About Giveaways

by Susan

UPDATED: see bottom of post…
Also, see our poll at Do You Want Extra Entries in Giveaways?

We love bringing our readers fabulous opportunities to win giveaways.

Lately there’s been some discussion in the blogosphere about how various sites select the winners in their giveaways.

We want to let you all know that we hire a contractor to administer our giveaways and she is required to use random.org to select winners for our giveaways. She generally publishes winners on Saturdays here at 5 Minutes for Mom. You can see an example here. On some occasions these tasks are done by our virtual assistant Erica or another contractor.

Another post that we recently read about is that sites should not offer extra entries in giveaways for subscribing to feeds or newsletters etc. So from now on, we will no longer allow extra entries in our giveaways. Each entrant will be able to leave one comment as their entry to a giveaway.

Please also refer to our Terms and Conditions and our Disclosure Policy.

We think it is great for bloggers to work together as a community to establish and maintain best practices. We are always open to your feedback about our site.

Thanks for being part of our community!

UPDATE: Thank you SO much for your valuable feedback in the comment section. Our goal is to make a website that our readers enjoy and trust. We want to hear from you!

We have added the posts’ link to which we were referring. It is from ShePosts.com. We are going to research this topic further and will update you as to what we decide to do.

Today we read two great posts on the subject. This post about sweepstakes from About.com and this post from Susan Getgood definitely shed more light on this confusing issue.

We will continue looking into the issue and perhaps even have a poll asking readers which method they prefer! We don’t want to annoy or disappoint anyone! (We realize pleasing everyone is impossible. But for people pleasers like us it is VERY hard to not TRY!)

We did not mean to suggest that other should change their method of adminstering giveaways. Rather we just wanted to avoid any controversy and arguments on the subject and simply go back to our original method of administering our giveaways.

At 5 Minutes for Mom, we have made a conscious decision to stay out of all the negativity and controversy swirling around the blogosphere. Although it would be great for traffic, we want 5m4m to be a breath of fresh air for our readers, a place to refresh and relax. Again, please leave your feedback and we will definitely try to make sure that we are giving you the experience you want at 5m4m.



Email Author    |    Website About Susan

Susan Carraretto and her identical twin, Janice Croze, created 5 Minutes for Mom in 2006. Susan loves all social media, but her top addiction these days is Pinterest. She recently published a children's book titled "The Pest Detectives" which you can download now in digital format for free.

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{ 50 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Mikki April 21, 2010 at 9:51 am

Thanks so much for this! Now that I’m doing more and more giveaways, I’m finding that there are people out there that are really just in the buisness of entering giveaways. I don’t like that. I like to be able to share my giveaways with my actual blog friends.
Giving more and more entries is hard.
I’ve even stopped tagging my giveaways with Twitter tags like giveaways and such because I’ve been getting some REALLY weird people coming to my blog..
So glad you put this out there!

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2 Janice April 21, 2010 at 6:30 pm

Giveaways for sure have become a focus for some “readers.” It doesn’t bother us if they are here just because of the giveaway though. Hopefully they will like the site and come back. Here is hoping, right? ;)

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3 Deb - Mom of 3 Girls April 21, 2010 at 10:58 am

Hmm, I haven’t heard any of the discussion you’re talking about – is there an issue with the extra entries options? I’ve always offered extra entries and haven’t had a problem – I always check every entry before I draw a winner to make sure people are following the rules… Interesting points though – I’ll have to do some more looking into what the issues are. Thanks!

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4 Janice April 21, 2010 at 6:33 pm

Hi Deb – thanks so much for commenting. We updated the post with the link. So sorry we didn’t include it at first. We also included two other links that are very helpful. They shed some more light on the issue. We didn’t mean to say that people shouldn’t offer extra entries, we just wanted to avoid any controversy or legal trouble. But it looks from the other articles we read, that it may be legally fine.

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5 Kris April 21, 2010 at 11:16 am

Just a guess, I haven’t heard/seen anything, and I don’t do giveaways myself but I would imagine the extra entries issue is twofold — The more readers that are subscribed, the bigger your blog seems. But if people are just subscribing to win a prize and not really reading your blog then the inflation makes it appear you are more popular than you really are.

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6 Janice April 21, 2010 at 6:39 pm

The issue we were most concerned about was simply if it was illegal. We updated the post with the link to the post plus two other posts. It looks like legally it might be ok. We are going to look into it further.

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7 Kris April 21, 2010 at 8:14 pm

Thank you for explaining. As I said before I was simply making a guess.

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8 Linda April 21, 2010 at 11:59 am

I haven’t heard an issue with extra entries either… and frankly I don’t see the problem with it… offering an extra entry for a feed subscription isn’t necessarily for just having an extra entry for a prize… it gives a little extra incentive for someone to “try out” the blog by allowing your feed to go to them so they can get a sampling of what the blog is offering in the way of posts.

As far as showing the blog more popular than it is… I ,for one, don’t publish my feed subscription count… as for followers… well just like everyone else… I like to see followers but the reality is… it really doesn’t mean anything… the feed is where it counts.. it’s like advertising your blog or website to people that are already interested…

I and many other bloggers also give an extra entry for someone advertising the giveaway on their blog… extra advertising is helpful….

I don’t intend to change my policy… I think it’s good that you are adapting your policy to your readers complaints… I just wonder how many really are complaining.

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9 Janice April 21, 2010 at 6:43 pm

Thanks for commenting Linda! We updated the post with the link and two other links that are very helpful. They shed some more light on the issue.

We didn’t mean to say that people shouldn’t offer extra entries! We just wanted to avoid any controversy or legal trouble. But after reading the other articles perhaps it may be legally fine. IT is SO hard to understand and the legal issues!

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10 Alexia April 21, 2010 at 12:14 pm

While I have taken advantage of the extra entries offerered for being subscribed (only if I’m already subscribed normally), I’m glad that you’re knocking them out. I honestly like only having one chance to enter a giveaway. I’ve always thought it was a little too self-promoting to offer extra entries for being a subscriber. The ones that really irk me are the blogs who make being a subscriber the actual entry. I never enter those giveaways and I never return to the site either.

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11 Janice April 21, 2010 at 6:45 pm

Thanks so much for your feedback Alexia. We avoided doign extra entries until just this past year. Then, we figured we probably should since everyone else did it that way and perhaps readers preferred to have ways to gain extra entries.
I am thinking of putting out a poll to see what people prefer. It would be interesting to find out!

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12 barb April 21, 2010 at 12:42 pm

I alos like the idea of only one entry per person. It’s a lot easier to enter a contest that way. I don’t like it when they make you subscribe in order to enter for a giveaway either. That should be a choice. I subscribe to a whole lot of food blogs but it’s a choice.

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13 Janice April 21, 2010 at 6:45 pm

Thanks for the feedback – we want to know what you think for sure! So good to know.

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14 Kelli April 21, 2010 at 12:46 pm

I have not seen this discussion you speak of. But, isn’t one point of running a giveaway to get more traffic, followers, etc?

I don’t understand why blogs shouldn’t be giving extra entries, could you maybe elaborate on this some more or point us to where you read it?

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15 Janice April 21, 2010 at 6:49 pm

Hi Kelli – thanks so much for your comment.

We updated the post with the link. So sorry we didn’t include it at first. We also included two other links that shed some more light on the issue.

We didn’t mean to say that people shouldn’t offer extra entries, we just wanted to avoid any controversy or legal trouble. But it looks from the other articles we read, that it may be legally fine.

So if you want to include extra entries, it looks like it might be legally ok and then do it for sure if you want to.

As for us, I think we might do a poll and see what our readers want. It is SO hard to try to “get it right.” You know???

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16 Liz April 21, 2010 at 12:47 pm

Interesting discussion. Thanks for posting this!

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17 Janice April 21, 2010 at 6:49 pm

Thansk Liz – just to let you know – we updated the posts with some links you might want to check out.

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18 S Club Mama April 21, 2010 at 12:56 pm

I have only done a few giveaways myself, but I find that extra giveaways are just too much work for me. So I think unless the company requests me to have them add them on Facebook or subscribe to their mailing list, I am just going to do a few entries. Simple.

I do enter a lot of giveaways (found through giveaway links or other bloggers). I think it’s fun to have a chance to get some things for my family I otherwise wouldn’t be able to get.

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19 Janice April 21, 2010 at 6:50 pm

Great to hear your point of view! I agree that it is a lot of work to do extra entries and perhaps our readers would appreciate just one entry.

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20 Michelle April 21, 2010 at 1:33 pm

This is great food for thought since I am new at both blogging and giveaways! I will definitely consider both sides of this issue and will be coming back to see if there is more insight on why you should or shouldn’t do this!

What is funny is that I just got done with my first two giveaways and both of the winners only entered once while some of the other ones had multiple entries!

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21 Janice April 21, 2010 at 6:52 pm

Hi Michelle – just wanted to let you know that we updated the post with some helpful links and yes we will post more soon. We are thinking of doign a poll to determine what our readers prefer.

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22 Kristen M. April 21, 2010 at 1:37 pm

I too read a recent discussion along the same lines of not offering extra entries in giveaways (subscribing to feeds, newsletters, etc.). The article made a lot of sense and I wish I could find the link. Susan, do you have a link you could post?

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23 Janice April 21, 2010 at 6:53 pm

Hi Kristen – we updated with the link. It was from ShePosts.com. Is that what you read?

We also added two other helpful links that we got from the comment section at ShePosts.com

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24 Linda M. April 21, 2010 at 2:26 pm

Hooray! I think it’s a great idea for you to drop the “extra’s” . It’s just a fair way to put everyone on an even chance to win. I for one,already subscribed to your feed & newsletters before ever entering a giveaway. I’ m sure that someone who read your posts would be happy to subscribe.It surely stands on it’s on merit…….. a great blog to read! So yes, with all that said, I love the one chance per person, it’s less work on you guys & less work on us & we can read more……..which is the best part. Thanks for the post & the info & your change in the giveaways.All great ideas!

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25 Janice April 21, 2010 at 6:54 pm

Great to hear your feedback Linda. Thanks!

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26 Rachel April 21, 2010 at 2:48 pm

I’m curious about the negatives of allowing extra entries as well. If you can find a link to the article I’d love to read it. I’m always open to adjusting things if they need to be changed.

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27 Janice April 21, 2010 at 6:55 pm

Hi Rachel – we updated with the link. It was from ShePosts.com.

We also added two other helpful links that we got from the comment section at ShePosts.com

We were mainly concerned about the legal issues but from the other two articles perhaps it is legally ok. It is SO hard to decipher all these legal issues!

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28 Donna C. April 21, 2010 at 3:28 pm

Thank you for the information regarding the changes. I only subscribe to the email/reader updates for the blogs I am interested in anyway. I won’t subscribe just to get an extra entry. Appreciate your post.

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29 Janice April 21, 2010 at 6:55 pm

Thanks for the feedback Donna!

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30 Shash April 21, 2010 at 3:29 pm

I participated in my first and probably my last giveaway during the UBP10. I am not a professional product giveaway blogger or reviewer.

It was a lot of hard work and you’re right, those professional contest enter-ers …. Well… it’s just not fair. I don’t mind the extra entries if signing up to my email, RSS feed or fan page (if they stay… I’ve heard of some removing all the info on you shortly after learning they didn’t win) And a hundred Retweets about the contest to their 40 followers doesn’t do me any good about getting the word out about the contest or my blog….

On the other hand… cause you don’t want to bite the hand that feed you – if you’re a professional or trying to be professional giverawayer or product reviewer. The whole reason sponsors like all this type of action is that each time the article or info about their product is shared, google goes gaga over the activity. Sponsors like to see lots of comments as well and the more comments you get, the more sponsors you’ll get in the future.

Shasher’s Life

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31 Janice April 21, 2010 at 6:57 pm

It is a complicated issue for sure!

We updated the post with the link to the post we had read and to two other interesting posts. We were mostly concerned about the legal issues but perhaps after reading the other articles, legally it is ok. So hard to know all this legal stuff!!

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32 Brandy April 21, 2010 at 3:56 pm

i haven’t heard anyting about this, I know that there are people who contact me being upset if they don’t win a giveaway.
I give extra entries and a lot of them, if I didn’t I would only have a few entries, plus it helps get the word out about the contest.

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33 Janice April 21, 2010 at 6:59 pm

Hi Brandy – we updated with the link. It was from ShePosts.com. We also added two other helpful links that we got from the comment section at ShePosts.com

We didn’t mean to say that people shouldn’t offer extra entries, we just wanted to avoid any controversy or legal trouble. But it looks from the other articles we read, that it may be legally fine.

Hopefully it is legally ok and we can all just make the decision based on our preferences and the preferences of our readers.

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34 jeannett April 21, 2010 at 5:07 pm

I’m curious about the extra entries/subscription requirement too…did the article say it was bad practice or illegal? Because if it’s the first, I think that’s up to your own discretion…if it’s fully illegal…well, that’s another matter entirely.

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35 Janice April 21, 2010 at 7:01 pm

We updated with the link -sorry we didn’t publish it originally. It was from ShePosts.com. We also added two other helpful links that we got from the comment section at ShePosts.com

The ShePosts article made us concerned that legally we were in the wrong and so we wanted to make sure that we were doign things by the book. But it looks from the other articles we read, that it may be legally fine.

Yes – if it is legally ok then we can just make the decision based on our preferences and the preferences of our readers. :)

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36 Selene M. April 21, 2010 at 5:15 pm

Thank you for taking the “one entry” stand. I support that position wholeheartedly.

I also don’t like the policy of some bloggers who buy votes in competitions in return for extra entries.

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37 Janice April 21, 2010 at 7:02 pm

Thanks so much for the feedback – we appreciate it!

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38 Debra B April 21, 2010 at 6:19 pm

Thank you for the single entry. I often won’t enter the multiple ones especially if they ask you to follow someone else, sign up for FB, follow on twitter etc etc. It can get overwhelming to enter just one blog contest!

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39 Janice April 21, 2010 at 7:02 pm

Thanks Debra – it is great to know what you think.

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40 Stephanie April 21, 2010 at 7:08 pm

Hey, this post was great timing! Im going to list my VERY first review/giveaway tomorrow.

I really appreciate it when the giveaway is easy to enter. I rarely if ever go for the extra entries. Who has the time for all that??

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41 Janice April 21, 2010 at 9:20 pm

Thanks – good to know!

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42 Janel C April 21, 2010 at 7:48 pm

Thanks for the above articles. I have to say the first article about it being illegal doesn’t make sens to me at all! I enter instant win sweepstakes and they say no purchase necessary but they still require you to DO something.. whatever it is. And even if there is no purchase necessary for an intial entry at least half the instant win games will only let you get one free entry, or something like that. So COME ON! It doesn’t have to be EQUAL odds for everyone.. like the McDonalds game.. you either have to buy the sandwich/fries/drink or else pay for the stamp to enter! I just don’t think that article is defining it right at all.. just my thoughts.

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43 Janice April 21, 2010 at 9:20 pm

Interesting! Those are great points – thanks!

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44 Michelle April 21, 2010 at 7:52 pm

Thank you for doing this. I have now been persuaded in the other direction. Perhaps I’ll just wait until I have a larger audience before hosting another giveaway!

As to having a company do the drawing for me, I’m not sure. I don’t believe in rigging a giveaway. The fact is, if I want to give something away to a certain person, I don’t need a giveaway to do it! It is a shame that this can happen.

I suppose if giveaways become so complicated that my children can no longer pick a name out of a basket, then I might re-consider doing them altogether! Call me old-fashioned, (Okay, so I really AM) but that’s part of the fun!

Have a blessed week! You all really put a lot of work into this site! I’m not sure how you do it unless it’s your full-time job!

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45 Janice April 21, 2010 at 9:24 pm

Yes Michelle – we agree! The thought of having to have a third party do the drawing is sad. We simply never imagined people cheating etc. But sadly it has happened recently and people have started this 3rd party talk.

Since we haveto hire someone to do our contest drawing and admin work because we don’t have enough time, we thought we should let people know so they don’t start wondering if we have ever rigged a contest.

And yes – the site is both of our full time job! And we have other contracted staff like our assistant Erica and more! And there is STILL so much more work that is left undone at the end of the day.

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46 Linda April 21, 2010 at 10:16 pm

Thanks for responding… I read the links that you added… and all I have to say is… when did trying to give away a small item get so darn complicated?

My blog is small in comparison to yours… There is no way I would be able to hire someone to do it for me…. I agree with the one of hte previous commentors… if I wanted to give someone a gift I don’t need a giveaway to do it….

After reading everything… I don’t think offering extra entries is a problem… and for me at least… I state all the rules and who gets what right in the giveaway post… nonetheless after all this discussion… I’m not in the mindset to do another giveaway any time soon.

Thanks again for all the info … I appreciate it.

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47 Helena Lemon April 21, 2010 at 11:15 pm

Aren’t multiple entries optional most of the time? If so, then there is no pressure on any one person to enter multiple times if they don’t want to. I think that if someone really wants something in a giveaway, they should be able to have a chance to make multiple entries and work a little harder at getting what they want. And as for professional giveaway entrants, more power to them. If they want to get blogger butt, that’s their own perogative! It’s a free country! I definitely think it is up to the owner of the blog as to how many entry options they put up and how they attract readership and publicity! Maybe for the larger sites, it would be good to narrow down the entries so you’re not getting 1000′s of comments. Just makes it harder for you! Thanks for the interesting thought.

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48 Esther Crawford April 22, 2010 at 2:09 am

Hey S&J – I hope I didn’t frame the post in a way where there was a definitive “yes, it’s illegal – or no, it’s not” because I’m not a lawyer. More than anything I thought it was an interesting discussion for the community to have openly because we don’t yet have ‘best practices’ surrounding things like giveaways. I think all of us in the community know that y’all are upstanding citizens around here – there’s no question about that at all. Whatever you decide – whether single or multiple entries – I think it’s great so many folks are stepping back and evaluating how best to raise the level of transparency across the board. And of course, I love 5MFM – you ladies are all fabulous!

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49 Susan April 23, 2010 at 2:26 am

Hey Esther,

No worries at all…

I think that it is a great discussion and we’re very happy you started it. Now we know that the majority of our readers prefer single entry.

(We took a poll at http://www.5minutesformom.com/20588/quick-poll-do-you-want-extra-entries-in-giveaways/)

You know we think you’re fabulous too!

Talk soon,
Susan

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50 katklaw777 April 22, 2010 at 7:52 pm

I am a busy Mama and of late spending way too much time on the computer.
I do not care for extra entries, I think they are a waste of time.
Everyone should get one entry, that keeps it fair and square.

There are so many wonderful blogs out there and I just do not have tome for them all
I say KEEP IT SIMPLE. Let me spend more time with my family. Thanks.

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