Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Giveaways and Integrity

I have been thinking about this for a long time and I thought I would do a blog post and see what everyone else thinks.

When you enter a giveaway you normally have to follow a blog, tweet about it, share it on Facebook etc. Most of us are happy to do this because the prize is worth it. As a result, hosting a giveaway is a great way of gaining followers. But what if you don’t get your prize?

I have won tons of giveaways but I only receive about 50% of the prizes. Most of these giveaways are international and as I am in South Africa so I don’t really mind if I don’t get something. Things get lost in the post all the time and I don’t follow up unless I know the blogger well. Book Depository prizes always arrive so I now only enter international giveaways that get shipped from there. But now I’ve started to wonder if some bloggers are just using giveaways to get followers and then don’t bother sending out the prizes.

I ask this because in September last year I won a book from a fellow South African Book Blogger but never received it. It would have been shipped locally, so I fully expected to get it without any problems. But by October I still hadn’t received any email from the blogger. I contacted her on Goodreads, asking if she’d lost my email address. Nothing.

Eventually I tweeted her, and she replied saying her Goodreads account wasn’t working, that she had sent me a message, and my book was still waiting to be sent. She asked for my postal address, which I gave to her. I didn’t get any reply and I never received a book from her. It is now January.

Has anything like this every happened to anyone else? How did you handle it? I honestly feel that it shouldn’t be such a hassle. Or is it too much to expect bloggers to act with integrity in giveaways? I would die of shame if I promised someone something and never delivered. This is how I handle my own giveaways:

* I try my very best to stick to all the times laid out in my giveaway.
* I contact the winner via email, as well as on twitter if I can
* I send their prize straight away
* I follow up and ask if their prize has arrived

How do you handle giveaways? What’s your opinion on the whole issue?

My Blog can now be followed via email - top right hand corner.


Annette said...

Yes, this has happened to me several times (and I live in the US.) Actually, the very FIRST time I ever won a giveaway, I never received the book. This was from a very popular blogger, who I still follow. I emailed her, I tweeted her, and I got nothing but silence. I was very disappointed, and still wonder about her integrity....

But, fortunately this hasn't happened much. A few other times, but when it does happen, I just can't figure it out....at least communicate. Tell me if you can't afford the postage, or that you've been too busy. Don't just leave me hanging.

You are not alone.

Lauren @ Violin In A Void said...

When I host giveaways, I contact the winner by email immediately before or just after I do the announcement post. It might be a few days before I send the prize (I used post once or twice, but now I just use Book Depository). As soon as it's sent, I email the winner to let them know its on the way and ask them to let me know when it arrives.

I haven't won many giveaways, and I've not yet had the problem of not having a prize arrive. If bloggers are hosting fake giveaways to draw followers, I'd say that's pretty dodgy, not to mention stupid - bloggers thrive on reputation. It's the currency of social media, so you have to maintain yours. It's easy for someone to leave a comment on your site saying they never got a book you supposedly sent.

If you haven't heard or received anything from a blogger who's promised you a book, definitely follow up with a polite email at the very least. It might just be an error or oversight. And of course, packages can always get lost in the post, but a complete lack of communication on the blogger's part is just rude. I'd leave a comment on the blog about not getting anything, especially if they host another giveaway.

Shelagh said...

Hey Lu - I fortunately haven't had that happen to me yet.

Personally, when I host a giveaway I e-mail the winner for their address and then send the book off to them. I've used standard post every time and so far things have reached the other side. I always let the winner know when I have sent the parcel off and ask that they let me know when it arrives.

I understand that things get lost in the mail, but people should have the decency to reply to your queries.

Also, if you can't afford to send prizes overseas then state as such.

*end of mini-rant*

Sarah (saz101) said...

Aaaah, I'm still new to this, so no, it hasn't happened to me, but that's a bit sad. I think, in the case you mentioned, you did the right thing: you followed up on it, politely, but yeah... what do you do following that?

I've seen people complaining they haven't received prizes, but don't bother to contact the host, they just take to Twitter and complain, and I don't think that helps... It could be an oversight, it could be a mailing delay, it could be any number of things. I think MOST people do have integrity, and *DO* do the right thing, but it's a real shame when YOU do the right thing, and the host doesn't.

I mean, if something came up at the host's end, and they, for whatever reason, were honestly unable to honour the prize, if they told you, I'm sure you'd understand... we've all been short on cash before, or had unforseen circumstances pop-up, and I'd understand that if someone contacted me and said 'oops'. Sorry you've been burned :(

.alana. said...

It's never happened to me, and I never even THOUGHT about it, but youre totally right- I can see people using giveaways for followers for sure!

Tiffany Drew said...

I enter a lot of giveaways, a ton actually. Of all the things I have won, there is a pretty big percentage of items I've never received. I always follow up with the blogger where I won it, and I will email a few times over a few months if needed. I find that some will go out of their way to make sure you get the item. And honestly, sometimes things happen and I don't mind if they tell me they can no longer send the item. But there has been one blog that I have won two giveaways from and didn't receive either prize. Each time I was told it was sent, and that was it. I would hate to think that this was the case but you are right, how would we know?

Lu said...

Thanks for all the comments guys!

I won't mind at all if the blogger contacts me says there will be a delay or I can’t send it anymore. It's the not knowing which isn't fun.

It is also not the first time a situation like this has happened with this particular blogger.

I think for my sanity I will have to just leave this and just never enter a giveaway by this blogger or any other situation that requires the blogger to send anything.

It is sad to know there are Bloggers out there that would hold a giveaway and never deliver.

Jade said...

I haven't actually won anything myself yet, but I totally agree with you that I would be horrified if I promised something and never delivered! I'm new to the blogging world and loved the title of your blog. So I'm a new follower :) My blog is http://www.dreamwritepublish.blogspot.com/ if you feel like following me back. Look forward to reading your insights :)

Cialina at Muggle-Born.net said...

This doesn't normally happen to me but it has in the past. It's just really frustrating not to receive something that was promised. I understand if there are delays, as long as said blogger communicates.

I hope there aren't bloggers out there who host giveaways and don't deliver on the prize just to get followers. :/

Belle said...

Wow! Such poor form. I definitely don't think it's too much to expect that bloggers will actually deliver on giveaways - if you don't want to give anything away, don't do a giveaway! That's terrible.

Chrizette said...

I am fortunate that I have so far always received what was promised and the bloggers have always been friendly when I enquired about a delayed prize. When I have hosted giveaways, I mostly use Book Depository and have so far not had any problems. I usually try to keep winners informed when life gets a little hectic and it takes a day or two extra to get all the "behind the scenes" stuff sorted. That is all that we want . . . communication :)

Celine said...

It has happened to me too. I hate, hate, hate fake giveaways. There are a lot of bloggers that will just say, hey, I'm giving away that book! And will never announce a winner. I think it's just insulting, to be honest.

I've never had a problem with a giveaway I've hosted, as I always contact them on email, and send my prize through TBD. If something goes wrong, it should be on their end of the rope.

Christina said...

I haven't encountered this issue. I had two prizes, from the same site, which did not arrive, but I contacted her and they did come eventually. They were being shipped from a publisher, so I'm guessing they messed up.

At any rate, I really just wanted to comment on the hosting giveaways as a way of garnering followers. I really hate immediately every blogger who requires people to be followers of their blog to enter a giveaway. I mean, I totally get the temptation, but there's no denying that this is bribery, plain and simple. Having extra points for people who do things for you is justified, but being a follower should not be mandatory. I am much more inclined to follow people who do not do so. The people who force me into it out of my desperation for a particular book I will follow and then later unfollow.

Damaria Senne said...

I'm fortunate that In have received what I was promised, though sometimes it has taken a longer time than I like. But I decided to minimise the hassle and enter competitions where the give-away is an ebook or an Amazon voucher or something... something that can be sent wirelessly.

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