A couple of weeks ago, I got a pitch from Coach about this thing called the Poppy Project. You can install the widget on your blog and your readers would interact with the poppies and the one whose readers interact the most wins a grand prize. Or if they spot a coach bag then you get a “gift.”
Sorry, I had to squeeze that video in somehow..if only I could be that excited! Back to the point… the prizes and gifts in the pitch were not specified, yet, a lot of bloggers, 334 blogs to be exact, have the Coach poppies on their sites. Was I missing something?
Dana Jonhson-Williams from The Art of Accessories, talks about her experience with the Poppy Project:
I joined the Coach Poppy project because I saw a few bloggers join and thought to myself, “it could be a fun way to win a Coach gift card. I’m down for games, I win on Twitter a lot, what’s the harm?” Aside from the program being a bit vague (never got a confirmation email, had to search out the fine print to see how long it would run, and didn’t really get what the secrecy behind what the prizes would be and how they’d be awarded) I thought why not.
Well, after 2 weeks of having a long string of poppies running down my left side bar I thought, “Why am I advertising for Coach for free when I’m not getting anything out of this at all?” Don’t get me wrong, I’ve had a few folks email me or leave a comment on a post saying they found me because of the contest, but I don’t have tons of traffic coming my way. At least not enough to justify this massively growing advertisement taking up space on my blog. I also wasn’t that enthusiastic about tweeting phrases continuously during the day to promote the project or to get people to get my poppies to get even bigger on my site. What really killed it for me was when I was on my iPad and I felt like the poppies were bursting all over and were taking away from my site. I immediately deleted it because hey, I didn’t sign a contract and I knew I was not going to come even close to winning.
This contest also made me think about IFB and the Fair Compensation Manifesto and how much I valued The Art of Accessories. I don’t make a living from my blog, but I do want to feel like I’m engaged in a project that I’m promoting and I just didn’t for the Coach Poppy Project. Perhaps something else will come along that I feel is mutually beneficial to me, but until that happens, I’ll be keeping my site to myself.
There are arguments for participating in campaigns like this. Prizes, traffic, exposure, legitimacy (even though any blog can participate in the Poppy Project, you can sign up right now by clicking here.) all of which really help a blogger get off the ground. Getting new readers is so important for bloggers at all levels, especially for the ones just beginning.
In practice, however, the campaign leaves a lot to be desired for bloggers. On some blogs the poppies actually cover the posts, many of the poppies cover the sidebars, existing badges, they're in prominent places above the fold and they're animated, causing readers to look at the poppies, if anything, out of reflex. The poppies also occupy prime advertising space, not to mention interactive ads are way more expensive than static ads. So what Coach is getting is advertising on 334 blogs to promote their products. Yet all they offer is a chance to win something, or a chance that one of your readers will win something. In exchange for giveaway traffic, which many bloggers report (including myself) doesn't stick, so it's not even particularly healthy traffic.
So how, exactly, do bloggers benefit from campaigns like the Coach Poppy Project? Maybe I am missing something.