Sunday, May 8, 2011

Superba Give-Away Recipient! ...and On Give-Aways in General

I would like to announce that the special edition Bella Ciao "Superba" bicycle that has been kindly donated for me to give away, will go to Julia D. - a reader from State College, PA. The picture above is one that I took earlier, and which she then marked up with "anatomical labels" and posted on her blog. Julia, congratulations and I hope you enjoy this bicycle! I will email you details regarding its arrival and everything else you need to know.

There was a total of 45 entries for the Superba give-away. Some were eliminated, because it was clear that the applicant could afford a new bicycle. Quite a few other entries were eliminated based on the applicant's height. This still left me with many applicants to choose from, and at this point it became quite difficult to read the emails. There are so many people out there who are in financial need, and I am just not in a position to help them. It would be wonderful if someone - like a large bike manufacturer looking to promote their product - would host a give-away on a grand scale. But this give-away was for someone who specifically wanted the Superba... which eliminated all but a few applicants. Most of the emails I received were fairly general, some even asking questions about the bicycle that made it plain they did not know much about it, other than it being free. Again, I am very sorry to have to choose, but as described in the original give-away post, this bicycle was intended for someone who wanted it and not just a free bike. With the remaining applicants I chose at random, and Julia was it. I hope that this explains my selection process satisfactorily and I thank everyone who took part in the give-away. For me, this was very difficult.

As a general note on give-aways... I've been getting all sorts of emails about them since I began doing them, and so I would like to address a few points. Some readers - including industry members - have suggested to me that "I'm not doing it right," in the sense that the way I go about it does not generate publicity. I am supposed to say that you have to "follow me" in order to be eligible, to write about the give-away on your own blog, to post it on facebook, and so on. So I wanted to clarify that my not doing these things is intentional. It's not that I don't want publicity for my blog. Of course I do. Just not like that. I want my give-aways to be friendly, low key and without stipulations.

The other thing, is that I've also received emails from manufacturers offering various products for me to give away on their behalf, most of which I have politely declined. Though I am willing to do this in theory, I have two criteria: First, the product has to be of interest to me. And second, I am not comfortable with stipulations of the nature I described in the above paragraph: namely, telling readers that they have to "follow" the manufacturer in order to have a chance at getting the product. I am all for collaborating with manufacturers in giving away stuff, but I am not a free-for-all marketing vehicle. There is a line between those two things, and every blog author must decide for themselves where to draw it.

To end on a positive note, I hope to have more give-aways for you soon. The lovely touring bike project got somewhat derailed by the unexpectedly long winter (which made it impossible to test the bike in between stages), but it has now come out of hybernation and I will post about it soon. The give-away should take place some time in June. Stay tuned, and thank you for reading Lovely Bicycle!

37 comments:

  1. Velouria, even if you never gave anything away, you'd still have plenty of dedicated readers. And I'd be one of them.

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  2. I imagine that this was a stressful process, trying to carefully choose which applicants were really relevant and in need of *this* bike.

    I think it's clear that you took great care in choosing, and I appreciate that you don't try to manipulate people into generating traffic here by requiring all kinds of things to participate in giveaways.

    After all, you'll get a better crowd reading your blog anyway if they come here for your blog, and not for the free stuff you're giving away.

    I hope Julia loves it, it's a gorgeous bike!

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  3. Thanks and thanks : )

    Apologies if the second half of the post sounds odd. I have been getting an unusual number of emails from manufacturers over the past few weeks offering me the weirdest things and giving me marketing advice.

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  4. Velouria,

    Thank you for being true to yourself--and also true to us, your loyal readers, many of whom (I imagine) don't readily obey commands to "follow."

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  5. Congratulations, Julia! Enjoy your new, beautiful bicycle... Thanks, Velouria for the opportunity! I've discovered your blog, and that's a good thing :)

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  6. Velouria... I admire and support your stand to do things your way... stick to your convictions and beliefs... do not let you and your blog become the equivalent of cycling prostitute... I will continue to read and promote your writing and photography... your work is more than able to stand on its own merits.

    The Grouch

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  7. "cycling prostitute..."

    There used to be a whole genre of bicycle photography on that theme...

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  8. Congratulations Julia!!

    Velouria your Blog is a a winner just like it is. As for give-a-ways, I like the "anonymous" way of doing things. That way the focus is not on the manufacturer etc.

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  9. Alfred FickensherMay 8, 2011 at 10:00 AM

    You're resisting the "Oprah-izing" of your give-away and that's very admirable. You blog with class

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  10. I'm so, so grateful to the donor. You have given me such an amazing gift. I wish that I could send you a personal thank you. If you still wish to remain anonymous, I understand and I will be posting a more thorough "thank you" on my blog later. You have done such a wonderful thing, again, I'm so very grateful.

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  11. I think it is great when manufacturers host promotional give-aways. After all, they have a finite marketing budget and they could have chosen to spend it all on ads. Give-aways - especially of major items like bicycles - can really provide useful things for people that they otherwise may not have been able to afford. But in my mind, there is a nice way to do it and an iffy way to do it.

    I liked what one bicycle manufacturer did in 2010, in offering free bikes to people in exchange for blogging about the experience of riding them. This context was clearly identified any time these bikes were written about by the recipients. And the manufacturer gave many bikes away to persons who asked for them.

    Another bike manufacturer ran a contest where bloggers could compete to win a bike, but to enter the competition they had to display the manufacturer's banner on their website and make an effort to direct traffic to it. The websites with the highest traffic results would get a bike, and I think they gave away at most 3 of them, if I recall correctly. With this tactic, I felt the manufacturer was piggy-backing free advertising on a massive scale, on top of a promotion that was in itself already advertising... it just didn't seem like a decent way to approach it.

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  12. Julia, congratulations on being the recipient!! I hope you enjoy it.

    What an incredibly generous donor. It really says something about a person to be that giving without seeking recognition/gratitude.

    Velouria, you ARE doing it right, indeed! I respect your ethics and that is part of why I read every day. You have something of substance here, and I love that you won't let it go to hell. :) lol @ Oprah-izing.

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  13. V- I love your integrity and I agree that I read no matter what. Half the time I don't even enter give aways ( except for the one I WON). It's all a lot of good fun.

    Also I can only imagine how hard the bike giveaway was. lots of support from me.

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  14. Velouria, I appreciate the way you do your giveaways, and of course the blog in general. There is a much more personal and less needy-the best word I can come up with at the moment-sensibility. Your style reminds me of that of John Scalzi in respect to giveaways, although less wacky than he can sometimes be. I think this way will do a much better way of cultivating long-term readers as well (as Scalzi's blog readership and book sales attest to), but that is a side benefit to just being more pleasant.

    Congrats on the bike, Julia. It's a beauty.

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  15. You are very welcome Julia. I appreciate the kind words.
    Velouria is quite the bike designer don't you think?

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  16. Yay! Congratulations to Julia! I'm so excited for her! And I loved the labeling of the photo. She clearly was already in love with this bicycle.

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  17. Congrats to Julia! What a wonderful gift to receive. I hope you ride in good health and enjoy every moment of that beautiful bicycle. :o)

    I think as a rule there's not enough "paying it forward" in this world. So many people expect in return instead of using the opportunity to remember the generosity of an individual who supplied us with something we weren't expecting at a point when we needed it, and remembering to give our own version to someone down the line. I think that when we have the opportunity to give, we should... even little things like paying for someone's coffee who's behind us in line. It's not a huge deal, but it sometimes really makes another persons day a bit brighter. While we cannot all afford to donate a pricey bicycle, I think this is such a wonderful example to everyone, and I hope that the donor receives his/her "payment" sometime in the future when it is least expected.

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  18. Congratulations to Julia for her new lovely ride.
    Velouria, you are keeping this blog lovely by resisting those "guerilla" marketing strategies. I think that's the best option.

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  19. Congratulations to Julia! How nice for her to receive such an awesome bicycle. And Velouria, you are doing it the right way - what is right for you, and your blog! Cheers!

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  20. Congratulations Julia, I hope you love it.

    Velouria, I think you run a pretty cool site and want to encourage you to keep doing things the way you do. Other people must agree or they wouldn't be so willing to donate to your giveaways. As for doing it "wrong", your insights seem pretty astute and your explanation of the different approaches makes me think you probably could do it "wrong" as well as anyone. I can't wait to see how the touring bike giveaway turns out.

    Spindizzy

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  21. I hope Julia enjoys her lovely Superba.


    Honestly, this contest was another reminder of how very lucky I am in terms of material wealth. When you first posted the contest, I wanted the Superba but realized I did not fit the criteria set forth.


    I'm lucky that on a teacher's salary I can have anything I want, though I can't have EVERYTHING I want.

    (credit- the anything/everything idea I learned from getrichslowly.org)


    ~Gina

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  22. Financial need and affordability can be complicated and touchy topics. At what point do we say that it's our *choice* not to be able to afford something, because of our lifestyle's priorities, and at what point can we genuinely not afford it? And who decides? I have a post from a while back about creative ways to afford bicycles that could be helpful to some. Not having television, almost never going to the salon, and being uninterested in things like shoes and handbags, has allowed me to afford things that my friends consider unaffordable.

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  23. Congratulations to Julia! Such a great story and these are the best giveaways: the ones that come from the heart. Looking foward to checking Julia's blog to see her ride her new Superba!

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  24. Well done Velouria! I really like the way you did this give-a-way. It was truely free, something rarely seen in give-a-ways anymore.

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  25. Velouria, just keep doing what you're doing, your way. :-) What's right for some mightn't be right for others. If what you're doing re giveaways feels right for you, keep doing it. Your blog is great because it's not overly commercialised and is still very personal and reaches out to readers in a personal way.

    Congratulations to Julia! Hope you have many happy years with your lovely new Superba!

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  26. Congratulations, Julia. May it be the bike of your dreams.

    Corey K

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  27. Congratulations, Julia!! Hope you love the Superba!

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  28. Congratulations Julia,

    Best wishes for a dream come true! I used to live in Hamilton in West Halls by the Gym. I hope that long cold winter in State College comes to a close soon so you can get out and ride around on your new Superba bike. It's beautiful country up there, especially once you get out of town and into the countryside. Be safe and enjoy!

    =============

    Well done Velouria,

    I agree with Spindizzy (and with others as well) in much that he stated about you and your blog. I don't always agree, and I don't always take an interest in every subject, but I click on your site everyday with anticipation. You post every day which is a real treat and not easy to do from my point of view. You provide a unique view point and a great level of curiosity that provides fodder for interesting subjects. Even an Old Knot can learn a thing or two by reading through your posts and of course all the interesting comments from the regulars and those anonymous.

    May the wind be always at your back and road rise up to meet you!

    Ride well and be safe out there,


    Old Knotty Buoy

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  29. Speaking of weather....

    It's cold and blustery here in San Diego with a Gulf of Alaska storm moving through. Watch out for strong storms in Tornado Alley by Tuesday and maybe a Nor' easter in Bean town by Friday.

    Be prepared and keep a weather eye out!

    Ride well and be safe,


    Old Knotty Buoy

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  30. Congrat's, Julia! How fun!

    Velouria, any idea if your inclusion of a rear-rack and lighting on the Superba project might be something that rubs off on normal production Bella Ciao bikes? ;)
    -Jen

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  31. Marketing geniuses? Peh! Meh! One of the most endearing things about your blog is that you don't do it the way they would want you to--that's not what you're in it for. You're doing everything the right way for YOU and your readers--not them.

    It would be so boring and pedestrian if you did things the way they think you should.

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  32. Congratulations, Julia! I hope you will love your beautiful bike and I look forward to seeing it on your blog. And congratulations, too, to the anonymous donor. You did a really cool thing, the kindness of which made a ton of people happy, myself included. So thank you for that.

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  33. This is why I love your blog.

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  34. Congrats, Julia. May it become a great friend.

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