Dear Mom Spark, A Fellow Blogger is Scamming Winners.

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Dear Mom Spark,

What do you do when a fellow blogger / product reviewer is scamming the “winners” of her “giveaways”?

I ask because it’s just happened to me.

I “won” from a fairly well known blogger only to discover that she doesn’t always mail the prize to the winner — prefering to make excuse after excuse. I finally contacted the sponsor of the giveaway and outed her.

I don’t feel bad for the scammer but the woman continues to offer ‘reviews / giveaways’ to unsuspecting victims.

Terri

Please leave a comment below to offer your advice to Terri.  Have you experienced the same issue?  You can share that, too.  Thank you for your help and participation!

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Amy Bellgardt

AMY BELLGARDT is a wife and mom of two boys, as well as founder and lead blogger at Mom Spark. Amy also manages Mom Spark Media, a social media marketing firm.

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189 Responses to “Dear Mom Spark, A Fellow Blogger is Scamming Winners.”

  1. #
    Caryn B — September 27, 2011 at 7:59 pm

    I have been running giveaways for over 4 years and I have to say that while it’s rare (given the amount of giveaways I’ve run and how long I’ve been running them) there are occasions when the sponsor simply does not follow through. It’s unfortunate and disappointing both for the winner and the blogger (and probably even more so for the blogger). The rare occasions when this has happened, I have bent over backwards to try to contact the pr rep, the company (if possible), and even other pr reps within the same agency. Sometimes the result is positive and they follow through, sometimes they don’t. When I have had an opportunity to send something else. I have. But I am shipping less and less items which means I don’t have extra items to send to winners should a company fail to follow through. I don’t like the responsibility of shipping items b/c then I worry about not having a tracking number etc. (or spending extra money to have a tracking number). Regardless, I tend to like to believe the best about people and while I’m sure this happens, I think it’s important to consider the rep’s failure to fulfill their promise. Also, sometimes reps change (which has happened to me) and then there is a delay because the new rep is having to get caught up to speed on what had taken place. Either way, if a blogger takes the time to run a giveaway, it likely means they are legit only b/c I would never put so much time and effort into running a giveaway without following through. They are very time-consuming but I know my readers enjoy them and I enjoy giving away items with brands that readers may not have ever had an opportunity to try (like the mattress I’m giving away right now! : ) Great post by the way….

    [Reply]

  2. #
    Caryn B — September 27, 2011 at 8:01 pm

    I should also mention that I always announce the winner directly on the giveaway post so there is no confusion as to who won….It’s at the top of each post in red : ) That has worked well and I don’t have to clutter my site with giveaway winner posts…..

    [Reply]

    • Jules from A Little Bite of Life replied: — September 27th, 2011 @ 8:11 pm

      @Caryn B, That is what I do too! (Not in red though, I just have a title UPDATE: and then the winner.

      [Reply]

      • michelle replied: — September 27th, 2011 @ 8:35 pm

        @Jules from A Little Bite of Life,

        I can’t tell you how many times sponsors don’t follow through or reply to emails and while we work hard to make sure everyone gets their prizes it can be difficult.

        Moving fwd. we are requiring brands to send a gift certificate so that the winner can contact them and redeem the prize. it is too complicated and makes us look like we are not following through when in deed we are! Our contest rules also state we are not responsible once it is shipped we can’t be it is not coming from us!!

  3. #
    Michelle B — September 27, 2011 at 8:03 pm

    I’ve won tons of giveaways/twitter parties that I haven’t received. But I’ve also received a lot. For me, it depends on the prize. Some giveaways I enter because I like the blogger or would like to try the prize. If I haven’t received it, I think about how important it is to me before contacting the blogger.
    I also wait 6 to 8 weeks before I say anything. I won a $50 Wags card that I have not received. I waited and then emailed. I usually wait another few weeks before I check back. Since there is a $50 Wags card on the line, I will pursue for a while since it’d be great to coupon with. :)
    That being said, she’s been great to work with and has answered every single email I’ve sent. So I don’t think it’s her. She has even offered to send me one out of her own pocket. I don’t know it if will get that far, I hope not. But I totally appreciated that she offered.

    [Reply]

    • Allison L. replied: — September 27th, 2011 @ 10:40 pm

      @Michelle B, Similar thing happened to me. “Won” a $20 CVS gift card back in April and after she said she was mailing it out on the day I won…I thought I’d get it within a week or 2, but gave it a month. Started emailing/fb messaging her and she finally replied and said she hasn’t heard from sponsor who was to mail it out…umm sounds fishy considering she originally told me SHE was mailing it out to me that same day I won. After several months of me contacting her, even offering to contact sponsor myself she stopped replying to all of my messages/emails and recently blocked me from being able to message her. At one point she said & I quote:

      “Hi there, so so sorry for the delay. I have been crazy busy with my blog and Amazon business. And of course its summer so the kids are all over the place! I did contact the company, I called them and personally asked them about it and they said sometimes it takes up to 12 weeks to receive a prize, HOWEVER if you don’t receive anything by the end of June contact me again and I will personally go buy the gift card and ship it to you because it’s terrible that it is taking so long. I do apologize about that, but sometimes these things happen when you’re dealing with busy sponsors. Thanks for being so patient. Best Regards! ”

      Yet that was the last I heard from her. I don’t expect her to go out and buy it for me if she isn’t at fault, but the whole thing is fishy, especially since she deleted her old blog and recently changed her web address for her other blog. & now she blocked me from her facebook/messaging her. It’s so frustrating because I was super excited to win and really needed it.

      Again, I wouldn’t think she was to blame if she hadn’t of told me in the beginning that SHE was mailing it out. How would she mail it out if the sponsor is “supposedly” the one mailing it out/to blame?! Fishy much?!

      [Reply]

  4. #
    Jaime — September 27, 2011 at 8:04 pm

    I am going to concur with Caryn, it’s rare but I once had a sponsor not follow through on shipping out a prize to a winner. I wasn’t scamming anyone.

    I guess my question is: What is the scam exactly? Is the blogger stealing your info (Unlikely, what is she going to do with it?) Is she taking your money? Nope, it’s a giveaway. I would guess that the blogger isn’t going to waste her time and energy on not following through on a giveaway on HER end of it to soil her reputation. If it’s a scam to gain followers, she will lose followers by reputation.

    [Reply]

    • Caryn B replied: — September 27th, 2011 @ 11:04 pm

      @Jaime,

      Jaime….you really said what I was trying to say….perfectly…..

      [Reply]

  5. #
    Stacy — September 27, 2011 at 8:19 pm

    I’ve actually had two separate occasions over the last few months with two different blogs I “won” on and never got the prize. Both of the bloggers said they emailed the sponsor and got no reply. I agree it’s hard to say what the truth is you want to trust the bloggers you follow, but when you see the exact same thing being given away later on other blogs seems like the sponsor can’t be all bad because others are getting their review products.

    It’s a tough call, but if I knew for sure the blogger was supposed to be sending me a prize directly, and it was of high enough value I might contact the sponsor myself too to see what’s up. It makes not just the blogger look bad, but the sponsor too.

    [Reply]

    • JamericanSpice replied: — September 27th, 2011 @ 10:16 pm

      @Stacy,

      When stuff like that happens. I always include the winner in the emails to the sponsor. It’s always best to be open. i even linke facebook and twitter and sponsor’s website so they know exactly what’s going on.

      [Reply]

      • Stacy replied: — September 28th, 2011 @ 7:15 am

        @JamericanSpice,
        I like that approach, I will definitely use that if the problem arises on a giveaway I host!

  6. #
    The Maven — September 27, 2011 at 8:20 pm

    Here’s my piece on this…

    I’ve won prizes not received. Disappointing, but it happens.

    Last winter I had a winner win a nice prize (a gift card) on a site I used to manage. The PR firm said they sent the prize. It was never received by the winner. I believe her. It was right around Christmas time and I think it got “lost in the mail.”

    I’ve tried for months to make it right, but I don’t have the financial means to replace the prize, and the PR firm no longer works with the client. I certainly don’t think it’s right for me to contact the client directly and demand a prize.

    Sometimes these things just happen, and no one is doing anything shady.

    Yes there are some bloggers who aren’t ethical, but to make general statements and point fingers at honest bloggers who’ve had occasional trouble with prize fulfillment isn’t fair. Think about how we feel. Giveaways take a lot of time, we give a ton of promotion to a company and to have a prize not received – when not sent by the sponsor/pr/company or lost is pretty frustrating. Not to mention embarrassing.

    [Reply]

    • Jules from A Little Bite of Life replied: — September 27th, 2011 @ 8:26 pm

      @The Maven, Sp want to give you a big hug right now–you are so right! I know that there are those who are out there to “scam” others, but I have met a lot of bloggers, and I have never met one yet that is truly malicious. I think 99.999% of us have good intentions and are decent people!

      [Reply]

      • Mom Spark replied: — September 27th, 2011 @ 8:48 pm

        @Jules from A Little Bite of Life, I think you make a good point. In the grand scheme of life, is not receiving a prize, especially one low in value, really a huge deal? I suppose it could be if it were a large sum of money and one needed it, or necessary items for living, but this usually isn’t the case.

        Saying that, I think that the character of the blogger can be affected if they cannot work out a solution. I think it’s the principal more than the actual prize that bothers winners.

    • Tara @ The Fabulous Shopping Mom replied: — September 27th, 2011 @ 8:33 pm

      @The Maven,
      Why woudl it not be right to contact the company? Especially if it is a high dollar prize? These companies are rep’d by their PR teams. So when a PR firm does not hold up their end of the bargain, many companies would love to know about it and work to resolve the issue, in an effort to keep their name in good standing,

      [Reply]

      • The Maven replied: — September 27th, 2011 @ 8:48 pm

        @Tara @ The Fabulous Shopping Mom, Because I think that the PR company did mail it, and the carrier is to blame. It’s someone I’ve worked with numerous times, and every other prize has been fulfilled.

  7. #
    barbara wright — September 27, 2011 at 8:26 pm

    Oops sorry – I didn’t realize I could just comment – I thought I had to fill out the question form. I won a $100 Old Navy Gift card on August 7th, which the blogger told me I would have in 2-3 weeks. I had always wondered why this particular blog could give away so many $100 GCs when most of the blogs have smaller prizes … and now I guess I know. I waited a month before I emailed her because I know that life gets busy. She didn’t answer that email, so again I gave her the benefit of the doubt and assumed that my email had gone into her spam folder. I sent her an email from a different address, but again I got no answer. So then a week later, I filled out the “contact us” form on her website. No answer. I tweeted. No answer. I wrote to Old Navy, but they said they hadn’t sponsored a giveaway there. I started tweeting every day to let people know about my experience, tagging her, but she is still ignoring me. She is still blogging and tweeting every day, so I KNOW she’s alive and well.

    My daughter was incredibly disappointed to think I had won her such a great prize, only to find out that she’s probably never going to get it. I would like to prevent other people from going through this same disappointment, especially as Christmas gets closer and closer and the prospect of having an extra $100 becomes a lifeline for somebody. What can I do?

    Thank you!

    [Reply]

    • clenna replied: — September 27th, 2011 @ 8:36 pm

      I think you should let everyone (including me) know who it is so we can unsubscribe.

      [Reply]

    • Allison L. replied: — September 27th, 2011 @ 10:26 pm

      @barbara wright, Same here I would like to know who the blogger/blog is as well. Then I will know not to waste my time entering/on that blog!

      [Reply]

      • barbara wright replied: — September 27th, 2011 @ 11:11 pm

        @Allison L.,
        OK – somebody else didn’t post the blog name, so I thought maybe I wasn’t supposed to.
        The blog was http://thatwentwell.net/ . It’s just so strange, because the blog doesn’t sound at all like it’s a scam. And she posts winners all the time – here’s mine http://thatwentwell.net/2011/08/07/winner-winner-43/

        • barbara wright replied: — September 28th, 2011 @ 12:08 am

          @barbara wright,
          Interesting. I’ve been emailing her for 2 weeks and I just got a direct message from her on twitter saying that I should email her because a different department is responsible for the prizes. Even if she has weird email filters, I would think that she would allow anything to come through the “contact us” link.
          So maybe it’s not hopeless.

        • Allison L. replied: — September 28th, 2011 @ 4:09 pm

          @barbara wright, I have been entering there and each time I wonder how she can offer such high value gift cards for her giveaways!

          Anyways, I’m glad you heard from her, hopefully she’s been seeing your comments here and decided she should get the prize to you! Who knows, but I hope you receive it!

          The one i’ve had a problem with since April is Living On A Dollar (Blogspot). I won from her old blog breastfeeding-with-love.com (or something like that), but she deleted that blog right after I won. I found her other blog livingonadollar.com, which has since been moved to blogspot. I’ve contacted her on email and mostly facebook (Tammy Jackson), but she recently stopped replying and blocked me from being able to message her and her default profile picture is now blank [to me at least]. Seems fishy, I hate making assumptions…but i have to go with my gut at this point though and think she decided to keep the $20 CVS gift card.

    • Stacy replied: — September 28th, 2011 @ 7:21 am

      @barbara wright, That is awful, sorry that happened to you. That is why I prefer all prizes to be sent by the sponsor not me. I am always afraid of the what if it got lost, mis-delivered etc. And when I do have to send myself I am always careful to email them when I send, then follow up a few days later if they don’t email me first saying they got it. I can’t imagine going through a whole giveaway and getting someones address knowing I wasn’t going to send anything to them. I wonder how this is benefiting her (higher stats maybe?)

      I’d like to also know who it is to make sure I don’t make the same mistake of entering on her blog.

      [Reply]

      • barbara wright replied: — September 28th, 2011 @ 9:16 pm

        @Stacy,
        Let the stalling begin. Since she has ignored all my previous emails, I tweeted her to ask her to let me know if she got my email with my mailing information. She tweeted back that she got it and she was going to contact the “mailer company” and then get back to me today. Big surprise. I haven’t heard a word since then.

        I hate to be this suspicious, but… why is she dm-ing me and not emailing me? Maybe because tweets have to be short so she doesn’t have to pretend to be sorry that this happened to me? And if she got THIS email, then she probably got the other ones, too. It just occurred to me that in the last one, I had told her that she had until today to contact me or I was going to start tweeting about what I’ve been through, posting on facebook, and also posting on Online-Sweepstakes.

        I’m kind of guessing that I won’t be getting this prize, but I’m going to make as many people aware of it as I can, and making sure that she knows I’ve done it. But I’ll wait until tomorrow to see if she responds.

        • Stacy replied: — September 29th, 2011 @ 9:56 am

          @barbara wright, Is there any possibility she has seen this thread? Maybe afraid you will oust her? Or like you said is afraid you will follow thru on the tweets letting others know. That is weird she won’t email you back. Apparently she is afraid of something.

        • barbara wright replied: — September 29th, 2011 @ 9:29 pm

          @barbara wright,
          Much to my amazement, I got an email from That Went Well tonight. Apparently, her husband has been in the hospital for the past few weeks with heart problems. She has been tweeting and blogging at the hospital, but not reading emails. Reading in between the lines, it sounds like she’s working hard to keep up a good front, but can’t quite do it, so she hasn’t been reading emails because it’s too much effort with everything else she is dealing with.
          She says that the company who handles the gift cards for her tends to wait until she calls to ask about them before they tell her they have a question about any of them, so that’s why there are more than one of us who haven’t gotten them. She said it’s in the mail and that she’s included $10 extra to make up for my daughter’s disappointment.

          I believe her because everything she said fits – even without my listing all my issues. My emails went unanswered because she hadn’t seen them. She answered me on twitter because I had decided that there was no point waiting a week, and I had started tweeting about not getting my win sooner than I said I would. And since she didn’t have my email address (because she hadn’t read the emails), she had no way to email me. And when she asked me to email my information, she got that one because she knew approximately when it would have come in.

          If this had been a prize for myself, I would have dropped the whole thing sooner. (Really – ask me about my Gift Card Rescue GC that I never got. The poor blogger had problems getting from them what she was supposed to get, so she knew her winners were going to have trouble,too, but she didn’t know how to stop a giveaway in the middle). I just felt awful for disappointing my daughter, and worse when I found out that one of the other winners had gone through the same thing – she had let her daughter pick out an expensive outfit for Homecoming at Kohls – but her Kohls GC never came. I started wondering how many other people were going to have to go through this same thing if I didn’t speak up.

          So… I guess what I want to say is, thank you all for listening and being so supportive!

  8. #
    Teresa — September 27, 2011 at 9:21 pm

    would love to know which blog cheated you…

    so sorry for the frustrations….

    [Reply]

  9. #
    Gracie — September 27, 2011 at 9:33 pm

    I’ve just started to do giveaways, and I am a little nervous that a winner will say they haven’t received the prize. Especially when it is being sent from a sponsor and I have no control.

    [Reply]

  10. #
    PMJ — September 27, 2011 at 9:41 pm

    I started entering blog giveaways about 10/11 months ago. I was laid off and have little money. I’m a single mom of 3. It seems like I have to re-email bloggers to get my wins. It also seems like some bloggers that I win from I get the prizes right away while others not so much.

    I have won multiple times on some blogs, but I do try to do all the entries-except the re-twits(I can’t figure that one out) and it takes me a very long time (I’m older and don’t type fast or know how to open different windows) so I invest a lot of time entering.

    The prizes I have won bring some joy into me and my families life. My mother is suffering from a battle of cancer and life. I cry most every day as do most of my family. I’ve recieved many prizes that have helped ease her pain through my wins.

    When I have contactedd blog owners about not recieving my products most have been very, very helpful in resolving the problem. I think sometimes I wait to long to recieve my prize. Is there a time limit on when the prixe should arrive?

    I try to give it about 2 months before I contact the blog. Am I waiting to long? Should I contact the blog sooner?

    Like I said, this is my mind numbing hobby, plus I really enjoy reading everyone’s blog. Thank you for the distraction while I try to figure out what to do to earn a living and how to deal with the loss of my mother.

    [Reply]

  11. #
    Rita — September 27, 2011 at 9:55 pm

    I’ve had a few companies take forever in shipping prizes. Like many other bloggers I don’t ship prizes out. I always state that up front when I agree to work with a company. I have had 1 company who no matter how many times I email them or call they will not respond. I have sent them more than 100 emails and keep a copy of every single one for my records.

    [Reply]

  12. #
    PMJ — September 27, 2011 at 9:59 pm

    Oh yeah, another thing.
    I look for low entry giveaways-like those listed on airplanes and dragonflies and tightwad in utah.
    I want to win. I want to make my odds as good as possible-so while I’m entering a giveaway listed on a low entry site I look around and enter all the other ones.

    What the hey-isn’t that what you bloggers want us to do?

    I also go backto blogs that I have won on and check out if they have new giveaways that I can enter.

    So if I have won multiple times on one blog it’s because I keep coming back-I’m a repeat offender-isn’t that what bloggers want?

    [Reply]

    • Andrea replied: — September 27th, 2011 @ 10:40 pm

      @PMJ,

      Yes! We love our regular blog readers! Personally I would rather someone who regularly enters my giveaways win a prize over someone who stops by once because they happen to like a particular prize and then never returns. That being said, I randomly choose winners because otherwise I wouldn’t be an ethical person.

      For your other question regarding the time frame on emailing about a prize… I think 6 weeks is a fair amount of time to wait before writing to the blogger about not receiving your prize. If the blogger tells you it will be mailed in 3 weeks (for example) then I think it’s fine for you to email sooner. However, I doubt that a blogger is going to be upset with you if you email her sooner than 6 weeks but maybe some will. I personally don’t mind winners emailing me whenever they feel it necessary because it’s part of my job! Good luck with future giveaways and my thoughts are with you and your family.

      [Reply]

  13. #
    barbara wright — September 27, 2011 at 11:07 pm

    OK – somebody else didn’t post the blog name, so I thought maybe I wasn’t supposed to.
    The blog was http://thatwentwell.net/ . It’s just so strange, because the blog doesn’t sound at all like it’s a scam. And she posts winners all the time – here’s mine http://thatwentwell.net/2011/08/07/winner-winner-43/

    [Reply]

    • Jen-Eighty MPH Mom replied: — September 28th, 2011 @ 10:16 pm

      @barbara wright,

      I think I would contact the other winners on the list to see if they ever received their prizes. If not, then you’ll know for sure something isn’t right…just a thought!

      [Reply]

      • barbara wright replied: — September 29th, 2011 @ 8:57 am

        @Jen-Eighty MPH Mom,
        LOL – I had JUST started doing that yesterday, but it’s not easy. That Went Well posts winners, but only by whatever name they entered with, and the blog has deleted the giveaway pages, so I can’t look through the entries to get more information. I tweeted one, and sent a facebook message to another. But I thought it didn’t bode well that the only one of the 5 winners who was entering the latest $100 GC giveaway at that site was the winner who won 2 weeks ago…. so she doesn’t know if she’s getting her win or not.

        • Jenster replied: — October 2nd, 2011 @ 3:41 pm

          @barbara wright,

          I don’t get why they would delete the whole giveaway page? Wouldn’t sponsors hate that? It does seem like something very strange might be going on with that blog.

  14. #
    Tricia Nightowlmama — September 28, 2011 at 1:36 am

    I know tht on several occasions I’ve had sponsors flake on sending a prize. i always state not to mail tht prize to me because I will not be responsible for mailing it out to a winner. Especially since you can’t always trust everyone to be honest about receiving a prize already.

    I know PR gets backed up. I know they too have to wait on some prizes before they can mail them out. totally understandable. PR reps change so often that even after 3 months I’ve been contacted about not receiving a prize .

    Last yr I sponsored a prize at another blog giveaway and was suppose to mail a gift card to a winner. i contacted her on 3 occasions. Talk to her once on twitter and waited for her to send me her address which she never did. I STILL HAVE THE GIFT card and would be happy to mail it to her. After all it belongs to her and not me. SO IT will sit here.

    I know many of us expect to receive a prize and I too have been victim of not getting several prizes over the years. I simply ask 1 time and if it still doesn’t come I just forget about. I never take it out on the blogger. after all we are just human and should be grateful that such sponsors share business practices with Bloggers to offer such wonderful opportunities.

    IN the case of the winner not getting a prize above u may never know who sponsored that prize but if that blogger has a facebook page I would certainly post directly on it and let her know your still waiting. Good luck

    [Reply]

  15. #
    Jamie — September 28, 2011 at 6:14 am

    I haven’t read all the comments, but this is my two cents…

    To avoid being called a scammer, people shouldn’t offer prizes unless they have them physically in their hands, with the exception of iTunes virtual gifts.

    As for those who DO have the gifts and don’t send them, the only thing one can do is expose the person. On your blog, on a separate site, anywhere. Get the word out. Protect or warn others. Name names. Link sites. Post emails and other correspondence. The internet has to police itself, and by getting these scammers out via Google will help others.

    To avoid being scammed, Google the person you’re thinking of entering a contest of. If others have put out warnings, then think twice before entering the contests, or enter them at your own risk.

    [Reply]

    • The Maven replied: — September 28th, 2011 @ 11:26 am

      @Jamie, Does this mean that you feel that bloggers should incur the expense of shipping all prizes? Even shipping a gift card adds up. This would mean I would no longer offer high ticket giveaway items on my site. Never mind that I don’t have a place to store carseats, strollers, cordless phone systems etc. All examples of items I have given away.

      Are bloggers to be blamed if UPS/FedEx/USPS fails to deliver? Even those systems aren’t perfect.

      [Reply]

  16. #
    Tania Bugnet — September 28, 2011 at 7:57 am

    I too rely on the PR company/sponsor’s company to handle prize fulfillment. Most bloggers cannot take on that added financial responsibility or overall burden on top of everything else we are doing. I hate hearing of people not receiving prizes as I blog about entering contests, sweepstakes, and blog giveaways in general. My passion is in contesting and I love to share that with my readers. It is a tough situation for most bloggers. We rely on honorable sponsors to send out prizes to our lovely readers and yet there are going to be times where things just don’t go as planned; whether the blogger is honestly trying to take things from their readers or if the sponsor just has poor staffing or less organized processes with the mailing out of items.

    I used to work in a doctor’s office for many years. I understand now that it is as simple as having one moron in the office to screw up an entire system. Just keep that in mind when you don’t receive expected prizes. Perhaps as far as the sponsor knows it has been sent out but that “moron” has royally screwed up the process. We just can’t know. Sorry – there is my 2 cents on the matter. I too, will do anything I can to make sure my readers will receive their prizes. Something a lot of winners don’t always do is contact the blogger to let them know that they’ve received their prize. This is also very helpful for us too.

    [Reply]

  17. #
    Rebecca Gournay — September 28, 2011 at 9:51 am

    As a sponsor of giveaways (Seed Body Care), thought maybe we might share a perspective on winners. We always fulfill the winners prizes ourselves, which I think is good (and means that our blogger partner doesn’t incur any expense). We usually fulfill within one week of receiving names and addresses — usually works best if the blogger sends us that information. But, we have found that on many occasions, where we offer gifts/prizes, and the winner is asked to contact us with mailing information so we can send the prize, we never hear from the person. This happens on facebook giveaways, too. We are surprised that someone will enter, and then after they are announced as the winner not follow up with mailing information. So, I do think this is a very possible issue. I am sure there are less than honest folks out there, but please do consider that it can be a simple issue with the sponsor not knowing where to send the prize. Wishing you all a great day!

    [Reply]

  18. #
    Kay M — September 28, 2011 at 11:43 am

    As anyone who follows my blog can tell you, I thrive on giveaways! I write a lot of posts just listing different bloggers giveaways. I enter as many as I list, even more. Out of the hundreds of giveaways I have entered, I have only had the prize not appear once or twice. One time in particular, I notified the blogger that I did not receive the prize, and the blogger was RUDE when she emailed back. In no uncertain terms she let me know she was not responsible for prizes that do not show up. If I am told this, the first place I will go is to the sponsor I was supposed to win the prize from. I will send a link to the contest and a link to the page telling me I am a winner, as well as a copy of the email saying so. Do NOT get mad at me if the sponsor refuses to work with you again. I was only reacting as I was told to get a prize I was entitled to. When I host a giveaway, IF the time ever arises that a winner doesn’t receive the prize, I want to be contacted, so I can find out what happened. If I post that I am not responsible for the prize being sent, I will understand TOTALLY if the winner contacts the sponsor. I would STILL want to be notified. I will do whatever I can to get that prize for my reader. Please, people, think of how you would feel. Be understanding. You dont have to be bullied by a reader, but if you are polite, and do your best, you will keep that reader, and possibly gain a lot more…word of mouth is a powerful powerful thing!

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  19. #
    Diane H — September 28, 2011 at 12:11 pm

    I read the initial email and thought she was saying that this blogger HAD the prize and was GOING to mail it to her winner and instead–KEPT the prize for herself. if she had mailed it and said it got lost–I could give her the benefit of the doubt..but I didn’t see that in the initial post. So, I can understand the writer feeling like the blogger was scamming people and keeping prizes, especially when she couldn’t get any reply.

    That is very different from sponsors not mailing a promised prize to a winner. I think bloggers should have the sponsor mail the prize-it protects us from getting in the middle and after all, it is the company that wants the publicity. I appreciate bloggers who go to bat for their readers! But I know some of you do so many reviews and giveaways–that once in a while when something goes awry—no one should get so mad.

    On occasion when I have used personal gift cards as a prize, I have always paid the additional cost to get receipt confirmation. So far, the delivery system has worked on those items for me. I do not want to get in the business of being a clearing house for prize fulfillments. I do not do a huge amount of giveaways, so I always ask the winner to email when they receive their package. It makes me feel better when they get what they won.

    All of these comments make me feel better about being picky about the sponsors I use. Good luck to those of you still waiting for your prizes and good luck to all of you who offer so many great prizes on your blogs….keep it up. I heading to enter a few right now!

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  20. #
    Christy Cook - teachmy.com — September 28, 2011 at 12:16 pm

    As a sponsor of numerous blog giveaways, I was shocked to read this article! I always insist on mailing the giveaway prize directly to the winner! Call me a ‘control freak’ but at least I know the winner is receiving the goods! It is Teach My’s reputation on the line as well!

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  21. #
    Karen — September 28, 2011 at 1:10 pm

    I agree, I think the sponsor’s should mail prizes directly. Not only does it look more professional, but it also shows the winner a glimpse of this companies customer service. I never mail prizes just because it would be a conflict and I do not want to be responsible if something were to get lost in the mail. I can tell you that I have won from different blogs and thankfully have not had many issues and as a blogger, I have only had one issue and finally the sponsor mailed the prize. I do have one prize that I am waiting on from a blogger who will not email me, but posts several times daily, so I know my email is not going to SPAM each time and getting lost. It is discouraging to read about this, because *IF* a blogger is doing this, eventually it will ruin it for the rest of blogger’s, like myself, and it will be highly regulated. I cannot imagine being dishonest and scamming your reader’s. I wish I knew for sure which blogs participated and I would not enter their contests. I also have some reader’s that win prizes 2 times or more in a week, but as others stated, it is because of their persistence and hard work, because they are doing every single entry and daily tweets. I always use random.org and I would never consider cheating, EVER. I always post winner’s with the winning comment and documentation.
    I think it’s shameful *IF* this is really going on because I know how hard it is entering contests. It is work and not as much luck, but diligence.
    Thanks for posting this topic. It immediately caught my eye and I do not get to comment as much as I would like to these days.

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  22. #
    Martha C Payne — September 28, 2011 at 11:33 pm

    I’d personally love to see everyone “out” the scamming bloggers. There have been a number of bloggers I had won from, never received a prize. I would try to contact them only to get no reply. I’d then contact the sponsor, leaving them to correct the problem. There have also been ones that told me to give up, or I had no idea who the sponsor was, so I couldn’t go above their heads. All of these people go on running giveaways as normal. Some I have waited months for my prize to arrive. It’s one thing if the sponsor is doing it, but a totally different thing if it’s the blogger. Off the top of my head (probably going to get in some hot water doing this, but oh well–I’ve wanted to for a long time):
    http://www.coffeewiththemrs.com/2010/11/veggietales-its-meaningful-life-review.html – Told me she contacted the sponsors and I should just give up
    http://www.sweetposhbaby.com/2010/10/congratulations/ – Her other winner never received her prizes either, didn’t know who to contact for sponsor, wouldn’t reply to emails

    [Reply]

    • Amy @ Coffee With the Mrs. replied: — September 30th, 2011 @ 11:34 am

      @Martha C Payne,
      Martha, I’m so sorry you feel I scammed you. After looking through emails, I remembered this from last year’s gift guide. I also see that I sent emails to the sponsor from November through February. I had one note from the sponsor that they were sending you the DVD {in November} and they refused to answer my emails after that. I tried emailing other people to get you the prize you deserve. In Feb., I sent you an email that said “…I think I’ll attempt emailing Big Idea now and let them know about the slack from their pr rep. I don’t know that you’ll get your DVD from them but at least they’ll know they’re poorly represented…as far as I’m concerned.”
      Following that, I didn’t hear from you again so I thought you were OK with that?
      I certainly am not trying to pick a fight and I always try to be fair and make sure prizes get sent out. It’s just as frustrating for you as it is for me. The PR firm slacked and that reflects on me. I understand and accept that. But, I answered every email you sent, kept you in the loop with what was going on, and tried my hardest. I wish you would have let me know if you wanted me to try something different and I’m sorry it ended up that way.

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      • Martha C Payne replied: — October 2nd, 2011 @ 1:08 am

        @Amy @ Coffee With the Mrs., I didn’t feel like you did much to get my prize to me, I assume because of it’s lower value. (I hate when bloggers act like a prize isn’t as important because of a lesser value…I saw you guys doing that up there, shame on you!) After telling me to look for it in the mail, I heard from you twice before you told me it was probably a lost cause. Had it been me, I would have kept trying to get the prize to my winner. You said you were going to try to contact Big Idea, and I never heard from YOU again. I had no idea if you even did it, or what became of that. You shouldn’t assume that someone is okay with something unless they indicate as much. It could be a one time thing, maybe you were extremely busy and stressed or something, I don’t know. I just honestly personally wouldn’t enter your giveaways again because I haven’t gotten a prize from you & your sponsor that I had rightfully won. Like I said, I personally would have tried harder. I have had to fight to get some prizes to my winners, I feel like that’s something you should do if you have to. It all comes down to making your readers happy. I know there are instances where there is nothing more that can be done, but I don’t think that point had been reached and I think your communication was lacking. Even when that point has been reached, I think I would have tried to have done SOMETHING to ensure that my reader left with a good experience of my website, although I’m not sure what…I haven’t been in that situation yet.

        • Amy @ Coffee With the Mrs. replied: — October 2nd, 2011 @ 1:29 pm

          @Martha C Payne,
          Again, I apologize. You’re absolutely entitled to your opinions and I hear what you’re saying. I’ll keep this conversation in mind going forward with my blog. I know my own heart and intentions but also understand others may not see the full picture of what I’m saying if I don’t communicate it well enough. We all “hear” things differently.

      • Martha C Payne replied: — October 19th, 2011 @ 4:40 am

        @Amy @ Coffee With the Mrs., UPDATE: I just wanted to post here that since this discussion between Amy & I, she has gone out of her way to try to get me my prize. I think this whole ordeal was probably a fluke and she seems like a nice lady that cares about her readers.

  23. #
    Martha C Payne — September 28, 2011 at 11:39 pm

    I think it’s a giveaway blogger’s responsibility to do everything they possibly can to make sure their winners get their prizes. This includes emailing the sponsoring company as many times as needed and COMMUNICATING with the person that won the prize. If the sponsor is supposed to mail it out and hasn’t, then I would suggest emailing them as much as you need to to get them to send it out like they were supposed to. If all else fails (I’ve never had to do this), I would suggest giving the winner the sponsor’s contact information so they can contact them and try themselves and then I’d drop all ties with that sponsor. Just my two cents.

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    • Jen-Eighty MPH Mom replied: — September 29th, 2011 @ 10:39 pm

      @Martha C Payne,

      I agree and I will do everything I can to get my winner’s their prizes. I don’t understand the bloggers who just ignore their winners…I really don’t. If I get no reply from the sponsor after a few tries, I will call them. That usually ruffles their feathers a little bit and gets them to take action.

      Winners also need to be pleasant to the blog owners who are really trying. There is nothing worse than feeling like you are being “bossed”, trying to do something nice and get their prize only to be treated rudely. Just FYI :)

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      • Martha C Payne replied: — September 29th, 2011 @ 11:04 pm

        @Jen-Eighty MPH Mom, I absolutely agree. I don’t usually even bother a blogger until it’s been a month – 6 weeks…even then, I am very patient, and very understanding. I’m a giveaway blogger, too! There have been a number of times the prize just took a while to get to me…and that’s fine. I have personally won from you, and absolutely no complaints! :)

  24. #
    The Maven — September 29, 2011 at 9:14 am

    I don’t know how I feel about giving a winner a sponsors contact information. That seems like it’s opening a can of worms, and potentially a way to get blackballed.

    I wouldn’t give a PR contact to another blogger without permission, and I certainly wouldn’t just hand the information over to an “average consumer”

    I’m willing to bet that sponsors talk to each other, and you may end up severing ties with more than just one.

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  25. #
    Candace — September 29, 2011 at 11:16 am

    There are absolutely scammers out there–there are always are!

    And even if the prize is low value, it is a big deal–because what they are doing is illegal and sullies the reputation of all bloggers.

    As a blogger, I have had PR companies I have had to hound to get them to ship out prizes–it is very embarassing and very frustrating.

    That is why I run far fewer giveaways and why I charge a fee for most giveaways–a fee that covers replacement value just in case. If we are taking on the legal (and reputational) risk and doing all the promoting work and have to send out multiple e-mails following up, then it is time to charge for that work we are doing.

    You can put a disclaimer up if you like…but that does not get us out of our legal responsibilities. It is unlikely anyone will get sued because even a several hundred dollar prize is probably not worth a lawsuit.

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  26. #
    Sarah Lewis — September 30, 2011 at 2:24 pm

    For the most part I have not had many issues with sponsors not following through….there have been a couple though. I always inform my winners to wait at least 4 weeks before contacting me and then if they contact me, I start follow up with the company RIGHT AWAY and I also forward the winner the companies response so they will know what’s going on.

    Do I think it’s right to call other bloggers “Scammers?!” Eh. Depends on what they are doing. I know of 2 well known bloggers who shall remain nameless because I know of at least one of the 2 are Mom Spark Media members who were constantly winning each other’s giveaways. I thought it was VERY fishy when I saw one day the one blogger had one 3 of the other bloggers 5 giveaways…..all which had hundreds of entries. Even the luckiest person in the world doesn’t get those odds. They were also allowing family members to enter and subsequently those family members were winning 50% of the giveaways. Surprise surprise.

    Someone finally called them out on it. They still do reviews and giveaways. I just quit following them. Do I think they stopped it? No. I think that they probably just use different names to enter each others giveaways now. It only takes a couple bad apples to ruin the bunch so they say and it’s a real shame that other bloggers often have to take the fall for their bad behavior as well.

    All I can advise is this. If you don’t get a prize and you have exhausted your resources to get in contact with no response, out them! That will sure straighten them up…..but give them time. My inbox today has 964 emails…..some dating back to over a month ago….all waiting for a response. (Most are PR that I will probably just delete lol) I prioritize by emailing back the issues and the urgent one’s but most readers understand that it takes a few days sometimes to get a response from me.

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  27. #
    Deb Anderson — September 30, 2011 at 3:30 pm

    Just to throw another scenario into the mix… I had one sponsor who wasn’t going to send out a prize to a winner because that winner had already won the same prize in another giveaway.

    Thing is, the sponsor never told me that a winner can win only once, or I would have put that in the giveaway rules. I simply sent the winner’s name and address and forgot about it. A month later, the winner contacted me that she still hadn’t received her prize, so I contacted the sponsor about it, and that’s when I was told they had decided not to honor the win.

    They could at least have let me know, or let the winner know, or something, but not a word to either of us. I took a day or two to calm down :) and composed a nice response wherein I pointed out that it was a little late in the game to change the rules now. If they want to limit a winner to winning only once, I’m fine with that, but say so up front. I persuaded them to fulfill this prize because the winner happened to be another blogger (much bigger than me, by the way) and I was sure they wouldn’t want any bad publicity from this.

    I haven’t seen any more giveaways from this company, so I don’t know if this experience soured them on giveaways or not, but I found it quite unprofessional to simply ignore my winner and not even explain why.

    On another note, I won a prize in a giveaway where the blogger was sent a dozen items, she kept several for herself and her children, and held a giveaway for the rest. I never got mine, and I’m assuming none of the other winners did either. I finally contacted the sponsor myself to inform them of what had happened, because they had trusted the blogger to keep a few and give the rest away. I did eventually get my prize, but I wonder if it was worth it to the blogger to not follow through on a promise. The prize was less than $10 value. I think the damage to her blog’s reputation went way beyond that!

    Anyway, I host giveaways on my blog and do so in an ethical fashion, but I expect the sponsor to take care of prize fulfillment. I will do everything in my power to make sure a winner gets her prize, but sometimes things really are out of our control.

    [Reply]

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