Day 11 – A $2000 Website Design Giveaway

CROWDSOURCE DESIGN UPDATE: I’ve had my priorities in order—my family and paying clients coming first—so things have remained shaky but stable for the last couple of days.  [intlink id=”2382″ type=”post”]Grunge/Baroque style and Web 2.0 style[/intlink] are currently tied, with only one day left in that poll.  Tomorrow is a big day—when you, my darling readers, begin the process of choosing a logo and header design for Blog Salad.

Today we’re discussing an important element of every successful blog—the giveaway!

To celebrate the 2010 WordCount Blogathon, I’ve decided to giveaway a full web design to one Blog Salad reader.  The prize includes:

  • One-hour brand strategy consultation
  • Custom Logo Design
  • WordPress installation (or migration) on a custom domain
  • Custom WordPress theme design
  • Up to three (3) custom page templates
  • One-hour training via telephone or Skype
  • Two-hours of tech support, for up to six months after completion

Eligibility requirements:

  • Winner must register their own domain name (or already have a domain)
  • Winner must pay for their own website hosting plan (subject to approval)
  • Winner must be able to claim the prize between 1 September 2010 and 15 November 2010

Giveaways are engaging, at times exciting, and are often amazing traffic magnets.  But, let’s face it—the process of choosing a winner can be tricky, and at times, dubious. What do bloggers get in return for their giveaways?  Their blogs are exposed to a larger audience and, from that audience, gain loyal readers and fans.  If they’re giving away one of their own products (like me), it’s an opportunity to build brand salience and customer-based brand equity.

But there’s a catch.  There are three primary methods of giving away a prize—random selection, selection by merit, and selection by popular vote—all come with their own undesirable foibles.

  1. Random Selection. Giveaway winners are chosen at random from those visitors/readers who successfully complete a task (e.g. subscribing to the blog, posting a comment, sending a photo of themselves salsa dancing).  The drawback: There’s often little investment from the participant, and therefore, the odds of these participants becoming loyal readers or fans is low.
  2. Selection by Merit. Winners are selected subjectively by the blog author or a panel of judges (e.g. through an essay or video contest). The drawback: The risk of appearing biased or corrupt is quite high, which can drive away loyal readers and have a negative impact on your personal brand’s image.
  3. Selection by Popular Vote.  Giveaway participants enter the contest through nomination (by self or others) or completion of a task (e.g. essay or video contest).  Once the pool of registrants is complete, the general public chooses their favorite by popular vote.  The drawback: The best connected individual wins, not necessarily the most-deserving contestant.  Ballot box stuffing and technical manipulation is possible.

So, what’s a blog boy to do?  Today, instead of checking ticky boxes on a poll, please leave a comment below with your suggestion for how the contest should run, and please, deliberate with one another!  I’ll choose what seems to arise as the consensus among you and announce the contest rules on 14 May 2010 18 May 2010.

Do you think giveaways are just skeevy tactics to get blog traffic?  Let me know!

17 responses to “Day 11 – A $2000 Website Design Giveaway”

  1. Babette

    The lure of your month-long project is too muc for me, Ron! I must visit! Daily!

    That said, I am all about the random drawing…that’s the only guarantee…the cons against the other methods are too big for me to take on (the one time I ran a contest–random was the only way for me…)…can’t wait to see other comments.

  2. Su-sieee! Mac

    Do I think giveaways are skeevy tactics? If the blogger who is giving away is doing so with good and upfront intentions, then no. If the blogger is doing so for evil means, then yeah. In general,a giveaway a win-win for the blogger and the participants. Ok, only one wins. But people, like myself, who sign up for giveaways get a zing of a maybe that makes us feel good for a moment thinking we’re gonna win. Well, that was long-winded.

    I prefer random drawings to find winners. It’s the most objective (correct word?) of all three in my book.

  3. JulieS

    For this purpose, I’m a fan of random selection. It encourages everyone to comment and participate. My least favorite are the “vote for me” things because you have very little control of the outcome.

    Let me give you an example: an Artic expedition company recently gave a free $12,000 trip to the blogger who gained the most votes for himself. But it was a 20-year-old guy in Spain (the company’s target audience is more of the retired crowd — folks who can afford to blow $24,000 per couple on a cruise) who talked about how he would write about penguins biting him in the butt. Really? That has appeal to the audience for this cruise line?

    Nope. They found a kid who was good at getting people to click a vote button for him. Most of them will never read his actual travel blog. They did not find faithful followers who shared a common interest. They just wasted $12,000 getting a lot of useless hits and email addresses.

  4. Kristie Sloan

    I’m all for the random drawingness of it all. However I do see the dilemma.

    I kind of like the based on merit aspect, too. Would that be for the worst looking blog of the entries?

    This is one of those things that I’m glad I’m not deciding! I think that for what you are giving away, we would all be happy with your rules. Your gift, your rules.

    I will say that it has been fun checking in each day to see what’s new and what’s changed with the Blog Salad Look! I hadn’t seen anything like this before.

  5. Jackie Dishner

    I’m in favor of the random drawing. I’m not so sure it matters whether the contest itself attracts/maintains readers. The content on your blog should do that. Getting them there is the first step. Once they are there, maybe they’ll like what they see, maybe they won’t. If not, they’re not your loyal fan base, anyway. I’ve participated in the “Vote for me” kind of contests, and I don’t trust them for the same reasons you posted. Popularity contests do not win you loyal fans. Again, good content does. As a blogger, I’m not crazy about an essay kind of thing because that’s just more work overall. Who needs it? It probably works for a larger company or non-profit that has employees or volunteers, but not so great for the small business blogger like us.

    Ron, you have good content. Your blog could be black and white and you’d probably still get readers. You’re funny, engaging, and post regularly. Do the giveaway. Ask for comments. For goodness sakes, pick the random winner. And quit bugging us to make up your mind for you. 😉

  6. Babette

    I think price of entry is very fair–ask commenters to answer a question you want answered…Could be a survey, could be tell a story, but def. DO make it more than: here’s my comment, I want to win…and then pick a random winner..


  7. landguppy

    I’d love for you to give it to me, seeing how pathetic my site is. If you do it merit based, why not give it to the person with the website that needs it the most. You can put a culled list — say, a list of those who have participated most regularly in this 31 day endeavor of yours who want the prize. you choose the top (bottom?) 10 of those, and then there’s a vote. This way, I have a really good chance of making the top 10, because my site is so awful, plus, I’ve been here daily voting and commenting, so you’ve got a loyal reader, and you have an element of being deserving.

    My two cents.

  8. Alexandra Grabbe

    I am hooked on this blog, too, Ron. You ask about giveaways. I find it fascinating that so many bloggers take the time to create them in order to draw traffic. I have never done a giveaway on my blog in four years of blogging. I’ve heard people say that the type of person, who comes due to a giveaway, does not necessarily stay as a permanent reader. Another reason is time and organization, which I lack. That being said, I vote for random as well, since you are asking us to choose…. I’m not worried about my Web site, which my son created, but would love to win some training from someone as knowledgeable as you!

  9. Joy

    What a great idea and a sweet prize! As far as the winning goes. . . what about mixing in all of the methods you mentioned? For example, first ask for bloggers to post a comment letting you know they want to be entered. Next, narrow down the list by merit (or popular vote but I think merit is more fair), say to the top five or 10. Lastly, choose the remaining winner randomly, by drawing from a hat, say. It would be a bit more work for you than choosing just one method, but it seems as though it would make for a thorough and fair selection process. Whadya think?