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Tuesday, June 20, 2006

Blogger Bingo

Otherwise known as everything you didn't know you'd ever want to know about Blogger Bingo. Welcome to the information page for Blogger Bingo, a game created by Mel from Stirrup Queens (um...this blog). I actually created the game in August of 2009, but I backdated this post in order to have a permanent place to answer questions about the project.

You have probably landed here because you've seen the icon on a person's blog. In order to jump to the current open game, please click here.

I'll begin by explaining the general rules for how the game is played. Underneath that, I'll answer further questions.
  1. Sign up to participate. If you are not on the list, you will not be eligible to win. You will need to provide a blog name, blog url (yes, you need to be a blogger to participate), the number for the card (this will make sense when you are looking at the open post for the current round) which you wish to use, and an email to use to contact you if I have questions. The categories on all the cards are the same though the order varies. When the game is open, this space is linked to the sign up form. Sign up usually takes place for a few days and closes when the game begins.
  2. Place the provided code on your blog and keep it up until the end of the game. It will help connect people to the project and show other bloggers who are participating that you are on the list. You will be sent a reminder to remove it when a winner has been named. You will not be added to the list until the code is in place.
  3. Starting on a preset date, I will pull one card each day. The card will be listed in the top, permanent post on my blog (the one that contains a link to the current issue of the LFCA). I know, tricky isn't it? You will need to keep on top of things in order to have the best chance of winning because the card will be erased after 24 hours and a new one pulled.
  4. In addition to pulling a card, I will also list a date. The post you are looking for comes before, after or during that date (more below).
  5. Read blogs that are contained in the participant list to look for a post that matches the card of the day. For example, if I pull the card that says, "a post that made you sad before August 15, 2009," you will look for a post prior to August 15th that made you sad on any of the blogs on the participant list. You may not list a post from your own blog; it needs to come from another person. The current participant list is always listed on the main post for the current round.
  6. Leave a comment on that post (even if it is an old post) and then keep track of the url of that post at home (bookmark it somewhere). When you call Bingo, you will need to turn in the posts you used to "mark your space." Please leave a comment that shows that you read the post. Just writing, "nice post!" does not count as a comment.
  7. Once you have found a post on a person's blog, you cannot use that blog again. In other words, if you use a post from my blog as your "a post that made me sad" you cannot use another post from my blog the next day when a new card is drawn.
  8. When you get five in a row, email me with the word "Bingo!" in the subject line. In order to win you will need to provide the five blog posts that fit the cards drawn as well as prove that you left comments on those posts (and have the comments be left on different days--not clumped together timestamp-wise after realizing you have Bingo).
  9. The first person who emails me with a winning card is the winner. The winner will be listed at the top of my blog in the space that normally holds the daily category.
  10. If all goes well, I will do this game again soon after we have a winner.
You Have Questions, I Have Answers

This is pretty cool--it looks like people win even if they don't get the actual prize, is that right?

That's true. I mean, first and foremost, you're getting blog traffic because people need to keep checking your blog if you're on the participant list in order to find posts. You're also possibly getting comments if a post on your blog is chosen by the reader to fill in a square on their bingo board. You may even be getting blogging ideas if you have writer's block by seeing the board ahead of time (quick, quick, write a post that will make people gasp!). All in all, there is a lot a participant gets beyond the prize.

The categories seem pretty broad, how do I know what you're looking for?

That was on purpose. You can interpret the category however you wish--the more creative the better. For instance "a post that contains a recipe" may literally have a recipe for fudge cake or it may contain a recipe-for-disaster. You get to defend your choices when you call "Bingo!" Though some cards are relatively concrete in their interpretation. The nice thing is that everyone will be finding different posts to mark their board.

What happens if people cheat?

Well, I can't account for all the various ways people could cheat, BUT there are a few things I've done to deter people from cheating. (1) The category is only listed for 24 hours. You can miss a card and still play, but people who see every card have a leg up. (2) Only those on the list can participate--people can't drop into the game after it has begun. (3) By leaving comments, you prove that you actually read the post. (4) By stating that the timestamps on the comments need to be different, you can't save up your commenting for when you realize you're about to win Bingo. (5) By tying the post to a series of dates, it means that people can't write posts in the days ahead of time or backdate them easily (it will look pretty obvious if you have a post with a single comment on it that you tried to tuck backwards in time and encourage your friend to use). (6) You cannot use posts from your own blog so it would take a lot of coordination between blogs to plant old posts and damn...who has the energy?

I also trust that people understand this is in good fun to get people to read and comment and enjoy blogging and not cheat and ruin the game.

Won't everyone be shouting Bingo! at the same time?

Well, no. I mean, there are 5 cards so people will fill their spaces in a different order. Plus, some people will find a post that fits quickly and some won't find it at all. It all depends on how savvy you are, how much time you have to read that day and how lucky you are. But once you have bingo, don't wait. Email me because the first person with a winning card in my inbox is the winner.

What if I can't find a post that matches the card?

Then you simply don't mark anything on your board that day. There's a good chance that will happen regardless of the fact that I chose pretty broad categories. It all depends on how many people participate and what they've been writing about. If you can't find a post that matches the category, that space is simply dead. Sort of like real bingo if you don't have that number on your card.

Why did you invent this game? It seems like an enormous waste of your time. Don't you have anything better to do?

Why are you trying to hurt my feelings?

I invented this game due to the late summer blues, with school starting soon and that general feeling of fun winding down. I wanted to infuse my year with more fun and if I'm doing it for myself, I might as well do it for you. This game actually only took a few days of thinking about and trouble shooting to mentally create, another hour or so of set up, and then the rest pretty much runs itself. It's not a lot of work on my end.

And it fulfills three things that I think are fun: using blogs to get people to think and feel, ensure that people leave comments, and create community.

Can I participate in Blogger Bingo if I'm also doing IComLeavWe?

The two games are not mutually exclusive. If you have the time, go for it. You can participate in both.

I missed sign-up. When will you be holding another round?

If it goes well and there is continued interest, I will start a new round a few days after the last round. If this idea probably won't be reading this post.

Hey, this is such a great idea! Do you mind if I hold a Blogger Bingo session on my blog?

Actually, I do mind. More than any other project I've started, this one took a lot of troubleshooting and coordination. Therefore, I will be most cranky if you take my work and commandeer it as your own.

Hey, this is such a great idea! Would you use my product as the prize in order to get attention for my product along with a free prize for your readers?

Yes, if you have something I think would appeal to people, I'd be happy to add it to the prize tank for the winner. Please email me if you think you have something in your Etsy store or business that would fit this need.

You didn't answer my question. What do I do?

I think it's pretty obvious. You email me and ask your question. It helps if you write "bingo" in the subject line.