Something that has been bothering me… a lot.
Regulars of the Instagram Beauty Community will be familiar with giveaways held by brands and/or brand partners. There are dozens of new giveaways to enter every single day. If I come across one that I meet the criteria to enter, you better believe I’ll be filling out a ballot. Who wouldn’t? Over the past couple of years I’ve seen some of my Instagram chums walk away with literally thousands of dollars worth of loot from having their names drawn… in some cases, the giveaways they won were ones that I tagged them in! Envy doesn’t begin to explain… but I digress!
If you’re entering multiple giveaways daily it’s hard to remember exactly which ones you’re in the running for… unless of course you’re fastidious about tracking them. I kind of just throw my name out there and hope for the best. I entered a giveaway held by Cane+Austin—a brand famous for their glycolic acid based skincare—recently, and was paying close attention to when the contest was due to end, as very few people entered and there were going to be TWO winners. I thought I had a pretty good shot. I went so far as to pester C+A, asking when the winners would be announced. Days later and still nothing. So I asked them again – had they posted the winners of the giveaway?
This is the reply I received from C+A:
“Okay…” I thought to myself. I went back to the original contest entry photo, skimmed over the giveaway rules to see if they had been edited to include the names of the winners, looked in the comments for the announcement, checked the photo itself to see if the winners were tagged in it, went to the giveaway host’s photos to see if she had announced the winners (i.e., not C+A)… nope, nothing. Strange. The brand/partner/host of every giveaway that I’ve followed carefully from start to finish in the past has always DECLARED the winners of the giveaway on the original post. Kate Somerville, for example, has numerous giveaways on Instagram, and the winners are always announced, in black and white, for the world to see. Why wouldn’t they be? The contest is held in a public space, so the winners should be announced in a public space. So I questioned C+A again and asked where the winners were posted? They responded to my query on one of MY pictures; they did not respond to me on their picture where I posed the question:
My response seems pretty innocent and naïve, right? I guess I didn’t know better… until I started receiving several direct messages from my followers saying that this is now common practice in giveaways. Wait a minute. Put the brakes on and reverse. How are we letting brands get away with this? If the “winners” of the giveaway are contacted directly, how do we know there were winners at all? Better yet, how do we know there was even a legitimate giveaway? Most of these giveaways require you to follow the brand, follow the host of the giveaway, etc. What if this is just an elaborate ruse to increase follower counts and do some free promotion? I have never questioned the Kate Somerville giveaways, because as I mentioned, the winners are announced plain as day. You know, to signify that yes, a giveaway happened, and here are the legitimate winners.
Everyone is becoming so damn sketchy on the Internet. I have this really terrible image in my head of brands and brand partners all wearing Devil masks and conspiring these things, like, “Hey, I know a way we can get you a boatload of followers while at the same time giving us some promo!” Either do the giveaway correctly and fairly or don’t do it at all. If no winners are being declared in black and white the giveaway should be considered against the terms and conditions of Instagram, and there should be iron-fist rulings or infractions handed out.
In short, don’t piss on my leg and tell me it’s raining.
I’m sorry for waffling on, but I hope you all can see where I’m coming from, and hey, maybe you guys share a similar frustration.
– – [EDITED TO ADD] – –
One of my lovely Instagram followers had a few choice words:
I see no lies – do you? If the “random winner” has a ton of followers, more followers = more people being exposed to the brand after the fact.