Do I Deceive my Followers & Fans?

pinoccioTa posted a response to my recent blogs to my Facebook wall and my site. She did the right thing. She left a comment. Ta didn’t agree with me, so she directly challenged me with her perspective in writing.

If you disagree with what anyone is doing online, there is no reason to turn it into a witch hunt. Instead comment, unsubscribe, unfollow, unlike, hide and/or block their feed. You may also wish to make others aware of the injustice, scams, fraud, fake giveaways, etc. you came across, but you can do it in a considerate manner.

My intention from day one was to use this platform to teach, and I am human. I make mistakes. It’s also why I am as transparent as possible in everything I do, so my followers feel comfortable enough to ask me anything they wish. Even if it appears harsh.

I thought it was only fair to take a look at myself after putting the spotlight on what others bloggers can do to deceive the public for their own gain. I am very aware that once you choose to be part of the public domain the haters were going to appear and arrows will be flung. Believe me, I have had more than my fair share over the past ten years. I am not afraid to put myself in the spotlight and share my perspective.


I don’t care what @Fru-Gals did, might have and/or not have done but do you really need to write a 3 part article about the blog – you are also benefiting from her plight.

Most of what you’ve posted are insinuations and can qualify as slander.

I’ve been contesting long enough to remember some of your scam errors (as you stated at the time) one example is the 2007 Annual National Contestors Convention that you held in Toronto and people that attended claimed that it was a scam and was so disorganized etc – here is one post (I’m sure that others would be able to dig up more if they want to).

Secondly, you are also guilt of some of the allegations – you profit from posting contest without a disclaimer. The only time you post contest in contest forums are when you a promoting it/being paid to do so.

Remember “You can point a finger, but there’s three pointing back”. Please stop the witch hunt. You don’t need to destroy her business or blog just because she is an easy target.


Let me go through each of her points one by one.

1) Any blogger, not just me, who writes about anything remotely controversial benefits in some way whether it be site traffic, social followers or paid clients. It’s why all bloggers write. To increase traffic, so they can attract clients, sponsors, agencies, etc. I do not know anyone who makes money blogging. I do not earn money writing answers to questions, teaching winning techniques, etc.  Money is earned from anything sponsored: posts and social campaigns, site ads, Twitter parties, etc. I am no different than any other blogger. I have never hidden that fact.

2) What someone writes isn’t libel if they have proof to back-up their statements.

3) The convention was not a scam. The only thing stated in the GoldFishLegs thread was those posting thought I was disorganized or they didn’t understand the value. There has been an annual sweepstakes convention hosted in the U.S. for the past 27 years. Ten of the people that attended my convention were American, so they had something to compare it to. They all stated it was they best one they had ever attended. I would say that dispels the notion is was a disaster.

The $200 registration fee may seem steep, but the cost was inline with the U.S. conventions and it’s only that high to cover costs. It was never designed to be a profit making endeavor. For example, out of the $200 fee, $75 covered the cost of the Saturday evening banquet dinner. As there were so many arrows flung my way, not as many people attended as I needed to cover costs. I ended up spending $15,000 out of my own pocket (as I had signed the contracts with the hotel) along with investing 1200+ volunteer man hours to running the event.

The convention I helped run isn’t a new topic for me. I have written extensively with additional details as to what happened and why, I will refer you to:

4) I do post with and without disclaimers. Let me explain.

When a client hires me to viral market their sweepstakes I blog about it (sometimes with a tracking link, not a dirty link), with a disclaimer. I share it on my social media outlets, without a disclaimer, linking back to my blog post, with the disclaimer. I then go to various contest websites and post the giveaway without a disclaimer.

The reason I post to contest sites without a disclaimer and clean links is because I have had personal discussions with each and every site owner I share to and that is what we agreed upon. They allow me to post, but I am not to state I am being paid, nor am I to use a tracking link. I feel if the site owners are aware of my actions and are agreeable to it then it’s OK. I am not hiding the fact, it’s what I do. I am not the only company offering a sweepstakes viral marketing service (ContestListing is one example).

I wish I could post more to the contest sites as a hobbyist and not a marketer. I used to enter contests for an hour or two a day, every day and did so for years. Working full-time for a few years, along with my divorce with an increased work load, filled my plate and something had to fall off. Sadly, it was my favorite pastime. I do enter here and there during the day, but not enough to call it a proper hobby at the moment. Getting back into a winning routine is one of my 2016 goals.

5) I will take full responsibility for my poor choice of picking up on ‘a story’ and publishing it on my platform. I agree I should have taught those contest lessons without using specific examples. Sadly, the topics I outlined are not limited to one site or one blogger, nor are the only deceitful practices some engage in. In future I will remain as neutral as possible.

You be the judge. Do I deceive my followers?

2016-12-26T21:50:24+00:00January 29th, 2016|General|17 Comments

About the Author:

Carolyn Wilman (aka @ContestQueen) is a Digital Marketing Strategist and Sweepstakes Specialist. Carolyn teaches others how to Find, Organize, Enter and Win giveaways along with working with companies to create, and viral market, winning promotions maximizing ROI and loyal customers.


  1. Bob Parr January 29, 2016 at 3:43 pm - Reply

    As far as Blogger’s and transparency go You are a 10 out of 10. as are a few others. But some of the Bloggers are intentionally deceiving their fans and that was the message i got from your 3 part Blog. Thank You.

  2. Kevin Southgate January 29, 2016 at 3:53 pm - Reply

    Hi Carolyn,

    I’m not exactly sure when, but I know it was quite a few years ago when I first saw you on TV in a documentary about contesting. At the time, I wasn’t even over the age of majority. About a year ago, I decided to start entering, since there was really nothing to lose. In 2015, I won around $6000 in cash and prizes. The best things being $1000 cash, I got to donate $1000 to charity, I won a BBQ and multiple video game consoles.

    I really think if it wasn’t for you, I would probably have never entered a single online contest in 2015, and instead spent all that time watching TV. When I was just getting started, reading all your current and past blog posts really helped me. In over a year I have never seen you deceive anyone, and instead I think you’ve been a role model for sponsors and bloggers on ethical practices.

    You have never slandered anyone. You have warned your readers about specific websites/people who are scamming others, and you’ve always backed up each accusation with concrete evidence.

    It’s very clear that you’re not doing this for money, but that you genuinely want to help others. Thank you for introducing me to this awesome hobby! 🙂


  3. Rick F January 29, 2016 at 5:01 pm - Reply

    Great Article!!

  4. David Balkin January 29, 2016 at 6:39 pm - Reply

    Well, as you know, I’ve met and talked to you personally. I learned a ton from you and use that information to this day. I think we had a blast in the cupcake store, and I STILL use the Udderly Smooth lotions I won. SO….to say you are dishonest or in some way bashing someone is the opposite of my experience. I hope you keep posting.

  5. Rob Postuma January 29, 2016 at 7:37 pm - Reply

    As someone who actually knows you, I know a few things.

    First of all – of COURSE you’re trying to make some money, hopefully monetized your efforts in doing all this work, looking for fame & fortune, trying to profit from all your hard work & effort. The sad truth, as we both well know, with all the time & effort you put into this stuff – you’d probably make more spending that time working in a donut shop.

    Not even kidding there.

    She’s not getting rich doing this folks, it’s clearly a labour of love.

    Does Carolyn go a bit over-the-top, go crazy, obsessive, even a bit strange over contest matters – especially when people seem like they’re scamming, pulling a fast one, being crazy? Yes, definitely – BUT – she calls herself THE CONTEST QUEEN – what the hell did you expect? In context of that, it’s all appropriate.

    And to address people saying her convention being a “scam”, judging from the link given – not one person said that, not one. Some people did complain about the price, which – at $200 may be understandable. That being said, it was her first convention and she priced it at what she thought was realistic for what she was offering. She was trying to offer a BIG convention like she’d been to in the US, bring it to the masses here. I believe her when she says that money ended up coming out of her own pocket and she literally made ZIP on it. I’m sure if she was to do it again, she’d probably only do so if she could have the entire thing funded by sponsors, breaking even before people bought their tickets.

    I know this lady, she’s a friend. She’s UNBEARABLY honest to the point that it sometimes hurts her.And yes, she wants to make money off her efforts in doing all she does. But truthfully, she could make more money selling donuts at this point. HOPEFULLY one day, that’s the goal – and there’s nothing wrong with that. Last I checked we’re capitalists right? Carolyn quite proudly touts the fact that she’s a MARKETER first and foremost, just like I do.

    And, I don’t always agree with her. Quite often I argue with her about what she wrote. I am a marketer who has ran & organized contest myself and have my own opinion and thoughts, which often don’t synch up with hers. Of course, I respect her thoughts and opinions, sometimes even learn from them. Hopefully she feels same way about mine.

    • Carolyn
      Carolyn January 29, 2016 at 10:57 pm - Reply

      Thank you. I love how we don’t always see eye-to-eye Rob. It’s what makes us both grow and become better marketers.

  6. Lori L. January 29, 2016 at 8:11 pm - Reply

    To be honest, I think it was a bit distasteful to use the blog name when writing your blog posts about Fru-Gals but I completely understand why you did so. If you hadn’t mentioned names, people would have talked and it would have come out anyways. I think it’s important to be truthful in all that you do & I don’t think you’ve been deceitful in anything you’ve said. There will always be people who disagree, as long as they can do it respectfully then there isn’t an issue.

  7. Terrie Miller January 29, 2016 at 10:41 pm - Reply

    Having met you in the U.S. at several past conventions, you have certainly paid your dues to be in this business. Many people and businesses in this hobby have come and gone, yet you are still standing and your values have stood the test of time. If you were deceitful and misleading, I would never have made an online folder of your articles to use as a resource. Thankfully your advice is so timely and “straight on” that you are the only source I don’t have to triple check for facts and accuracy. Hopefully, I can “win” a trip to Canada and one day we can meet for tea. Now let me get back to “sweeping” cause you can’t win if you don’t enter!!!

    • Carolyn
      Carolyn January 29, 2016 at 10:56 pm - Reply

      I would love that! If you are in Vegas this year, we should go for a tea 🙂

  8. Tina Harris January 30, 2016 at 12:06 am - Reply

    I do NOT think it was distasteful to point out one particular blog that is being dishonest in how they run things. If you don’t want to be caught doing something wrong then DON’T do it! You are here to help others, I do not think in your 3 part series of posts that you were out to get any particular bog or person. You used them as an example because that was the easiest way to explain what you were talking about. It is eye opening to those of us that aren’t as seasoned as you are. Found it rather comical/sad for someone to come after you and then produce nothing in return. I went and read the “findings” on you and only found a bunch of others griping about the cost of the convention, not anything you were doing to be dishonest. We met in Boston (we were at the same table during the dinner) and I look forward to seeing you again in Vegas!!

  9. Linda Clineman January 30, 2016 at 9:03 am - Reply

    I applaud you for your tactful way of standing up for yourself AND for letting readers know about deceitful practices from Fru-Gals or anyone else that you’re aware of. I felt it was of tremendous value to your readers to know about her/them. We all have a right to know who the cheats are so we can make an informed decision whether we wish to continue a ‘relationship’ with that person/blogger/company.

    I personally very seldom enter sweepstakes/contest on blogger sites as I’ve always felt that they actually have very few REAL winners. Thank you Carolyn for all your tips, tricks, techniques and open honesty. See you in Vegas.

  10. OasisGirl January 30, 2016 at 12:03 pm - Reply

    I do not see an issue in mentioning names when there is proof to back up the claims. If you were just saying it without proof it could be taken as malice maybe. Not saying anything would have led to people asking and it coming out any ways so this way was more straight forward. I think people should know who is trying to scam them.

  11. Pamela January 30, 2016 at 3:54 pm - Reply

    Good afternoon Carolyn 🙂
    We have never met, but I feel I have known you for a long time. I’m a single mom from Toronto. I have followed you for many years, before you were famous lol. I’m not sure you remember me, but I’m hard to forget 😉 I love your strong personality. As you have become more popular, you still stick to your standards. I appreciate that. I had contacted you as I had an idea to write a book about the contests people have won. I so appreciate this hobby! I wanted your advice, opinions, and possible help to get started. I thought you were the perfect person to ask! You were so nice and encouraging and thought my idea was great! You went out of your way to try to help me when you didn’t have to. I never wrote the book as I just never had the time. I still think it’s a great idea HA! Thanks! Please keep up the good work! I still would like to meet you one day 🙂 I did want to attend that convention soooo bad! I thought it was too expensive as I had a limited budget. I understood the costs and know the story how you had to pay out of your own pocket. You were entering a new horizon in your life. I have discovered that sometimes we “fail” the first time in a new venture. You didn’t fail and kept moving forward even though you had out of pocket expenses..look at you now 🙂 You have believed in yourself and pursued and succeeded, that is what matters the most. Honesty and integrity! I’m proud to say I “know” you. I have tried at many ventures and succeeded, but failed due to what others have done to me. I keep trying no matter what, even if I’m the only person who believes in me, and I believe in you. Thank you for all that I have learned, not just from contesting. Thanks for exposing someone that can be harmful to those of us that are not that computer savvy or technical, or simply don’t have the knowledge or time to investigate every site or blog as that would take a full time job! There are hackers out there who could have been linked to her site. I grew up without internet and make mistakes not realizing the power of this new world. You did the right thing by using her as an’s an extension of your self on the internet. You blog, have a website, radio station, articles etc and if you didn’t expose this problem, you would be compromising what you stand for, as you believe we have the right to know. That was the right thing to do. We do have the right to know. You still stand up for yourself and for what is right. If you hadn’t exposed this problem, then in the future it would have been exposed in some way as she or others are not going to come out and say they are liars. Thanks Carolyn! I don’t understand how someone could be so hurtful to you for exposing someone else, unless they are directly involved with that person somehow. They are putting themselves at risk, unless I’m missing something? I’m not accusing just speculating and expressing my own opinion. I am blunt and people don’t always appreciate that, but I won’t change it’s who I am. Sometimes the truth hurts but facts are facts. I don’t really post much as I don’t like to be in the public eye on the internet. But I thought you deserve to hear what I’ve had to say. You have overcome a lot in life and I know how that feels. Thanks for being honest, I wish more people in this world were like you! XO

    • Carolyn
      Carolyn January 30, 2016 at 5:42 pm - Reply

      You should still write that book! I’d review it on my blog 🙂

  12. Pamela January 31, 2016 at 1:52 am - Reply

    Oh thanks! I have a lot on my plate lately and a long road ahead. I doubt it would happen. I do believe there is an interesting story behind every contestor. It seems as the art has changed over the years, which I find a bit sad. It used to be a lot more fun. I do enter a bit nowadays. I want to start a new venture actually. I found a funny picture related to contesting so I will email you if you want to share on your blog. Thanks!

  13. Joan February 2, 2016 at 4:15 pm - Reply

    I wish that you would hold a convention here in sydney nova Scotia.I would love to attend one of youre convetion but i just don’t have to money to do it.The only way i would be able to attend one of youre convetion is to win the lottery.Their are not a lot of mail in contests any more most of them on done on line now.I can never find any entry forms in the stores anymore.You have been entering contest for a long time and you always tell the truth.

  14. Melanie Normandin March 10, 2016 at 7:49 pm - Reply

    I for one was glad to learn about @Fru-Gals and thanks to you I no longer waste my time with their contests,
    I think you’re doing a great job. Keep it up! 😉 xx

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