People are always asking me why I don't enter blog article writing contests.
In my analog business, I thrive on competition. But these "blogging contests" seem to be getting a little over the top.
IMHO The true spirit of competition has given way... to a "popularity contest" mentality... the same line of thinking that has, in recent months, seen high-quality performers booted off TV's "American Idol" by hordes of fans and auto-dialers calling in votes for lesser-talented contestants, while producers have been accused making sure certain candidates win.
The root of the blog contest problem involves allowing social networking in as a factor in determining a blog post winner.
It's a mis-step not unlike when Technorati's credibility disappeared overnight, when, in 2005 or so the service proclaimed that "MySpace pages are blogs" (which they never were) : T'rati is still around but they lost a lot of respect and a considerable degree of clout when they made that foolish move! (We all know the status of myspace in 2012!)
Take BlogEngage, for example.
I enjoy working with Brian of BlogEngage. It's a great service for Bloggers! Brian is a great marketer and a smart fellow (and hopefully he won't banish me when he reads this) , but I have issues with the service's latest contest initiative, which counts among its rules & regulations: “A high value will be placed on number of Tweets and overall social media promotion.”
In my opinion (I'm not trying to step on anybody's toes here) it’s wayway way too easy for the self-proclaimed info-gurus and $27 pdf-experts to game that system, and believe me I have seen gamers action. For instance, you can hop on fiverr and buy ten-thousand specific tweets. You can arrange to create a twitter account and grab 5-thousand followers who will re-tweet a tweet of your choice. You can buy mentions on Facebook with a "guarantee they will not be regarded as spam."
Correct me if I'm wrong, but I don't think there exists any online police department BlogEngage could employ to monitor for contest fraud.
So, how would I run any given blog article-writing contest?
Glad you asked!
I believe that a HIGH VALUE should be placed on the product, not on the amount of propaganda circulating about it. Judge the post on its own merit, not by the number of tweets or mentions or likes!!!
I'm NOT saying you shouldn't enter any of these contests. You SHOULD BE AWARE of the rules and regulations involved, and you should also know that the $27 gurus (and their followers) KNOW HOW TO MANIPULATE THEM to their advantage!
It's been rumoured that some of the gurus have cut deals with their affiliates so that the affiliates will enter the contests - the guru will slip them the techniques to game the system - and whatever prize the affiliate wins will be split 50-50!
The SmartBloggerz contest rules are sketchy: "AVOID using any such marketing techniques : popup ads, email blast to list which you don’t own, proxies, purchasing votes, traffic from PTC sites etc. If you are found to be using any such method then you will be kicked out of the contest. SO please confirm whether your marketing tactics which are similar to these are allowed or not by contacting me. Although you can use any safe advertising methods like Adwords, Facebook etc. to market your post."
HEY SMARTBLOGGERZ! YOU ALSO NEED A NEUTRAL, RESPECTABLE 3rd PARTY TO OUTSOURCE ONLINE "POLICING" DUTIES TO!
As far as I'm concerned, "safe" methods are just as "technique-y" - and what's the big difference between using Adwords and using PTC sites?
AdWords ads are displayed along with search results when someone searches Google using one of your keywords. Ads appear under 'Sponsored links' in the side column of a search page, and may also appear in additional positions above the free search results.
On PTC (Paid To Click) sites (Isabel marco, neobux, and buxout) you click ads and get paid per click. I guess the argument is that you have to really want to see an ad or a page to click through via Adwords, whereas PTC clickers are driven by the desire to make money...
And the difference between an email blast and using a tricked-out Facebook account (like the one from that darn girl who keeps trying to get me to sign up for "win an iPad" contests)? I deleted her last few appearances on my fbk account and now I wish I hadn't so I could give y'all a screen-grab!
Now Here's Something You'll Really Like!
BONUS! The best things in life (and on the net) are FREE! There is a great giveaway going on at the Traffic Generation Cafe Blog where you can win your own copy of Thesis Theme, as well as a 30-minute consultation with Ana Hoffman. Participating is very easy! Visit Thesis Theme giveaway page for more information.
Permission to reprint this blog post in whole or in part is hereby granted, provided that the author (or authors) and Dave Lucas are properly cited. Permission to reprint any comments below is granted only for those comments written by Dave Lucas and staff.