One Mom’s Journey from Fat to Skinny to Confident

BLOGGING THOUGHTS

Why I’m Hosting Giveaways on my Blogs Less and Less

34 Comments 2794 views

Ok, so I *may* have gone off just a little. Normally, I can keep my cool, but I was having a bad day and when a PR rep inquired why I wasn’t interested in hosting a giveaway, I gave them the complete and honest truth.

Here’s the story…

A company reached out via email asking if I’d be willing to host a giveaway or contest for my blog readers. They said, "I’m willing to sponsor the prizes."

The company was offering a product that had nothing to do with my niche or interest. Actually, the product they were offering was pretty generic overall. Nothing special. I wasn’t interested.

My response was simple…

Thanks for reaching out but I’m not interested at this time.

I do still believe this is the right course of action when dealing with most pitches. I explain why in the post The Power of "Thanks, but I’m Not Interested" in Response to a PR Pitch.

Normally I never hear back from the company again, but this time was different. Not only did they respond, but they wanted to know WHY I wasn’t interested and continued to pitch me.

Now I guess this is their job, but I just was not in the mood to deal with it. My response may have been harsh, but it was the absolute truth.

Honestly and frankly, I don’t have time to peddle other people’s products for free. I have more than enough content ideas that I’m actually backlogged with things to blog about. My site is very personal in nature and every post I write directly relates to my niche and the mission of my blog.

I also don’t simply work for free because someone asked. And yes, writing a post, hosting a giveaway, and promoting it, is work. If a company requests a review or for me to host a giveaway, I only agree if I feel it’s a match that I find will benefit me and my readers in some way. "Free Stuff" just doesn’t cut it and "sponsoring the prizes" doesn’t compensate me any way for my time or the space you will take up on my blog.

I’m sorry if you are offended. I’m tired of bloggers being taken advantage of in this way.

-Roni

I meant every word and will say it again and again. Until we, the bloggers, stand up for ourselves, these companies will keep assuming they can walk all over us.

Other posts you may be interested in as a blogger…



Leave a comment

I’d love to hear your story or thoughts on mine.

However, to prevent the massive amounts of spam I was receiving I have turned off comments on any post older than 5 days old. If you'd like to leave me a note regarding this post or anything really try me on twitter (@RoniNoone,) my Facebook page, or even IG (@RoniNoone) I'm so sorry for the inconvenience. I never thought I'd have to do this but it's gotten way out of hand and comment management has become simply too time consuming to manage.

Discussion

There are 34 comments so far.

    Ryan @NoMoreBacon

    June 22, 2011

    All your reasons make complete sense and we do indeed need to step our demands up to something above free samples!

    We look like the kids rummaging the sample tables at Costco on a Saturday when we do giveaways just because we get free stuff.

    Another reason I’ve really cut back on them is because it never seems to be the loyal readers who end up with the goods. It’s usually some random person who’s never commented on my blog before. Sure giveaways can be a way to attract new readers, but I’ve found I that giveaway winners never really stick after the fact.

    NoMoreFreeBlogging.com?

    Kalyn

    June 22, 2011

    Hear, hear. I have decided not to accept products at all, either for review of giveaways. I know that’s extreme, but to me it just felt easier to decide that wasn’t what my blog was about!

    Christie Inge

    June 22, 2011

    I also no longer accept products for review or giveaway. And, since that other post you wrote, I do respond to them and let them know that I am not interested. I do occasionally get a response back with questions and further pitching. It is pretty frustrating to say the least!

    One chocolate company (that isn’t even that good) asked me to do a review. I said “sure.” Then they sent a price list and asked what I wanted to buy. WHAT???

    Seriously, we’re people, not free (or income-producing) PR machines.

    Jen, a priorfatgirl

    June 22, 2011

    yes and yes and yes and yes

    I too have started to turn down products to review/host giveaway and share the same reason. My audience is much more valuable than $5 or $10 worth of product.

    Erin (Travel Eat Repeat)

    June 22, 2011

    I think it depends on the product and the blog. If it’s a product that you know, love and want to share with others (like Laughing Cow), then why not spread the love? But if it’s for something completely unrelated to your blog, it feels like a gimmick to gain new readers.

    Just my two cents…

    Emmie

    June 22, 2011

    I’ve also scaled back on the giveaways for many reasons, but especially for the one Ryan mentioned- many times, the winners end up being someone completely uninterested in the subject matter of the blog both before and after winning something. Now, if it’s a product I LOVE and feel my core readers would appreciate it, I consider it. Otherwise, I’m just asking a lot of questions in advance of accepting anything.

    Sana

    June 22, 2011

    Companies are weird. I had a company ask me to review a product. When I asked if they wanted to host a giveaway they said I did not have enough followers. Well why do you want me to do the review in the first place???

    Gail @ Shrinking Sisters

    June 22, 2011

    Sometimes it’s not the company but the PR firm that’s flaky. I was pitched a review/giveaway for a juicer (pretty on target for my blog) and I said sure. They sent me the juicer, then disappeared off the face of the earth when I sent them questions about setting up the giveaway. It’s been a few months and I’ve never heard from them again.

    Uh, thanks for the juicer?

    roni

    June 22, 2011

    that’s happen to me as well and we aren’t talking about cheapo products either. I was sent a home gym once and the company just disappeared! It’s been 2 year and I STILL haven’t heard from them.

    Anda T

    June 22, 2011

    How timely your post is! Good for you for firing back! It’s about time someone said our time is valuable, too!

    I was just contacted by a reputable human in the health and nutrition world and I sent back a list of questions about the email. It was vague and there was no real information past your basic pitch information.

    I have to admit, i was surprised they emailed me back after what I sent. They broke down what the offer was and how it would relate to my blog. I have to say, I was pretty impressed. It did have to go with an eventual giveaway of a book and I fully intend to read that sucker cover to cover before I decide if I want to pass it along to readers. (And because I’ll read anything bound with words on it.)

    Marisa @ Loser for Life

    June 22, 2011

    Go, Roni! I’m starting to feel the same way about PR pitches and giveaways. When I first starting blogging 2 years ago, I thought it was great that someone wanted to send me freebies to try and giveaway. I kinda had that “Santa” feeling; excited that I could give a product away to a reader. Now when I get the offers and pitches, I just feel icky and used by these companies. I only accept offers that I know will be of interest to my readers. However, they are few and far between these days!

    Meghann

    June 23, 2011

    well said. I’ve also found readers aren’t as interested in giveaways anymore. Personally, when I see a post with ‘giveaway’ in the title – I tend to ignore it.

    Tami@nutmegnotebook

    June 23, 2011

    Good for you Roni!
    I have turned down several products because they don’t fit with my blog.

    What get’s me is when you agree to host a giveaway or accept a product to review and then they dictate to you the date that they want you to post it!

    I reply and let them know that I have my own schedule and will post about the giveaway when it fits into my schedule-all said nicely of course!

    Ryan is right the winner of a giveaway is usually not a loyal reader but someone who only left a comment that one time!

    Then there is the cost of shipping the “prize,” shipping isn’t free when the product has been sent to “me” to give a away.

    Kath

    June 23, 2011

    Well said Roni!! I feel the same way about so many product requests. I’ve been doing a lot less these days too.

    Katherina @ Zephyr Runs

    June 24, 2011

    Good for you! I’m a new reader and fully support your snappy return :P

    janetha @ meals & moves

    June 24, 2011

    You hit the nail on the head. Awesome point. Also–what Ryan said up there about loyal readers never winning the goods. So true.

    Amy @ A Little Nosh

    June 24, 2011

    I haven’t been approached by many companies yet, but I have to say that the ones where I agreed to do a review and/or a giveaway, I’m uncomfortable with when it comes time to actually write the post. I’ve already agreed to it so I did it, but I regret it.

    Having said that, there are several companies I’ve reached out to recently and they’re sending me products for reviews and giveaways. But these are products I already know I like, which is why I reached out to them, and that I want to share with my readers. Those, I don’t feel so skeevy about.

    Mary (A Merry Life)

    June 30, 2011

    I stopped doing giveaways a while ago. I have a couple exceptions: products that I LOVE and use all the time and think readers would like, products I buy myself to give away (oooh, $5 giveaway!), and products where I’m paid to do the giveaway (happened twice only). So I don’t do many giveaways. But my blog wasn’t built on doing them anyway so I don’t think anyone misses them.

    As far as what Ryan said about loyal readers never winning… I never promote giveaways when I do them now. So I’m pretty sure it’s a loyal reader winning. It might hurt me a little inside to only get 100 comments on a giveaway instead of 400, but I’d rather do that and know an actual reader is winning rather than just someone who wants free stuff.

    Just my thoughts. :)

    So, I just googled something related to this topic and this post ironically was one of the top ones. Thank you so much for responding to that company that way! I am currently dealing with a company that is now flaking out of their end of the giveaway. Which really makes me want to stop doing them at all.

    What you said in your email to the company embodies everything I’ve been feeling about these pitches lately, so thank you for sending it to them!

    Patty

    July 3, 2011

    BRAVO! Same reason I don’t want to do random reviews or giveaways. It just needs to make sense to my voice and to my readers.

    Stephanie Donegan

    July 8, 2011

    I feel the same way! I do however, host giveaways related to my blog, so anything food related!

    SamiJoe

    July 8, 2011

    I agree that reviews and giveaways are work! I see some blogs post so many of them that i wonder how they have time to do all that!

    I do the odd giveaway or review, but recently i’ve just been sticking with a few really GOOD companies and doing work for them. I am a freelance writer so some of this stuff is great practice.

    But i don’t have time to be continuously at giveaways– especially if it cannot be on my schedule. The best thing any PR person has every said to me was– “don’t be sorry for anything! i’m not paying you to do this– you don’t owe me anything.” I’ve always remembered that because well heck, ya, you aren’t paying me. I’ll do what i promise, but please do not nag at me.

    Hanan

    July 8, 2011

    I couldn’t agree more! I thought I wanted to get into reviewing, but honestly a lot of that stuff is crap! The only time I will review stuff now is if it is something I personally would want/need.

    Thanks for the tip of responding with a no thanks!

    Amanda

    July 8, 2011

    Ah, yes, those lovely PR folks. I have to wonder about them. Now that I’m blogging every day, I’m starting to get more traffic, but I got an email last year wanting me to review a product for them and/or do a giveaway. (I was getting about 5 hits a month. Why bother?) I told them I don’t do giveaways. I ended up not following up to get a product to review, either. Now I’m glad I didn’t start that.
    I *do* review books in between my other posts, but that comes naturally to me. I love to read and I love to write, although I’m not good enough to ever write a book. So this works for me and my readers. Just last week, I started giving away books. I had this big pile of books that I’d gotten for free to review and I suddenly decided to give them away to my readers. I asked my readers before I set it up if it was something they’d be interested in. It fits right in with my blog and doesn’t feel contrived. I enjoy it, my readers enjoy it, I get a few new readers, and I can get rid of some of these books before they take over my house.

    Lucretia Pruitt

    July 8, 2011

    In 2009, I wrote a post called “Why Mom Bloggers Aren’t Flipping for Just a Sample of Your Product” on a site that no longer exists (except for a few google caches) and it was controversial. People got very angry at me for saying that giving a blogger a sample of something simply so s/he would host a giveaway was cheap and tacky.
    Since a company would have to employ a copywriter, webmaster, legal dept. (for rules and regs), pay for hosting and bandwidth to do the same thing on their own, sending someone a product instead of paying her was the equivalent of asking all of those employees if they’d rather have “stuff” instead of a paycheck.
    I haven’t wavered on that stance even if I did kill off the site.

    I agree with you! I still do the occasional review & giveaway on my site but it’s different now. Companies are welcome to send me a product in hopes of a review – but there is never a guarantee and i have to really love it to talk about it. & i charge to host a giveaway – a set fee depending on how long they wish the giveaway to run (1wk vs 2wks) & they are usually on my terms.

    Giveaways are a lot of work and they require a lot of time & ultimately are more beneficial for the company for the buzz & links they get then what myself or readers may get out of it.

    I hope PR companies will start to *get it* soon & really the ones that do are the only ones i have interest in working with.

    great post.

    Allie

    July 9, 2011

    Well, I’m relatively new at blogging (7 months) and I’m feeling a little inadequate in that I haven’t been ‘hit’ by these pitches – yet. I do have to say that I agree philosophically with your points about not wanting to subject my readers with crap to win/buy, nor do I want to be used by companies to make money for them while I’m the one writing my guts out on my blog.

    I see a lot of ‘giveaways’ on peoples’ Tweets and, frankly, as the reader, I run the other way. I would never go to someone else’s blog, lured by a giveaway.

    Allie

    The Nerdy Nurse

    July 11, 2011

    I want to know if the PR rep wrote back and what their response was :)

    I agree Blogging is a lot of work and we should be given respect for the time and energy we put into it.

    grace

    July 11, 2011

    I actually really like doing reviews and giveaways–I think they are a fun, in a pep-rally, community-building sort of way. That said, the idea of doing generic product giveaways for stuff that I don’t use myself or am not interested in doesn’t really make a lot of sense. It seems like a waste of everybody’s time.

    These posts always make me wonder, though–how do these pitches begin? Are they cold-calls?

    roni

    July 11, 2011

    They are cold calls. I really shouldn’t complain. :)

    Maman A Droit

    July 11, 2011

    I haven’t been pitched a ton of stuff, but usually if they’re nice but it’s a product that doesn’t apply to me I try to tell them why and recommend a blogger I know that would match their product better. That way bloggers I like might get things they’d really appreciate and the PR person is helped out too. I love getting free stuff though, and I’ll admit it! Our income is tight enough that I basically do not buy myself silly stuff ever. So getting a free stylish nursing top or a pair of shoes is a big deal for me. I wouldn’t get those things if I didn’t get them free from blogging. But the companies I’ve worked with have all been great-I’ve never felt used at all.

    Melissa N

    July 12, 2011

    I used to like finding giveaways – it was fun, I’d sometimes win, and I would find new blogs that interest me. Now, though, it takes at least 20 minutes to fill out all the requirements for entrance. It used to be just one comment, now its 10 to 20 comments per person! its a waste of my time, and i just don’t do them anymore.

    I am so glad I stumbled onto this post, I am running into this problem more and more, and was just this week contacted again for a product that makes no sense for my blog! I now do not feel bad turning them down, it take so much time and energy to plan and write posts that are related to my blog! I shouldn’t feel bad about turning something down I don’t feel a connection to! Thanks!