the thing about...
we all love them. don't lie! i know you get all starry eyed thinking that you could win a super huge one (a ticket to haven 2012? i'm all over those giveaways!) or even a small one... or perhaps one where you win a SUPER HUGE HAUL of teeny tiny prizes.
but honestly? they are kind of a hassle aren't they? asking people to contribute, laying out the actual post, figuring out how people should enter and then carrying everything through.
i really wouldn't be saying all of this but i recently won a huge giveaway over at after nine-to-five. it was awesome. i have so enjoyed getting to know some new women and shop owners and the prizes were definitely awesome. i feel like i should really not be complaining about this. but honestly there were a few issues. nothing that weren't handled (for the most part) quickly and professionally. but at the end of the day part of me wishes either that i hadn't won or that once i did the aftermath would have been easier to handle.
quick edit to add: ashley is awesome. i love her blog and we think a lot alike. she was quick to help me out and she was definitely not the cause of any of the problems. it was just a little overwhelming to have all these emails rolling in at once and i might have gone a tad bit crazy!
so anyways - it got me to thinking about some things that you should consider before both hosting or entering a giveaway. amanda at royal daughter designs and chelsea at sunny with a chance of sprinkles both posted a few general guidelines about these topics (here and here, respectively) recently but maybe there are a few nitty gritty things that need to be covered as well.
and i'm kind of at the point that i want to get it off my chest. so don't hate me but i just needed to say some of these things.
use rafflecopter. amanda covered a great list of reasons why (it is FREE, easy to use for both the host and the entrant, and keeps all of your entries organized for verifying!) why would you NOT use rafflecopter?? i've almost gotten to the point now where no matter how awesomesauce the giveaway is, i won't enter if the host isn't using rafflecopter to take entries. it is too much of a hassle for me (gasp. i know. i do feel like a bit of a snob but it is true so hey.)
if you choose not to use rafflecopter - PLEASE FOR THE LOVE OF ALL THINGS HOLY take off the word verification. making me enter one (sometimes two) ridiculous words every time i comment is just a little much. and you know what? i'm not going to enter but once. (meaning i probably won't follow the twitter accounts, tweet about it, facebook about it etc. which is really not helping you any is it??)
one thing to really give a lot of consideration to is why you are hosting this giveaway in the first place. do you want to highlight a shop? did someone else offer to give a product to your readers? are you trying to promote a up-and-coming friend? are you just rewarding your readers for being the awesome and supportive folks they are? the intentions behind the giveaways you decide to host need to be clear in your head before deciding to do it or you might be sorely disappointed.
true story. the first two giveaways i did on this blog were big fat failures. i gave away some vinyl from house of smiths (super cute stuff by the way) and some shaklee samples from a friend. my only intention was to gain followers. it was a pretty selfish venture to be sure. but i wanted that number to grow and a giveaway seemed to be the best way to do that.
i was sorely wrong. like - off by a looooong shot. but something good did come of it. i made friend's with cassie. and cassie is seriously one of the best friends a gal could hope for and definitely the most positive experience i had from my first giveaways.
it taught me a pretty awesome lesson too. giveaways under selfish intentions aren't going to work out for me. so i decided right then that if i ever hosted another one (and i was pretty burnt by that one) that it would be because i wanted to hook my readers up with a cool product or introduce a new friend. and let me tell you - that has worked out much better for me.
which kind of brings me around to my next rant.
please don't force me to follow your blog. please. (and this is probably going to piss some people off but i gotta say it...) but making me follow your blog (despite the real intentions behind it) seems like a desperate way to up your numbers. and to me it is lame. i may not follow your blog by the normal way (google reader, gfc, friend connect, etc.) but i follow on facebook and read every post you write. i just choose not to use a reader for your blog. big deal. i shouldn't be excluded from the giveaway for that reason.
part of this stems from my personal experience (see point three) but i think of a giveaway as a reward for the people who already read my crazy ramblings and stick around... not as a way to rope more people in.
this is assuming anyone is actually still reading (tap tap... are you still behind that computer screen? ok - good. whew.)... five is easy but sometimes missed. if you are hosting please follow up with your winner. make sure they were contacted by the people who contributed to the giveaway and that they are happy with their product etc. make sure they GOT their product/service/credit/ad space etc. the winner will appreciate it, remember it and be sure to enter every giveaway you host. :)
so that is my big soap box today. and i didn't say any of this because i'm never hosting another giveaway or entering one or i'm just banning them altogether. that couldn't be further from the truth. they are fun! they are awesome! i do love them. i just get a little irritated sometimes and need to rant. and NOW i feel better! :)
ps - if you stuck this far i should remind you that i'm giving away a shabby apple dress. go go go enter for it!! it is gorgeous! ;)