Yay! You won a prize!

… and it never arrived …

I had a discussion with a winner of one of my giveaways yesterday about a giveaway item that hadn’t arrived yet. I assured her I would look into it right away. In reply, she let me know that she had several prizes that hadn’t arrived yet from wins on other blogs… and several bloggers were not returning her messages. Ladies and gentlemen, you have no idea how much this infuriates me! Let me explain…

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Bloggers, I will chat with you first because I am one of you. I know that we include that disclaimer in our giveaways that points out we are not responsible for shipping the prize. Sure, we are ultimately not responsible for sending prizes, but we are obligated to be advocates for our readers. We have made legally-binding arrangements with a business and made a promise to our readers. A reader should not have to enter into a giveaway wondering if they will actually get their prize when they beat the odds and win. Stand up for your readers and your reputation! Even if you ultimately can’t do anything about it, have the courtesy of responding to your winners. Ignoring the problem is just plain rude.

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Businesses, it’s your turn. It’s not just really crummy and rude of you not to send out a prize, it’s also illegal. When you agree to provide a prize you are entering into a contract with the blogger. Our email interaction serves as legal documentation of this agreement. Beyond this, you have just angered a whole group of social media experts. Bloggers as whole are great at networking. We’re not just good for improving awareness of good businesses… we’re also quite capable of making people aware of bad business practices. Not following through on promises is a bad business practice. Don’t be that business.

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Readers, let me assure you that the majority of bloggers still care about you and the job we do. We are just as angry about businesses and bloggers that do not follow through on their commitments. They reflect badly on all of us. We do our best to share with you when we are made aware of these bad eggs, knowing that it could serve to deepen your negative opinions of all bloggers… even those of us that are staying honest. Know that I and many of my fellow bloggers will go to bat for you and do our best to get you that prize you deserve or try to find other ways to make amends. I hope that you will stick around and continue to support those of us that know we wouldn’t be here without you!

I just needed to get that off my chest. I’m not sure what I hope to accomplish… maybe just get a blogger to see it from another perspective or a business to understand they are breaking the law or a reader to know they do have a friend. Let me know your thoughts.