This article was written in 2010 and may contain out of date information. Browse more recent articles.
Is free really free?
During this past week, an Irish national newspaper announced it's new competition, offering entrants the chance to win a shiny new iPad from Apple. A fine prize for a competition you might think - and so do I.
The thing is, their competition requires an SMS-based entry (costing €2) and also requires the entrant to give the promoter lots of personal information (name, address, telephone number, etc).
I'm all in favour of running competitions to promote a product, gain insights to your audience or simply as a branding exercise. I don't think it's fair to extract personal information from someone, charge them for it, and then offer a one-in-thousands chance of winning a prize as an incentive. Who wins there? The promoter does. At €500 or so retail cost per iPad, it will only take 250 entrants to get to notional 'breakeven' on the outlay on the cost of the iPad, with a further chunk of notional revenue from the personal information they've amassed. The entrants certainly don't win.
As a card-carrying Apple fanboy, I buy everything they produce. Show me an AppleTV, iPhone, iPod, MacBook Pro or Mac Mini and I'm getting one.
So when it came to figuring out what prize we were going to give away for our first competition, there was a no better prize in my mind than an iPad. I agree with the national newspaper that it should act as incentive to get entrants excited enough to enter. When it came down to the question to ask to gain entry into the competition, asking a bunch of personal questions wasn't something I was in favour of - I wanted to ask as few as possible; but is it possible to ask entrants absolutely nothing?
Turns out that there is - and our competition has done just that. Using Facebook as the platform, someone can "Like" bonkers.ie and we can take that "Like" as the competition entry. We can run a simple sweepstake competition where the prize is an iPad and the winner is selected from the "Likes". It's a really simple competition, achieves our goal to grow our audience and doesn't ask for much back in return. We're running the competition from now until the end of the month, entry is free, there are no intrusive questions, and very few conditions.
If you haven't already, you can enter the bonkers.ie free iPad competition
We'll pick and announce the winner on the 6th of August.