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How to run a blog competition.

I was a bit hesitant about sharing this, as it was not my finest moment in life – but I want to prevent you from…

blog giveaway, rules, blog rules, blogging tips
I was a bit hesitant about sharing this, as it was not my finest moment in life – but I want to prevent you from making the mistakes that I made and share the rules and guidelines to running a competitions to those that are as oblivious to them as I was
A Blog Lesson Learnt the Hard Way.
On my most recent competition I wrote a disclaimer. The disclaimer said ‘Any entries from competition accounts will be disqualified’. The competition was live for a week or so, with loads of promotion on Twitter and Facebook. 
Ya’ll were loving it and I was enjoying promoting this item. The products were fab and gave me plenty of ideas to blog about! The brand were lovely even wanted to work with me in future. It was a win for all! I was feeling confident about blogging and very excited and motivated.
One evening, I noticed I was getting a lot of traffic from a particular website. That website was one that was dedicated to people that seek out competitions and offers. I saw this traffic and these entries as ‘spam’ and lumped all these people together in a giant ugly box of greedy people wanting free things. 
Without even thinking that people from this site that had entered my competition probably followed on Twitter account, I tweeted out about how I was annoyed that my link had been posted on these sites.
I then proceeded to have a good old chin wag with some of my twitter/blogger friends who very much shared the same opinion as me. These spammers, and had no right to join my competition. 
I had no idea that this would probably turn into my most frustrating/hardest day as a blogger. 
blog giveaway, rules, blog rules, blogging tips

I joined the sites and requested that the posts be removed from their forums. Once the posts were removed, I instantly started receiving some nasty tweets from a few users that referred to themselves as ‘compers’. These tweets were retweeted, spreading the word faster and inviting others to join in. And the did.

I’m an adult and I can take a bit of negativity across twitter, but the most frustrating thing was when they started tweeting the company that were working with me on the giveaway, saying things like ‘this is not the best site to advertise your product’ and ‘she doesn’t like people entering your giveaways’.
That morning, I had received a message from Sarah of Life in a Breakdown, and a tweet from another blogger explaining that the disclaimer around disqualifying ‘competition accounts’, or limited a competition as such as against ASA regulations. 
Against WHAT???? I know. I had never heard of it either. 
Apparently there are a whole set of rules you should adhere to when hosting a competition. And as insane as it sounds, even if you buy something out of your own pocket and want to hold a competition on your blog – you cannot disqualify a certain ‘group’ of people.
Anyway, more about that in a bit. Let’s get back on track.
So yes, Sarah and I started chatting about the whole thing and I discovered that she was a ‘comper’ as well as a blogger, as were tonnes of other people. I discovered that a lot of compers were regulars to blogs, some used their partners twitter accounts to enter as they didn’t have their own, some compers even became regulars to blogs that they have found through competitions. 

It then reminded me that my friend who influenced me to start this blog. She only created hers after becoming a addicted to some blogs she found by searching for competitions. I enjoyed reading hers, then skinnedcartree was born. 
I slowly found my opinion on the whole matter changing – I honestly thought I was doing the right thing but not allowing ‘comp’ accounts in my giveaway and was protecting my site from spam and fake accounts, as well as the company running the giveaway. I formed this opinion after seeing the same disclaimer on other blogs. 
I also discovered that most compers were just people too – just me, like you, like your Mum and Dad and enjoy having a cheeky chance at winning something. Yes, there are a select few that can be mean, rude, abusive and outspoken. But there are bloggers that can be like that, too. In fact, I’d be willing to bet my bottom dollar that within every community, nationality, group and race etc – there will be a few bad eggs. 
Let’s look at some of the pros for letting ‘comper’s enter your competitions:
  • Backlinks from sites with high page ranks.
  • More entries to your giveaways.
  • More followers to your blog and social networks.
  • More engagement on your blog and social networks.
  • Potential for regular readers. 
  • Increase in traffic.
  • Increase in unique views.
  • More traffic to the brands site.
  • More social network followers/engagement to the brand.
  • Winners are likely to boast that have won via Twitter/forums.
A few hours after my posts were removed by the admins, they appeared again. I had decided to not contact them this time and let them enter. 
I have noticed that I’ve gotten more likes on Facebook posts, more liked posts on bloglovin and favourites/retweets on twitter since doing so! So it can be beneficial to the growth of your blog.
blog giveaway, rules, blog rules, blogging tips

The legal stuff.

Who knew that if you wanted to give something away on your blog, you had to follow rules? It may be obvious to some – but others, like me, it was something that never occurred to me.
The Rules:
1. You cannot exclude somebody for being a comper, it is against the ASA (Advertising Standards Authority)/CAP code and you could be reported to the IPM (Institute of Promotional Marketing). Apparently they are getting a lot stricter on bloggers and as compers and bloggers are becoming more aware of this, more blogs are being reported.
2. Please refer to CAP 8.2 which can be found here for rules regarding comping. The whole CAP can be found following that link for any blogger/comper to read.  
3. You must include when the competition finishes by giving a date and time. You cannot extend or cut this time short.
4. Describe what the prize is and how many of them they are. If you are in the US, you need to include a retail value.
5. Mention any exclusions – such as locations if it is not an international giveaway and age restrictions.
6. You must allow at least 28 days from the time you announce the winner for them to respond. This is deemed as a fair timescale according to the ASA.
7. Explain how to enter, describing which entries are mandatory and which are compulsory.
8. Explain how many times each person can enter, for example : one entry per household, or one entry per person.
9. State how the winner is picked – at random, voting or judging.
10. State when the winner will be informed and do not announce it on social media etc until the winner has been contacted via e-mail, giving them the time in which they have to respond. If you don’t get a response, try a DM, Facebook message or an @mention. 
11. State when the price will be delivered.
12. You should state who the promoter (you) and who the sponsor is (a company).
13. Finally – if you are going to announce the winners name, you also should state that in your terms and conditions.

Quick note! It’s against Facebook’s TOS to have an entry that asks people to share something on their personal timeline, or on their friends and can get your page banned for a set amount of time or completely removed if reported..
Not convinced?

If you still do not want you competitions posted on these sites, there is usually an admin on the site, or a person on twitter that you can contact to be added to a list that insures your site will not be linked to in the future.
Lessons learnt:
  • I still have a lot of learn about blogging.
  • Don’t judge people as a whole.
  • Do your research.
  • Social networks such as twitter is a powerful (and public) site.
Sarah and I both decided to write our opinions and thoughts on this matter as a way to make bloggers more aware of the rules.
You can view her post here.

Other posts about working with brands you might be interested in reading:
Why you should get paid for your blog posts.
When to say No to sponsored posts.
How to Write a Blog Pitch.
Writing a Blog Pitch: The whys, whens and barriers. 

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  1. This is very true and sorry for your experience I guess is a lesson learn for all of us. My giveaway I do not make any media follow mandatory to the participant due to I want someone to win the giveaway not only the ones that follow. Great post and thank you for alerting us.

    1. Yes, I do this also! It’s best to make the only mandatory entry a free entry, or post a comment, I think!

  2. Oh so sorry for what you went through Corinne, have no idea! Must be pretty frustrating. Hope things are better now..well I think with blogging lessons learnt will never stop, u have one everyday, at least u know how act in the future with promoted competitions. Kisses dear xo

  3. i always learn so much from you!! thank you for sharing all of these lessons that you learn about blogging. so helpful!

  4. OMG that much fuss for one disclaimer. Reading your post made me realise that there are still so many things that I don’t know about blogging..
    I never knew that there actually are some rules to be followed while you enter a giveaway
    So informative, thanks for this love post
    Keep in touch

  5. I didn’t realize all the rules that went into hosting giveaways, and I’ve hosted a ton of them on my site since I’ve been blogging. But I do get your initial reasons for wanting to exclude certain people from entering. Sometimes they really just do it to try to win something for free, and then once they don’t win they just unfollow. But rules are rules. Great, informative post.

  6. Surely if it’s your blog and your money funding the prize, you should be able to do as you wish! Very interesting post and I’m sure there are many mixed opinions on this. x

  7. what a fantastic post. Im a “comper” and before I started entering competitions I’d hardly read any blogs now I follow loads and enjoy reading them very much. Hopefully your post can help other bloggers see the benefits of “compers” helping advertise their blog and giveaways. 🙂

  8. Interesting to read all about the ins and outs of this; although I’ve never considered holding a giveaway/competition, I’ve been aware it’s bound by lots of different rules but I didn’t realise quite how many there actually were!!

    Great post detailing on your own experiences and well done on turning it into a positive by educating the rest of us 🙂

    I’m interested to know if you will be holding any others after your experiences with this one?

    Mars @ Curling Stones for Lego People

    1. Yes, I am going to be holding further giveaways – but now I am more aware of the right way to do it.

  9. I came her from lifeinabreakdown blog. Brilliant post and it takes alot to say’ hang on i was wrong’.

  10. oh my gosh. I didn’t know that there were so many rules as to host giveaways containing prizes from money out of my own pocket! will keep this post in mind when I next consider hosting one!

  11. Wow I had no idea it was that bad. Does this happen to people that use raffle copter for giveaways as well? Thanks for sharing~ Rachel xo

  12. I couldn’t even imagine that you have to know so many things for running a competition!
    Your post is amazing, and it will be really useful in the future!

    Hope you are well and happy!
    Lots of kisses

  13. I have only run one giveaway on my blog and I enjoyed reading your findings. I have one person who didn’t respond and I gave two or three weeks to respond before announcing another winner. It looks like I’ll have to give the lady more time.. 🙂

  14. interesting. i usually offer just 48 hours to claim a prize.. I send the winners and email.
    though i have seen same blogs make you come back and check to see if you’ve won or not..
    and i’m pretty sure 75% of FB giveaways are based on sharing this post to enter.
    some good information

    1. It’s so strange when you think about it, like, why should there be rules if you want to give something away? I think most people assume they can do what they want as it’s their prize/blog etc. Which is what I did.

  15. This is so true Corinne! What a great post! When I first started, I only wanted dedicated readers to win. Sometimes they would and sometimes they wouldn’t. Lately, I’ve found that people “new” to the site stay. A couple unfollow, but for the most part my numbers have increased. I don’t do a lot of giveaways but only now and then. I didn’t know about the mandatory entries! I’ll change that. Thanks for sharing this! It should definitely be read by all bloggers. Very informative!

  16. I used to be a “comper” and still do enter competitions from time to time as a little hobby (who doesn’t like free stuff hey) but my god some people in that community are so horrible and vicious when something doesn’t go their way. I’ve had friends who also comp bullied for there winning streaks. One girl who my friend knows had compers ringing her works to try and get her in trouble for comping on her breaks just so they had more of a chance of winning. Another friend won an xbox and they tried to get it took off her because she apparently didn’t follow the rules (all complete nonsense and out of jealousy)

    I can see why bloggers get frustrated with this as its like the compers are almost sabotaging all there hard work. Like you said though, it gains your blog a lot more attention… which is never a bad thing.

    Regardless of all this I host my giveaways to everyone. I’d like to think that everyone who enters is the same and has every right to win as much as the next person. But I do also think (and this is just my opinion) that if you take the time out and money to host your own giveaways then you should be able to make your own rules.

    I didn’t know there were so many rules that went with hosting so thanks for the tips. Great post!

    Sammeh 🙂

    1. Free things are fab, but unfortunately some people can get a bit nasty when free things or money are up for grabs. I’m sorry to hear that your friends had some bad experiences!

  17. There are so many rules associated with giveaways, and when you start taking all the different countries rules into account, it can become especially overwhelming. That’s why I prefer to limit any giveaway that I might do to the U.S–there’s still a lot of rules to follow but it’s easier to just deal with one country’s set of rules!

  18. Corinne, I’m glad you decided to share this…it’s brilliant and informative. I was getting annoyed with compers too, but life’s life. Three won cases in my logitech giveaway and have yet to claim their prize though 🙁 yours is on the way! xx

    1. I know, it’s mental how many rules there are – I wonder what will be the next lesson I learn. Hopefully not the hard way this time!

    1. Aw, that’s sad to hear! It’s not that hard if you follow the rules. Plus once you have done it right one time, you can use the same terms and conditions in future giveaways.

  19. Thanks for your post. I’m not a blogger but am a part-time comper. I do it as a hobby and have had some lovely wins from bloggers who run competitions. The thing I hate is when prize givers don’t e-mail, tweet, Facebook or try and contact you at all – we’re not telepathic! And I hate those comps where you have to claim within a really short time period – like 48 hours. Most people (I imagine) do it as a hobby and are not at their computers all day, every day, and might be on holiday, or have a period of ill-health.
    Also, I don’t just follow a blog but sometimes read the posts as well – those that interest me – and comment when I want to. 🙂

    1. It’s great to hear you read and comment those blogs you enjoy!

      I always contact by e-mail, if no response then send a tweet/facebook message asking them to check their e-mails. I’ve never had anyone not respond straight away, I’m pretty sure most would after a tweet at least!

  20. i admit, i saddens me when someone who has only been to my blog once for a giveaway wins as opposed to an actual reader. it saddens me when my numbers drop once a giveaway is over. but i do giveways to promote my blog and as a way to give back to my readers. these rules were so helpful!!

    1. Yeah, it can be a bit upsetting. You could always give something to one of your existing followers if you want to give back that way – just by picking one at random!

  21. Wow thanks so much for sharing Corinne and sorry for your hazzle. Most lessons are learnt the hard way it seems:( Thanks again! xo Sabina OceanblueStyle

  22. Wow, I literally had no idea! I will really think about all this more if I do a giveaway! Thanks for the guidelines!

    A Fickle Fox

  23. Such an interesting read and nice to hear a fresh viewpoint…I don’t like the idea of people entering just to win and then unfollowing straight away, but then again, anyone can do that, even fellow bloggers…so it’s definitely a difficult line, but it sounds like the rules are pretty clear. Definitely keeping this in mind for when I run my first giveaway. Thanks again! Danielle x

  24. Well done on being so honest about this, and open-minded enough to change your mind. I have heard some people moaning about compers who win prizes then sell them on, but really once a winner has won a prize then whose business is it what they do with it? Maybe they need the money more than the prize.

    I love running giveaways on my blogs. We bloggers tend to get a lot of cool perks anyway and a giveaway is a nice way to give something back to your readers.

    1. I guess it’s nice to think those that get the prize would actually us it and enjoy it rather than sell it!

  25. Great post! I’m both a blogger who hosts competitions, and a comper who enters blog comps – and I can see it from both sides. On the one hand as a blogger, you want existing, loyal readers to have the best shot at entering – but on the other hand, it’s great seeing the number of entries to your competitions going up, and seeing that some of those who follow you on Bloglovin, Twitter and Facebook as a result of the competition will interact with you in the future and become regular readers themselves.

    I’d never unfollow straight away, but know that some compers will e.g. stop following on Twitter because when you’re a regular comper you can quite easily reach the limit as to how many people you can follow!

    Ultimately, though, with dedicated compers entering your competitions, you’re increasing the likelihood of building your own following, and getting the competition prize provider’s message out to far more people than you otherwise would have done. And that’s got to count for something 🙂 x

    1. I didn’t even realise there was a limit on Twitter! Unfollows do happen all the time, I know I unfollow people if they Tweet too much or I find they are irrelevant to my interests.

  26. Thanks for sharing your experience, it’s easy to follow what other bloggers do and think that’s the right way, rather than searching the rules of these things.

  27. Thanks for this post. I am what you would call a ‘comper’ but I have never unfollowed a blog once I follow it, and I always subscribe by email too so it means I have discovered many awesome blogs thanks to those emails dropping into my inbox. I have especially enjoyed finding some really great parenting blogs and now regularly read and comment, as well as enter giveaways. I will only ever enter for something I want to win, never anything to sell on, but I know not all compers are like this. I didn’t realise quite how many rules there were. I have only come across one very public slanging match on twitter between bloggers and compers thankfully so I hope this doesn’t happen too often. I also read sarah’s post on Life in a breakdown (which is what led me here) and I want to thank both of you for taking the time to write such an iformative post for both ‘groups’ so to speak. I hope you have a more positive experience in future 🙂

    1. I don’t think anyone wants a public slanging match, it seems it’s just a few that ruin it! I never thought a ‘comper’ would actually follow or read the blogs, so thanks for commenting and giving me your point of view.

  28. i have just read your blog through a friend on facebook as I am a mother I work and also comp to give my 7 kids things that I could not afford through work alone and wanted to say how lovely to see someone with the negative opion turned around since comping I have read some fab blogs which if I hadn’t comped I would never have found,and I have met some fab and I mean well fab people I will be joining your blog so well done xx

    1. I’m sure more bloggers would change their mind if they understood it more and read this post. I hope I’ve managed to change some peoples opinions of compers!

      Thanks for your lovely comment, and happy comping 😉

  29. I’m a ‘comper’ who actually hates to be labelled as such. I’m an intelligent person in a managerial job who mainly enters competitions at night in bed. It may help to hear a bit of my story…

    I was widowed at the age of 42 when my husband died of leukaemia. Jump forward a couple of years and my son was living with his girlfriend and my daughter had gone to uni. Despite having siblings etc living nearby and some very good friends with whom I could have meals out, cinema trips, coffee etc etc, night time is extremely lonely. There is only so much TV you can watch, games you can play, books you can read before you try to find something else and for me that became competitions. I’ve only been doing them for a couple of months and don’t actually enter that many, but I do it regularly so have the comper label.

    I’m not ready for another relationship yet so I will continue to enter competitions for prizes that I’d like to win, but I will also continue to find some great blogs (I have cooked so many things from recipes on blogs it’s unreal!!), chat with some great people and hopefully not be lugged with a label 🙂

    ‘Compers’ are people too and in my limited experience they are often very nice people. Like all aspects of life though you get the good and the bad, but judging a minority is how wars are started lol! I know that one or two prolific compers, however, are disabled people unable to get out of the house and for them it is an escape. Usually people have a back story for all aspects of life, even blogging!

    Anyway… I’ll stop waffling now and wish you happy blogging Corinne 🙂

  30. Hey, i’ve come across your blog from bloggerforums and just read this post. Very interesting post in the way your opinion changed. A few months ago I started doing a lot of comping (lacking lately due to laziness!) and despite me entering competitions I could see how it would annoy bloggers. I then read somewhere how it could actually be in their favour. It opened me up to different brands and more importantly I started following a few of the blogs. It’s the same really of the opinion of compers entering companies competitions. I am now aware of websites and products I had never heard of before. This has turned into an essay really so i’ll stop now! Thank you for the post. 🙂

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