Hustle Tips

Hustle Tips: Waste Time With Web Contests

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Wanna denounce your hustler status and be known as a general slacker? Enter a contest.

My New Hustle | Make Money Online: Contest Ribbons Red White Blue 1st 2nd 3rd


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?

My New Hustle | Make Money Online: Puss N Boots 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!

37 Comments
  1. Matthew Blancarte 11 years ago
    Reply

    You’re right. Establishing credibility before you do a contest or some event is what I’ve chosen to do. I think there is a sweet spot for timing the contest that you have to wait for… and you also want to make it a BIG contest.

  2. dcr 11 years ago
    Reply

    But, but, but I’m a-gonna win! πŸ˜‰

    I guess you proved that it is better to give than receive, because if you give prizes, you gain traffic, but if you win prizes, it means you spent a lot of time not working on your own site.

  3. […] next commentator would be: cooliojones. Cooliojones writes about the virtues of contests, and sings the praises of a creatively-named […]

  4. Budget Babe 11 years ago
    Reply

    Hahaha, well I have to say that I am a sucker for contests (when the prize is something that I would like).

    As for wasting time, I guess the same could be said for making comments on other blogs but I believe in sharing the love and if I can send a bit more traffic to your way or JC’s way, then I am happy!!

  5. Charles Lau 11 years ago
    Reply

    it’s pretty bad to manipulate links…

  6. Rudi 11 years ago
    Reply

    Good idea. Will have to think about that.

  7. chrisblogging.com 11 years ago
    Reply

    I can see where you are coming from. But with that being said, contests do work!

  8. mark 11 years ago
    Reply

    $2,5000 … wow! Good luck!

  9. Angel 11 years ago
    Reply

    i can’t believe people are selling links on eBay. That’s insane.

  10. eTown Landlord 11 years ago
    Reply

    What it is Coolio Jones… What it is!!!

    How do you feel about free lottos that you see around? Do you think anyone actually wins?

  11. eTown Landlord 11 years ago
    Reply

    Do you remember me commenting on shoemoney that I love that name?

  12. cooliojones 11 years ago
    Reply

    Matthew – Usually the bigger the contest, the bigger the requirements and the more resources (time) it takes to win. Only you will know if it is worth it!

    dcr – great summary, you hit it on the head!

    Budget Babe – I think commenting is a lil different because you are directly gaining exposure and possibly helping people or giving back to the community. Entering contests just shows you are doing something for your benefit only.

    Charles – I agree.

    Rudi – Come back and tell us what you come up with!

    Chris – You’re wild as always! Now why oh why didn’t you just do a plug for your contest, which ends next Tuesday? πŸ™‚

    Mark – I didn’t enter that one, but there’s still time for you if you choose to!

    Angel – My sentiments exactly! But if they can sell potato chips that resemble the Virgin Mary, anything is possible!

    eTown – What it is!! I don’t trust the free lottos…you might win, but it’s something I haven’t looked at in depth. I’d rather ‘waste’ time on something I know is productive. And yeah I remember you from ShoeMoney! He’s one of my fav bloggers.

    Thanks everyone and for the new (and old) people visiting, share more of your contest stories!

  13. Balinese 11 years ago
    Reply

    Wow, what a long comment from u cooliojones.

  14. cooliojones 11 years ago
    Reply

    If you think that’s long, you should see some of my other ones on other sites, lol. Lewis Empire knows about that. But I really appreciate it when you and everyone else takes the time to leave your thoughts, suggestions and critiques.

  15. Markk 11 years ago
    Reply

    That’s telling ’em to keep their eyes wide open where such “contests” are concerned. You’re damn right, it’s a waste of time. There’s this blogger who bemoaned the lack of participants in his contest. He should have known better.

  16. Debo Hobo 11 years ago
    Reply

    I think there is enough lute out there for all of us, and we should take an allotted amount of time out weekly to help other bloggers out. “One Hand Washes the Other”. A Community will grow faster than an individual. I realize there are some out there that will take the link and run and not give a second thought to reciprocating but we can’t let them make us bad neighbors.

    I did a review for a link to one of the big guys his initials are JC, I have linked to his site in several articles as well. Has he even bothered to drop a link or even a quick Thank you, Ah No! but I am not going to let that keep me down, but when I surpass him Oh and I will! He will oneday be begging me for a mere link. But in the mean time, I will link to others in good faith.

    Great Post Coolio and thanks for stopping by my blog and dropping a few comments earlier. I think I am a Gonnabe rather than a Wannabe now. I’m Claiming It!

  17. eTown Landlord 11 years ago
    Reply

    You tha’ man cooliojones… Rock out with your sack out… thanks for your input on the free lottos. I won’t waste my time.

    What do you think of free lease forms from a very reputable landlord webmaster πŸ™‚

  18. TechZilo 11 years ago
    Reply

    Thanks for dropping by my site, jones.

    You seem to be so bold in pointing out the facts – thanks πŸ˜‰

    As for the contest, its just my 2cents….I don’t have much hope of winning anyway.

  19. cooliojones 11 years ago
    Reply

    Debo – That’s horrible! But you have a great attitude about it, so keep pressing on!

    Tech – I try not to sugar coat the issues! πŸ™‚

    eTown – ??? I want a free lease!! πŸ™‚

  20. Jarkko Laine 11 years ago
    Reply

    Hey, this is actually a great post!

    But what do you think of the following case: Someone enters a competition because he actually wants to promote the site holding the competition.

    That pretty much happened to me with the DevDad competition (ok, I wanted the digital camera as well, but…). I was even thinking that I would be happier to make the review if there wasn’t for the competition. But in the end because I really wanted to promote DevDad, I decided to enter the competetion.

    Now I helped out a fellow blogger, and at the same time have a (small) chance of winning a pretty nice camera.

  21. cooliojones 11 years ago
    Reply

    Jarkko, if the person really wants to promote the site, then it’s killing two birds with one stone! It’s a hustle within itself. But it’s the only way it will save you. πŸ˜€

  22. Steven Snell 11 years ago
    Reply

    You have a lot of good points. I don’t necessarily disagree with you, but I think with most contests it’s pretty clear that the website owner’s intentions are to benefit themselves (and of course to give something cool to the lucky winner). If the intentions are transparent I wouldn’t call it a con.

  23. Steven Snell 11 years ago
    Reply

    One thing I didn’t say in my previous comment is that I really like the title to this post.

  24. Forteheidi 11 years ago
    Reply

    WOW I feel cheap now…Excellant Post!

  25. gerri 11 years ago
    Reply

    so what do you say in the case of Ashwin’s contest. The winner that won the CON-TEST has a blog that really has nothing on it. It look like a big con and that surely will work aganist you.

  26. […] Hustle tips: Waste time with web contests written by My New Hustle. […]

  27. […] a wealth of interesting information on this blog. I like his article, Hustle Tips: Waste Time With Web Contests. As long as you know what you're getting yourself into before you enter a contest, I see no […]

  28. cooliojones 11 years ago
    Reply

    gerri – He hasn’t responded yet, and I think he needs to say something, because his credibility is at stake. The longer he waits, the more and more people will drop him like a bad habit. Seems like it was link bait gone wrong?

  29. mark 11 years ago
    Reply

    You’re SO correct.

    All these ppl help these bloggers and the winner can VERY easily be an accomplice.

  30. […] weeks ago I wrote about my dislike for web contests, and as on Monday, August 20th (two days ago), it was apparent why. Ashwin of AshwinKhanna.com […]

  31. […] gregstratz, jomiwi, karebearcentral, kissesofsunshine, ladylike4, letthedogin, mikesquarter, mynewhustle, pediascribe, rodneyolsen, siteguide, stephenfung, thatedeguy, The Sassy Southerner, tully, […]

  32. KingBrain 11 years ago
    Reply

    I looked at the ebay links, and I wouldn’t waste my time with those either.

  33. Memmorium 11 years ago
    Reply

    Good idea!
    P.S. A U realy girl?

  34. cooliojones 11 years ago
    Reply

    Glad you liked the tip Memmorium! But no, I am not a girl, lol!

  35. Jagdu in Fresno 11 years ago
    Reply

    Congratulations, I think, by linking that you actually entered a few of those CONtests!

  36. cooliojones 11 years ago
    Reply

    LOL, nah, there were other requirements that I really didn’t feel like doing! But that would have been a great observation!

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