How to Win Blog Giveaways for Christmas Gifts

Winning Cash Giveaway!

I’ve won three blog giveaways in the last few weeks — a box of elderberry products, a medicinal herb kit, and a music curriculum that includes two penny whistles. The penny whistles made me think of Christmas.

“I wonder if I can win enough blog giveaways to get some Christmas presents for the kids,” I thought. Then I remembered my friend Tami.

Tami Lewis blogs at A Godly Homemaker and she is constantly posting how she’s won another giveaway. In fact, it got so good she wrote a post on how to win blog giveaways. I never realized there was a science to it. But Tami, who has won 427 giveaways in four and a half years, has a system and is more than willing to talk about it. Yes, you can win a bunch of free stuff!

1. Get prepared.

If you want to get serious about winning some free loot, prepare yourself. It’s rather hard to follow someone on Twitter if you do not have a Twitter account. Open accounts on all social media channels. And if you don’t have a blog, start oneBlogger.com is one fast, easy, and free option.

If you want, you can use it just to blog about giveaways (often one of the entry requirements); or you may find you enjoy it and want to blog about other things as well. If you don’t want all the activity to junk up your email inbox, open a separate email account for signing up for newsletters and leaving your email address.

2. Follow the rules.

My friend Karen always requires entrants for her blog giveaways to leave their email address in the comments. No email address, no chance of winning. Believe me, she’s strict. Make sure you read the entire post carefully and look for any stipulations that might exclude you.

3. Use all the entry opportunities.

Tami’s main way of winning is to use all the entries given. She said, “If I get 12 chances and you only get one, then my odds are better.” So if a giveaway asks that you like a Facebook page, follow on Twitter, and subscribe to a newsletter, do all those things if you really want to win.

4. Space out your entries.

According to Angela at A Simple Kinda Life, you should space out your entries. “When you leave comments back to back, you’re lessening your odds,” she said. Angela recommends that you leave your first comment then leave the site. Come back later or the next day and do the second entry. Then come back for the third, and so on.

5. Use a scheduler.

Many giveaways give one entry for every tweet. If you use a Twitter scheduler like HootSuite, you can schedule it to tweet for you each day and you don’t have to worry about it. Then when you have the time, go to Twitter, capture the url of the tweet, and go back and put it in the comment section or Rafflecopter on the blog.

6. Google what you’re looking for.

Have a particular gift in mind? Do a search for “item + giveaway.” You might have better results with this if you’re looking for a big-ticket item like an iPad or laptop.  Remember to check the date of the posting before clicking on it so you don’t waste your time chasing giveaways that occurred in 2008.

7. Subscribe to a blog giveaway directory.

Another way to find the giveaway for that perfect gift is to look in a directory. Prizey.net and Blog Giveaway Directory post their favorites.

So what about Christmas? Do you think it’s realistic to do my Christmas shopping this way? Tami does. “One Christmas we had no money for gifts,” she said, “so I set about entering as many giveaways as possible. I won enough toys, t-shirts, books and DVD’s, as well as gift cards, for each child to have three gifts. And I have seven children!”

Have you won any blog giveaways? What would you like to win? Leave a comment!










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10 Comments
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  1. Anonymous

    I would like to fill in what most people do not know, including bloggers who never compare their winner lists from one giveaway to the next. Most bloggers use Rafflecopter (Rafflecopter is a offshoot of Random.org) Rafflecopter favors certain name initials. Tops are L, K, J, and C, a different subset includes A, B, D and R. T’s are in a different set. If you have first and last names that start with the top letters you have really good odds. That is true for many Facebook promotions that use Rafflecopter also. Now let’s talk about Random.org Just today on a Twitter while I was participating in prize parties, I saw the same person win at 3 different parties, with their name drawn at the end of 2 of them. As usually I have seen the same names drawn repeatedly for prizes for a week and a half now. That is not unusual. Last Spring I watched one person win consistently over a 2 month period often winning the Grand prizes. By the time month 3 rolled around they had accumulated around $3000 in prizing. This happened because of “selection patterns” by random.org. Another person was also winning repeatedly during the same time period. They had Key letters in their name that the randomizer software favored.

    I first noticed this phenomenon last December. I at first thought it was because bloggers were cheating and “Cherry Picking” favorites, or friends or other bloggers (that really does happen). I have been a cherry pick winner sometimes too. Cherry Picking comprises about 40% of prize selection. I set out on an experiment after contacting a couple of bloggers who seemed to not care, and had no interest in addressing this issue. I decided to start experimenting with different twitter names to see if this was a matter of selecting by “atmospheric noise” (random.org) or by letters or letter combinations, or by other factors. While there are some variables from one giveaway/party to another, there is a consistent pattern by random org to pick the same names over time. Let’s say @appledeesmith won scads of prizes in February, and then maybe not again for a couple of months. But a new player came in with the handle @appeleesifth, and the selection pattern evolved back to where it was in February. Even though the 2 names are similar in “sound” the first will win again and not the latter. So if Random.org is really using atmospheric noise, I would think that someone with a similar but different name would sometimes be winning. It is about letters and letter combinations.

    Now I am happy for anyone who gets lucky and I have won my share of prizes but not on blogs except for 3 little prizes, very small prizes out of 1000′s of contest entries, as my name does not have lucky letter combinations for Rafflecopter. It is great to to have your own little Christmas party Via UPS and FedEx. Most of my life I had nothing, after living expenses ate my paychecks, so it was nice have some things for a change. I did not have a life filled with lots of clothes, shoes, jewelry, tech, and all the other adult gadgets, toys, new cars etc, so these giveaways have given me a chance to experience what others have experienced to a small degree. I love winning useful items and gift cards. I keep some things, use some for gifts, give to charities, and now being disabled and in a wheelchair use my gift cards to pay hired help to take me to important appointments and the grocery store. Winning has become a “job” for me so I enter contests continually every day as it is a need, and no longer just a recreational pursuit.

    And I am happy for anyone that gets a winfall…except when I see many people who never or seldom win. Then the unfairness of it all bothers me. Losing is a sad thing and can be very discouraging if you never ever win. (but this is Satan’s World not God’s so chins up as God will provide equally for all when he returns)

    Knowing what I do, do I cheat ? No I don’t. I follow the contests rules, even if playing under a pseudonym. Can someone manipulate the random software system by having knowledge of how to win ?. You can possibly increase your odds, but you cannot totally predict all factors.

    To give you more understanding:

    Bloggers who use Rafflecopter may enter you into the drawing by a number, by your email, or by your name. This will cause variation in how winners are chosen.

    Bloggers who hold twitter parties, may use Random.org, Rafflecopter, or another system, or they may Cherry Pick or do a combination. Sometimes it is the quality of your tweet or tweet answer to a question. They may go from the RSVP list and use a number system, or they may go by your twitter handle, or they may use your email address. Unless you knew what method each blogger used you would not be able to manipulate the system to any degree and you can never manipulate it 100%.

    This last week I saw Random.org use 2 different patterns alternatively. On one, if your twitter name fell between i’s to l’s you had a good chance of selection and if you had ie in your name. On the other it was choose letter combinations involving U’s, and G’s and multiple letters either consonants or vowels. So you had to know which pattern would be up at any time with any particular blogger. Sometimes the patterns will run the same for everyone all day, and sometimes they will alternate.

    I have been observing and experimenting since early this year. It has been interesting, yet troubling. If I had a blog and was doing a giveaway, it would be much more random for me to put all the numbers in a hat and choose from the hat than to use a randomizer.

    Giveaways can be very time consuming, and some bloggers want to be able to prove they used a fair random system. So they use whatever they can find and learn to use with ease, which is often Rafflecopter, or Random.org. If I were to blog and I have been working on this, and if I was going to do a giveaway, I would prefer 1 entry per person and using a number system for the best possibly fairness. I would not give bloggers preference over anyone else either.

    I am concerned that some bloggers on twitter parties are using company sponsorships to front Gift Cards, Money and prizes to other blogger associates for their blog giveaways. I have seen some suspicious activity in this area. That it not to say bloggers are excluded or should be from giveaways. I just will not go into detail here as I don’t want to expose some things at this time.

    But I will be honest. Even in giveaways done at Trade Shows, through company promotions elsewhere etc, I have seen dishonesty and Cherry Picking. I was at a trade show a few years ago (and this happened more than once) where several of the vendor representatives were taking the business cards out of the “fishbowl” , going through them and picking their favored person to give a prize to. I was there, heard everything and saw it. Prize givers cheat at times, so the best way for you to win, is by entering a lot of contests of different types. It is a “numbers game”. The more you enter the better the odds of winning something.

    Many bloggers are excellent and honest bloggers who do a good job on their blog and for their followers. I commend them for their hard work and dedication.

    • Thanks for sharing your observations. I guess the person that participates on a rather infrequent basis wouldn’t notice any trends such as you mention. Would like it if any other readers have observed the same thing, anyone?

      • Anonymous

        Today, since I am also hispanic, I participated in a hispanic twitter party with @SearsLatino.
        @SearsLatino used the randomizer so commonly used at the parties when they drew names for prizes, which they drew at the end of the party. True to form, the same letter, letter combinations came up as on the American Parties, to include one winner who has won twice this last week on the American Parties. So this only proves that the repeated drawing of the same names or same type of names from party to party is a defect of the randomizer used, which further demonstrates it is not truly fairly random.

    • I have used rafflecopter probably over a 100 times in the last 6 months. I have never noticed any such thing.

      Also, I am part of several different blogger forums and this has never been issue.

      And us bloggers have a life outside the blogosphere and we do not have time to put all the names in a hat when there are over 6000 entries. Giveaways are gifts to our readers.

      And it is the right of each blogger to choose how they run their giveaway….if you don’t agree with the rules…don’t enter. It’s simple.

      I am curious as to what Anonymous name starts with.

  2. Anonymous

    Please excuse the typos in the above comment. Wish there was an “edit” feature.

  3. Carol, thanks for sharing this post about giveaways! I’ve never thought about Googling for giveaways before. And I didn’t know there were giveaway directories. I’m running a giveaway right now on my blog that ends on October 31. The next time I do one, I’ll see if I can get listed on those directories.

    • I didn’t know about the directories, either Rich, until I started researching this post. Thanks for sharing. Now to hop over to see what you’ve got going. :)

  4. Thanks for sharing with me about this great idea, Tami.

  5. Thanks for the post Carol. Can you take a step back briefly and talk a bit about what giveaway prizes entail? What are they? Who gives away the prizes? Why?

    I think it would be helpful to learn a bit about what it is.

    Thanks!

  6. Good question, JP. Last August Bob gave away an iPad2 on this site. You can read about it here: http://christianpf.com/giveaway/ That is a great example of what this post is about. Not all prizes that bloggers give away are that expensive. Sometimes, a blogger will do a review of a book and then give away a free copy, like Rich referred to above. Bloggers will host giveaways to increase traffic to their sites, do something special for their readers, or to share a product that they have tried and enjoy. Oftentimes the giveaway is sponsored by the product’s company. For instance, I have entered a few giveaways for a Berkey water filter. The blogger has arranged with Berkey to provide the water filter for the winner in exchange for a review and the exposure. Other times the blogger will provide the prize, like Bob did in the iPad giveaway.
    I hope this helps, JP. If you have any more questions, please don’t hesitate to ask.

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