I’m a newbie at this blogging thing – and I’m even more of a blog-virgin, in that I’ve never entered a web/Internet/blog contest.  So, when I saw a contest giving away to what amounted to $300,000, (yes, that’s three hundred thousand dollars), worth of computers and accompanying equipment – I jumped at the chance.   HP Magic    

And what a chance it was.  All you had to do was submit an entry.  The prize package was one HP TouchSmart PC, two different full size notebooks, one mini notebook, one wireless printer, and a whole bunch more that iced this spectacular cake.   

The first chance was that the contest was on 50 popular blog sites, you could enter on all 50 sites, but not win more then once.  The promotion company managing the contest, in conjunction w/HP & Microsoft, choose the blogs and categorized them as: College/4 sites, Women’s/8 sites, Spanish/Portuguese/8 sites, and Tech Enthusiast/30 sites.

Almost all the Tech Enthusiast sites had the word Geek in the blog title and they were way above my head.  But, I’ll go back because they reviewed and rated all kinds of techie stuff, and they showed these fascinating computer unboxing videos – really, truely just riveting and so helpful – yeah, yeah, I know.    

Women’s sites were mostly Mommy Blogs.  In my opinion, a Mommy Blog is when a photo of your child/children appears on more than one-third of your posts in a week’s time.  (Or the photo itself is your blog header!)

The contest opened on Nov 28 on two or three blogs sites, staying open for about 6 days, then one or two days later, those first sites announced their winners. 

The contest went along consecutively from Nov 28; every day a new blog or two or three coming on, while every day other blogs finished up; until the last day you could enter, on the last blog site, on Dec 22. 

All-in-all, I think I submitted an entry on 15 blogs.  It took from Dec 5, until Dec 23, for the 50 winners to be picked.  I didn’t win anything on any site.

The second chance was that each site ran their own contest – which meant that each site MADE their own rules.   

Ok – here’s where the fun began

You have 50 sites giving away the same prize package but with different entry requirements.   I couldn’t just enter my name/email address on each site – Nooooooooooooo,  that would have been way to simple – too simple for me and apparently for the 50 blog sites.

I won’t go  blog by blog, but in reviewing the blogs, and I’m using some, seemed, about, looks like, appears, because I did not check EVERY blog, here are my guesstimates

How you entered and the number of submissions ~

Some blogs asked ONLY that you fill out a survey.

Some blogs asked that you join as a member – then fill out a survey.

Some blogs asked that you join as a member, fill out a survey, then put a message somewhere else – Twitter, Face, or Space – etc.

Some blogs asked that you join as a member, fill out a survey, then put a message somewhere else – Twitter, Face, or Space – etc, then asked that you make a YouTube video entry. 

Some blogs asked that post your own entry on your own blog.

I don’t know what the 50 blog total is, but from the blogs I checked, entries ran from about 170 to over 1000 per site

For the Mommy Blogs, it looks like they averaged 300 to 500 entries

It seemed the GEEK sites got the most entries, with a few sites getting over 1000 entries, and one site got over 2000 entries.

Choosing the winner ~

Some blogs used random survey choosers – like a spin of a wheel and played the video on-line.

Some blogs picked a number out of a hat and the corresponding entrant’s number won.

Some blogs read each entry and chose the best one – see Curve Ball below about sharing the prize. 

The blogs had the sole discretion in choosing the winner any way they wanted to.

Contacting the winner and claiming the prize rules ~

Some blogs emailed the winner directly.

Some blogs posted the name of the winner on their site and the winner had to reply to that site. 

 Blogs gave the winner 12, 24, or 36 hours to claim the prize.  At one site, their deadline fell on a week-end, so the site extended the claiming day ’till Wednesday – giving the winner 3 or 4 days to claim the prize.

Each blog had to get/ship the prize to the winner.

The curve balls  ~

Many sites included this condition in their rules: in the spirit of the season/giving, please share this prize package with someone else – a charity, a relative, friend, anyone.

 – If the site required the winner to share – the entry had to             include that info – the who, why, what, where, etc.

One site split up the prize package – 7 prizes were awarded to 7 different winners.

The tribulations ~

At least two sites ran into would-be thieves/robbers/crooks – one site had to check for IP proxies and another site had email correspondence with a fraudulent/deceitful/counterfeit  winner, until the real winner was verified.

 The praise ~

With all of these variables, the site responders agreed – yes, it was difficult, but yes, they’d do it again. 

I’d probably enter something like this again for the big prize – but w/fewer of my own expectations.  It was definitely a learning experience. 

What’s your experience / any opinions / any personal clues ?

 (p.s. I did run this post by the promo company and they agreed that this is a pretty fair summation of the campaign.)