Carolyn Gonzalez is a popular blogger who runs the The Art Of Random Willy-Nillyness giveaway blog.
Caro has a long and checkered career as a sweeper, an editor for a sweepstakes website and she’s known as a notorious forum rabble-rouser. In 2012, Caro attended the first-ever LATISM (Latinos In Social Media) retreat in Washington, DC, which included a visit to the White House.
She took time out of her busy schedule to talk to us about entering and winning sweepstakes over the years, and what it’s like to run a giveaway blog.
How long have you been entering sweepstakes, and what got you started with this hobby?
I started fairly young. I am not sure what started me on this hobby, but I would always pick up forms for sweeps at supermarkets and other places I went to. When the internet came around, it became much easier to enter. There was also more information available about sweepstakes.
What kind of sweepstakes do you personally enter and why?
I only enter for things I can use or if I think someone in my family or my friends would like to have. My favorite sweepstakes are trips, cash and electronics.
How has your luck been? Tell us about the stuff you won.
The best sweeps I have ever won was a trip to Fiji, but I couldn’t take it because of time constraints. I have won gift cards, baskets, food, electronics and other miscellaneous items. I am lucky, but I know there are others who win way more than I do.
Why did you decide to start a giveaway blog?
When I began entering blog giveaways, I opened a personal blog. Soon I was getting requests to do reviews and/or giveaways. Because I couldn’t bear to put them on my personal blog, I opened another blog just for reviews and giveaways. It slowly grew and now does pretty well. It’s fun giving away prizes to others.
It appears that large companies sponsor the prizes you give away at your blog. Why are nice prizes being sponsored by large companies at small blogs?
I think it depends on many factors. You can have a large blog with lots of traffic, but not a lot of influence. My readers are mainly sweepers, so they know they can come and enter for prizes. I think companies take that into account. I think they also look at your Facebook influence and definitely Twitter followers. Some companies like to spread around the marketing, and I think that includes smaller blogs, which is smart.
Will giveaways at blogs be a continuing trend in your opinion?
I think like regular sweepstakes, blog giveaways will still continue. It is a good and inexpensive marketing tool for many companies, especially the smaller ones who want to get their name out there.
Do you find you have to eliminate giveaway entries at your blog? If so, for what reasons?
Sometimes. I usually require a mandatory entry and, believe it or not, some people don’t read the rules. Some just post something like: “Enter me.” If that is the case, they get deleted. But I also find that many people do follow the rules. It’s not something I have to do often.
Do you have any tips for new sweepers who want to win prizes from blog sites?
Be persistent. It is very similar to entering regular sweepstakes. You have to enter to win. There are several sites that list blog giveaways. Twitter is a great place to find blog giveaways as well. Many blogs offer extra entries like joining their Facebook page, tweeting, following the sponsor, etc. Take advantage of these because it gives you an extra edge. That’s not to say people don’t win with just one entry but if you take the time to enter a blog giveaway, take the time to do everything you can.