Thursday, April 15, 2010

ON BLOGGING ~ Give It Away, Give It Away, Give It Away Now...

BlogAnon: Joy of Confession

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Welcome to our weekly BlogAnon meeting where we confess a particular blogging sin and turn to you for support, suggestions and that blogging bond so we know we're not all alone. Don't be shy. Read along and let us know if you identify with us this week.

The Chili Peppers song in our post title wants us to give it away. The e-mails we receive on a regular basis from marketing people want us to give it away. Fact of the matter is, we'd love to have something to give away. But we're not going to pimp our blog out to do it.

I fear that if we accept just one of those harmless little e-mails offering some free item to do a giveaway on our blog, then we'll end up on more of those marketing lists than we're on already without even trying. I don't want people sending me their products to give out to our readers. Mostly because unless they are free Red Sox tickets, there isn't really a product that fits our nicheless Buffet Blog. So it would seem very out of place. But the other reason is that I'm too lazy to figure out how to go about hosting a giveaway.

I also don't want to be a spokesperson for a product because they sent me something free. It feels like making a deal with the devil. But that's probably because no one has ever offered me free Red Sox tickets via a random marketing e-mail.

Bottom line, if we talk about a product or site or service here on our blog, it's because we really like it and use it, or we used it and hated it and feel the world needs to be warned. It isn't because we're a mouthpiece swayed by their shiny free presents. We would never become shills.

Is it cynical that I have no qualms visiting other bloggers and participating in their giveaways? I don't think so. If I had something really cool and useful lying around to give away I would do it. I would do a whole week of giveaways with something from each general category we cover - a free Netflix membership for ON MOVIES, a great collection of personalized book thong bookmarks for ON BOOKS, a coupon code for a photo album on Kodak Gallery for ON PHOTOS, a great pair of comfy flip flops from Nike for ON TRAVEL, and of course, free Red Sox tickets via an MLB gift certificate for ON SPORTS. You get the idea. That would be wicked awesome.

So if you host giveaways on your blog, do you reach out to people you want quality products from that relate to your space and would be valued by your readers? Or do you just accept whatever free stuff anyone is willing to send to you? How do I get the cool stuff?

And other than the warm fuzzies you get from giving something nice and useful to a happy reader, do you get anything out of the giveaway process? Does your readership jump up and stay strong after the giveaway is over or do people just stop by for the free goodies and then move on - chew and screw so to speak? I don't want to invest a lot of time finding, getting and giving stuff away if it is a big production that serves no benefit to the blog and takes time away from entering other giveaways - er, I mean visiting other bloggers.

Have you hosted a giveaway? Did it increase traffic and lead to new readers sticking around? Have you entered or perhaps even won something from a blog's giveaway? Did you stick around after the results and add them to your Reader or did you move on? Are you hassled by marketers to give away their stuff or do you see it as a way to get free loot? Don't be afraid to share - your blogger thoughts are safe with us! We'll also open a companion topic in Bumble Town on Giveaways so the conversation can be continued in depth anytime.


Matty said...

I was approached by a company to advertise on my blog, but I never answered them. I have no interest in doing anything like that.

I have entered contests depending on what the freebie is, and I've won business cards and a bracelet for my wife.

cardiogirl said...

I've only done a giveaway/contest once and it was for a book that a blogging friend recommended. She and I did a joint giveaway on each of our blogs and the contest was to give a caption to one of the cartoons in the book.

The book was sort of like a comic book about conversations with God. Anyway, I found it stressful and then took forever to mail out the book which went to Canada. But the price of postage really wasn't that bad -- $5 I think.

So I procrastinated and forgot about it and then it became a monkey on my back and then I decided I'd never do a giveaway again.

I have won a few things from blogging friends and no, the contest was not rigged. I can only think of one person who I met through a contest and then continued to visit. That's JD from I Do Things So You Don't Have To.

Every other contest I've won (two other ones) were from people I already read.

Kristi said...

I have done give aways for products but I don't think any of my people have ever stuck around afterward. I thin every time, one of my regular readers has won anyway.

I am bad. I haven't revisited every many blogs where I have won things (although I don't win often) I have won things from blogs that I read regularly.

Sandy Nawrot said...

Most book bloggers participate once in awhile at a minimum with book giveaways. I think that kinda goes with the territory. I once received a really nice office chair for blogging about the company (which I researched ahead of time). However, I get e-mails weekly trying to get me to advertise their stuff, and generally ignore them. This is not my deal. Do I think that giveaways increase readership? No I do not. You hope that people swing by and fall in love with what you have to say, and decide to stay, but I don't think it happens often. I think the most important thing is staying true to yourself.

But I wouldn't turn down a pair of those comfy flip flops! I just replaced my old black pair, plus bought a brown pair. It is all I wear, and now my mom and my BFF are wearing them too!

LJ said...

Yes. No. Yes. Yes. No.

Kathleen said...

I've never hosted a giveaway on my blog. However I am reading one of John Sanford's books for his upcoming book tour to celebrate his 20th in his Prey series and they do have a giveaway that I will be hosting for that. I doubt I'll do any of these on a regular basis. I enter contests if I really want to read the book and I've even won a few!

Beth F said...

I haven't yet reviewed and given away a product, but I have given away books -- I've given away books I loved and books I hated.

Susan said...

I'm pretty lame, I guess. I haven't received any offers of products, mainly because hardly anyone knows I'm here. But even if I received a dozen a day, I would most likely ignore them, because I'm not here to shill either. I've entered a couple of giveaways, but never have won anything...oh well. I don't win the lottery either when I play! And I'll probably never host a giveaway because...well, I'm basically too lazy! ;)

Wanda said...

I've won a few books and given away a few books. Those I've given away were from my own stacks or new books I purchased myself. I don't care to accept books for review simply because I want to read for pleasure not pressure. However, I recently did make an exception for a couple of books that I was only too happy to review in the hopes of finding good fiction for boys. It worked out well but I don't intend to make it a habit.

It's true that I don't have the readership of some blogs that have weekly giveaways and that's fine. I'm happy with those few regulars who drop by to see what I've been reading regardless of whether or not I have anything to giveaway.