Blog giveaways

10 Frustrations of Blog Giveaways: Why DO We Do it That Way?

The other day, I ran across a really educational thread on Giveaway Promote’s Facebook page. It was eye opening to see what people think about blog giveaways and how they really work. The following question was posed:

What’s your biggest frustration with giveaways right now? (You should read the entire thread here).

When I started reading the replies I soon learned that there are many misconceptions readers and followers have about blog giveaways. There really is a method to the madness. As bloggers we know this, but  sometimes forget that non-bloggers aren’t privy to all of the behind-the-scenes work that leads to the “whys and hows” of our giveaways, so I have decided to address some of the frustrations. Here are the top ten I saw in the thread and my thoughts on each. Let me know what YOU think in the comments!

Blog giveaways



Blog Giveaways – Dispelling misinformation

#1 – We get all of the stuff we give-away for free
When you work, do you do it for free? Highly unlikely. That would be called volunteering. And while I am a huge believer in volunteering, in order to live there needs to be a balance between earnings and giving your services away. An employee accomplishes tasks for an employer and bloggers provide a service to brands. We put a lot of time and effort into legal agreements, promoting giveaways, helping brands grow their social media reaches and even creating reports among a multitude of other things. Often times, we pay for our own giveaways which brings me to another point: there have been mentions of not enough gift cards in giveaways. Most times, gift cards are paid for by the blogger (or group of bloggers) giving them away. More often than not, brands want their actual product to be promoted. If ‘Brand A’ gives away a gift card it shifts attention away from their product (unless they are the actual store sponsoring the post). For them, it makes no sense to ask a blogger to promote an item then give you a gift card to spend money at an entirely different business. So this is why you usually see more product, less gift cards.

#2- Why do I need to follow you and/or your sponsor’s social media accounts? I cannot enter because I don’t have particular social media accounts required in the giveaway.
Yes, yes. We know not all of you have Instagram, Twitter or insert social media site of your choice, BUT when a brand is giving us a valuable giveaway prize they are asking for something in return. Sometimes that “something”includes helping them grow a particular social media account in order to reach more valuable customers and consumers – namely, YOU. This rise in their following is a tangible result. In order for us to keep bringing you great prizes, we also need to show brands that our numbers are not stagnant, we can attract new followers and engage with them. I try very hard to make most follows optional. It doesn’t always happen, but I think most other bloggers I know try to do the same. Another glimpse: If a brand has two bloggers applying for the same assignment and one has 100 followers, but the other has 10,000 followers the person with 10,000 followers will most likely get the assignment because they will reach more people through their posts and social media shares. Bloggers work hard on their numbers and it affects us when we both gain and lose followers, but I’ll get to that…

#3- Why do social media shares matter?
The more you share a message, the greater the reach. If I share with ten people, that is a great start. When those ten people tell ten more and then those people tell another ten…well, you get the point. There is a lot of power in sharing on social media and brands like this! I also think it is the least I can do when they are providing a valuable item for me to give to my winner.

#4- Why do I have to follow SO MANY people in a giveaway loop on Instagram?
This goes back to bloggers investing their own money for prizes. Those high dollar items you see in giveaway loops have almost always been paid for by the bloggers you are requested to follow. A LOT of time and coordination goes into the loops and each blogger should get a follow since they contributed the funds to help purchase the giveaway prize.

#5- I don’t think there is really even a prize
I cringed when I read this. Unfortunately, there are bad apples in every bunch. I’ve never personally run across this situation, but I can only guarantee that my giveaways are real. If you have any doubts about whether a blog giveaway is legitimate or not, move on. There are thousands of other giveaways out there just waiting for you to enter!

#6- No one ever wins blog giveaways/I don’t see photos of the winners with their stuff
Each blogger has his or her own policies. Every single one of my winners has received their prizes and I require a tracking number from the sponsor once the item has shipped. The item must be sent within 30 days of receiving the winner’s address unless we have made other arrangements in advance. Often times bloggers do not even receive an acknowledgement that the winner has received their items. I have given away close to one-hundred items and of all of my winners, there have been three people took the time to email me a note of thanks.

Some people aren’t comfortable posting their photos on the internet. Some people don’t answer requests and bloggers, by law, cannot require this from their winners. I for one would be tickled if any of my winners sent me a photograph with their item after I’ve concluded a blog giveaway!

#7 – Why aren’t more US-based giveaways open to Canadian and other international winners?
This is a great question! International shipping can become very expensive, even from the US to Canada. I once shipped a 4-ounce package to Quebec and it was $50US. Frankly, those funds could be used to continue running my blog or toward a gift card purchase for another giveaway. Bloggers also have to deal with sometimes very time-consuming Customs forms and in some countries it is required that packaging MUST be in a certain language. There are also tax laws involved. If my brand requires a form because a giveaway item value is over a certain dollar amount, the winner must be a US-Resident so the brand can abide by IRS laws.

On that note, I do make all of my gift card giveaways open to most countries since e-gift cards can be emailed.

#8 – Bloggers don’t contact the winners
If you enter a giveaway via a blog page, I am in full agreement it is the blogger’s responsibility to contact the winner. Now, if you enter a Facebook flash giveaway, most times bloggers do tag you in the original thread. We cannot private message you first, however, so we have no way to contact you unless you leave an email address in the thread. Unfortunately, it happens where an alternative winner is selected. Believe me, we hate it just as much – if not MORE than you do. Ultimately, if you want to claim a prize, it is your responsibility to check to see if you have won it. This is usually stated in the Terms and Conditions listed in the entry form of the blog giveaway.

#9 – I don’t believe I truly get the entries for the tasks I have done
If you are recording those tasks in a giveaway form, you are being given credit. It is why in my forms I ask for the specific URL to your shares or tasks so I may verify them. And yes, most of us DO verify!

#10 – Now here is MY frustration and that of some of the bloggers who chimed in on the thread. I know when you create fake accounts for entries for blog giveaways and it hurts bloggers when you do.
Bloggers put in a lot of work to secure quality items and take the time to review them and provide you with our honest feedback. When you make up fake accounts for more entries we know you are doing this and most of us can catch it very easily. It hurts us to reward someone who has made up fake multiple accounts and then un-follows us once a giveaway is over just to do it again in the next blog giveaway. This is why I use a form. If you already follow me, just enter your screen-name and you are all set!

Numbers do matter to many brands and you potentially damage a blogger’s credibility by affecting our follower counts. For instance, when I apply for a giveaway and write that I have so many followers on Instagram, only to lose 100 of them because they were fake accounts and/or only trying to get something from me it potentially looks bad to a brand. Just don’t enter. We truly value your visits, clicks and entries and we could not do this without you, but we want our engagement to be a two-way and meaningful street. EVERYONE benefits this way and that’s a wonderful thing!

So what do you think? If you don’t see something on the list, let me know what it is. I appreciate every single entry in my blog giveaways and hope this has given you more insight. As always, I welcome your thoughts.


  • Patricia Colletti

    Very insightful. One point I want to address – unfollowing a blogger after a giveaway ends. I think the majority of entrants unfollow after the giveaway ends because the blogger is inactive, spammy, offensive, boring, etc. not because they didn’t win. I found your blog though a giveaway last year and have followed ever since because i enjoy your posts.

    • Heather W

      Patricia it is a shame that a handful of bloggers will SPAM their followers. I try very hard to strike a balance. I send a ‘newsletter’ three to four times a month to let people know I am giving away more great stuff, but I would never want to inundate anyone. HAHA and sometimes my life can be boring, but I hope it’s not a snoozefest in here! 😉 I really appreciate your comment and that you are here! 🙂

  • feathermaye

    I’m curious about this statement from #10: “I will not reward someone who…will un-follow me once a giveaway is over just to follow me again in the next giveaway.” Assuming a randomizer is used to draw the winner, and the winner is in compliance with the rules at the time of the giveaway–if you recognize them as someone who has followed and unfollowed in the past, do you draw another winner?

    • Heather W

      Hi. I corrected the wording as I am referring to people who make up fake accounts, follow and unfollow – from those accounts. My opinion is that it is unethical to “pretend” to follow a blogger just to win something and when you don’t, you unfollow them then try to get something from them again. Obviously, if the account is valid and the generator draws their name I cannot disqualify them and I don’t. I still find it offensive that they would then unfollow me until they enter to win something again as do many other bloggers and would rather they not enter my giveaways as it does not add to the true engagement which we all hope to have. 🙂

        • Heather W

          Patricia, there are many ways to tell and bloggers prefer not to share that info so we don’t give people more information how to get around our methods to figure it out. In some cases, it is extremely obvious (i.e. zero followers, same profile picture for ten accounts, all the same location and birthdate, etc.) and others there is coding involved.

  • Mary Ann Dilloway

    Wow! I had no idea how much goes into these sweeps and giveaways. As part of the older generation, (over 70) I enjoy entering these sweeps and giveaways. But, I do not understand Instagram, pin it or some of the other social media, so I don’t enter them or get half way thru and give up. It seems to me that it is common curtesy to say Thank You. I can also understand why someone wouldn’t want their picture on the web in this advanced world we live in, not everyone is an upstanding citizen and may have bad intentions. I have, however, received a prize and no idea where it came from. Sometimes it’s a slip of paper saying you won, that’s it. So, Thank you and keep up the good work!!! I sure learned a lot from your post today.

  • tannawings

    #1 Brands can and do give away gift cards. If the tweet reads :I love brand X because it is wonderful, they rock you can enter at xxxxxx’ their name still gets out there. I do realize some group giveaways are a ‘pay in’ by the blogs to get more followers, and so technically they are paying for it themselves, but they are paying a small amount to get followers on various platforms. #2 ad #3 kind of tie in as far as social reach for both brand and blogger #4 also pays in to the same thing . #5 this is a biggie…. there is proof out there certain bloggers and groups of bloggers do not deliver or they have arranged the randomizer to pick no one that is real (I have screenshots of one such contest) or they pick friends/rellatives. Unfortunately, people only figure this out by experience and bloggers dont realize (or maybe they do) but their name can and does make the rounds among people. I have personally seen bloggers put out of business due to shady tactics, The folks with large social reaches themselves often other bloggers hate this, and make it known. #6 It is TACKY not to at east take the time to thank the blog/and or sponsor for the prize this goes back to those entering. You cant expect a picture, but you should get a thank you always (I believe I was one of thee 3 you can count on this blog) #7 thats up to the sponsor, if you look most Canadian things arent open to US, quite complaining and move on, there are blogs who only cater to certain areas. #8 thats on whomever is entering- bookmark or ask the blogger when in doubt. #9 same thing ask the blogger most are happy to help.#10 THIS IS HUGE Most play fair, we have ONE ID but there are those out there who have many and they enter with as many IDs that they can to gain an advantage. I have seen this happen, and hate it. I hate a cheater in real life but especially on contessts. I APPLAUD the bloggers who take the time and verify. I have seen cheats win over and over and I WILL TURN YOU INTO THE BLOGGER if I suspect you doing it. The follow/unfollow thing. thats just tacky on a person who enters a contests part. Really I can see unfollowing those you have no interest in (such as group giveaways who make you follow 100 coupon sites) by goodness give them a chance, Following and unfollowing means you must be following enough to know they have a contest, so whats te deal? Ass ar as howw they can tell that someone has multiple IDs………. I am not even going to say how. I aam just glad they check and those are the bloggers I follow and keep following. It means they care.
    Ueah I wrote a book, and there are other points, but I have to go volunteere and am running out of time to get there. I am not a blogger, but have been around longer than many bloggers! Thanks for doing what you do. A friend (who is a blogger wrote aa fine article that explains the legalities of blogging and contests) I wish more bloggers toook the time to read it, but like anything else there are good and the bad and the just plain ugly.

    Keep doing what youre doing Heather you do a fine job!

    • Heather W

      I didn’t mean to write that they don’t do them and that they can’t. 😉 But for MOST brands with which I personally work – not all – it doesn’t pay to give a $100 gift card for a winner to patronize another business when they are trying to highlight their product. If it is a store sponsoring the post, that is a different story. But a luggage company for instance – why would they give me a gift card to give away instead of their luggage? It doesn’t pay for them to me review it then give away an entirely different thing. So that is what I meant.

      Thanks for all of the comments. I am not disagreeing with anything you have written. My opinions are just mine and obviously this does not apply to everyone across the board. I appreciate your kind comments and yes, I do very much care about integrity with my giveaways. I want to see happy winners and honest winners.

      PS Yes – you you were one of the three, of course!

      • tannawings

        True, most do not do gift cards, although some do. Some I think do it because of shipping or whatever reason . If I were a company, I would do merchandise, but maybe it is the logistics or maybe their PR or something? I like the merchandise especiallly if it is something someone I trust has reviewed ie: luggage – you would know your luggage and if you gave it a stamp of approval I would want the brand!
        I hope more people appreciate what you do and take the time to thank you. You know, I hear that a lot when I have wriitten emails telling the blogger something has arrived. Rarely do I enter something though unless I need or want it . People need to remember that there is a real live person on either side of the screen,, and a simple thank you is common courtesy.

  • Kathryn M Bennett

    Fascinating! I knew nothing about it. Question: Do the numbers of people entering count? In other words, am I helping you and/or a promotion by trying? I haven’t tried for any giveaways (except for art supplies of course). It needs to be something I actually want or can use. Otherwise someone else should have it. And while I am here… please help… does Instagram only work mobile? I looked at it but not sure. I use a laptop. Thanks for all you do and you should get a lot more from people.

    • Heather W

      Kathryn, thank you so much for your feedback. To answer your questions:

      1) Yes, absolutely! Bloggers AND our brands would much rather see thousands of entries than one hundred. That means more people have heard about the giveaway and cared enough to enter to win. It definitely helps.

      2) Instagram is meant to work on a mobile phone. There are certainly apps for the laptop, though.

      Thank again for your kind words!

  • Julie

    As a blogger and a shop owner I wish it was more economical to ship internationally (or even to Canada!)
    And I hate the fake accounts or accounts that are set up solely to enter giveaways 🙁

    • Heather W

      I feel the same. I’d really love to ship internationally and even to Canada, but the cost is just too high. Le sigh, hopefully there will be a system set up that can detect this!

    • Patricia Colletti

      I don’t understand the animosity towards giveaway accounts. They are accomplishing the ultimate goal of promoting the brand and blogger. I follow several people that are full-time sweepers, and some of them have more social influence than the blogger or brand they are tweeting about. I like to enter natural products giveaways, and I would have no idea about 99% of the giveaways out there if I didn’t find them through giveaway accounts dedicated to natural products. Those particular accounts win often because of referral entries, and I feel like they deserve it. I have found many of the bloggers and brands that I like through a giveaway account’s share on social media. I understand why you would disqualify an account that is set up to cheat, and there are ways to check that, but why disqualify someone who may have referred you new followers?

      • Heather W

        Patricia – it’s not the full-time sweepers with multiple accounts and legitimate followers to which we are referring. It is the fake accounts – not following anyone and also having no followers. It is very easy to identify who is doing it and those who make up ten fake twitter accounts, follow you, then unfollow you do affect your numbers, credibility and leave a bad taste in the brand’s mouth. Again, I am not at all referring to what you are describing here and it was not the intent of the post to imply such a thing.

  • Amber

    This is fantastic. I thought it was a really interesting read. As a blogger, I’m definitely a little burned out on giveaways. It is so disheartening to see SO many giveaway only accounts that you know will just unfollow you after the contest is done.

    • Heather W

      Thank you so much. I feel disheartened, too. I have two giveaways running right now and am starting to count in my head how many followers I will lose next week once they are over.

  • BritishMumUSA

    This is so eye opening. As a blogger I have been wary of entering these giveaways, and I know that there are rules and regulations with regards to hosting a giveaway or reviewing a product. I wish there was somewhere that gave us all of the rules to take a peek to see if one wants to do it. If you know of such a place please share 🙂 Otherwise well said mate, it is not scheming, and I know that a lot of hard work and back work goes into making these giveaways possible. You do it so well 🙂


    • Heather W

      If you click on the terms and conditions, they really are supposed to give you all of the rules and regulations. I try very hard to build my giveaways on the basis of integrity so hopefully my readers will spread the word that I not only have great giveaways, I follow through on them and people actually get the items! 🙂 Thanks for the kind words, too!

  • Heather W

    I send 3-4 a month and that is it. I just want to let my readers know what great giveaways I have going on and to say ‘hi’, but I do NOT want to spam or inundate. I know I don’t like it when it is done to me!

  • Heather W

    Hi, Dawn! Thanks so much for stopping by. I do not think bloggers get upset at all. In fact, I LOVE when people who have entered my giveaways keep entering. It means you are coming back and I love having people here who are loyal to my blog. 🙂 So I say keep on entering!

    It does definitely matter if you read our content. We do take a lot of time to actually review products, so we really do love when you read our reviews. We don’t have a way to technically tell if you are reading or not (we can only tell if you visited the page) but we really do appreciate the shares and that also really does matter.

    I don’t change it to a new follower – I use a random generator then confirm the person did everything they say they did. 🙂 I keep it as honest as possible! All of the bloggers I know do the same.

    Thanks again for stopping by and for the questions and feedback! I really appreciate it.

  • Tanya M

    This is a great explanation. I need to link to this when I host a giveaway so people know why it’s structured that way. So glad you shared with Small Victories Sunday linkup last week and hope you joined us again this week. Pinned to our linkup board.

  • MACupGrl

    I love entering loop giveaways on Instagram. It gives me a way to possibly find shop owners whom I may purchase from in future. My delima is that I have barely over 308 followers and almost 2k accounts that I follow (mostly because of loops). I am active on trying to gain followers by posting pics as I can. Recently I noticed that when I checked the liked pics in a loop giveaway-my name was nowhere to be found on the list of “likers” for every pic in that loop.😐The loop pics were still in my liked photos NOT showing that I had liked any of them (even though I did). WHY is that? Am I being targeted as a fake account due to low followers/ high following (because of loop accounts I continue to follow)??? Anyone else experiencing this? Oh! on another note: I have encountered a certain loop giveaway host that was giving prizes to all their friends. I have PHOTO PROOF ( ex: loop host was in winner’s photo posts hugging with caption #bffs. I privately pm’d them regarding the matter and the result was me being blocked. To me-THAT is cheating. Hosting loops and using them as a means to “gift” your friends n family. NOT COOL.😐👎🏻