Not so long ago Lori at Pure Imagination, Angela at Reading Angel and myself held a giveaway giving away a $100 Gift card to a bookstore of their choice. We did not require the entrants to follow us. As matter of fact the three of us rarely ever require anyone entering our contests to follow. I do the occasional followers giveaway that are just for my followers, but that's not often at all. I prefer to have followers that want to follow my blog for the content and not just for extra entries to my contests. I do love watching the numbers climb though, so I do have following my blog as an extra entry most of the time.
Lately I've noticed a lot of blogs that require people to follow them for every single giveaway they have, but many of those giveaways are sponsored by someone else. So is it fair to require people to follow you when it's not really you giving the item away? Where all your doing is writing up a post? Writing up a post is work, I definitely agree with that, but I think that if you have great content then people will follow you. Is it necessary to require following? Now I know we all have different opinions on this, and really I'm neutral ground here. I don't really like being required to follow to enter giveaways but I almost always (if not always) follow a blog if I'm entering their contest anyway. I just don't like being told I have to follow them.
I've also been noticing more giveaways that are FOR gaining followers. You pay to have your name in a linky on a blog that's giving money away. You can pay to have different things, like for people to follow your blog or to follow you on twitter, etc. Basically your money is contributing to the giveaway but you are literally BUYING your followers. To be honest this is kind of leaving a bad taste in my mouth. I can see how it's great to have more exposure, but really most of those people aren't looking at your content. They are doing whatever is required to have an entry to win all this money. Maybe a few will come back, but probably most are just there to win something. Many will unfollow once it's finished. I'm curious about other people's takes on this. I say it leaves a bad taste in my mouth, but I love watching the followers grow too and even this is tempting to me, I just know it's not my thing, I would feel guilty~ but I'm not going to judge you. I want to know your opinion on this.
So, is it right to require people to follow your blog for contests? I'm okay with it if YOUR sponsoring the giveaway, providing the item yourself and shipping yourself. But if your only writing up the blog post, then maybe not require it ALL the time.
And is it okay to buy followers (GFC, Twitter, Facebook, etc). I don't think so for bloggers. BUT if you have a business I do feel a bit different about that. I think if your doing it for a business that's advertising and that's fine. If you have a compelling argument about it being right for bloggers, please share! Who knows, maybe I haven't seen that aspect.