How NOT to a Host a Giveaway

How NOT to Host a Giveaway

As Christmas has been approaching, I have entered many giveaways in the past few weeks. Along with winning a few and being introduced to some great bloggers, I’ve come across a few “WHAT ARE YOU DOING?” giveaways. Here are a few pointers.
1. Use a site widget like Rafflecopter to keep track of entries.
1. Go to Rafflecopter. 2. Set up an account. 3. Set up the giveaway; enter in giveaway options and date. 4. Copy HTML. 5. Go to your blog post, switch it to TEXT instead of VISUAL. 6. Copy HTML.
Have the giveaway right on the blog post, and use something like Rafflecopter instead of “Comment below for your entry!” Rafflecopter leaves an easy way for you to contact them via email. Blogspot blogs, I’m looking at you – asking them to comment as the sole entry, and leaving no way for you to contact them without publicly putting out their email or sending it to their Gmail (Google account) when really, they don’t use their Gmail.
2. List the winner publicly when it’s over.
This adds a HUGE layer of credibility. Although I didn’t win, Sarah Smith did. And, it will automatically write Sarah Smith’s name down as Sarah S to protect her identity. Or on Instagram, tag the user. If you do this, I will more than likely enter future giveaways; as I know it’s not just some scam.
3. State rules clearly.
Specifically; date, shipping regulations, winner has 48 hours to claim their prize, etc.
4. Do not ask for people for their personal (mailing) address until they win.
I recently saw a giveaway ask for your name, email and home address to enter. The site looked like a blog, seemed popular, and had lots of entries. Rafflecopter already keeps track of names and emails so you are wasting your readers’ time.
5. Don’t have outrageous prizes.
Let me explain this one a bit. I recently saw a giveaway with a $1500 cash prize – with the bloggers chipping in $10-$25. They included multiple links from every blogger and they even had to have two giveaway widgets to fit everyone’s blog links. There was a possible 400(ish) entries. I only liked a few of the pages – the rest was crazy and the chances of winning were small. Instead of having 10 smaller giveaways with maybe each blogger promoting them, they had two FULL giveaway widgets and one winner. 10 smaller giveaways would have allowed for multiple winners making it more enticing, more attention for each blogger, and the prizes would still have been nice.
6. Have a limited number of participants.
For most people, 100 entry options is a huge turn-off. Don’t include all of your friend’s blogs (unless they chipped in for the giveaway) because most people don’t really care what your favorite blogs are. But even if they’ve chipped in for the giveaway, it goes back to #5 – don’t have crazy prizes for what could have been multiple prizes.
7. Have multiple winners (if possible) for excessively large cash amounts.
See above. And, don’t have people go through hoops for a $15 gift card. You shouldn’t have that many entry options for a $15 gift card.
8. Don’t spam, or look spammy.
Don’t add the giveaway entrants to any email lists unless you explicitly state you will. Add a nice photo of yourself to your sidebar, give it a blog-feel. If it feels Spammy or just a giveaway site, I’ll probably avoid it.
9. Avoid excess and unnecessary entries.
Social media, comments, traffic and referrals are all great giveaway options. Asking someone to find a “secret word” off a random site just for “fun” is a waste of time.
10. Instagram giveaways – please stop the giveaway loops every single weekend.
There are these giant loops of “TWENTY WINNERS you MUST be following all and LIKE all to win” and they are seriously every weekend non-stop. Requiring somebody to follow TWENTY people in an insane loop for ONE entry is nuts. And also, no shop I have ever seen publicly announces the winner, which takes me back to #2. These giveaways just seem very scammy to me. And, I don’t believe you will verify 20 shops and 20 likes. I did this once, and now I unfollow every shop who constantly does this.
11. Instagram giveaways – note that an account must be unprivated if you’re using a hashtag.
You won’t be able to see the entry if they are private.
12. Instagram giveaways – if you require reposting, make sure you have the directions on the image.
I recently saw a giveaway that did not have the giveaway directions (or the hashtag) on the image they were to repost. Please include this to make it easier.
This is all I got. Bloggers, feel free to add your own.


  1. Great post — I also note that at least one entry should be free, meaning you just click a free entry button (on Rafflecopter at least). Not only is it annoying to “have” to do something in order to unlock the entries — I just walk away from those giveaways — but it can also be considered to be running an illegal lottery to require people to pay you in some form (even liking a social media page as a mandatory entry) in order to enter the giveaway. (optional social media entries are ok.)

  2. I agree on the big numbers giveaways. I dont tend to like them or enter them. I’m running one right now, but I’ve got very mixed feelings on it, and don’t think I’ll do it again. I know some bloggers like them a lot and it increases their numbers, but…..

  3. This was awesomely helpful. I’m just now starting my blog and have been lining up my monthly calendars for an awesome blog launch starting May 1st….trying to find a legit way to not only increase traffic, interest, build a tribe…but establish credibility with giveaways of my favorite DIY, products, and of course, free goal setting material.
    This was very helpful!


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