Thursday, January 3, 2013

2013 Giveaway Rules, Guidelines and Common Sense Instructions

So you're entering to win free stuff in the Skelekitty.com 2013 Grand Reopening Shenanigans Giveaway Extravaganza!!  OK!  This is exciting!!  Well this part isn't exciting, but by reading it, you'll ensure that your entries count, which means you're that much closer to winning!


All these rules and requirements aren't to try to trick you; we need to be able to make sure all the entries are valid to keep the giveaway fair to everyone.


First, let's talk about how to enter:  

Rafflecopter:  I use Rafflecopter.com to track and verify all the entries.  That means that all entries must go through that Rafflecopter widget (at the bottom of each blog post).  If you tweet about a giveaway without going through the widget, that tweet won't even appear as an entry.  Use the widget for all entries.  I will not count entries if you message me about an action after the fact.

Follow-through:  Be sure to complete all steps for each entry.

Entry Verification:  If your entry cannot be verified, it will be disqualified.  Be sure to follow instructions.

Winner Selection:  Rafflecopter uses Random.org to choose each winner from the verified and validated entries.  Nobody receives preference.

Who Can Enter?  Any US resident** over 18 can enter except previous winners of the Skelekitty.com 2013 Grand Reopening Giveaways, and family members/employees of the current giveaway sponsor.  If you donated a prize, you may enter to win in the other giveaways.
**Some giveaways are open internationally or to US/Canada, so check the Terms and Conditions at the bottom of each Rafflecopter widget.

Next, let's talk about the spirit of the entries:  

The purpose of these giveaways is to promote the sponsoring businesses.  We don't do this because we have stuff we are so desperate to get rid of that we'll spend days on a giveaway and then pay to ship it to someone.  I always think this stuff is common sense, but then the excitement sets in and people get carried away, so here it is all spelled out.
  • Tweets:  Tweets are seen/shared for a short period of time, so you can usually enter by tweeting every day of the contest.
    • Use the tweet provided - it contains the information that we want it to.  It's OK to modify the tweet a little, but be sure that ALL information is correct and that all @'s, #'s, urls and links are present and accounted for.
    • Your tweets must be public (your tweets cannot be verified if you have a private account). 
  • Pins/Pinterest:  We know "pins" will be viewed and shared well after the contest is over.  New people will continue be exposed to an awesome handmade item/artist for months to come when you pin.  So make sure to:
    • pin the correct image.  
    • pin on an appropriate board (e.g., "Handmade Awesome" not "Giveaways.") Why?  Well, say six months after the giveaway, someone sees a pin on "Giveaways" and they head over - only to find out the giveaway is over.  You see the issue.
    • include the website and/or business name so anyone can find that source without too much trouble.
    • say something relevant and positive about the item, not just the giveaway (same as 'pin to an appropriate board' above)
  • Mailing lists:  You must verify/approve your subscription to any mailing lists for your entry to be considered valid.
  • Comments:  
    • KEEP ALL COMMENTS RELEVANT AND POSITIVE.
      To keep them relevant, talk about the items, shops or artists (not the giveaway).
      Not sure what I mean by positive?  Well, start by staying away from any sentences with don't, can't, ...but..., never, and related negatives and restate what you want to say in the positive:
      • Instead of "I'd never heard of ____" try "I'm so glad you introduced me to ______!"  
      • Instead of  "I wish I could afford to buy..." say "I seriously LOVE that ________."  
      • Instead of "I like that  ______ but wish it was a different color" say "The __________ design is so awesome and I really love it in blue!"  
      • Sometimes you are asked to answer a question.  Remember that people reading the blog later aren't going to know what your comment means out of context.  If I don't ask you to cut/paste the question, be sure you state your answer in a complete sentence and that you include the question in your answer.
        Example, if the question is "Who is your favorite Batman?"
        :( - "Adam West."
        :D - "My favorite Batman is Adam West." (cool points if you elaborate)
  • Mobile Devices:  Some websites and features may not work on all mobile apps and mobile browsers - this is one of those letdowns of operating solely with a smartphone, reader or small tablet.  No exceptions will be made because someone is using a mobile device; all entries will be subject to the same rules.
The unspoken rule:  If we learn that you're one of those people who enters contests and then lives off the profits of selling what you've won, there is a good chance that the fans will publicly shame you.  The IRS doesn't look kindly on that kind of nonsense, either.

And now, for the all-important PRIVACY NOTICE: 

I will never use information from giveaway entries for my business.  That means I will not use the giveaway information to collect your email and add you to a mailing list or something equally spammy.  NEVER. Your contact information will only be used for winner notification and related communications, and I will not share your contact information with anyone except select giveaway sponsors who are mailing prizes directly to winners (and I expect these businesses to follow the same privacy guidelines.
Good luck!