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Tuesday, April 22, 2008

When Should You Enter a Contest?

Every time I open an email, visit a website, go to a party or read a Tweet from Twitter I find out about a new contest. The 48 Hour Film Project, Mahalo Idol, Filmaka and a bunch of others.

For some reason contests seem to rub me the wrong way. Sure they are a great way for great talent to get noticed and in the old days that was oh so true. You needed to enter Star Search or American Idol to get a mass audience but now the times have changed.

The Internet is one big contest.

When you enter an online contest you are creating content for someone else that is making money (or trying to make money) by selling sponsorships and advertising off your creativity. Maybe you might win some prize money. Maybe you might win a development deal. Maybe you might get a hosting job. Sure it might get you noticed and get you more publicity than you could get on your own but my little voice keeps telling me that you don't really need to enter someone else's contest. That is unless you are missing something.

When should you enter a contest?

7 Reasons to Enter an Online Contest

1. You don't have a digital video camera or access to a video camera

2. You don't have Final Cut Pro, iMovie, Vegas or access to any free online video editing software

3. You don't know how to register with online video hosting sites/directories and online super-distribution services or have someone who can help you

4. You don't know how to upload video to the Internet or don't know anyone who can help you upload video to the Internet

5. You don't know how to blog or make comments on other people's blogs

6. You don't know how to sign up for ad networks and affiliate marketing programs

7. You've secretly always wanted to win a Spring Break Wet T-Shirt Contest

Right now it's pretty hard to make a living off online video alone but if you look around a little there are people who have been using the Internet to make a living and they have been doing it for awhile.

Maybe I'm wrong but I really think that the time, money and effort you spend on creating something for someone else's contest could be used to launch an online business for yourself.

Here are a few examples:

Joe Cartoon

HomeStar Runner

Happy Tree Friends

All that said, I really would like to see Sarah Atwood win Mahalo Idol.


Casey McKinnon said...

Hilariously true...

My Vision said...

You're funny. I started entering contests this morning for the first time. I currently write comments on at least ten blogs a day. I figure if I'm commenting while entering contests, I at least have a chance at winning something. you know, kill two birds with one stone? Also, there are a lot of hacks out there having contests these days, the chances of winning one of these contests have got to be pretty good.