Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Giveaways Gone Wrong

I love hosting giveaways, especially when I get to support a product that I believe in, or even just snag something cool that doesn't seem to be on other blogs.

I also really, really, love winning giveaways - I'm sure for any other bloggers reading this I am a regular name in their giveaway comments. Besides winning cool things, I tend to find new blogs to read this way, that I may never have stumbled across otherwise.

But there are a surprising amount of giveaways going wrong, both as a winner, and as a hoster.

I win alot. Approximately 15 prizes so far this year, which is way down for me since I started restricting myself to prizes I know I will love and use, instead of entering everything for the sake of entering.

And of those 15 prizes, 3 have not arrived. 1 in 5 prizes, never turned up. That's huge. It was a similar proportion last year too. And of the 12 that arrived, 1 was incomplete.

I know, a prize is a bonus. Not an entitlement. And because I have met, hope to meet, or at least maintain a comfy online relationship with the bloggers running giveaways, I don't really push the issue. Nothing like doggedly pursuing something that's outside the bloggers control to make things a little awkward next time I bump into them at a bloggers event.

I don't want people I like and admire to experience the stress of chasing a PR or Brand for something that is not forthcoming. I don't want them to feel themselves under any pressure to supply the prize themselves. I like these people, and the prize is not worth that to me. I do tend to enquire once, after about a month has gone past, and sometimes the prize will be issued then, but if not, I don't say anything further. I'm guessing the bloggers assume that the prize has turned up.

It makes me very nervous every time I set up a new giveaway myself. It occurs to me, that I am putting my personal brand on the line, relying on a Brand or PR company to deliver a prize. I've had one recently that was a near miss, and I was only 48 hours away from buying the prize myself and mailing it, at significant personal loss. As it is, I had to offer to forgo the compensation that was offered (not asked for) in an effort to entice the PR company to produce the goods. It makes me pissy that I put so much work into a post, promotion and the admin of a giveaway to not be compensated in order to maintain the integrity of my brand. The poor winner had to wait 3 months for their prize, and as it was time sensitive, they must have been worried.

This is not going to stop me giving things away. From the increasing blog following, and giveaway entries, I know my readers like these posts. But I am going to be extremely careful about who I do business with, and ensure that I follow every prize, even though it creates so much extra work. I am not always compensated for every giveaway, either with product or cash. Often I do the giveaway just because I want to support small business, and because I like to give things to my readers.

This is not a name and shame exercises. The bloggers whose prizes never arrived are not responsible, and it is not a reflection on them. But I think I will privately share the PR company that gave me such a hard time about producing a prize on a secure bloggers chat board. Not as any kind of revenge, but so that others know to enter into business with them with caution.

Have you had a bad experience with a giveaway?

Linking up with Essentially Jess

17 comments:

  1. Hi, I'm still waiting for a prize I won in March from a blog.....am thinking it's not coming!!

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    1. You never know! The person who one a prize from me back in April only JUST recieved it last Friday. Sucks when you get super excited because its a cool prize though

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  2. I myself have hosted quite a few giveaways too and I agree with the issues you have raised. Thankfully, so far, I haven't had any issues with late prizes or less than ideal coordination with the PR involved. However, my issue with giveaways are people who join and are no genuine followers. They join for the giveaway and unfollow right after which I think is really rude and more so, very unfair to my genuine followers who have been with me since day 1 and have never won anything! Sometimes, I just wish I can restrict it!

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    1. I've had a bit of an issue with that - mostly when the giveaway gets listed on a comping site by someone (not me!). I can always tell by the source of the traffic and I can guarantee that I will lose followers after it. I like gaining new followers that stick around though, giveaways have been good for that

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  3. Only once as a winner have I not received an item, and I know that it wasn't the bloggers fault. And a very close call once as the one doing the giveaway. Thankfully the PR did sent the prize even though it was late :)

    I decided a little while ago to only do a few giveaways each year. And only through a couple of the blogger outreach businesses. Saves my sanity that way!

    MC x
    #teamIBOT

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    1. I'm finding it worse to be the one offering the gieaway gone wrong than the person who doen't get the giveaway. I'm definately choosing my giveaways more carefully now!

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  4. Wow, this is bad and I would love to know which PR company did this to you! I have won a few prizes this year and have never not received them but some I have had to send a friendly email asking if they sent it to the correct address. I think bloggers need to know of no show prizes so they can be wary of which pr companies to work with.

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    1. I think you are right, as a blogger I definately want to know so I can follow it through, but as a readers, I'm almost embarrassed, mainly because I will see many of these people socially at some stage. I shouldn't be, and I wasn't before I became a blogger, but I am now.
      I'm thinking I will start a forum topic on it over at Digital Parents so that bloggers can track the problem companies.

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  5. I always let the bloggers know when something doesn't turn up. And when it does, for that matter.

    I haven't hosted a giveaway, but I figure that if I hosted one, I'd want to know. I don't hound, just send an FYI email.

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    1. And so you should! I would rather know too. I try to leave a little comment on the bloggers facebook page when prizes arrive, so that their readers can see that the giveaways have happy endings.

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  6. I've struggled to have the winners contact me on two occasions so far so I can get their details, but as far as I know all the prizes I've offered have gone out. Never occurred to me they might not. Food for thought.

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    1. I've had a winner problem too, but never had to do a redraw yet thankfully. I chase up my winners and brands until I know the prize has reached its destination now, I'm sure they all think I'm a pain, but I want to make sure it always has a happy ending.

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  7. I don't think I've ever not received a prize and I've won quite a few over the years.
    I haven't heard of anyone not receiving their prizes from my blog - though some have been delayed and very delayed. I felt really bad and that it reflected on me.
    I know I've had slack PR's who leave jobs and emails are not redirected too.

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    1. Hi Trish, I know before I started blogging I used to follow up prozes for a lot longer, and didn't have the same problem. If the winner and blogger persist in following up, I think the end company comes up with the prize eventually. I know there was a couple that turned up VERY late (6 months) after I persisted. But I have stopped chasing bloggers because I LIKE them, and I know how stressed I feel about honouring a giveaway.
      Interesting, of the 3 that did not turn up, one was a direct mail from a blogger, 1 was a PR company, and 1 was the Brand themselves. So it's not actually any one source that I would villafy, more just the need for follow up on both sides - winner and blogger. I know I chase all my prizes now, unless the winner confirms reciept or the company confirms issue.

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  8. I send out a lot of mystery prizes and hardly ever hear back from people that they have received them. I'm thinking I will start registering the mail rather than express post. When dealing with sponsor prizes, I always insist that the prize is sent to me first, that way I can include my branding when it is sent out as well.

    Thanks again for linking up with the Mystery Case Sharing is Caring Sunday.

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  9. I have only run one giveaway. One winner was uncontactable. I redrew. I have been that person too (the one who missed the email that said WINNER!) It's always a tricky situation to find yourself in!

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  10. I've won a lot of prizes on blogs and they've always come through. I recently won, however, a prize through a beauty website for going on their mailing list. It was worth $80 but three months later the product still hasn't shown up. I emailed them yesterday actually. I'll give them a bit longer but if it doesn't show up I'm going to make it public on their social networks. Its against the law to offer a prize and then not come through with the goods.

    I also won a gift voucher to the value of $130 for a hat boutique at a conference recently. The website security certificate is out of date and all attempts at contact I've made have been ignored. Very disappointing!

    I've run a few giveaways on my blog and they make me so anxious! I'm always worried I'm not following protocol. I would hate to disappoint anyone or not follow the rules correctly.

    Good post.

    V.

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