On one hand, giveaways (mine are almost always books) drive traffic to my blog and bring page views to the site. Both those things are valuable. And I like to give a reader recognition and appreciation. It’s fun to get return emails from excited contest winners.
On the other hand, giveaways strike me as kind of cheesy. I don’t like putting the words “free” and “giveaway” in my tag list. I feel like I’m selling shampoo. Also, now that I have a BlogHer ad, the company restricts what I can give away to under $40, and says I can’t have a contest for anything given to me for that express purpose.
I wonder whether the people who come for the giveaway become regular readers, or whether I’m just drinking the Koolaid. Maybe it’s like when food bloggers get photos published on Tastespotting. Readership spikes that day but doesn’t stick around.
And I wonder who these people are who enter giveaway contests. Some are regular readers, but I wonder if many are people who cruise the web looking for free stuff. Sometimes they’re fans of the author. When David Lebovitz posted on Facebook that I was giving away a copy of Ready for Dessert, I got way more entries than usual.
What’s your take? Do you enter giveaways or host them on your blog? Why or why not?