I see these posts all over blogs, but there are still a great number of people who don't follow the rules properly. Lets all work together to make the blogging world as user-friendly as possible! Whether you are a blogger or a giveaway junkie, you might want to read this.
I have been entering contests for a couple of years now. I never had any luck with big company contests. The ones where they have 1 prize and thousands of entrants. Earlier this year, I discovered blog giveaways and after I won my first couple of prizes, I was hooked! It's great odds and great prizes. I have been pretty lucky with my prizes and I believe that it's because I set up an "entering system" for myself to make sure I follow all giveaway rules.
Here is what I learned from entering contests as well as hosting them.
Always complete the mandatory entry first. Usually it will ask you to visit sponsor's website and comment with another item you would like to try. Unless the rules state that you will get what you select, you can put down any item off the website. Do not mention what has been already mentioned in the review. (Tip - I used to spend a lot of time selecting other items I like, now I quickly put down a random item and if I like the company, I bookmark them to check out later.)
Leave your e-mail address with every comment! To avoid spam you can use this format (only on Blogger blogs where comments are visible) - yourname at hotmail dot com.
Many blogs will tell you to get a separate e-mail account for entering giveaways. I use one account for all e-mails and another for communicating with sponsors. I actually liked it better when I had just one. I'm also in favor of Hotmail over Gmail or Yahoo, because you can view e-mails without having to go to another page.
I only subscribe to blogs if I enter a lot of giveaways there. If it's just one time, but I like the blog, I bookmark it first. If I subscribe and the realize that 98% of giveaways are open to US only, I cancel subscription. I try to keep my mailbox tidy and I don't want a million of e-mails. I'd rather have 20 subscriptions and actually look through e-mails.
For Facebook bonus entries - leave your facebook first name and initial so the blogger can confirm your entry. Same goes for Twitter, leave your @name. When you tweet, leave the direct link to your tweet (you can do this by right clicking on the time stamp right under your tweet and selecting "copy link location".
Please note, it's against Facebook's rules to use Facebook as an extra entry into a giveaway. It's okay to "like" someone for any extra entry, but not ok to post on sponsor's wall for an extra entry. I would avoid such bonus entries as Facebook can cancel your account at any time. You can read more about it here.
When you say you do something like subscribe via e-mail, make sure you do and your subscription is confirmed. Same goes for everything else. If you are not sure if you have already "liked" the sponsor on Facebook, it only takes a second to check.
Always read the rules. You don't have to read every word, but look through to make sure you qualify. If like me you are in Canada (or other country), make sure the rules say that giveaway is open to Canada. If it doesn't say anything - don't enter. You will most likely waste your time, because the sponsor won't ship to Canada.
Have your information ready so you can copy and paste your bonus entries. I have my information in a notepad. It's basically a list like this -
subscribe via email
myname at hotmail dot com
like you on facebook as Jen M.
myname at hotmail dot com
- this way I never forget to put down my e-mail, facebook name, etc. and it definitely cuts down on entering time.
For my daily tweets, I have a 'draft' in my e-mail account where I write down all tweets by their expiry dates. If the original tweet message doesn't have an expiry, I add one in. It takes a second, but will make your life easier.
Prioritize your entering time - I only do daily tweets if I really want the prize. I tried doing daily tweets for everything I entered and that ate away 2 hours each day. You might think that it's impossible to win without lots of extra entries - I win a lot of great prizes by just entering once. It's all about luck. If the prize is meant to be yours - you will win it!
If you really want to win a specific prize, you can do a search on Twitter or go to company's Facebook page. You will find more of the same giveaway and if you enter them, all you chances of winning that prize will really increase.
If a prize is a Gift Certificate - check company's shipping rates before entering. The giveaway might be open to Canada or Worldwide, but shipping might cost you $20. It's not really worth it to enter for a $25 Gift Certificate prize.
Can never say this enough - please leave always your e-mail address when entering giveaways. I sometimes go through all comments on my giveaways and guess what? Out of say 60 entrants 10 won't have their contact info which automatically disqualifies them. Another 10 say they do something like follow via GFC or subscribe via email, and their email is not on my subscriber's list. It's a shame, because a lot of the times it's people who do the bonus tweets every day.
More to come