Sunday, August 9, 2020

There's A Warning Label on my Kayak That Says "Don't Kayak Alone"

Did you know that Internet-hosted sweepstakes aren't random drawings? They're actually popularity contests, and that's why I don't enter.

I'm not a leader or trendsetter. I don't have ten thousand followers on Facebook or Twitter or TikTok. Hell, I don't even have friends who share most of my hobbies (which gets really annoying when I read safety warnings on equipment).

It could be for a billion dollars and still not worth my time to enter.


Most online sweepstakes or drawings offer you more "entries" or "chances to win" if you can get your friends to sign up for it. That seems silly at first, because if I didn't share it with anyone, then I'd have fewer people to compete with.

Except you're not competing over the roll of the dice. You're competing with other people over the size of your social circle. Those with the largest social circles are the winners, every time.

It's a marketing gimmick. They know if you got this thing for free, and you love using it, you're going to tell your friends, and then they'll all want one of their own. Giving away one thing for free in exchange for hundreds or thousands of new customers is an easy choice to make.

They don't even have to make it so only one person wins. They could (and I'd be surprised if nobody was doing this) figure out how many sales they have to make to cover the cost of giving away one unit for free, and then declare anyone and everyone who has a social circle larger than that threshold a winner.

As for my equipment, if I actually followed the guidelines and didn't do things alone, I'd never be able to go anywhere or do anything interesting. I have kayaked alone. I have hung my hammock more than 3 feet off the ground. I've gone hiking and camping in strange areas where people only vaguely knew where I was. Maybe it'll kill me one of these days, but it hasn't yet, and I'm not going to stop.

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