One of the popular misconceptions about most contests on the web is that people are providing something small for a chance at something huge in return. After reading Tyler Cruz’s post entitled “Effects of the Tyler vs Gyutae Contest” [link], I feel a little sick to my stomach with regards to blog contests.
Here is a bit from the article:
I ended up losing the competition and had to pay out $300, but I received 115 backlinks from 115 different blogs within an 11-day period. That works out to only $2.60 per blog, which is an absolute bargain. If you wanted to do this through PayPerPost or ReviewMe, you’d have to pay at least $10 for each post, totalling around $1,150.
And remember, around 95% of the blogs that voted for us were from “make money online” blogs, which means better targeted traffic and more related backlinks. If you tried to target those blogs through PayPerPost or ReviewMe, I don’t think you could get that type of volume within 11-days – it would probably take a few months, if not longer, and be much more expensive.
Basically, they took advantage of a wide audience of their peers, including myself, in order to gain large boosts for their blog in RSS subscribers, Alexa ranking and technorati ranking.
For me, this all leaves a bad taste in my mouth, and reminds me of the things I don’t like about the blogosphere. These guys didn’t do anything new, but Tyler presented the information in a way that my mind could easily digest, and I don’t like what I realized.
In any niche, there are only so many blogs that people will constantly and consistently read, subscribe to, or follow. By linking to the blogs involved in the contest, I am creating a situation where I could lose out readership to another blog in my niche.
I helped contribute to the growth of their blogs, and in return received very little. I might get a t-shirt out of it, but otherwise, what did participating in the contest do for this blog or for my audience other than exposing them to bloggers that I don’t necessarily want to endorse.
It is an interesting problem with contests, and I hope you will all appreciate this rant for what it is: an awakening. I hope that those of you that read this blog, won’t be underhanded with regards to your contests. Foster a community, growth and a positive change. Don’t just do things for your own good.
For those that find it hypocritical that I am writing about this, as I am currently running a contest to get a free domain. My contest is more about rewarding my current readers by creating a contest with a low barrier for entry, where theirs was about search engine marketing, building their brand off the backs of others, and getting links and traffic to allow them to boost their eventual income.