In the last three months, I have been participating and won about 30 blog contests. Those contests have given me cash, Entrecard Credits, adspots, premium themes, e-books, hosting services and other cool stuffs. I tried to be selective and smart in entering contests, yet I found more lessons taught me to decide better in signing up for blog giveaways. During the three months period, the contests left three kinds of impressions on my mind.
- The blog contest made me happy that I have participated and won
- The blog contest made me thought that I shouldn’t had entered the contest (and won)
- The blog contest was just a waste of time.
The blog contest made me happy as a participant and a winner
These were the blog giveaways which I was happy to won. The contest masters made everything from registering, collecting the points, to claiming the prize convenient and easy. Whether they’re point based contests where entrants with the most points won or raffle contests where everybody had the chance of winning, the contest masters put the participants first and then their own goals next.
If so, what makes a contest a pleasant contest? Well, it’s easier to make a list of what make one isn’t. And as a result, you’ll leave these kinds of thoughts in your entrants’ minds…
The blog contest made me think I shouldn’t had entered the contest (and won)
This time, when I was picked up as the winner, I hoped that I wasn’t. Why? Because the contest master…
- told the winners to contact the contest sponsors themselves…
… to get the prize. This was very time consuming since not all websites/blogs display their contact or put on an Entrecard widget. Besides, WE ARE THE WINNERS. Have you ever encounter a marathon champion being told to meet Mr Hobo from Hooba-hooba company to fetch his trophy there because Mr Hobo kindly sponsors the championship?
When the contest masters have reached their purposes of holding a blog contest, whether those are increasing subscribers, promoting their blog, etc, they shouldn’t neglect those who help them reach their goal. Their responsibility doesn’t end when they’re spending the nights and days tallying points and picking up winners. It ends when they make sure all prizes are delivered, no complaints and the contest makes both the sponsors and participants happy.
- made me wait too long to have the prize sent
This happened when the contest master didn’t inform that the prize would take a few days or weeks to be sent. Winners were being kept waiting and contacting the contest master without being given a satisfying explanation. It could end up the prize would never be sent though…
- didn’t deliver the prize as promised
I once won a blog review and before reviewing my blog, I was asked some questions in order to produce a comprehensive review for my blog. I thought what a dedicated man he was. So I pour my thoughts about my blog on the interview and answer the questions in detail. But, when the review was out, I was very dissapointed. The review was less than 150 words and read similar to my “About” page. So what was the point of me answering all the questions before?
Another experience was when I won a proxy hosting from one of the contests. In the beginning, all went well. But after a few months, I was surprised to see my proxy site was blocked by the hosting company. I contacted the sponsor to found out what had happened, and he replied that he was out of money to continue to pay for the hosting service. While this was not entirely the contest master’s fault, it would be better to ask for a guarantee from the sponsor that the prize would be available as promised.
Beside those three flaws, there’s another one that will definitely dissapoint contest entrants…
- cancelling the contest and picked no winner because there were too few entrants
Worse than a prize that wasn’t sent, I’ve entered a contest where there were less than 5 entrants. At the end of the contest, the blog owner decided to cancel the contest and gave link loves as a consolidation prize, as if they have high impact to SEO. However, they came from a contest page deep within a blog people hardly know at all (lack of participants is the proof).
At another time, I was also the ONLY participant on a blog giveaway (but this time, it’s a different blog). And it lasted through the end of the contest. It was as clear as a diamond that I was the winner and the contest master proved that he’s a man of his words by sending me $60 prize as my prize .
If you’re planning to cancel a contest without informing to the participants earlier that you’re going to do so, then you’re damaging your credibility, destroying your blog’s prospect and your integrity before people even know you have one.
The blog contest was just a waste of time
Needless to say, would you enter a contest which requires you to…
- write a 200 words review for a 100EC contest raffle? I even won an easy 500EC just for commenting!
- subscribe, stumble, digg, congratulate somebody on his birthday to get an adspot on a blog with 20 subscribers?
- put their banner on your blog’s sidebar while they have 0 PR and millions of Alexa Rank? (I’m sure yours has higher PR and fewer Alexa )
There are many other reasons to make a contest a time waster. The reasons are that usually:
- the prize doesn’t worth the effort to get it
- the prize doesn’t fit most of the entrants niche (e.g. adspot on a soccer blog where the contest owner’s blog is about cats)
- the competition is too tight with not enough prize (e.g. 10,000 EC contest for 1 lucky winner only, and there have already been 50 entries already)
- the contest was held by someone who failed to deliver the prize to the winner
Well, those are my views after being an entrant on various blog contests for three months. I’m glad that I made my entry on all the contests I registered to, even to the ones ended up not as I expected. They have helped my make a better decision on allocating my time in the future.
Now, do you also participate in blog contests? What are your experiences? Do they always fun? Share yours below, you won’t be disqualified !