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Why vote-begging blogger contests always suck

iStock_000018427341XSmallIn February of 2009, when I’d been blogging for less than a year, I was approached by a large company (or, more accurately, the company they hired to do their pr) to be part of a contest. One blogger would win $5k for a local food bank. $5K? Of course I was in! Who wouldn’t want to be able to give that much money to charity?

I was incredibly flattered. I had a tiny blog, and yet they were picking me! I was seriously excited…and pretty stupid. I mean, duh, they were coming to me because anybody with any sense had already turned them down.

Of course the contest was a disaster. I ended up annoying pretty much everyone I knew, and I didn’t even win. But it was a wake-up call, and I was glad that I’d gotten it before anybody really knew who I was.

I just heard about something similar that unfolded in the past few days, involving a blogger contest from Chrysler, run (badly) by a company called Ignite Social Media. I won’t bother telling you what happened, because it’s all summed up so very nicely here. And if you want the perspective of the blogger who was actually thrown out of the contest, she writes about it here. I would love to link to the other side of the story, but I checked the website of the other blogger knee deep in this mess, and she hasn’t addressed it yet.

There are three clear things for bloggers to take away from this mess.

1. Any time a blogger is offered an “opportunity” to participate in a vote-getting contest where readers can vote day after day, she should say no. Loudly. What’s really going to happen is she will help another (bigger) site get crazy traffic, and annoy her own readers and followers. I don’t care what the prize is. Run the other way.

This doesn’t just go for contests with tangible prizes like trips or iPads, but also for awards. About a year ago I was informed that I had been nominated for a big blogging award. I was flattered for half a second, until I got to the part of the email where it said the winner would be determined by votes, and I should encourage my readers and friends to go to the sponsoring company’s site and vote, often.

I’d seen people with badges on their blogs touting that very award. I had no idea they’d “won” the award by harassing people. I don’t want an award that I can get by begging.

2. Any time a company asks you to do something with requirements, deadlines, rules, etc. they should be compensating you. As far as I can tell, only the winning blogger was supposed to get anything of value (a trip for four to NYC, and an iPad to give away). So right from the beginning, all of the participants knew that they would be promoting Chrysler, and the best case scenario would be that only one of them would get “paid” (in quotes because a “free” trip to NYC will cost you money in the end, not pay your bills).

3. (And I think this is the most important one) If something seems too good to be true, it probably is. The kicked-out blogger even said in her post about the mess, “I don’t get asked to participate in this type of thing, like, at all.” The mistake that I made three years ago was thinking that I was being asked to participate because I was awesome, when in truth, everyone who was awesome had already said no. So, if you get an opportunity that seems “bigger” than where you think you are, your Spidey sense should be tingling, and you should proceed with extreme caution.

Originally posted on Behind the Screen. All opinions expressed on this website come straight from Amy unless otherwise noted. This post has a Compensation Level of 0. Please visit Amy’s Full Disclosure page for more information.

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15 Responses to “Why vote-begging blogger contests always suck”

  1. Mom101 on March 8th, 2012 3:46 pm

    I just want to say…

    Thank you.
    Mom101´s last [type] ..We interrupt this work week with a howling dog.


  2. Brenna @ Almost All The Truth on March 8th, 2012 4:01 pm

    We all learn from our mistakes (hopefully) and sometimes it takes a whole big mess to do it. I am not a fan of these contests and I am hopefully smart enough now to never participate. ;)
    Brenna @ Almost All The Truth´s last [type] ..An Eco-Friendly Spring Clean Wordless Wednesday: Unclog a Drain


  3. Kelly on March 8th, 2012 4:12 pm

    “If something seems to good to be true, it probably is.” YES, this.
    Kelly´s last [type] ..How do you have fun? #VlogMom


    Amy Reply:

    @Kelly, Yes, except you quoted it before I caught my awful typo. That’s karma for all those times I made fun of people for confusing you’re and your.


  4. Rachel on March 8th, 2012 4:37 pm

    Only slightly over a year into this thing we call blogging, and I already have had to take a good hard look at my policies re: compensation and ‘representing’ brands and products….for the better. I want to say thanks to you and the select few others who take the time to write posts like this that educate and inform so we can be better bloggers.
    This seems like a big mess and the best thing here is — if it seems to big for you, than it is not good.
    Rachel´s last [type] ..It’s a Prototype!


  5. Monique on March 9th, 2012 10:13 am

    I’m currently begging for voters, even after participating in a contest last year and saying I’d never do it again. I promise. AFter I finish begging for the current one.
    Monique´s last [type] ..Inspired Travel


    Amy Reply:

    @Monique, I know it’s tempting, but you’re so much better than that! And I have to really question the other methods and practices of a site that would hire someone that way.


  6. gigi on March 9th, 2012 4:35 pm

    Bravo, Amy!I agree wholeheartedly. I now have a blanket policy: I never participate in voting contests, nor do I vote for anyone who asks me to, even if they’re my friends. They suck. That is all (the contests, not my friends). :)


  7. Karyn18 on March 13th, 2012 8:10 am

    You are definitely right Amy. We should not always be grabbing such contest just for nothing. Thanks for some of your thoughts.
    Karyn18´s last [type] ..Do you want a clean and clear skin?


  8. Plagiarism, or How to Never Work on These Internets Again | Blogging Angels on March 16th, 2012 9:57 am

    [...] Angel Amy wrote about the Chrysler Contest Fail, which coincidentally also involved Kristina Ruiz. [...]

  9. Dawn0977 on March 22nd, 2012 8:31 am

    I agree with you Amy. Voting and joining some contest like that is such a waste of time and effort. they just want to gain more traffic.
    Dawn0977´s last [type] ..Maid jailed for killing employer’s 29 fishes including arowanas


  10. Pauline on March 23rd, 2012 4:03 pm

    Thank you for this post, It literally just happened to me, I was nominated, then I sent an email to a few close friends and they ended up pestering all their friends. I wondered about these badges I had always seen. anyway thanks for enlightening me…I will know not to get involved next time!
    Pauline´s last [type] ..The “Matter” of Baking


  11. james on March 24th, 2012 2:18 am

    Voting and joining some contest like that is such a waste of time and effort.
    james´s last [type] ..We Shall Never Forget… Berlin Between Past and Present


  12. Bekki Lindner on April 19th, 2012 9:02 pm

    SO TRUE!!! I did this once, and it was awful. I hated bothering people. Now, these truly are as you said, won by bothering people. The blogs that should actually win said titles, such as “best such and such” kind of blog are NEVER the blogs that win, and I always shake my head at the blogs that get all the votes, as they hardly ever deserve them. So well put.
    Bekki Lindner´s last [type] ..Bright Starts Ultimate Baby Shower Giveaway: Blogger Signup!


  13. Belinda Stroming on June 28th, 2012 7:05 am

    I really hate the people who do this.. i mean bloggers who literally force you to vote. When someone makes the mistake of doing it to me, I will unsubscribe from that blog as quick as lightning
    Belinda Stroming´s last [type] ..Plantation Dentist


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