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What I Learned Giving Away $60,000 of Prizes in a Week

A number of people have asked me to write some reflections on running the ProBlogger Birthday Bash $54,000 Giveaway last week.

What were the results like? What did I learn? Will I do it again? How would I do it differently?

All good questions – let me share a few reflections (as much for my own benefit – so next year I’ve got some ideas on how to do it):

problogger-birthday-bash.jpg‘Results’ - Over the week we ran 18 giveaways. There were over 4000 on site entries (a few of the competitions called for people to enter in some other way so we’re not sure how many entered those). RSS subscriber numbers increased over the week by around 1500 (in a normal week it goes up by a few hundred) and site traffic was up by about 10-20% (depending upon the day).

The week wasn’t a massive success in terms of driving traffic – however that wasn’t my overall goal. The main thing that I wanted to do over the week was to add to the sense of community on the site – to have some fun – to get a few lurkers participating and to thank readers for being a part of ProBlogger. In this regard the week was a big success with many first time comments and a lot of thank you emails from readers who seemed to enjoy it.

It’s was a lot of Work - when I first called for prizes for the giveaway I didn’t expect the response from sponsors that I got. Previously when I’d called for prizes I’d had 30-40 offers – but this time it ended up being around 130 (including a few late ones). I realized at this point that the event could be huge – but that it was also potentially going to be a logistical nightmare. The solution was to hire Lara to manage the project. This took a lot of the work away from me – however the week was still a lot of work for us both and left me feeling quite exhausted.

Get a Team to Help – one of the best things that I did was to bring Lara on to manage the project. A smaller scale giveaway would have been manageable for me alone – but with 100+ sponsors to coordinate and thousands of entries to sort through it would have been beyond me.

Reflections on Prizes – I am so grateful to those who sponsored the project. It was amazing to see them all listed. Having said that – there’s a few things that I’d do differently when it comes to prizes next time:

  • Less Prizes – 100 prizes of such high value was great for creating a buzz about the project – however it brought a number of challenges. These included the logistics of making sure everyone who won one got one – but also giving sponsors value for their buck. 10 prizes would have meant that each sponsor got some serious attention – but with 100 it was difficult to give each their moment in the spotlight.
  • Higher Value Prizes - having less prizes would mean that we’d be able to include just a few higher value prizes. This would hopefully keep the value of the competition high and give people incentive to participate
  • More ‘On Topic’ Prizes - while I loved the fact that we gave away prizes with a lot of diversity (everything from scar treatment cream, to bunny slippers, to holidays) it made it also made the project challenging. I think next time I’d attempt to keep the prizes more blogging related – or at least to weed out some of the more off topic ones.

Less Giveaways – having less prizes would mean fewer giveaways. Over the week we ran 18 separate giveaways. While this gave a lot of people a chance to win something it was probably too many things happening over the week. At times we had two giveaways running at the same time (some went for 24 hours and some for 8). This caused some confusion and made it all quite hectic for us to manage. Next time I’d attempt to make the whole process simpler.

Weekdays not Weekends – we decided to run the bulk of the competitions over a weekend rather than during the week simply because it’d make it easier to manage it for us. The downside of this was of course that less people are around to compete on the weekend. We couldn’t really avoid this on this project – but next year I think I’d go for a midweek project.

Using Keywords for Comment Entries Was Genius – one of the challenges that we faced was that to enter people had to leave a comment on a post here at ProBlogger. The challenge with this is that my comment moderating tool (Akismet) can be a little too eager on occasion and filters some first time comments as spam. While these can be retrieved – I get a lot of real spam comments and finding them all was going to be a challenge. However we decided to make entrants include a ‘keyword’ in their comment so that we could quickly track down comments falsely queued as spam. This saved us hours of work.

Distraction and Burnout – running a competition of this scale does have a downside. If you haven’t got it already – this was a lot of work and I’ll admit that it’s left me in the last couple of days with a bit of a hangover (what good party doesn’t). Next time I think I’d work harder in the lead up to a competition to have some posts written before the competition that I could use in the days following it to take some of the load off.

The other downside of any project that runs for a few days on a blog is that it can be a distraction from the main purposes of the blog itself. I attempted to combat this by keeping new ‘normal’ posts going up on the blog over the week. This helped a lot – but the blog did get a little crazy for a few days and on reflection a few less giveaways might have helped to keep the blog more on track. I think we did OK on this – but next time I think that a simpler competition with less giveaways might be better on this front also.

Overall I’d judge the experience as being a success. I definitely want to do another one next year – but will approach it a little differently.

What did you think about the week that was? I’m aware that it wasn’t perfect – but would love to hear your constructive critique and suggestions on what you thought about it and how you’d suggest we tackle it next year.

PS: Lara has written a similar post with some of her own reflections on the week of giveaways.

The Party is Over – One Last Giveaway

problogger-birthday-bash.jpgOh My Goodness – our 3rd Birthday Prize Bonanza is over (well it will be shortly – because there’s one more giveaway that all of you can enter below).

Over the last week we’ve given away over $54,000 in prizes (in fact it’s been closer to $60,000 because we added a few prizes and underestimated the value of a few others).

Before I announce the last giveaway – I want to take a moment to acknowledge the hard work and generosity of a few people.

Project Coordinator, Lara Kulpa - Lara Kulpa  has gone so far above and beyond the call this week that I can’t express to you how hard she’s worked. Lara has had significantly less sleep than she normally would this week and has managed over 100 sponsors, tens of thousands of entries as well as me (no mean feat on that last one). The project was much bigger than I ever expected it to be and Lara has taken it in her stride. If you’re ever in the market for someone to help you with web design, internet marketing or SEO – do consider Lara Kulpa (PS: subscribe to her blog here).

Our Sponsors have been wonderful. When we decided to go with over 100 prizes I literally began to shake as I began to think about the complexity of the task. Not only has Lara been great at helping us with the coordination of everything – our sponsors have been incredibly patient and generous with us. Of all the sponsors only on one occasion have we had any issues resulting in a sponsor pulling out (and that seems to have been a miscommunication – I substituted a cash prize in for the person who won that prize) – everyone else has been incredible! Please do visit some of our sponsors today as a thank you to them. If you won a prize it’d also be great if you’d link up to them as a thank you.

Here they are once again:

Help Desk GeekHoliday for Every DayHome Based HolidaysI Hate Bad ServiceIntricate ArtiPod Repair of MemphisIt’s Write NowJCM EnterprisesJer GamesJewel CaddyJill KoenigKim and JasonKirsty Dunphey – speaker, author, entrepreneur, retired at 27Leisure LabLille Punkin’ ReviewsLisa Marie Dias DesignsLuluMagic Vacation VillasMary Jo RulnickMederma for scarsMelissa RobertsMeryl Evans – Content MavenMighty MugsMike CavarocMillion Dollar Pet PixMorris Green CleanNathan RiceNetLink WebNika’s CulinariaNo Full StopOlive Oil PassionOn Target Media GroupOrganize & SimplifyOrganized OutcomesMiloPersonal Self DefensePublicity HoundRaven’s RoadsRemarkable CommunicationRetreat and HealSea Slugs! Anime BlogSecure DeliverySeekZapSEO AwareSEO BookSimple Kind Of LifeSKY FM RadioSmallFuel MarketingSoy CoffeeStarFeederStogie ReviewStreet Smart MarketingTamra EngleTea Party GirlThe Bargain QueenThe Collecting LifeThe Essentials of Tradingthe Palmetto GuesthouseThe WellCenter GroupTim “Gonzo” GordonTime For Coffee and TeaTreo TodayTruffle TreeViral ElectronicsWall Street FighterZach Everson[Geeks are Sexy] Technology News1 Cool FileAngela WillsAnother Old Movie BlogArtisan’s Cup (Teas)Associated ContentAuthor Media TrainingBabble SoftBack in Skinny JeansBarefoot PartiesBazBest Hawaii Vacation BlogBetter WallpaperBlog About Your BlogBlog LouderBlogFluxBlogging FingersBlogging TipsBook Test OnlineBVT ProductsCenter of MuseCheap ShooterChitikaChristina PerdueColor ThemesContest BloggerContest QueenCory MillerDavid AireyDerek BeaucheminDisplayLinkdistilled: pure website expertiseEgg Marketing BlogExplore Life BlogFashionista TVFree Money FinanceFreelance Writing JobsFreezing HotGeeky SpeakyGenealogy Reviews OnlineGood DoggieGroovy VegetarianGrown Up Geek

Readers – lastly I want to thank each and every person who participated in this last week whether they linked up, entered or patiently stood by and patiently allowed the craziness to take over ProBlogger for the last few days. Without your participation this event would have been boring. I was overwhelmed by the responses of many of you – some of you brought me to tears (in laughter) at your entries and I wish that I had more prizes to give away to reward you all.

While this competition was about celebrating the last 3 years of ProBlogger and creating a little buzz around this blog – ultimately it was my attempt at giving something back to you the ProBlogger reader community. ProBlogger.net is really nothing without those who read and participate in it – I hope you enjoyed this past week as much as I have.

One final Giveaway for Everyone (well 3000 of you)

OK – I promised one more giveaway. This one is one that I think everyone who wants to be a part of will hopefully be able to get in on the act of.

The giveaway is simple – SKY.fm Radio are offering a free 6 month Premium Upgrade (value at just under $30) for the first 3000 people who email them. To qualify you need to have a blog that’s been going for 1 month. To qualify simply email the URL of your blog to [email protected]

This giveaway will be closed off by SKY.fm in 30 days or after the first 3000 winners – whichever comes first.

This is it – The last 8 hour giveaway!

problogger-birthday-bash.jpg
Well ladies and gents, this is the absolute final 8 hour giveaway in the ProBlogger Birthday Bash! Can you believe it?

What we’ve got here is a pretty random mix of prizes, and we’re ready to get on with the giving!

Prizes

How To Enter

  • All winners chosen at random. One comment per person – duplicates will be deleted prior to draw.
  • If you’ve already one something from a previous giveaway, please don’t enter this one (unless we said it was okay on the other one).
  • Leave a comment below, with our last keyword of the giveaway: “Random8″ (This helps us through moderation… don’t worry if you misspell it or forget it by mistake – but try to remember or we might lose ya!)
  • This giveaway ends at 4am on Monday October 8 (New York, USA time)

Our last 24 hour giveaway is still going on, so if you’re interested in business and life, go check it out.

Look forward to a final post from Darren to wrap up the whole thing (yep, we’ll have one special last giveaway that all can win!) sometime at the end of the 24 hour giveaway.

I also just wanted to say thank you to everyone thus far – you’ve been great, and most of you have welcomed me to ProBlogger for the giveaway in the most wonderful of ways! Thank you so much! ~ Lara

Update – We’ve just closed this competition. We’ll be in touch with the winners and sponsors in the coming hours. Stay tuned for one last post and competition in the coming hour or so.

It’s a “Go With” kind of giveaway!

problogger-birthday-bash.jpgWe’re running a 24-hour giveaway here that offers a $2,000 marketing package to one lucky winner who takes the time to write a brand new post that’s a review of something. Definitely check that out, since it ends on Monday morning (New York, USA) but in the mean time, we’re running this 8-hour giveaway to send out all our remaining business/marketing/life coaching prizes!

I’m going to encourage those interested to enter BOTH, as there is only one winner for the big prize, but we have 10 prizes and 23 total winners on this one! Yes, if you win here, you can’t be eligible to win that bigger one, but it’s something, right? And we’re almost done with the giveaways (only one more 8 hour one after this, and a surprise giveaway at the end) so if you haven’t won something yet, there’s no time like the present to give it a try!

Okay, enough babbling…

The Prizes

As you can see, some of these are directly related to your website or business, and others are geared toward YOU as a person. These things go hand-in-hand, especially for entrepreneurs and startups, because when you start off, you ARE your business. I’m very excited about these prizes, being a business owner myself and knowing how important it is to balance these things out in life and get a little help where you need it.

Anyway, here’s the deal…

How To Enter

  • All winners will be chosen at random.
  • This one will be open until 8pm (New York, USA time) October 7th.
  • You may not win if you’ve already won a prize elsewhere (unless we’ve said so on that particular post already that it’s okay).
  • While we’d love to be able to let you pick your prizes on these, it’s just way too hectic to be able to do so. Prize distribution will be random.
  • Once a particular post closes, we will notify both the sponsor and the winner so that you may work out the details of the prize distribution.
  • All you have to do is leave a comment below – Make sure you include “BusinessLife” in it to help us with moderation.

There’s only one more 8 hour giveaway after this, and it’s pretty “random” in terms of prizes, but this is our last batch of business related items. If you’re NOT interested in business stuff, save your entry for the next one (some of these next items will make great gifts for yourself or others and yes, the holidays are NOT far away).

Update

This one’s over gang – head on over to our final 8 hour Birthday Bash Giveaway, and thank you all for participating! Winners and sponsors will be notified soon!

Last 24 Hour Giveaway – Review Something!

In this last 24 hour giveaway problogger-birthday-bash.jpgIttyBiz, the offshoot blog of Itty Bitty Marketing, is offering a prize of their premium $2000 marketing package, customized for your blog or home business.

This is a completely customized package. IttyBiz will provide whatever YOUR blog or business needs to start achieving success, however you define it. Whether you’re looking to increase your affiliate income, jumpstart your conversion rate, make yourself an authority in your niche, sell more ebooks or get more customers for your business, they’ll make a custom package just for you.

Some of the things they offer include:

- Blog audits
- Ad campaigns
- Publicity campaigns
- Copywriting
- Social network coaching and strategy
- SEO editing, coaching, and writing
- Custom article writing
- Domain name analysis and brainstorming
- Theme coaching
- Link building campaigns
- Creating linkbait
- Offline marketing

How To Enter

This one’s pretty simple: Write a review post on your blog, and link to it in the comments here. You can review anything you want, a movie, a website, a book, a cafe, a TV show, an e-book….. it could be a new flavor of chewing gum for all we care. It has to be a BRAND NEW POST – Don’t just change the date on an old one (we’re on to that one) and if you post an old one, we’ll delete your comment because it will weaken the draw pool for the valid entries.

Just write the review (we’d prefer it to be more than a paragraph of course) and put the link in your comment below.

Oh, and don’t forget the “I’m not a spammer” keyword: “IttyBitty”.

  • Winner will be chosen at random and notified by email.
  • This one will be open until 9am (New York, USA time) Monday October 8th.
  • You may not win if you’ve already won a prize elsewhere (unless we’ve said so on that particular post already that it’s okay).

This is the last 24 hour giveaway – and it’s worth $2000 – so get involved! We’re looking forward to reading your reviews!

Update

Please guys – Read the rules for entry.

Only NEW reviews. We ran into this issue on another giveaway, and I’m going to have to delete anything that’s old so we don’t weaken the total number of entries for the draw.

It’s not fair that one person can link to something they already wrote while another person has to take the time to write something to enter. So ALL entries need to be brand new posts. I’ve already deleted 6 entries within the first hour and a half.

This is a HUGE prize, guys. $2,000! We have to be fair.

Update

This one’s over gang – thanks again, and check out the final post from Darren (which includes one very last giveaway – good for 3,000 of you) and thank you all for participating!

Gourmet living, people… Another giveaway!

problogger-birthday-bash.jpgIt’s time for another giveaway, gang! (Are you staying on top of things by subscribing to the RSS feed? The party’s ending soon!)

Thanks to all who entered the “ComputerGaming” giveaway- we’ll get those winners picked in the next few hours and will notify everyone via email. For now, on with the prizes in this next Gourmet Giveaway!

Gourmet olive oil? A “truffle tree”? Soy coffee? Cigars? Any of these things interest you and you’d best get to commenting below!

Before we give you details of this giveaway (below) – here are a few things to keep in mind:

  • All winners will be chosen at random.
  • This one will be open until 12 noon (New York, USA time) October 7th.
  • You may not win if you’ve already won a prize elsewhere (unless we’ve said so on that particular post already that it’s okay).
  • While we’d love to be able to let you pick your prizes on these, it’s just way too hectic to be able to do so. Prize distribution will be random.
  • Once a particular post closes, we will notify both the sponsor and the winner so that you may work out the details of the prize distribution.
  • Keep in mind that there are only 2 more of these 8-hour giveaways after this one. If you think you might want ANY of these, make sure you enter. (We do have one more 24-hour one coming up as well).

So with all that said, here’s the list:

Make sure you put “GourmetLiving” in your comment so we can find you if Akismet picks you up… ;)

Update

This one’s closed – make sure you check the Birthday Prize Giveaway category for what’s going on now – we’re reaching the end of the celebration!!

Computers, Video and Gaming Giveaway! Eight hours and the clock’s ticking!

problogger-birthday-bash.jpgThanks to all who entered the travel giveaway! Now that’s over, we’ve got some nifty computer / video gear and gaming stuff (even casino gaming!) to hand out. Yes, I know, this is one thing that many of you have been waiting for!

Before we give you details of this giveaway (below) – here are a few details:

  • All winners will be chosen at random.
  • This one will be open until 4am New York, USA time October 7th.
  • You may not win if you’ve already won a prize elsewhere (unless we’ve said so on that particular post already that it’s okay).
  • While we’d love to be able to let you pick your prizes on these, it’s just way too hectic to be able to do so. Prize distribution will be random.
  • Once a particular post closes, we will notify both the sponsor and the winner so that you may work out the details of the prize distribution.
  • Keep in mind that there are only 3 more of these 8-hour giveaways after this one. If you think you might want ANY of these, make sure you enter. (We do have one more 24-hour one coming up as well).

So with all that said, here’s the list:

All you have to do to enter to win one of these prizes is leave a comment with “ComputerGaming” in it somewhere to help us with moderating.

This one ends at 4am New York, USA time on October 7, 2007.

At that time, comments will be closed, and winners will be drawn at random and notified.

Check out the other great prizes up for grabs during the giveaway!
Make sure you subscribe to the RSS feed to keep up to date on what’s going on!

Update – we’ve just closed this giveaway. Winners and sponsors will be notified of the results in the coming hours. Thanks to everyone for entering!

There’s only a few more giveaways to go – the next one is kind of Gourmet – you can see it here.

Like to travel? We sure hope so…

problogger-birthday-bash.jpgPlease pay VERY close attention to this 8 hour special, gang.

We’ve got some travel related stuff to give away, and I can’t stress enough how important it is that you are sure you can and will be able to use the prize if you should win it. Please don’t enter if you’re not going to be able to definitely use the prize, okay? There’s still a lot more coming up, and plenty else for you to win.

Prizes

None of these include airfare or any other necessary travel arrangements.

The subscription to the Home Exchange Site provides you the opportunity to “swap homes” with others on the site located just about anywhere in the world – just like in the movie The Holiday (romance not guaranteed!).

In this giveaway, you are actually REQUIRED to tell us in the comments which prize you’d like (because not everyone can travel to all of the given locations), and if the random number generator happens to choose two people who have chosen the same prize, we will award it to the first person and re-draw for another number.

So leave anything you like in the comments, but include one of the following:

  • HouseSwap
  • FloridaCondo
  • SedonaRetreat
  • PuertoRicoBB

If you’ve already won a prize in the giveaway, you may not win one of the above unless we’ve already said otherwise in that prize post.

This one ends on Saturday October 6 at 8pm (EST – New York, USA).

Update

Winners and sponsors have all been notified by email. Thanks for participating, and keep checking the Birthday Prize Giveaway category for more chances to win!

While We’re on the Topic of Charity…

problogger-birthday-bash.jpgThis one’s really special, gang… As you all know, Darren’s really big on charities, and does quite a bit to help out and promote them here on ProBlogger. Also, we noticed that many of you mentioned charities when you responded on the “If I had a million dollars…” post.

In the call for prizes, we received many very generous offers, but here is where you, dear reader, get a chance to really shine. We’ve got $1,000 to send to YOUR favorite charity! Courtesy of FreeMoneyFinanace.Com

Because this is such a special kind of prize to “win”, we’ve got a really special way of handing out the task for eligibility.

How To Enter

In the next 24 hours write a post on your blog about your favorite charity (Sponsor Stipulation: It must be tax deductible under US laws.) and link to it in the comments below. Please put “charitypost” after your links, to help us with the spam filters. We’ll once again randomly choose one entry to win, and will notify both you and FMF of the notice. I’ll also close off comments here when the entry period ends, and will post the winning charity in an update at the bottom of this post.

The really really good news? This one’s open to everyone, regardless whether or not you’ve already won something in the giveaway. :)

We will make one additional requirement: Your post needs to have some weight to it. You cannot simply write a post that says, “My favorite charity is ABC, and it does XYZ, so you should go donate to it.” Give it a little thought – motivate your readers to take some action and blog from your heart. For some inspiration on what would constitute a “weighty” post about a charity, check out these written by our very own ProBlogger:

So have at it, folks! You have until 9am (EST – New York, USA) on Sunday, October 7 to finish it up and put the link in the comments. I know that I personally can’t wait to read about all the really great charities out there that mean so much to you all!

Update

Thanks for the entries – There are some really fantastic charities written here! I applaud all of you who took the time to focus on this one for the good of others. :)

Entries are closed now, and we will be randomly choosing a winner. Once we verify the charity, we’ll send the winner the details.

Thanks again, everyone who participated!

Final

I’m pleased to announce that the Bloggeroo, writer of the post about the charity RESOLVE, was selected by the random generator to win the $1,000 donation from FreeMoneyFinance!

I want to thank each and every one of you who selflessly took the time to write up a post about your favorite charity, and I hope that this giveaway has at the very least brought some well deserved attention to some really fantastic organizations.