Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Blogging Faux Pas


 Image found here via Google Images.
One of the things I have learned in my recent experience as a blogger, product reviewer, and giveaway host is that readers really do take the time to enter contests and giveaways.  Readers invest their own time to comment, tweet, post links on Facebook, tell their friends and family about all these amazing products, and promote these products and companies. They help grow small businesses, increase their fan base, and basically tout how wonderful these businesses are.

Barring postal strikes (Canada Post, please return services to the masses! I miss receiving my mail) and the occasional delay in getting prizes out to contest winners, I have had an amazing experience working with all the companies that have been so great in sponsoring contests and giveaways. I love all the companies I've worked with and believe in their products. I have been fortunate to have no complaints whatsoever...except for one recent incident.

Of course, I am not going to publicly name this business or say anything slanderous about anyone. That is not how I am and I don't believe in publicly dissing anyone. It's just that when so many people have taken the time to enter a contest and help promote one's business, one would think that the prize would be honoured.

The contest winner was announced, I got the winner and the sponsor in touch via e-mail and Facebook. A prize was to be shipped out and the winner was very happy and excited.  Weeks passed, and nada. Nothing. E-mail messages were left without replies, and the winner asked me if I could look into it. I followed up with the sponsor, and still no word. Finally, the sponsor said that she had been busy. Then she had e-mail issues. I gave her the benefit of the doubt and followed up, making sure things were still good with the winner's prize. Yes, all was good.

Weeks followed, and still no prize. Once again, the winner contacted the sponsor. The sponsor had lost the winner's mailing address and choices for her prize. She would send it as soon as possible.

A few more weeks and still nothing. The winner contacted the sponsor again. She asked me to follow up once more. Nothing. No acknowledgement of the messages we had sent. It came to a point where I felt uncomfortable and as if we were harassing or hounding the sponsor and it should not have to be that way.

The winner got fed up (ummm...that's a very mild way of putting it!) and sent a final message to the sponsor, stating that it was fine and that she no longer wanted the prize. I felt awful that the winner had given the time to enter the contest and had not received her prize. I even offered to send her some chocolate from the Island as a token of my appreciation for even entering the contest. I felt awful that she had to experience that whole ordeal.

Needless to say, both the winner and I have "unliked" (Ha! Shouldn't it be "disliked"?!?) the sponsor's page on Facebook and will never ever be making any purchases from this sponsor. Not only did the not honouring the prize part leave a bad taste in our mouths, but the customer service was horrible. Wait. There was no customer service!

On the flip side, I realize it is a lot of work to be a mompreneur and to run a small business. I understand that sponsoring giveaways requires one to spend money in order to build a fan base or increase sales. I know that many moms who run businesses have full time families and a zillion other things to do.

All I am saying is that if you approach someone to run a review and giveaway, please honour your word and send the winner of your contest his/her prize. They enter these giveaways in good faith. They invest their time and show interest in your products and services. These are people who are possibly future customers. Is this the way one treats their customers?


*Edited to add:  We have recently learned that the sponsor has had numerous complaints similar to ours by people who have made purchases from her. A) She hadn't replied to messages from buyers, B) Many people hadn't received their products (which they had paid for!), C) Many people have just said to forget it and send them their refunds, etc...

8 comments:

Anonymous said...

That has happened to me before and I was on the receiving end of both; giveaway sponsor didn't give one of my contest winners her prize and another time I didn't receive my prize when I had won a contest. It's not right and it doesn't give a good feeling for the customer/seller relationship. You bet we won't be buying from these companies in the future. Thank you for posting.

Lynn Shaffer said...

Wow that is a horrible story but as always Christine you are very nice by trying to remedy the situation yourself! Myself, I have won a few prizes from various blogs and let me tell you just knowing I won I am dancing and singing everywhere! Getting the prize oh that is a whole other world of happy! And do I go back to these sites and purchase more of the product that I won!!! You Bet! Thanks for sharing :)

Chantal said...

Wow that happened to me a few times too. Brutal. Sponsors got all their new "likes" and followers from the giveaways and didn't hand out the prize! Not impressed. I feel for the people who entered the contests and didn't get anything for their time and effort. I am glad to read I am not the only one this has happened to though! At least it only happened to you once! It's happened to me a few times!

Little Miss Kate said...

ugh that is too bad - it is always hard when people don't hold up there side of the bargain!

New follower via TGCBB - adding your button to my blog!

C said...

Anon:
Yes, it's too bad. Kind of sad, since I love supporting Canadian mom businesses. I think what bothered me the most wasn't even that she didn't hold up her end of the bargain (which was in total distaste, by the way!),but that she completely disregarded messages from both the winner of the contest and from me. She was the one who approached me to run a giveaway and promote her business. Doesn't make sense! Oh, well.

C said...

Lynn:
Hi! Well, I felt so awful about the winner not getting her prize. I know she knows it wasn't anything I had control over, but I still feel somewhat responsible, since I did run the giveaway. :( This is the first time anything like this has happened, so I am thankful for all the wonderful experiences I've had with sponsors so far.

C said...

Chantal:
:) No, you're definitely not the only one! I've actually been chatting about this with some other bloggers and they've said that they've experienced this a few times. One blogger said that FIVE businesses/sponsors have done this to her in the past two months! Wow. I think it's just awful :(

Like I said, there are many more good experiences than bad. :)

C said...

LMK:
Hi! Thanks for the follow! I'll head over to yours soon and check your site out! True about it being hard when others don't hold up their end of the bargain. It puts the middle person in a very awkward position :( As I mentioned before, this person was the one who approached me via the blog. I thought it was all in good faith. The "winner" and I are past it now, but from this experience, will not be purchasing anything from this sponsor in the future.

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City girl moves to the country, falls in love, and marries a farmer. She tries to incorporate her city ways with her new country lifestyle and blogs to keep in touch with friends, family & students who live far, far away :) Can this city girl go country? Watch as she learns all sorts of exciting things about life on the farm and in a small rural community. *UPDATE* We are now parents! Our baby girl was born on Nov. 11, 2008 (at 28 weeks gestation- 12 weeks premature, but she's quite the trooper)!!!
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