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I have been thinking about this a lot lately too. I currently don't charge anything to do a giveaway. For some smaller giveaway items, I will have the company send me the product to review in addition to the giveaway and then have them ship the winner the item when the giveaway is over so I don't have to deal with shipping.
But the amount of work that goes into a giveaway can be crazy! I recently had a Giveaway Bash. It took hours of posting, gathering info, emailing back & forth with sponsors, and then promoting - LOTS of promoting, submitting, etc. I am not sure if it is protocol to charge something. How are you all doing it? How about if they are not going to send me the specific product to review then there will be a certain charge? I am still working it out. The problem is, I sometimes have very large giveaway prizes and I can't expect them to send that to me.
I would love to hear how some of you are handling your giveaway & sponsoring. I am fairly new to giveaways within the past few months. But now that I am offering giveaways, people are contacting me left & right. I am just not sure if I have the time to put into it without being compensated. What are your thoughts?
I charge $25 dollars for a giveaway with no free product for me OR if the product is worth less than $25 I charge, usually, but it depends on the product, if it is one that I KNOW is going to bring a lot of visitors and affiliate sales than I won't charge, even if they do not send me one to review.
As for all the work, I wimped out and pay a VA to submit all my giveaways to linky's - for only $10 a week for one giveaway a week, it is well worth it to me! She rocks!!
Yes, giveaways help traffic, but I have noticed that a lot of that traffic is only there to enter the giveaway, sad but true, but with the right affiliate program it can work in your favor anyway- I did a giveaway for YNAB a few months ago and I made over $300 so far in affiliate sales, I did NOT charge them! LOL
I don't charge to host giveaways. I figure that especially during these rough economic times, why should I ask for $ when they are being so generous in giving away an item? Actually, the only form of compensation I get from blogging is the occasional item I receive to review. I don't get $ from ads, sponsorship, etc.
My giveaways are pretty all my own products (or at least the products I sell!) So I do spend some money on the giveaways but I do great traffic and increase business awareness so the qualitative benefits are good. It would depend on how much benefit you receive - if you aren't receiving much traffic, repeat readers or even bonus products yourself, you may want to charge to make it worth your while.
Question for everyone.
I have seen a HUGE increase in the number of US only blog contests. Being Canadian ;) it disheartens me. I have never had ap roblem with a potential sponsor being willing to ship to Canada and those who 'balked' have always agreed if I state the winner if outside of the USA is responsible for shipping.
So I would like to hear from everyone, why the majority if not all of their contests state US addresses only. Is this your personal policy? OR a sponsor demand ?
If a sponsor states US only, have you asked if the contest can be open to Canada?
Let's make a distinction between charging for reviews and charging for giveaways. In my mind, a giveaway that is not a bonus giveaway of a sample product that the blogger received for a review is 100% advertising for the company.
I did giveaways for several years and when the product was something I thought my readers would LOVE and would make them for loyal to my site, I did them. I turned down the ones that I predicted wouldn't be as interested. But even then, it was still a lot of work and at times I charged a small fee for my time or would ask them to send me some product in lieu of cash (many preferred to do that).
If you run a popular site (you need to fairly consider if it's popular), I think it's fair to charge a fee or in-kind trade for product for the administrative work you do to run a giveaway but I wouldn't look at it as a source of revenue. For the sponsor, it is all a tax-deductible expense - the product (which, let's be honest, you're paying wholesale for), the fee, etc. It's advertising for your business. I would not pay an exorbitant fee, but you can certainly offer some small gift or cash to the blogger for their time. If you are just getting started with giveaways (or even your blog), then you need to do it for free BUT require the sponsor to give you testimonials that you can use.
And I highly suggest that when you ASK for this fee, you present some concrete data that will show the sponsor why it's worth spending the fee (or giving you some addt'l product). Give them your stats, findings from reader surveys (haven't done one yet? what are you waiting for???), page rank, etc. They love that stuff and will make it an easier decision for them. They have very limited resources, even the larger companies, so if they can compare spending money on your site versus someone else's or not at all.
Be aware that once you start charging a fee for this, you should provide added value such as following up with data such as how many entries received, etc. You are NOT beholden to share email addresses so make sure they are aware of that upfront. In fact, you really should not share email addresses UNLESS the entrants specifically give you permission so make that a requirement for entry (not that they MUST share their email addresses but that they need to say yes or no to sharing).
That said, we did a weekly giveaway for a year and did not charge a fee but I set some very specific rules: the giveaway needed to be $250+ in value with one winner, the company had to ship the prize to the winner, they had to provide me with the text and images for the giveaway. All of this minimized the work I had to do but we were still footing the cost of having a third-party handle entries, legal requirements, etc.
I don't charge for giveaways and I never will. I agree that it's a lot of work but the traffic and readership I gain from them are compensation enough for me. In fact, a lot of times I spending money out of my own pocket to ship the prizes to the winners. I think I come out ahead in the end, though.