I sat here writing endlessly on how to broach this topic tactfully, tastefully, and with bold tenacity. Only to come out empty handed and having the audience of readers say, “huh?” So while no tact may exist I will pour out the information. Some of you may have read a wonderful article on ShePosts.com. I was rather skeptical of ShePosts thinking the site was to stir the pot, cause drama, get mommy bloggers riled, and I am happy to report I was wrong. I feel the authors provide fabulous unbiased, or with as little bias as possible, on important topics that affect the business of mommy blogging or blogging.
The article on ShePosts quickly touched on ethics and what bloggers can do about their ethics of giveaways on their blog.
My take… I loved it. I ENJOYED with my WHOLE HEART being the “anonymous” to out these “ethical” blog badge toting liars. I have proof of bloggers, LOTS of bloggers, agreeing to forge giveaways. Unfortunately too, I was the recipient of a forged giveaway and found out months after the fact. This DID NOT sit well with me. The idea did not sit well with me, the knowledge I had, that bloggers think this sort of behavior is perfectly acceptable stirred a FIRE in me. But more and more “mommy bloggers” are positioning themselves and acting like untouchable prima donnas, “It’s my blog…SO THERE! I can say and do whatever I want.”
Go right on ahead then honey because when the feds intervene, when state law governing sweepstakes intervene, I will be sure to grab some popcorn. Because I spoke about this issue once, about whether the sweep was a sham, and I was right then, I am right now. Bloggers are rigging their giveaways for winners based on whom THEY want to win, not by chance. Which technically if you as a blogger are conducting yourself in such a manner you are violating federal and state sweepstakes laws by crossing into lottery territory.
“A promotion may be characterized as a lottery if it has all three of the following elements:
- A prize
- Consideration” (Steven Bennet, An Introduction to Sweepstakes and Contest Laws, 2007)
I can tell you that those elements would qualify certain bloggers sweeps as lotteries, which are federally regulated and ONLY allowed by states on a discretionary level, so in a morons terms, you just shit all over yourself by violating BIG laws. Forget the FTC, you now have the FCC on your hands for communications violations, the Department of Justice for conspiracy, maybe racketeering if they feel frisky . I will also tell you that giveaways that are held in a CLOSED forum only where you have to be a member and members are only allowed by consideration of the administrator (on whether she likes you or not), well those “giveaways” are now a lottery and up for federal game to investigate if anyone (like me) wanted to blow the whistle on a community providing such an event.
Oh and holding live giveaways on a Blog Talk Radio channel for which again, the above elements are met, are considered a violation of federal law under the 1995 Crime Bill passed by President Clinton, as EVERYONE has to have an opportunity to enter the giveaway. Just sayin’.
Blogging and holding giveaways in this fashion is UNETHICAL. Period. Really, why bother with all the time and effort required in posting a giveaway, listing the giveaway, and promoting if you plan to rig the event for someone you like. Additionally, you are falsifying your stats as a blogger by generating inflation for the sake of premium opportunities with PR and for a “friend” to receive the item because of your comfort level, “rather than some misc. stranger.” Sure, we would not want to run the sweep by chance, just consideration right? Moreover, an “equal dignity” requirement applies.
Discrimination can not be present in treatment of sweepstakes entrants. Those who give some consideration to enter, either by making a payment or by exerting significant effort, may not be treated differently, or more favorably, than those who do not provide consideration. The odds of winning must be substantially similar for both. If the two groups are treated differently, the differential could create pressure for entrants to give consideration, and thus might transform the sweepstakes into an illegal lottery (Bennett, 2007)
So while ethics are pulled into question about giveaways, how about the entrants? I personally am curious as to how they feel about the situation. Spending time entering into giveaways for what they believe is an equal chance to win a prize only to be duped into providing page hits and unique visitor counts daily all in the name of fraud. Or would it be in the name of traffic.
Furthermore, why not notify bloggers sponsors of their behavior, their conduct? What makes these bloggers, no matter how “big” they think they are in the echelon of sorority hens, above the law? Above any code of ethical conduct? Who will hold these bloggers accountable? Or will other bloggers react indignantly, as envious high school snots, who believe they have some intangible form of entitlement to do whatever the f&*k they please? Will they say “Oh they’re just jealous”? Jealous? Of two years minimum prison time for conspiracy to defraud? Thanks, but no thanks to Leavenworth. I love the rolling hills of Kansas, but not that much.
My question to you, who will be the checks and balances? Should the government increase their involvement more with mommy bloggers? Should a guild, a quorum no less, of bloggers be built to uphold ethical standards among giveaway blogs and promotions? Or should we go on as business as usual, despite the rampant occurrences of rigged giveaways and winners.
These badges too that are colorfully displayed widgets, mean DIDDLY SHIT! Nothing. Nada. Why? No one and I do mean no one…including the creators of these cute little backlink widgets are doing NOTHING to enforce. Period. Unless the individual displaying the badge is holding him or herself to a higher moral standard, which clearly…we see they are not. I hope to post some good signs of what might be considered a legit giveaway blog, what might not be considered legit, signs to look for when entering giveaways on a blog. Also look to see if your blogger is consistently posting winners, do they post re-draws? A lot of infrequent due to lack of response?
And then you wonder why no one takes a “mommy blogger” seriously at her job.
How can they when she or he is running amok rigging giveaways. Forget all the catty minutiae with back-biting over what broad got to go to what event or who is whatever brand ambassador, this is serious business and the time has come to actually treat the issue as such. Time to own up and grow up.
**Here is my time to own up and grow up.
I got involved with a girl, yes a girl, and she became a friend. You know her, I know her. She WAS my friend. I defended her many times, I became a human friend shield when others attacked her. Until one day she said I was lazy and talked shit behind my back and I had enough of her petty, juvenile, sociopath behavior. Dumb. Why? Because no matter how much I felt she was self-absorbed, immature, and selfish I never said a bad thing about her. I always told her to her face. But the kicker is that now I am being attacked by her pathetic other half for this post and one other because I have an intelligent opinion. My opinion.
Furthermore, the information about the “cheaters” includes her. Did you know that the email transference that outs a blogger listed above in photos also includes this individual? Yes. She was rather eager to provide me the info and took the item being given away to boot. I can also say that the headers were eliminated from the emails that this person sent me, maybe to protect her own ass or maybe because she doesn’t know how. Regardless, she too is just as guilty. I will also say that this post was never in any attempt to damage anyone, but to bring light to a situation that is/was rampant in the little immature community known as “mommy blogging.” Clearly the situation is one to keep under the carpet, like addiction. The big pink elephant that everyone knows is there but won’t say or do anything about it. Regardless, I wrote this, I stick by it. I never back down. I just clarify.
So for clarity’s sake, if you want to know the blogger let me know and I would be happy to do a WHOLE post, because that’s how I roll.