ fb newsfeeds/ twitter accound look like :P
THanks for letting me know im not the only one out there who finds all the "hoops" a bit ridiculous.
Marlowe

Ryan Egan November 15, 2010 at 7:45 AM  

Thanks so much for this great post. As a blogger myself and someone who works for a company involved and planning how to treat giveaways well, I really loved what you had to say.

If we do a giveaway/sweepstakes corporately, we don't require a like on Facebook, we'll just give the option to do so. The most we've done is to encourage a share on Facebook or Twitter, but it's actually technically against Facebook's terms of use to require any action on Facebook besides "liking" a page without Facebook's express prior approval.

So, if you condition an entry upon making sure a status update is posted on Facebook, that's against Facebook's terms of use.

Jumping through so many hoops definitely takes the fun out of the giveaway.

Thanks for this, as both a blogger and someone who works corporately in this space.

- Ryan from Alpha Omega Publications

Sharon December 29, 2010 at 4:16 AM  

Very interesting. I completely agree with you. I noticed that recently people who used to say "just leave a comment" are now saying do this. this. and this. So I started ignoring them. what they are offering isn't worth my time of doing x. y. and z. I'm not loosing anything. I am saving myself some time and headache. So those of us who blog but don't twitter don't have a chance in the world... it ain't too fair in my book and it is not random. It became, lets see how hard you can work for it.
Good article Lisa.

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