Thumbs Up, Thumbs Down: Requiring a Follow for a Giveaway

Thumbs Up, Thumbs Down is a newish feature on my blog. If you are a loyal follower of my blog, you know that I put a big emphasis on interaction and discussion and my favorite posts are the ones with a lot of interaction. I also like a good healthy debate where opinions are shared and respected. You may also know that I like talking about random bookish things. Put all of that together and you get my inspiration for this new feature. Every other week I will give a topic to be discussed. You can give your vote on whether or not it is a thumbs up or a thumbs down for you and then explain why. The topics will cover anything related to reading, blogging, the book industry, etc. etc. Basically whatever is on my mind! This feature is NOT intended to be a place to bash anybody or start a nasty fight or controversy. It is a platform for a mature discussion and sharing of opinions

Last TU/TD we discussed ARC tours and this week is all about requiring a follow for a giveaway. Next time, going along with this week’s theme, we will be discussing extra entries on giveaways.

Giveaways and contests are such a great way to promote books, share them and also bring traffic to your blog. Some blogs have giveaways almost daily and some have them sporadically for things like hitting a certain amount of followers or for blogging for a year. Some giveaways are simple to enter and some make you practically jump through hoops to even enter.  We’ll leave the extra entries talk for the next installment but what I want to talk about is when giveaways make you follow the blog to even be entered into the giveaway. So let’s talk: Have you done this before/do you currently? Why or why not.  Do you enter giveaways that require you to follow? Do you think it skews how “successful” a blog actually is to a publisher? Is it the easy way out to gain followers and traffic? Etc. Etc.  I want to discuss it all! And remember, before you post, this is meant to be a mature discussion and not a bash-fest. I won’t tolerate that. 


My Humble Opinion: I’ve been blogging for 6 months now. For our first giveaway we ever did on my other blog (The Broke and the Bookish) we made it a requirement to follow. We were only 1 month into blogging and still trying to figure out the blogosphere and I had entered contests that did that. My other rationale was that it was for reaching 100 followers so it made sense. We didn’t actually get that many entries, which I’m kind of glad about, so I don’t feel so bad for making somebody follow us. Since then, we’ve only done 1 other giveaway and we didn’t require followers. I’ve only done a few on this blog and I’ve never required followers. Extra entries are a different story that I’ll talk about next time. At the end of the day, I think,  it’s a personal preference. It’s your blog and you can do whatever you want. But my personal preference is not to do it. I believe in hard work and gaining readership by putting out quality reviews and discussions and interacting with your readers. I like doing giveaways but I can’t afford them and I don’t exactly have publishers knocking down my doors to give me free books. I’m happy with that though. I love the discussions that go one on both of my blogs and I’m sure loyal readers can attest to some good discussions. I’d rather have people be following my blog because they genuinely want to. Do I think it makes some blogs look “like a big deal” to publishers? Yes, but I also think publishers can see through some of it if they look hard enough. And really I think that follower count is kinda pointless now. It’s like follower inflation with all the crafty ways people are using to get fast followers..by giving free books and stuff. It’s like when kids in college would cheat and screw up the curve for the rest of us who didn’t take shortcuts and worked hard. And at the end of the day, I really don’t care too much. I love my readers and I will blog even if only 10 people remain with me. It all depends on your purpose for blogging and what is important to you. I sometimes do enter giveaways that require me to follow. Sometimes I stay because I actually like their content and sometimes I unfollow because I know, realistically looking at my overflowing Google Reader, that I’ll never read their blog again. Do I want people coming to my blog? Heck yes! If I have a giveaway I want them to keep coming back though..for more than just what I’m giving away. I’d like to think what I have on my blog is of value too! :)

What do you think? Rock that vote!

 

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About Jamie

Jamie is a 28 year old married lady who is in denial that she's actually that old. When she's not reading you can find her doing Pilates followed by eating gelato, listening to music with oversized headphones and teaching her niece how to be as awesome as she is.

Comments

  1. Jenni Elyse says:

    I see both sides. But, I kind of look at it like, "I'm willing to give this thing away to you, so you better invest the time and follow my blog and hopefully comment once in a while." Maybe, that's cynical or selfish of me, but I don't have to give something away. And, if I'm going to give something away, it's because I want people to keep coming back to my blog. I hope that makes sense.

  2. Jenni Elyse– I totally get what you mean. I've gone back and forth soo many times on this. I mean, I haven't been blogging that long so I'm still trying to figure it out. When people come enter for a giveaway, I really do want them to give me a chance and not just enter a giveaway and leave. I'd like to think I have something valuable here instead of just what I'm giving away :P

    Thanks for your input! I totally get what you are saying. I think for now I've just decided it's not for me.

  3. Like you, I did it once in the very beginning because it is what I saw others doing. It was effective, I admit, but it made me feel dirty. Pretty much all of the people that became followers have stuck around, but I don't want to earn any more through bribery. Others may not feel that way, and that is totally fine.

    I do prefer to give prizes to people who are readers and bloggers because I can trust that they'll review the books and likely pass them on again. It concerns me when a random non-blogger wins because I'll probably never hear from them again and it won't create the book publicity intended. That might just be my own hang up, and even if it is legit, it's one that can be dealt with in ways other than requiring people to follow.

    When I started blogging, I did enter giveaways that required follows, but I don't usually anymore. I ended up with way too many blogs on my reader, and many were ones I wasn't that interested in. Now I will only follow for a giveaway if the blog is one that I would want to follow anyway.

  4. Melanie–I totally agree with you about when a non-blogger wins! I think if it is an ARC..I'd prefer if a blogger wins because I want people to promote it. If it's a finished copy, I don't mind if a non-blogger wins because I know they will probably share with their friends and other readers.

  5. I do it, but it's very rare. I don't believe that huge follower counts make a blog much more successful, but we all get stuck at a certain number, and sometimes you just need to boost it. The only time I do it is when I'm celebrating a follower achievement, which is, like I said, very rare. Give the blog a trial run. If you don't like it, unfollow it. You're not going to crush the feelings of the blog owner or anything. In my opinion, it's just not the huge deal that people make it out to be. Follow for the extra entry, if you don't like the content of the blog after the contest, unfollow the blog. That simple.

    I'll be waiting for your discussion on extra entries though, as I have quite a big frustration with those!

  6. bibliophile brouhaha says:

    I have only done one major giveaway, and I did require a follow. However, I recently read a great post by the ladies at Stacked called 'The Ten Truths About Blogging' – it really reminded me why I got into this. I would rather have a bunch of great participators on my blog than an outstanding follow number. Therefore, any future giveaways that I do will not require a follow. However, I may reward an extra point to those who are already followers.

    This is a great and relevant post – would you mind if I linked to it in my News Roundup that I post every Thursday?

    Thanks,
    Linds

  7. Katie– Definitely know what you mean about getting stuck at a certain number. Nothing like a nice giveaway to boost that :P I try to just say, in my giveaway, you aren't required to follow but I'd love if you'd look around and consider. It's just my own personal preference.

    And I agree. I think it's up to you, as a reader of blogs, to decide if you mind it being in your GR. I tend to take a look around the blog to see if it's a blog that I would follow if I wasn't being required for it. Sometimes I know I'd never follow a certain blog but the allure of a shiny book takes over and I follow and then end up unfollowing when I clean out my GR.

    Thanks for your input!

  8. Linds–I can't remember WHO but somebody on Twitter said that they did a random giveaway to reward people who were already followers. I thought that was a brilliant idea because, like you, I do want to reward those people who comment and participate. And it would be fun to do it out of the blue!

  9. This is definitely a hot button issue!

    I'm going to be honest – I prefer blogs who grow their traffic and followers organically. I don't enter too many contests anymore, but I definitely do not enter if I have to follow to do so.

    I don't mind if you're doing a google form and you ask if the entrant is a follower or not. I think that's valid stat info. But I'd prefer it not be a required question, so that the entrant could choose to answer – or not.

  10. Hi, interesting question. I haven't come acroos many giveaways without the requirement of *following*, sometimes If I really really do want the book I do it, but most of the time I just skip it. I've been blogging for more than two years now, I don't have many followers, I don't promote my blog ( well, almost) and I've never had a giveaway. (But I'm planning to). I've never really thought about whether to require 'being a follower' or not because I've never really seen it done another way, but now that I think about it I probably wouldn't ask it. As you said, I want people follow me because of the content not because they
    ' have to '.
    Greetings
    // Q N

  11. Lenore– I'm in complete agreement with you. I feel, personally, more proud of my blog for doing it by having decent reviews, good discussion and unique ideas than having people follow me for the books I'm giving away. I mean, you give away a HOT title that just came out and EVERYBODY and their mom will follow you. I think it's the easy way out but that is just me. I also like your suggestion about making the follower question be optional. I've never thought of that before. Thanks for your input. I always love hearing what you have to say because it is always well thought out and honest.

    Queen– Thanks for your input! I'm sure if you have a giveaway and they see the great content on your blog they will follow! :)

  12. Kat Werner says:

    I am actually pretty on the fence about the following the blog requirement. I see both sides (as has been said before), and I don't mind following a blog to get entered into a contest. I think of all the hoops, this is the least offensive (?). I do think though that maybe it'd be nice to use it sometimes, but not all the time. Or maybe just have some special giveaways to people who follow the blog, and other times when they are open to anyone.

  13. I was contemplating this question just the other day. I noticed that a blogger I had recently begun following hosted a giveaway- it's outside of the book blogging community (btw)- and requested that individuals entering be a new follower, a new twitter follower, and etc., which was irritating. I signed up beforehand, you know, because I liked the content, but yet was going to loose out on the givaway, or wouldn't earn as many entry points because I wasn't a new follower. It's particularly frustrating when you follow people to encourage, show support and show fellow bloggers love, yet lose out on things like said giveaways because you aren't a new fan base. Setting up rigid parameters, like the aforementioned, is discougaring and hints that perhaps the blogger doesn't really care about the people reading their blog, unless you can somehow connect them to something, or add another number for statistical purposes. It's displays a lack of appreciation, really.

  14. I understand what you mean but it's also hard because you don't know is people are just coming to your blog for the contests or the content.

  15. I'm going to have to agree with you Jamie – I think it's up to the blogger whether or not he or she wants to require someone who enters a contest to follow. The thing that annoys me is when a blogger has a list of things you need to do to enter a contest: become a follower, become a follower on twitter, blog about the contest and tweet about it, etc. That's an overkill and will certainly deter me from entering and becoming a follower. I think if you have a quality blog and you have a giveaway, you are going to get more followers regardless of if you make it a requirement or not.

  16. The only giveaways I've done on my blog so far have been personal (I paid for the book and the postage)and I didn't have any requirements except to comment on the post.

    I'm needy, so if I required people to follow my blog I'd only end up disappointed at the lack of comments on future posts.

  17. I'm like most people and can see both sides to this debate. I have only been blogging for about 3 months and I don't have many followers. I haven't done a giveaway yet but I don't think I would require someone to be a follower in order to enter. I like knowing that the people who are following my blog do so because hopefully they enjoy the content. I would almost question whether or not people were just following because of the giveaways. I would also hope that a giveaway might bring people to my blog who might not normally visit it. They can decide for themselves if they would like to be a follower or not. If yes, great and if not I won't be personally offended.

  18. re: @Melanie "It concerns me when a random non-blogger wins because I'll probably never hear from them again and it won't create the book publicity intended." YES — I feel that way too — so I appreciate everyone's comments on this as I think through how I want to do any future giveaways.

  19. Chrisbookarama says:

    I don't care for it. Bloggers have their reasons for doing it but I've never followed a blog just for the contests. In fact, I've done the opposite. I've stopped following blogs I read for the content that had strict contest requirements (like following a particular way when I was already following them in my Reader. It says that kind of follower didn't count, to me). I didn't send an angry email or anything, just stopped reading their blog. That's a reader's prerogative. So that blogger might have gained a follower or two for the contest but lost one who liked their content.

    I don't do many giveaways anyway because it's a headache (though Google docs is a better way than the old 'leave an email address.')

    I understand people thinking you can gain followers that way but who is really reading your blog after that? I want to be followed because they like what I have to say. Numbers don't always tell a true story of a blog's relevance. It doesn't mean they keep coming back either. I think you have to know why you are doing it and be comfortable with what you are doing. To each his or her own.

    I WILL be following your blog. Great discussion!

  20. I'm really loving all the comments on this — I'm a new blogger trying to find my voice and style. I did a huge follower-oriented blog giveaway that garnered me a metric ton of followers but very few have shown up on my blog since then. So I'm not sure it really was worth it in the end.

  21. bibliophile brouhaha says:

    Audra, I'm with you. I've been blogging for two months, and I got quite a bit of new follows doing something similar. In retrospect, I do not think it added to the overall quality of my blog. I will not a follow in the future because of this, unless it's specifically for a book I want to promote, i.e. 'if you win, please post a review' sort of thing. A conditional giveaway.

    -Linds

  22. When I first started my blog, I was really focused on getting followers. I did it mostly by blog hopping on the weekends and commenting ALOT. My frist giveaway I did not require anyone to follow me to enter, but since it was for blogfest I got a lot of followers anyway. The second giveaway I did was for getting 200 followers, and so I did require a follow to enter, but I didn't really like doing that so now I just add it as an extra entry. Can't wait to discuss extra entries next week! Anyway, I realize now that it isn't really how many followers that matter. I have about ten bloggers that regularly comment on my posts and I am happy with that. I feel like they are my friends :)

  23. I don't want people to follow my blog unless they like reading what I write. I also would never write "if you follow me, I'll follow back" because I won't follow a blog unless I enjoy reading what they write. I don't want to have 1000 followers and only 30 of them actually read my posts.

    However, I'm also not hell-bent on getting publishers to send me review copies. I LIKE that, don't get me wrong, but that isn't my all-consuming goal for blogging. So, in that respect, I guess number of followers isn't as important to me as for some bloggers.

  24. I voted "Thumbs Down" but my opinion is actually a little more complicated than that. I think it's fine to do an "old followers only" giveaway where the entrants have to already be following you, but I think asking for mandatory new followers is a little annoying and a not-entirely-great way to get new followers.

    But that's just my opinion.

  25. GoddessLibrarian says:

    Like many of you, I did it for my first giveaway because that's what I had seen done. After that though, I changed to having that as an additional entry. I don't care so much about the number of followers I have, but I do care about exposure… I'm hoping that in 5-7 years when I may have to re-enter the workforce that I can swing some freelance writing from home. My ultimate dream is to review YA books for a local newspaper or some other source (and actually get paid). So I'd like to get my name or my "brand" known now and build on that. I've been blogging for almost 7 years but I've gotten most of my follows in the last couple of months because of the exposure on twitter and facebook and whatnot, and having other people retweet a giveaway helps that exposure.

  26. I completely agree! I'm not a fan of requiring somebody to be a follower to enter a giveaway. I actually tend to skip those blogs. In my opinion, I'd rather have followers who actually want to stay connected with me, not just those who follow me for the prizes alone. I can definitely see the appeal of requiring someone to be a follower b/c who doesn't want higher numbers & to feel like people care what they have to say? I would LOVE to have a bunch of followers, but even if I don't, that shouldn't stop me from making quality content my priority.

  27. I'll be the voice of dissent. I rarely ever host giveaways, but when I do I require that those who enter be followers. I don't host giveaways in order to gain followers though. When I'm giving away a book on my blog, I feel like I'm giving to a friend. I've gotten to know the majority of my blog followers through their blogs, Twitter, email, etc. I've met some in person and a few I hang out with on a regular basis. I like the idea that I'm giving a book someone who is interested in the content of the book and didn't just google "giveaways". I realize that some people will follow just to be able to enter, but my experience over the past year or so has been that most people who aren't followers just won't enter. If I want to just donate books to random people, I take them to a local school or the Ronald McDonald House. When I host a giveaway on my blog, I want it to go to a friend who will tell me how much they loved it (or didn't) when they're finished.

  28. Christina/Book Addict says:

    This is an incredible discussion, Jamie! I am torn! I see both sides of the argument and I've done both types of giveaways. I am currently celebrating a year of blogging so I am doing a "followers" only giveaway as a thank you to all my followers, etc, but after reading this post, I think that maybe it's coming off the wrong way. I like the idea of an extra entry for an old follower. That's a great idea and I'll definitely do that next time. My only issue with a non-follower giveaway, and this happened to me before, is that it went to someone who I really don't keep in touch with and like Julie said, I never found out what they thought of the book, etc. I really like Julie's perspective……but one thing is for sure– this post really gave me a lot to think about!

  29. I think a few of you bring up an interesting point—it is always so much nicer when it goes to someone who you know you can talk with again about it and they'll tell you what they thought. I've always been happier when one of my giveaway winners ends up being someone who frequents by blog often. I think these points are so valid and makes it all the harder to figure out how to go about rewarding your followers but not requiring a follow for a giveaway.

    I'm really happy to hear another side from you all–because it brings up the excellent point that some people aren't doing it to get followers but for other reasons. I would like to reward those people who follow me and contribute to making my blog a great place..but how do you go about doing that without requiring a follow? Something to think about! Thanks for sharing your opinions everyone! Keep them coming.

  30. I have never required following but in the beginning I did give away extra points for it but after your followers are more than 100 how do you really know if someone follows you?

    I don't want someone to follow me because it's a requirement. Most days I feel I blog to myself and google bots but I do it because I love it.

  31. 1girl2manybooks says:

    To be honest, I never enter giveaways that require me to follow or give me "extra points" for doing a whole bunch of other stuff. If I enter a giveaway and I feel like tweeting it, or posting to promote it, I will. But I won't do it to get me extra entries. I also don't use google connect or any kind of following software anymore because I find it's too easy to just click follow on every blog just because they followed you, or because you have to to enter a giveaway. I have blogs that I visit consistently and blogs that I visit a little less often and catch up on and I have them organised in a way that I prefer – I don't need anything that follows blogs.

    I'm going to have a giveaway on my blog in May for my first anniversary of book blogging and all that will be required is name, email, which giveaway you prefer, etc. I just think that a giveaway should be just that – a giveaway. You shouldn't have to do all these extra things just to be considered. That's my take on the matter!

  32. This is a great discussion going on here! I think there are times when it's ok to require following for giveaways. For instance, some blogs occasionally do a follower appreciation giveaway, meant to reward people who have been reading the blog for a while. I've even seen them exclude "new" followers, or give an extra point for being an "old" follower. When I first joined Twitter, I had a contest where I asked people to follow me on Twitter and suggest someone else for me to follow. It was a way for me to find bloggers on Twitter and get a little network going. I think if the giveaway has a specific purpose, then it's ok to require following in some respect. If it's a blog I'm interested in following anyway, I don't mind becoming a follower.

    That being said, I don't like being forced to follow a blog every time that blog offers a giveaway. What's the point if I'm just going to unfollow shortly thereafter? There are too many blogs out there for me to read every single one. Plus, every blogger has his or her reading preferences, and many blogs just won't line up wtih them. As a blogger, I don't want a bunch of followers who don't actually read my blog, just to make my numbers look good. I love the interaction with readers and would rather have people share a favorite book or answer a question to enter than click a button to "follow."

    I know some bloggers really push their giveaways, which is totally fine. I, though, tend to keep them relatively quiet outside of my own blog. That way, I feel like the people who actually read my blog–even if there aren't that many of them–have a better chance of winning whatever it is I'm giving away. Of course, whoever wins, wins, but it's always nice when randomness awards the prize to someone whose avatar I've seen around my blog!

    I don't have enough experience with publishers yet to know if "follower" numbers mean anything to them. If I were a publisher, and I had some idea about how the blogging community works, I'd look for blogs with engaging comments and good discussion that reviewed books similar to the ones I had coming out. Perhaps I am too much of an idealist, but so it goes :-)

  33. I think I required it in my first giveaway, but have stopped since then. I think its kind of silly to make people follow my blog just for a contest. I mean, my blog has a limited audience anyway and I would prefer not to have "false" followers, you know what I mean? But…personally, I prefer the person who wins to be someone who is around for more than just giveaways. I like giving things to regular readers.

    I'm looking forward to what everyone else has to say.

  34. I think others have said this, and I'll say it too: I feel dirty doing it. I know before I had a blog that I got frustrated when a blog was doing a giveaway and required a follow, and I kind of still do even though it's their right to do it. I just won't enter the contest (unless I am actually already a follower and find it in my reader). I'll follow if I like the tone and look of the blog, but most of the time I won't bother.

  35. I never knew what a hot button topic this was! I did make following a requirement when I first started blogging for my first few contests. I just thought that was what you did for contests. Then I noticed, a couple people would unfollow my blog right after the contest. That made me feel crappy. I didn't want a "fake" follow. I want people to follow because they want to read what I have to say. So now I make the giveaways for everyone.

    That being said, I think that there are no "rules" to blogging, so the blog owner should do what they want with their own contests.

    I like this feature btw!

  36. Jami, I agree. I find that people start following my blog when I have contests anyway, just not everyone who enters.

  37. This is something that I,too, have pondered lately. I don't usually enter giveaways that require participants to follow the site, mainly because I don't use a reader to keep up with my favorite blogs (I prefer using my iGoogle homepage for that), but I also don't like the "fishing for followers" -aspect of requiring a follow to enter. Thus I don't require others to follow my blog either to enter a giveaway. If I post a giveaway (I'm only just doing my first one), I'll do it simply for the love of the book and wanting to share it with others.

    Greetings,
    Tiina

  38. I only enter giveaways from blogs that I follow anyway, so it doesn't really affect me one way or the other if they require the follow. I tend not to enter contests that give extra points for tweeting and facebook "like"ing etc – especially when they make me do math by entering up my extra points! I don't mind that bloggers do this – I just choose not to participate in those giveaways.

  39. I like rewarding people for following by giving them extra entries, but I won't enter a giveaway that requires a follow and I would never require a follow for a giveaway entrant. I like giving people an incentive to follow but I won't MAKE them. Besides, if you require a follow you're just going to see your numbers go back down once the giveaway is over and all the giveaway friends leave.

  40. Kayla + Cyna says:

    It's funny, one of your last discussions on blogging etiquette and follow-for-a-follows made me totally rethink this particular issue. I'll admit, I don't mind following a blog for a contest – like someone else said, it's probably the least troublesome thing you can do to be eligible for a giveaway (can't wait for your discussion on extra entries, some of those can get insanely complicated…) But personally, I think that when we host our first giveaway, we won't require it, because all you end up with is a bunch of followers who aren't really interested in your blog, and that's not what we want.

    Instead, we figured we'd give the option of getting an extra entry for a well thought-out comment on one of our past reviews. That way, if someone wants the book enough to go the extra mile, they have to actually see what our blog's about, instead of just clicking the "follow" button.

  41. Girl on a Mission says:

    Like a lot of other blogs when I was first starting out I made it a requirement to be a follower just because…I needed them. Now I'm more concerned about followers who actually are active.What good is 1000 followers when you're getting 1 or 2 comments per review? I'd like followers who actually read my blog for the content, not giveaways. If I come across a giveaway requiring me to follower, I'll look through the blog first to see if it's worth it. If they're talking about books I'm interested in then okay but I never follow a blog just to get an entry in.

  42. When I first started blogging I had a couple of giveaways that required followers. But then I stopped doing that because even though they didn't unfollow after, I don't think they ever came back to my blog. I no longer do giveaways because I don't do contests, blog tours or accept review books. I rarely enter contests but when I do, it is with blogs I am already following or reading.
    I do notice that since I stopped giveaways, my follower numbers have grown so slowly. Oh well

  43. Right now I am sitting at a place where I don't think people should have to follow a blog to enter a draw – I give them the option to follow if they want to for more entries, but it doesn't deny them the chance to win. :)

    I think you should only follow blogs that you truly like to read and follow regularly. Right now I have a ton that I have followed, but need to go through because I do not read them all. *sigh*

  44. Sorry I wanted to add isn't QUALITY over QUANTITY more effective anyway? :)

  45. Tara (The Bodacious Pen) says:

    I did the follow requirement when I first started with my blog, mainly because I saw a lot of other people doing it. But in my experience, the people that follow for contests aren't going to be readers that really read or interact with you.

    Now I find myself skipping contests with too many questions/requirements. I don't fault anyone for doing it, especially when they have a really big prize, but I have a hard time keeping up with my blog reader as it is, so I probably wouldn't participate.

  46. Samita (Book Purring) says:

    To be honest following a blog doesn't bother me as much as when they ask you to put their button in your sidebar.

  47. Alice Dwyer says:

    Being a new blogger I am constantly trying to work out how the blogging world works. At first getting followers was all I cared about. I now want my blog to be more about content and good reviews, with real followers than having followers who just follow you for the sake of it. I do get very put off with a huge list of requirements for giveaways, though I do understand why they do it. I want my giveaways to be about rewarding loyal followers and perhaps gaining some followers that are following because they like my blog. Thanks for the great discussion point, it has been really interesting hearing everyone's thoughts on it

  48. Jessica Lawlor says:

    Awesome question Jamie! This definitely is a hot button issue.

    I can see the value in both sides.

    My situation right now is a little bit different. I recently moved my blog from blogger to WordPress. In the move, I lost all of my Google Friend Connect followers which I had organically grown (because I never did a giveaway that required a follow). I was really sad when I moved and they all disappeared, so I wanted to re-grow my number of followers to at least try to find my old readers. I had a few giveaways, but I never made it a requirement to become a follower. I just made it an extra entry. Like you said, that's a discussion for another day, but I do think it's nice to reward people who go out of their way to promote your giveaway.

    I don't mind becoming a follower for certain giveaways, especially if they are giving away a book I really want; I figure then we must have somewhat similar tastes and it gives me a chance to try out a new blog. If I don't like it, I can always remove it later!

  49. bibliophile brouhaha says:

    So, I am participating in the Midwinter's Eve Giveaway Hop, and I did an experiment since it was a quick, simple hop. I did not require a follow to enter, but I rewarded old and new followers with an extra entry. I am a bit surprised. My followers have gone up – not a huge amount, just a bit, but I am still surprised. Esp. after all the conversation on here about generally avoiding following just to enter a giveaway, I thought I'd have many entries without a follow. I took a look at the google doc this morning – it's pretty even between old follows and new follows, but not one person has yet opted to enter without a follow. I thought for sure that would be popular – I certainly hope they stick around and participate afterwards on my blog, but I really was expecting a lot more entries without a follow. What do you think?

    -Linds

  50. Linds, I think it's BECAUSE you didn't require a follow that people are more willing to follow you. I never require them, and my last big giveaway got me about 10 more who just followed because they wanted to. That's great that you got so many new followers! I hope they do participate.

  51. I've been experimenting as well on different giveaways and I've seen my followers go up when I don't require it but maybe through in an extra entry for it. I try to make my extra entries as simple as possible. I like that we are all thinking about this and experimenting in different ways. It will be interesting to see what people have to say about extra entries!

  52. bibliophile brouhaha says:

    @Tahleen, I think you're right – I think not require a follow makes the blog feel like it has more integrity maybe, since we are not mining for followers with a giveaway.

    @Jamie – yes, I agree – I made my form as simple as possible on this one – name, email, are you follow, and an optional 'do you have a blog' question – just for my own knowledge.

  53. Definitely personal preference… but I am very thumbs down on this. I will usually just not enter the giveaway if it requires me to be a follower – even if I AM already a follower. It feels too much like you are doing the giveaway ONLY to get new followers instead of because you want to share the book and the enjoyment.

  54. I'm thumbs down on this as well (for just the reasons you described) but agree it's a personal decision. I LOVED reading everyone's thoughts on the topic. It's important that we can all have discussions and agree to disagree, respecting the other side's opinion. <3

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