Thursday, 26 January 2012

Blog competitions? Good Idea or just free ads?

A little while ago I covered Blog Awards right here on my blog, I had a humourous dig at the magazines involved while trying to keep it all fluffy and light and quite friendly. (For me any way)

Since my little rant I have discovered that the latest blog award is going to be held at breakfast time. I won't lie, I think I let out a small wee due to laughing so hard in disbelief. There is nothing like holding the award ceremony in the morning to make a blogger feel special is there? (Keeps the alcohol budget down I suppose)

But let me put that to one side for just a minute to discuss another way that I feel bloggers are being exploited.

Blog competitions.

Or as I like to think of them, Free ads for the companies and yet another way for companies to drive YOUR traffic towards their site and increase their visitors.

"For your chance to win free shoes for a year, all you have to do is blog a short article on your favourite pair of shoes from our site"

(Hang on, isn't that an unpaid SPONSORED POST? An AD?)

Yes these companies can offer great prizes,

(Of course they can, they don't have to spend any of their advertising budget this quarter do they? Bloggers are doing it for them)

When a company offers a great prize then obviously bloggers are going to enter in droves. As with blog awards I really don't blame any blogger for entering.

I blame the companies for feeling that they can take advantage of us.

If companies are TRULY looking for a quality blogger then why not ask bloggers to write a short article on how wonderful their products are and then e-mail it in to the company?

 That is what you do if you are looking for quality and not just a raised profile and increased traffic to your site.

And to say any different is in my opinion, just patronising.

The company I saw yesterday doing exactly this has also taken it that one step further.

Once they have reaped the rewards of having bloggers post their free ads praising their shoes they will then choose the top five and then those five will have to "THRASH IT OUT ON TWITTER" (their words, not mine) and ask people to vote for them,

The one with the most votes, wins.

Ahhhhhhhhhhhhhh a popularity contest?

Always a good way to get bloggers on side (add sarcastic face here)

Personally I don't think Blog competitions are a good thing. You may think differently, I would love to hear your opinions please.

And I've just had an interesting thought, Do you think I could enter this blog post as a competition entry?


Let me know

Big Fashionista x x


  1. I am soo with you on this. It is exploitation pure and simple. They are also ensuring that they'll appear higher in search resulta as the more links to a site the higher they appear.It is disgusting but like you I don't blame the blogger I blame the brand. Great post.

    1. Didn't even think about Google search results. Very true

  2. I wondered why I kept seeing sooo many posts on a particular shoe company. At least it's predominantly fashion bloggers who are entering this one, so the posts aren't too jarring.

    I find sponsored posts pretty tedious in general, and there are a couple of blogs which I otherwise enjoyed which I read less and less recently, purely because of the amount of superfluous posts on utterly dull and random things. I have very little interest in reading about the wonders of 'burn gel', of all things. I understand if a review actually fits with the theme of a blog, or the blogger's obvious interest, but surely not every offer has to be accepted?

    I got asked if I wanted to review teatowels once. Er, no.

  3. PS. A breakfast award ceremony? Not really a dressing up opportunity then.

    1. And there was me just thinking about the alcohol :-) Excellent point. Also Bloggers WORK as well.... Sigh

  4. As I mentioned already I had seen a few of those 'entry' blog posts and had considered it but I thankfully had already decided against entering.
    Whereas I wouldn't blame anyone for entering at all I don't agree with the concept.
    I don't agree that bloggers are pitched against each other constantly by companies like this for the wrong reasons.
    It should be about the most skillful and talented bloggers in regard to how they are able to write about a product - that should make them employable / rewardable.
    What's the point in a popularity contest?
    Had hoped they had gone out in high school along with the voting for Prefect crap. (I was never a prefect - go figure!)
    And, also, I think I said yesterday - it's a shame for once those folk start begging for votes every 5 minutes on Twitter I normally hit the unfollow button as it's simply spam to me at that point.

    Great post, needed to be said.

    1. Quick question, would you take seriously a blog post raving about a company when you knew they were just doing it to enter a competition?

    2. No. It'd likely just get my goat.

    3. I don't think I would take it seriously at all if I'm honest.
      It's funny I've seen a few of the Sarenza entries and have clicked in out of curiosity more than anything (just like to see what shoes folk pick so nosey!) But don't read the post and have been quite suprised at the sheer amount of blogs I follow that have taken part.
      Hovered over the big 'X' last night over a few.
      Same shit over and over again ffs!

      In my opinion they should have asked for email entries as this all seems a tad unprofessional to me.

      (sorry for late reply, never think to look for replies ha!)

  5. And this one seems so much so too good to be true - trips to Paris, shoes etc... Just mental!!

    **stays well away**


    1. It is an amazing prize, but think of the advertising budget they've saved on

    2. Plus, any company giving away product (instead of cash) saves as it's cost price to them eg £100 shoes are £20 approx cost price). In terms of costs to brand it's a mere fraction and they get heaps of valuable social media and increased google and twitter ranking. To do this by real advertising would cost them literally thousands of ££££s. Girls entering, you are being taken advantage of but it's up to you to sucumb.

    3. Exactly, I've had so many bloggers say they hadn't even thought of it as an advert but when they thought about it, that's what it is.

      I don't think people are believing me when I say I don't blame bloggers for entering, sure, if everyone stopped then they would have to rethink it but it's never going to happen. And companies know that.

      Just ONCE I'd like to see something not completely in favour of the companies.

      Looks down at feet, sigh. Shoooooes are my weakness too :-)

  6. I saw the tweets about this yesterday, and although I have entered the competition, I do agree completely with your post.

    It is a fantastic prize, and I considered not bothering but I decided to go for it because - quite frankly - I am not well off enouigh to buy myself new shoes every month and so it's a fantastic opportunity. I also think my writing is as good as, if not better than, that of other bloggers and I have every right to give it a shot, but I know that the Twitter "thrash out" would be a nightmare - total popularity contest and extremely annoying for your followers seeing you plead for tweet votes. I agree with Agorarphobic Fashionista, I wouldn't blame anyone for unfollowing!

    The company have got themselves a shit-ton of free ads out of it too, no doubt about it. But I do think the tiwtter thing isn't the best way to go about it. Worthy bloggers won't stand a chance just because they haven't got the numbers to compete.

    1. Hun, Sarenzahave now tweeted me saying they may be removing the popularity aspect ie voting.
      But let's face it, they still have got some excellent publicity and free ad space out of it

    2. Well that would def make it more fair for all entrants but you're right about the free ad space!!

  7. I will admit I entered this one, purely because I'd already seen some new material on the site that I was going to write about and it fit with the style of post on the site.

    1. I don't blame you.

      Kellie needs new shoes :-D but I don't agree with the way they've set up the competition so won't be entering

      But good luck hun

  8. Interesting article and to a point, I agree. Certainly with the "shoe situation" you describe, I saw those Tweets yesterday and felt ss you do.

    However, I run competitions on my blog. One I did was with Hotel Chocolat for instance, they asked me to review a product that they sent to me for free. They then gave the same product to give away as a prize.

    I think in those instances, it is fine, isn't it?

    1. Definitely. It is when something is dressed up as being for bloggers and is totally skewed towards the company involved. That's when I get all ranty :-)

  9. I agree 100%. I hate things that boil down in to a popularity contest and thats one of the reasons I dont want to enter the comp you are talking about. I did once enter a glossy box comp to do with nail art that asked for likes on facebook to choose the winner. I got about 150 likes the winner got 380ish and the girl who came 2nd got 200ish. glossy box then disqualified the "winner" becasue of suspicous voting. anyway the whole thing was a sham. Anyway i've forgotten the point in telling you this , just I agree X

    1. Sarenza UK have now changed the voting part. Just a shame they didn't take on board the free ad part :-(

  10. I love how brands have cottoned on to bloggers as a PR tool which can be used very successfully, with benefits for both parties. But this made my teeth itch. I agree, completely, about it being exploitation. Yes, the blogger gets a fab prize, but between blog readers, Twitter followers and Facebook plugs, the brand's traffic is going to go through the roof - although that may not necessarily lead to sales, obviously. It's possible that this may backfire for Sarenza in that people get fed up of seeing similar posts popping up all over the place. Remember that Lipcote thing...
    The "popularity contest" aspect of it is a bit yuck, to be honest, as someone who writes a beautiful piece but is a new blogger doesn't have a look-in next to someone well established. I agree with the person above who said that the "vote for me" tweets are a real turn-off anyway.

    I'm a lecturer in PR/advertising/media, and one of the first things I teach students is the differences between PR and advertising. This exercise kind of straddles the two, in that the brand is semi-controlling the message but not paying directly, which feels a bit odd. In terms of advertising equivalent spend, the prize is costing them sweeties.

    (One thing I do think is interesting, and perhaps it's the Grammar Nazi in me, is the number of brands keen to affiliate themselves with bloggers who have high traffic and lovely photos, but terrible written English. I'm not sure I'd want to associate my brand values with someone who doesn't know where or when to use an apostrophe.)

    1. What has upset me today is bloggers saying, you don't HAVE to enter.

      I'm standing up for bloggers!!!!

      May as well just sit down again

  11. Hey. Yes. I guess you are right. But as a hobby blogger I can't resist at least giving these things a go. Sometimes anyway. Gotta be in it to win it right? I'm very pleased there is now no popularity contest, and I haven't a hope in hell of actually getting the "job", but I like writing, especially about shoes, so I thought what the heck I'll try.

    But yea, lots of free advertising for sure - made even more obvious as normally when I give companies "free" space on my blog they have at least sent me a product to review (and I am completely honest about those).

    I guess I write about what I fancy writing about, in this case what Sarenza asked for fitted with that.

  12. Completely agree and yes, it's a very clever marketing ploy that's based around SEO links. No, you don't have to enter but these posts are littering my Google Reader.

  13. Its an oldie, but I'm going through the archives and wanted to comment. I'm new to blogging, but not new to social networking, and the commercialism of Myspace and now Facebook appears to be filtering through to the blogworld. The more of us who accept these industrial intrusions into our weblogs, the more the younger generation will identify their favourite blogger/youtubers with industry. The Men In Suits (believe me, still mainly men) have managed to paste the Indie Chicks and Bright Young Cupcakes faces all over their brand persona. The PR companies these brands use, who are usually the ones approaching the bloggers have to justify their retainer somehow, and of course exploiting the reputations and work of bloggers is a winner in budget terms. All for the sake of a trending topic on Twitter and getting further up the ranks on SE. Its a crock, and I deleted all my google analytics and unfollowed all the PR companies I was scrolling past on my Twitter today, as I'd got caught up in SEO and the 'follower' thing, and it stopped me enjoying and connecting with the people who had taken a chance on me already. If they want to use traffic a blogger has, come right out and pay for the space.
    But that's not good business.


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