Good Giveaway Grief

Most folks in the blogosphere are familiar with blog contests and giveaways.  No matter what you blog about, a company or brand will eventually approach you to conduct a review and/or giveaway.

(SIDE NOTE: I’m still waiting to “review” the Dyson ball vacuum cleaner. Mainly because I would like a $600 genius vacuum for free).

I'm a nerd, and I want it!

I’ll admit it: when I first started blogging, I was excited to get “free” products for reviews and giveaways.  But after a while, I realized how lame it sort of is to “review” a commonly known cereal or something I could buy from CSN like a lamp:

Hey Blog friends! Today I have a lamp review! This lamp is so cool: you just flip a switch and its like the light bulb has a brilliant idea and it brightens up! Best of all, I can throw all my candles away because this lamp offers WAY more light! Off to do some chores since I won’t look like an effed up mime now that I’m living not living in the dark anymore!

And you never see god-awful reviews, do you?

Ok, guys….so I got this peanut butter tuna flavored protein bar to review. I want to say I like it cause it has a lot of protein, no carbs, and I got it fo free….but seriously, I think a foot just farted in my mouth!

You feel me?

And as far as giveaways go, as much of a Jew that I am, loving free loot, I feel like having a giveaway seems to benefit the brand or company more than me.

Allow me to explain:

– Giveaways Make Me Change My Standard Posts.

Not only do I have to provide detailed information about the product or service, but in many cases, the sponsor will demand specific information and links be included in the post as well. This means I can’t just write whatever I want, and it certainly means I need to pipe down on the cursing. No Beuno.

– Giveaways Make You Jump Through Hoops

On giveaway posts, there usually is some sort of obstacle course that the readers will have to endure if they want to win.

Come on guys!!!! I only want you to tweet, facebook, comment, and link back to me eight times!

They usually must respond to questions and promote the shit out of it on twitter, facebook, google plus (um, is anybody else overwhelmed by ANOTHER social media forum!). Who needs a workout? Just enter a giveaway!

– Giveaways Don’t Do Much For My Blog

Most people think that giveaways will increase their blog’s traffic and visibility.  True, that can happen temporarily, but hosting a giveaway does not guarantee long-term, sustainable traffic.

– Sponser Sometimes Suck and Dont Hold Up Their End of The Deal.

I’ve had this happen (sorry Julie!).  It doesn’t happen often, but it sucks when it does.  Not only did I spend a couple of weeks going back and forth trying to contact the sponsor to find out what happened, but the time I spent dealing with this issue took me away from more productive things like plucking my armpit hair!

– Giveaways Give Sponsers  “free advertising” for Minimal to No Costs.

There is sure to spark some debate.  Some bloggers won’t do reviews/giveaways without charging sponsors a fee.  Other bloggers feel that to charge a sponsor for a review/giveaway is unethical because it means that the blogger is being compensated to promote or positively review a product.  Everyone will have to make their own judgment call on this, but my feeling is that bloggers SHOULD be paid for their efforts by sponsers. They should also let the readers know they are being paid to write that a protein bar “taste so yummy!” when it really tastes like a foot farted in their mouth. 

 But again, make your own decisions about this…

Of course, since I’m a frugal yet benevolent Jew, I might do giveaways from time to time, depending on the product and my relationship with the company.  I’ve decided that the giveaways I host in the future will be very few because I think that I can get a better rate of return by just writing my usual shit…or by replying to online dating messages.

So here we are. This the part where you might expect to get the careful instructions about how to enter my giveaway. Sorry to disappoint, but no giveaway today (I know, you hate me). You can still like this post on facebook, mention this on twitter, and link to it on your blog 😉

But I’m curious to hear your thoughts about blog giveaways/reviews…  Do you enjoy them?  Or are they more trouble then they’re worth? Any protein bars you have tasted lately that taste like a foot farted in your mouth?

51 thoughts on “Good Giveaway Grief

  1. You remind me of this writer for Bon Appetit who comes up of different topics to complain about…I love reading his posts for a hoot but they do rankle at times.

    Personally, I don’t think doing giveaways are that bad. There are ways to host a giveaway without being contrite and ingratiating or overly self-promoting. So it diverts away from the standard posts, but for me at least, I sometimes just feel like just doing an easy “whee! giveaway!” post. Blogs are awesome because not every post has to be perfect and loaded with mind-blowing content. Also, it’s nice to treat readers now and then. I certainly love a giveaway…esp for blogs that don’t have 5 million readers. That gives me a better chance to actually win something, and as my blog doesn’t have even 1/100th of the readers that some high-profile blogs do, I’d like to think that gives my readers a fair chance to win, too.

    I think most bloggers figure out soon enough to limit giveaways though. Personally I only do giveaways of products I like myself…because I don’t want the winner cursing me when she/he gets a shitty product.

    P.S. Every protein bar I’ve tasted tastes like fart if it has soy isolates in it. I’d rather have bacon.

    • I’ve cursed some products I’ve won before :/

      But you are right, its nice to treat readers. But thats why I like giveaways where the blogger gives something personal. Like someting they put together or something they made. That way they can hold the giveaway on their terms and they dont have to write post with all the complicated links and stuff.

      I’m dying for someone to giveaway vaccum already!

      • hahaha will a vacuum really happen though?! That would be really cool though! 😀 hahaha omgshhh you’re so funny Eden! I loved this part: “…but the time I spent dealing with this issue took me away from more productive things like plucking my armpit hair!”

        But like Sophia, I don’t think they’re bad as long as there’s integrity going on. I see them simply as a fun activity and opportunity. We all like free stuff, and more than anything, the thrill of having the possibility to be “the one who wins”. 🙂

  2. I agree with Sophia in that I will only do a giveaway for a product that I like. I have done a few giveaways for things that I have purchased (like a surprise package of goodies), and those are the ones that I enjoy doing the most, and that seem to get the best response!

  3. I’M SO EFFING SICK OF GIVEAWAYS!!!! There’s one blog that literally had a giveaway in every single post. Blogging should be fun, not a commodity. Sorry. I mean, a giveaway once in a while is okay, but every post?

  4. I am SO not a giveaway fan. I try to do them as infrequently as possible, and when I do, there are no hoops to jump through. You could leave one letter in a comment and that would count as an entry. It’s fine when the product is something that I really think my readers will like…but when certain companies email you every two weeks asking you to do a giveaway…it’s just not cool.

  5. I just hosted a giveaway. It was a’ite. I will only do them for brands and products I love. I actually approached the company because I was mentioning them so often I figured I ought to do a giveaway. It was anticlimactic. But I will do it again because I got 22 comments! HAHAHAHA!

  6. I’m apparently not popular enough for companies to approach me for giveaways…In the past year, I’ve done 2. One was a company I’d previously won a prize from (that I thought was pretty awesome), so I approached them about it. I had to follow their terms, and I think I had maybe 6 or 7 people enter. They chose the winner. The other one I did was for the doughnut pan, and since I fell in love with the idea of baked doughnuts thanks to your blog, I probably should’ve kicked back something your way, eh? That one, I did on my own, since I just felt like doing a giveaway, and I love doughnuts. I dislike making people jump through a bajillion hoops to enter something…Although if there’s something I’d really like or use, I will jump through said hoops to try & win (even though I’ve only ever won one blog giveaway). Otherwise, I’d like to do more, but the companies I’d prefer to work with don’t know I’m alive!

  7. i haven’t done a giveaway in FOREVER and i used to do a lot more. i would love to do one now, but havent had a company offer one lately.

    you are right on many accounts–however, i think it’s nice to do a cool giveaway from time to time.


    I am so sick of giveaways .. I always skip over those posts. They’re the same products on every. single. blog. I’ve gotten a few free things from companies, but never have they asked for a review or giveaway and honestly, I’ve been too lazy to do them anyway. I like the giveaways that are the blogger’s favorite things or something like that – cereal and granola justttt don’t interest me.

  9. I have mixed feelings about giveaways, but do feel some over due it. It is fun to try to win something, but it is does get old. But we find if funny that some people just search for giveaways, when we have done them we laugh at the people who comment, who the hell are you? I know they are not regular readers, haha

  10. The only giveaways I have ever done were with things I had bought myself. And they were such a pain in the ass that I’m not sure I’ll do them ever again.

    I get tired of the same giveaway on multiple blogs — like that Love Grown Granola or Camelbak water bottles, etc. I like to enter giveaways for unique things but that is about it!

  11. When I actually wrote a little bit about food a couple years ago, I had one giveaway. I’m really not a fan. While I agree it’s a nice “treat” for readers, most blogs that are worth reading are “treats” themselves and I don’t need four boxes of free granola to get me to come back.

    Once in awhile there’s something that catches my eye, but it’s like playing the lottery–it’s a crapshoot, especially because the “big” bloggers will get 1,000 entries for one prize. Really? Considering how picky I am, I usually never enter so that it wouldn’t go to waste. However, if someone did a Xanax giveaway or free produce for a month, you can bet I would be there in a flash 😉

    P.S. You can “like” this comment/my blog on Facebook and link back if you want, but there will be no reward other than the satisfaction of following instructions.

  12. I dont mind giveaways but I dont want to run a internet marathon just to get an entry.

    Comment . . .
    then tweet the comment . . .
    then like the tweeted comment on facebook . . .
    then comment that you commented about the tweeted facebook comment . . .
    then post a picture of the commented tweeted facebook comment . . .

    Not doing that for a bunch of crappy yogurt I can buy on sale that gives me gas anyway.

    PS – I actually tried plucking my armpit hair back in the day. It hurt but it was crazy to see how much came out before the root, kind of addicting! Waxing must work then . . .

  13. effed up mime.
    That made my morning.

    I dislike product reviews more than give-a-ways.
    They kind of put me to sleep — and they seem to come in packs. So you see a gazillion reviews of, for example, granola or iced tea.
    “It tastes like ….granola! And Iced Tea!”

  14. ha ha! i’m hosting a giveaway now for stevia on my blog. they’re more trouble than they’re worth, but my readers seem to love them so i keep doing them.

  15. Luckily all the stuff I’ve been offered to try and then giveaway has been good. But I’ve only purchased a few of the items on my own after the fact..the rest were good mostly because they were free.

  16. OMG dude, I have never ever been approached by a company to do a giveaway- not even the Chobani whores (Who I adore: rhymes, and I mean that with true love and nothing less) have never approached me. I have never in my life approached anyone to do a giveaway. I think that I entered one giveaway without knowing it (thanks Pimp My Protein Shake Allie) and got a half-lifetime supply of stevia- the other half came from Janetha). So I guess I’m not really into selling a kidney for some yogurt. Crazy I know.
    I had a giveaway once where I made home made nut butters to give away in honor of HEABs one-year anniversary. And I got 200+ submissions. That was worth it for me b/c it was from the heart and something I wanted to do- a labor of love. I even made a friend out of it- Tamzin in the UK (salad and sequins) won and we later went on to meet many times. Funny how the world works.
    Can you tell I’m on the laptop b/c I’m a typing whore? Taking advantage before I’m back to my phone for the next 16 hrs. lalalallalallaallala wooooooooooo. Never thought typing could be so liberating! Wooooo. Sorry. Miss you though; see you soon!

  17. As a reader, I like giveaways. I won my first one right here! But it is a little congested right now with giveaways in Blogland – and for all the same stuff (mostly stuff I wouldn’t use). I totally understand your stance on this and would feel same I’m sure if I were a blogger.
    I take reviews with a grain of salt – everyone has different tastes. I love Kashi GoLean but my hubby thinks it looks and tastes like twigs. If I review it, it’s sold. If he reviews it, you will use it to start fires.
    I don’t eat protein bars so I can’t say for sure, but last one I sampled (not sure on brand) tasted like chalky vanilla vitamin paste – ick!

  18. I enjoy them sometimes, as long as they don’t appear too frequently. Sometimes, they can introduce you to something wonderful (Sun Warrior protein, Garlic Gold!), but other times (every other single product reviewed…) not so muchhhhh…

  19. Giveaways are okay every once in a while!! But not all the about OVERKILL!!

    “hosting a giveaway does not guarantee long-term, sustainable traffic.”

    amen!!! soooo true.

  20. is this wrong of me? hahahaha did i win a giveaway and not get something? i don’t even remember! wow thats a terrible friend of me…

    anyways i also want you to know that i had a SERIOUS conversation about sporks this weekend with my friends. most underrated utensil to date.

  21. I’m so over the giveaways unless it’s a product I would really like to share with everyone, and I will no longer require readers to “tweet” or “like” the company on Facebook. They just have to leave a comment, and I usually ask a question that has nothing to do with the product. Companies finally get that people listen to bloggers and they’re totally taking advantage.

  22. “I’m leaving a comment so that I am entered into your giveaway but didn’t actually read your post at all and have no idea what you said besides the word “giveaway””… Oh wait…

  23. Pingback: Spread the Love Giveaway | Burp and Slurp

  24. i;m doing a giveaway, go check it out! JUST KIDDING. I actually get a little sad when I do giveaways. Unless its a giveaway I am really passionate about. It makes me feel all “PRICE is RIGHT-ish” but being a natural blonde, I forget to think it through! then get sucked into posting something that I really didn’t want to. OYE VAY!

  25. I’ve never been hit up to do a giveaway or review so I guess I’m not that popular or cool. Damn. On one hand, I do want to host one because my readers are freaking awesome and I’d like to give something back. On the other hand, I don’t want to start whoring myself just to get a temporary boost and people who are only there for free shit. Plus I’m broke. I’m not going to run out and spend $30 on a cool item only to give it away to readers. It’s mine! All mine!!

  26. I only host giveaways for things that I would want myself. 🙂 I try not to make too many hoops for people to jump through, but it’s not a bad way to attract new readers… sometimes.

  27. Pingback: Love Grown Foods » Burp and Slurp Spread the Love Giveaway

  28. I haven’t commented in forever, but your writing still cracks me up. I’ve already vowed never to enter a giveaway because 1) I don’t want the damn products, 2) I’m not a promotional monkey, and 3) I’m pretty sure it’s also a camaraderie thing between female bloggers who like getting stuff in the mail. I check my mail like once a month. The giveaway would probably rot in my mailbox. I’m also not a chick.

  29. This is one I had to comment on. I didn’t realize the fact that bloggers are really getting gypped in the long run until Deb pointed that out in PS. Now I am only accepting to do giveaways adn reviews for people I truly would promote had they not contacted me.. like Chobani. I hope Dyson contacts you.. and I hope Ed McMahon contacts me.

  30. Okay – first up I don’t have a blog of my own. But through giveaways I’ve found a lot of cool blogs I visit regularly (not just for their giveaways). As a blog reader I love the giveaways, but also only really follow the blogs that have something more like terrific articles and a unique POV.
    As far as reviews – I’ve noticed some bloggers kiss ass on all their reviews – so I ignore them. Others certainly seem very honest – some products they love, some they like with a few reservations and some they give a thumbs down. It doesn’t seem to hurt them in getting sponsors. Regardless of the review, if I win I get to try a product free and make up my own mind. I’ve found a few products that I now purchase regularly and/ or have recommended to friends. Having won a few from Novica and CSN I found I love both sites for shopping. Flip side – there were a few products that sucked. (nasty dry brownies I’m looking at you) So good – I didn’t waste my limited funds on them. A couple times sponsors didn’t come through – fine – I know NEVER to buy from them. Again, I didn’t get burned on something I paid for.
    Anyway, I realize it might be a fine line to walk as a blogger. But as a reader a giveaway might be the thing that introduces me to your fabulous blog that’s filled with other thought provoking things like this article 🙂

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