Think you know everything about shopping on Amazon? Maybe you're up to speed on the , the daily deluge of Gold Box deals or even the fact that you can use . But I'll wager you don't know about Amazon Giveaway.
Launched in 2015, the Giveaway program was designed to help sellers and book authors raise awareness of their products and potentially increase sales. It currently hosts thousands -- literally thousands -- of giveaways every week. Update: As of Oct., 2019, it appears Amazon is no longer running its Giveaway program.
Amazon Giveaway: What can you win?
The prizes consist mostly of electronics: wireless earbuds, action cameras, dash cams, Bluetooth speakers, security cameras and so on, though you'll also find some home goods, exercise gear, kitchen stuff and the like mixed in. Kindle e-books as well, of course.
To enter any given giveaway, you just click the item and follow the instructions. In some cases you'll see "No entry requirement," which means exactly that: All you have to do is click through to the product description, then click the animated giveaway box to see if you've won.
Other items may require you to watch a short video before you can complete the entry process. Whatever the case, you'll find out the results instantly.
In the very likely event you don't win, you'll often see the option of purchasing the item at a discount.
For example, as shown above, I tried a giveaway for a pair of AirPod lookalikes. I didn't win, but I did get the option of buying them for 30 percent off.
Amazon Giveaway: What's the catch?
Suspicious sort that I am, I clicked through to the product page to see if anyone could get that price. Sure enough, there was a discount code right in the description -- no giveaway entry required. But! It was for 20 percent off, not 30. Even with the additional $5-off on-page coupon, the giveaway savings were better.
The same wasn't true of every other giveaway I entered. In some cases I found codes that exactly matched the giveaway discount; in others I found no other discounts at all. So there are times when you're getting a bona-fide deal as the result of entering.
Ah, but does anyone actually win? To see the Amazon Giveaway page and enter a handful of times is to think, "Bah, this is just some marketing scheme." But these are real giveaways, with Amazon determining the winners based on set criteria, handling prize fulfillment and so on.
When is a winner selected? According to an Amazon representative, "For most giveaways, a winner is selected after a particular number of entries has been received. For example, every 500th entrant will win until all prizes have been awarded. Occasionally, there will be a sweepstakes-style giveaway which allows an unlimited number of entrants and a winner is picked at random after a set period of time." But those are mostly for special prizes or sales events, like Prime Day, she said.
My other concern: What kind of personal information -- if any -- are you handing over with each entry? We know that innocuous-looking quizzes ("Which Star Wars character are you?") were a. Are these giveaways just racking up more consumer behavior patterns for Amazon and its partners?
According to the Giveaway FAQ page, which has seller questions in the top half and entrant questions in the bottom, sellers are prohibited from "soliciting or inducing (fraudulently or not) customers into disclosing personal information." OK, great. But, obviously, Amazon already has a huge dossier of data on all of its customers already. According to an Amazon representative, absolutely no personal data is shared with partners when a customer enters a giveaway.
Of course, if you're freaked out by Amazon having a detailed profile on you, you've probably long since departed anyway. But even the most enthusiastic Amazon loyalist may be frustrated by trying to optimize the Amazon Giveaway experience, if only because there's no way to sort or search the available prizes. I suppose that might defeat the "discovery" aspect of it, because as you flip through the literally hundreds of giveaway pages, you may find a product you didn't know existed -- which, I'm sure, is part of the seller's reason for holding the giveaway in the first place.
Good news, though: An independent site called Giveaway City provides much more detailed Amazon Giveaway listings, including the start and end dates, the number of prizes per giveaway, the odds of winning and, best of all, a search tool. So if you're hoping to win some wireless earbuds, for example, you can easily find all the relevant giveaways.
I've started checking that pretty regularly, along with a similar site, Giveawaylisting.com. I've also subscribed to the daily Giveaway newsletter (via Amazon proper) and definitely plan to try my luck from time to time.
Read more: CNET has giveaways too!
Originally published on March 15.
Update, April 2: Added new information.
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