UPDATE 4/7/10: Woodshed over at Ukehunt, blogger and content-creator extraordinaire, just put up a post about 10 common misconceptions (things that might be "bollocks"-- he is British after all) of ukuleles that included a mention of my point below about the win-win-win scenario.
Added my additional thoughts on it at the bottom of this post.
Just got an email from Tim over at Ukeeku, a new site billing itself as "A place to reflect on ukuleles" that said something like:
I think your readers would love this uke giveaway (Eleuke concert)And I think he is right, readers here will probably appreciate the heads up on a shot at a free uke. All you have to do to enter to win the ukulele is click the link up top and then comment on the post.
I am just getting started and would love for you to post this on your site. All the people have to do is comment on any post of my blog to be entered.
if you have any questions feel free to contact me
The free uke up for grabs, an Eleuke Concert CCK100BL-MP3
Basically, Tim received a free ukulele in exchange for reviewing it. He then decided to pass this along to one of his commenters as a lottery prize for checking out and participating on his blog.
This is a win-win-win, and something I have considered doing with my blog for a while now.
Winner 1: The ukulele company (in this case the makers of the Eleuke Concert CCK100BL-MP3). Even if the review isn't great, it is easily worth the cost of one ukulele for the potential of thousands of hits worth of free advertising from the review post. And honestly, if a blogger received a free ukulele from a company, they will at least be nice in their review.
Winner 2: The Lucky Commenter. Right now (April 6th) there are 127 comments on the page. By the time the contest closes there could be many thousands, but still, you won't find much better odds to get something worth $200 for the price of 1 minute of your commenting time.
Winner 3: Tim of the Ukeeku site. By getting other bloggers (like yours truly) to promote his site, he will increase his traffic and profile. When companies decided whether they want to give someone a free ukulele, the first thing they care about is the site's traffic. It's cyclical, which means there could be more of these freebies to come!
So yeah, this is a win-win-win strategy to increase his traffic, keep his readers happy, and give a uke company some press. I hope he keeps at it.
oh what the heck, there's also Winner 4: Bloggers like Ukulala, whose mundane existence is broken up only by an odd interest in successful cooperative survival strategies.
Re: Woodshed at Ukulelehunt's post and comment below.
From the post:
I'm going to agree with Woodshed -- to a point. I think free giveaways are boring but serve the purpose of driving traffic temporarily to a newcomer's site (see Ukeeku).
Last Minute Addition: There aren’t enough ukulele competitions around.
This one was inspired by Ukulala’s post today about the benefits of ukulele competitions.
As a reader, I’m am very bored of ukulele competitions. There’s no real value to them in the long term. I’m never much interested in entering a competition where there’s a prize I could just buy if I wanted.
From the blogging perspective, competitions might provide a nice boost in traffic for a few days but they aren’t a substitute for putting in the hard work and building a site worth visiting.
HOWEVER, If Woodshed is including other types of contests, then I patently disagree. Contests that inspire people to 1) write their own songs 2) create tutorials, or 3) use any portion of their creativity are really a beautiful thing. Sometimes it takes a little push for people to get their own creative visions off and running, and a well-designed contest can inspire them to bring out something in themselves that they never knew was there.
Looking at the rest of the list he compiled, I think I am seeing a pattern: Woodshed (Al), doesn't like anything that pushes a storyline of the ukulele being a gimmick or a fad. He sees the ukulele as a serious instrument for a diverse repertoire of styles.
Included (and called bollocks) on the list are a) the myth that it's easy, b) ukuleles in schools, c) ukulele festivals, d) the uke is a primer for the guitar, e) that uke-themed contests are boring, and then some obscure stuff I hadn't actually ever heard (koa is a the best wood? Tenors are supposedly loud? Record labels have been trying or not trying to stop uke covers? Who knew?).
And ukulele competitions, especially ones that are just lotteries, are a gimmick. They are a gimmick for traffic, advertising, and free stuff. I actually agree with Woodshed that they are generally boring blog content, which is probably the main reason I haven't done one, but they can be a good tool for a website to get their name out in the beginning.
Sometimes I do like the chance to win a free uke, but it's the sweat and blood content that keeps me going back.