Origami Girl

Wednesday, 14 November 2012

In which I am mad about giveaways and privacy

Before I begin this rant (and be warned, it really is a rant), I will concede something: my blog isn’t all that private. There are some people who share their blogs with the wider internet, but keep it secret from their friends. There are some who share it only with their friends but not the rest of the world. I’m not trying to keep my blog secret, it is out there if you have heard of my full name and give me a google. If you only know my blog, my full name is out there without too much searching. However, believing in my privacy is not about demanding total anonymity. It is about wanting separation of my personal and professional life and respecting those who choose never to conflate full name/real life with their blogging world.

I want my blog to be the blog of OrigamiGirl.
I want people looking for OrigamiGirl to find it by searching for Origami Girl.
I want people who are searching for my full name to find my professional work.
I want people who read my blog to not be able to find my details on Facebook.


The ONLY people I want reading about everything I say and everything I do are my close friends. That’s why I keep my Facebook private and picky.

You know what is ruining that? You know what is ruining my happy blog space?  


Let me explain. So a giveaway is when a blogger is given an offer by a company of a free object in return for some advertising, usually. She offers, for example, a dress for free to her followers who must fulfil some criteria for a chance to win.
I’m going to talk you through the three stages in the history of giveaways and how this process of trying to win the unobtainable dress via giving up my privacy has left me abandoning a number of blogs.

Stage 1.
The follower friendly way. In the historic way the blogger put up some photos of the dress and a link to the dress-shop. Her followers leave a comment below and their choice of how to be contacted if they win. They are perhaps enthralled with the dress and go buy it anyway when they don’t win. The blogger might say that you have to be a follower to enter the competition, but trusts you to follow in the way you choose, and so gains a few people who hadn’t been swayed before, or who were searching for giveaways because they love free things. It’s a win-win all round.

Stage 2.
The Facebook way. This is where the blogger and the shop have become obsessed with Facebook. To enter a giveaway now you have to: follow the blog AND ‘like’ the blog on Facebook. Then you have to ‘like’ the shop as well. Perhaps you have to follow the blog on Bloglovin so they can have the pleasure of counting their followers who had the blog on an RSS feed and wouldn’t let them track numbers before. After the Giveaway is over you find yourself with a Facebook page of updates for blogs, pictures of shoes in the Asos sale and Threadesence’s unrealistic models peering at you. All I want on Facebook are my friends, not a cluster of adverts.

Stage 3.
The Rafflecopter-complete meltdown. This is where it lately all went a little bit mental.
Someone has decided that giveaways now need to be done through a third party mediator. Now, not only do you allow Romwe, Facebook and the blog running the giveaway access to your name, email address and buying habits, a third party wants them too.
This is how giveaways are that make me mad:
This is the app you have to use to enter a lot of giveaways now. Note the link to Facebook immediately highlighted.

I can just click on ‘recent activity’ and can see who entered!

Oh look. I either sign in with Facebook –no way, that’s personal friend space. Or give this company my email address. Is there a privacy policy? No. Is there a statement as to what they will do with my email? No.

I entered with a fake name and my email for junk stuff to get to the next page. It asks me to finish this entry to unlock the rest? Oh wait, I haven’t done enough?  Apparently I need to follow this blog. I already do follow her via Blogger. But that isn’t enough, it wants Bloglovin as well. 

Like the Cat in the Hat the Rafflecopter says, ‘Oh no, that is not all I can do’. For more chances to win a random thing, I have further options to give my privacy away even more. Eleven more entries which, note the language, I can earn.

At no point in it is the giveway framed as thanking supporters for following your blog, for comforting you in hard times and giving you endless compliments. Now you have to earn your right to have a chance for a free thing. As you can see I can combine other accounts I own, such as Twitter and Etsy with the entries. Sigh.

I have at last spotted a ‘Terms and Conditions’ link. However this only comes through on the app, after I have done the first entry and clicking on Terms and Conditions did not bring anything up!

When I see a mess of privacy invasion like this, crossing my Facebook, Google account, Bloglovin and others over without giving me any guarantee as to what they will do with my information I do not want to enter your giveaway. And sadly, it makes me angry with the blogger. This is why I don’t feel any shame in using one blogger’s giveaway to expose the problems in the rest. It’s highly likely that you don’t understand the implications. However, those of you who ask for me to follow you in multiple ways should at least consider that too much of anything becomes an irritant.

You don’t even have to do it this way. SomeoneLikeYou is one of the only people still doing blog giveaways in what I deem a respectable way. I would like to quote what she says in her giveaway:

You don't even have to be a follower of my blog. You don't have to like this or follow that... This isn't about self promotion. It's about saying thank you. You can be a first time visitor or someone who has visited my blog since it started three years ago...You can be from half way across the world, my home town, my life here at Kent...anyone is welcome to enter.”

Because honestly, I want to spend more time on her blog and appreciate her more because she asks so much less. So please! Stop using Rafflecopter! Let’s make giveaways about community and thanking followers again, rather than about giving our lives to Facebook.

P.S. If you want to see me being happy and skipping instead my previous blog post is all about that and the sea. I'm going to look at those photos now to calm myself down.


  1. AHHH I'm not the only one who feels this way. I hate the copter thing and I once had a blogger email me saying I didn't feel enough of it out and was disqualified. Wait, what? And why the hell should we have to jump through hoops to "win" something we won't win. It's all a sham and honestly, most giveaways don't give the blogger anything (the blogger hosting) they are just a middle man. It's a total sham. When I did my giveaway (the one and only) I told them I would only make them follow on one platform of the companies choice and they weren't very happy about it.

  2. I get and I also see another side of it. I use Rafflecopter for many reasons, that being that many people don't have blogger accounts. I actually have a LOT of readers (including one that won a giveaway) who don't know what GFC is or how to even really get a blogger account. They don't want to leave like 50 separate comments to enter to win something small. Any way you give up your e-mail address - the comments do that as well. And liking on Facebook - you can create a page for your blog and like through that. The facebook thing - let's say you like my page on Facebook. I actually cant' see any of your personal info, unless you have it set to public. And it should give you something back - it's a prize for being a loyal reader, in the same way frequent shopper cards work. Plus, sometimes it's just nice to support a business. I honestly just like that my readers will get a chance to get something I love (I tend to reach out to Etsy shops and business I already own stuff from ). Plus most, you don't have to like Facebook - although some are run that way. For a lot of people, it's a way of living, and keeping it run like a business is the way to do it. And the Terms and Conditions thing - that's the blogger not doing their job correctly. You have to manually enter that - I do with all of mine.

    To me what it comes down to is that these are completely optional, but a nice perk of many blogs. Ultimately, you can just do one entry and be done. I have never had a blogger or company contact me from any giveaway other than to let me know I have won if I have, and even then, I wouldn't really mind much if they did as many of them are small businesses and if they wanted to tell me about 20 percent discount or something, I'm down.

    And longest. Comment. Ever.

    1. Just FYI Rafflecopter has a strict privacy policy and they do indeed state it.


  3. yeeah privacy invasion is a big no no I think. And I do dislike giveaways where they make up follow everything and retweet and repost etc. it's too much work for me to want to enter lol

  4. I just get seriously put off when I have to jump through 101 hoops to enter! ha ha

  5. Huh. Thanks for opening my eyes to this, lady. I hadn't actually considered that it was pretty unfair running a giveaway forcing people to like a facebook page to enter, because there are a lot of people who want to keep their facebook free from crap. I do end up unsubscribing from a LOT of facebook pages that I have "liked" to enter competitions with. And rafflecopter... hmm I'm not sure how I feel about them. I don't ever do many giveaways, but I did one using rafflecopter and oh my god, it was a lot easier, because it tabulated all the entries for me when I didn't have time. I think I'll probably keep using rafflecopter... but not making "liking facebook pages" mandatory. You made a really good point about that.
    Hey, I like a good rant! This is going to make me think twice before I run another giveaway though. Thanks :)