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Giving Away Free Stuff – What Did I Learn?

18 February 2009 11 Comments

On February 1st I did my first "real" contest here at JakeCpuNut.com.  I gave away my iPod.  I mentioned at the end of the contest that I would do a post on what I learned.  You wouldn't think there would be too much to giving away a prize, but there is!

Why Give Away My iPod?

To be very honest, I LOVE giving stuff to people.  Most of my free stuff comes as these informative blog post you all get hahaha!  Seriously, I  do love being able to just give something to someone for nothing in return.  The iPod I gave away was still in great shape and worked perfect, but with my huge music collection and the hint of my iPod being full, Misty gave me a new one for Christmas.  So I couldn't wait to give away the one I had to someone else.

Secondly, I thought it may be a good way to attract visitors to my blog.  There are usually contest going on at different blogs quite often.  Sometimes the prizes are pretty sweet, sometimes just simple things.  So I thought I would give it a shot and see where I could take my blog by giving away my iPod as a prize.  That way I could give something free to someone and also maybe meet some new folks, learn something and get more readers all in one shot!

Simple Contest Rules

Or so I thought... I had seen other contests on different blogs from time to time, so I tried to combine what I saw from all of those into my contest.  Since one of the things I wanted to do was gain traffic, I needed to GET THE WORD OUT! That's why I chose Facebook and Twitter.  With so many folks using those two social sites, it's the perfect place to get the word out about your contest.

Folks had to Subscribe to My Email as the first rule.  Why? That's how I chose to choose the winner.  Using a website called Randomizer.org, I can assign a number to each email subscriber.  Randomizer will pick a number at random which would be the winner.  I also wanted folks to subscribe to my email.  Those people get tidbits of information and other things that readers who just visit the blog don't get.

For the second part of the contest, the person had to follow me on Twitter or add me as a friend on Facebook.  Then they had to copy and paste a line of text at either of those two places.  That text contained a link back to JakeCpuNut.com and to the blog post about the contest.  This would cause a cycle where folks would post the link, then others would click on that link, come here to the blog and read about the contest and do the same thing.  Btw, in case you didn't now, the winner found the contest on Twitter!

I also had a couple of entries from people finding the video at Youtube where I posted the videos about the contest.  I would highly suggest using YouTube if you can.  Pick you up an inexpensive Flip Video Camera and use it for blog posts about the contest!  I usually use Vimeo to post my videos because of better quality, and some other features I like, but YouTube definitely gets more traffic!  That one video I did about the contest has gotten 75 views at YouTube.  To be honest, I never thought about getting traffic or the word out about the contest at the YouTube website itself.

Did It Work?

I need to keep in mind that this blog is only 6 months old, that's not old at all in the internet world.  I had maybe 30 to 50 unique visitors a day before the contest started.  Now I'm averaging probably 80 to 110 a day.  My unique visitors for this month here on the 18th have already equaled January's total!  So I'm very pleased with those results.  I know that's nothing compared to what some blogs get, but hey, I'm still young and growing!  Before the contest I only had about 3 email subscribers, now I'm up over 20.  So all in all I'm pleased and I'd say it worked.

What Didn't Work

First off, Myspace SUX when it comes to trying to run a contest or have folks provide links etc etc.  Don't even try it!  If you know of some tricks that I don't, PLEASE share!

I said I was pleased with the outcome, but in all honesty, I thought I would get more of a reaction.  I really thought the contest rules were simple and straight forward, but there's something we all need to remember.  I've been around computers for 25 years.  Doing something like copying and pasting text is something I can do with my eyes closed (not really but you get my point).  I need to and have realized that so many other people can't figure that stuff out.  As simple as it is to me, I always need to remember to make it as basic and simple as possible.  You may not want to worry about making it very simple and just let those that can't figure it out not enter.  But keep it in mind that not everyone will know how to do the things you require for your contest.

When folks subscribe to your email, they generally get an email asking them to verify the subscription by clicking on a link they get in an email.  Sometimes those emails get caught by spam filters and people either don't care or don't know how to find those emails and finish the subscription.  And in case you didn't know, your FeedBurner stats will show who has subscribed but not yet confirmed their email subscription.

Some folks just don't want free stuff???  Like I said, even though I am pleased with the outcome, I really thought I would get more response.  I know I have friends at Facebook who never entered, and followers at Twitter that didn't.  Why?  Who knows??  Either they're afraid to try, couldn't figure it out, or just didn't want a free iPod hahaha

What I Learned

  • Myspace Sux when it comes to contests!
  • Facebook, Twitter and YouTube are great for getting attention for your contest and traffic to your site!
  • ALWAYS double and triple check your links BEFORE the contest goes live! (yeah i had a screw up)!
  • Not everyone cares about your contest no matter what you're giving away!
  • Make your contest simple, interesting and effective!
  • Use videos!
  • I didn't do this, but I should have asked some of my fellow bloggers to do a post on their blogs about the contest!


I wish I could do a contest every week!  I really love seeing people excited to win something and I love being the one to give it away!  I will definitely be doing more contest and will try and find different and more interesting ways to do them.  Or I may do them like I did this one I dunno?  I do have some prizes in the works so hopefully soon there will be another freebie coming your way!  Also, at times I will randomly choose one of my email subscribers and give them a prize without a contest!  So be sure to Subscribe to My Email if you haven't done so already.

So there ya go... I probably left out some thoughts that I will end up adding later to this post or replying in a comment.  I would love to hear YOUR thoughts about this or any contest.

Was it too complicated? Was the prize not cool enough?  Do you have any tips or pointers?

Feel free to share!

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  • Mark said:

    Hey man,

    I’ve been watching how your contest was progressing. In my opinion you done everything I think you should have done, get the word out, bring more traffic, throw in a couple of rules for entry. Simple.

    The only thing I can think of for not getting a bigger response than you did (even though I think you got a pretty good response) is probably because of the prize. Everyone has an ipod or something similiar, so many people probably wouldn’t have bothered because of that.

    I’m just waiting for the 50″ TV competition ;) although I wouldn’t want to be you, when you have to pay shipping costs to Scotland, lol :)


  • Jake (author) said:

    @ Mark – YO! Great point! That’s definitely something I need to look at and think about! Thanks for the reminder!

    hahah.. yeah we may have to meet somewhere in the Atlantic if you win that prize ha!

    Thanks for stopping by! Keep pumping out those nice drawings!


  • Make Money Online Tips said:

    The contest was very very cool. The prize was very cool too. You could have spread the word by getting your article out on more sites an via social sites like digging.


  • Ashley Jayne said:

    Maybe you could post a listing on craigslist under the “free” section. I always check that out :)


  • Jake (author) said:

    @ MMOT – Man, for some reason, that totally slipped my mind! That is always in my “list of things to do” but for whatever reason I totally didn’t do that. Thanks for the reminder.. i need to USE the organizational tools i’m using haha..

    @ Ashley – Hmmmm, never thought of that! I would have to check on the TOS though, Ebay doesn’t like ads posted on Craig’s list if you’re an Ebay Affiliate. Since I do have some Ebay ads here and at the blog, i’d hate to get a smack on the hand but will definitely look into it! Thanks for the tip!


  • Divinity Rose said:

    heh, i thought it was simple enough….However, I also am inclined to absorb “how to” anything with the computer…thanks for reminding me to keep things simple for those who aren’t


  • Jake (author) said:

    @ Divinity – thanks for the comment! Yeah, stuff we do everyday might not be so simple for others… it’s hard for me to remember that since so much of it’s second nature!


  • Jack said:

    This is a very good blog for us blog addicts, thanks for your blog.


  • Jake (author) said:

    Thanks Jack and welcome to JakeCpuNut!


  • coffee tables said:

    what i like about this blog is the free stuff hahaha…but man, this is a good strategy. Many might copy this idea too.


  • Jake (author) said:

    @ coffee tables – haha i hear ya! I wish i could give away more free stuff! Hopefully something else will be coming up soon!


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