Wanna denounce your hustler status and be known as a general slacker? Enter a contest.
Contests are really selfish enterprises that benefit two groups: the website owner, and the people who actually win the prizes. Everyone else is left hanging, walking away with their tail between their legs with their eyes open for the next opportunity to win something. But do you realize what you are doing when you enter a contest, no matter how big or small?
Please tell me you said yes. Please, please? With sugar on top?
Ok, for those that don’t know, a contest is only a ploy to get more traffic to a site. If you think about what comprises the word — con, meaning something that is meant to mislead or befuddle, and test, something meant to give you a challenge or force you to otherwise prove something — put them together and you have something that confuses and misleads you while challenging you at the same time! You’re confused because you think that you’re trying to win a prize, and to do so you’re challenged with one or several tasks (challenges) you have to complete! Often they want you to do some legwork:
- Place a link on your site that leads to theirs (like on your coveted blogroll);
- Make a comment on another site about their contest;
- Do a review on their site (now they get more free reviews);
- Subscribe to their RSS feed (now it appears they are more popular than if people did it on their own);
- Make the most comments on their site (you spend so much time there you don’t have time for anything else, and they get virtually guaranteed traffic);
- Be the first to comment on their newest posts (same as above);
Everything that they ask you to do is in fact more promotion for their website or brand. Sure, it may seem like you’re spending two extra minutes here and there, but as you browse the web — especially blogs — you see more and more of them being held and more and more lucrative prizes being distributed to entice you to work even harder:
- Free link for one month
- Free banner advertisement
- Free book (The 4-Hour Work Week is pretty hot right now, and John Chow is giving away his 4th one already!)
- Free digital camera (DevDad is giving away one of these)
- Free XBox 360, PlayStation 3 and/or Nintendo Wii
- Review me for a link back to your site (a comment can do the same thing)
- And the mother of all of them at the moment: free cash! Specifically $2,500 courtesy of Ashwin Khanna
Heck, I just saw that they are selling links on eBay!
Now I’m not bashing the website owners because I know what their trick is. Heck, you might see a contest on My New Hustle one day! But as someone trying to build up a reputation online or grow a business, you can’t afford to waste time on such exploits. There are NO guarantees that you will win these things, so you’re doing all this hard work for the chance at winning something, and odds are you won’t win anything! You are essentially a contract employee who is working for comp time…free labor that you don’t even have to see or talk to on a regular basis (almost like a machine…set it and forget it!). At the end of the day, you are essentially still working for ‘the man.’ I stopped doing free labor when I left my parents house, so why do you want to continue giving someone else the upper hand?
Get YOUR hustle on!