How You Can Fake a Giveaway on the Internet

10 Mar

About six months ago or so I discovered the Pioneer Woman. I loved reading her site – on her site I could learn about what life is like on a working cattle ranch, how to take better photos, and how to create delicious and decadent meals (or to try to!).


Her site boomed and she suddenly became hugely popular. Due not only to her beautiful photos and her delicious meals, but also to her amazing giveaways.

It’s not abnormal to see Ree give away over $1000 in stuff a month – sometimes it’s closer to $1,500 worth of stuff.

In order to win, usually you just have to leave a comment on her site – usually within a 24 hour period. Then she chooses a winner, usually through a random choice, and the winner wins! Yay! Happiness and joy for everyone!

But, wait, could the Pioneer Woman be lying?

She claims, to begin with, that she uses all of the revenue she makes on the site to pay for the prizes that she gives away. She must be making a hell of a lot of revenue from her site. Now, I’m not saying that she doesn’t make that amount of money and that she doesn’t give away real prizes, but let’s see how easy it would be to fake it.

Okay, so lets say that I’m giving away a $500 gift card to Amazon! Yay! Okay, so I ask people to leave a comment here in order to win it. I get 547 comments and say that I’m going to choose a random commenter to win.

Now here’s what I do – I insert some made up names and comments into the comment section. I pepper four or five of my own comments in there so that I don’t have to actually give anything away.

But wait – if it’s a random draw, how can I be sure that one of my comments are going to be selected? Simple. Okay, let’s say that one of my comments is comment # 78…


Surprise! I win!

But how did I do it if the number were “random”? Simple – you just ask for 1 number integer on, then you enter the numbers that you want the computer to select between from 77-79, guaranteeing that your only selection is going to be 78.

Is the Pioneer Woman lying about all of the prizes she is giving away? I don’t know, but I do know that it’s definitely possible for someone to be able to fake giving away lots of great stuff.


14 Responses to “How You Can Fake a Giveaway on the Internet”

  1. Kate March 10, 2009 at 3:04 pm #

    OOOO…are you going to start a blog war?

  2. Tracey March 10, 2009 at 3:54 pm #

    Sounds a lil shady to me…

  3. scootersbabygirl March 10, 2009 at 8:54 pm #

    I’m not starting a rumble! I swear! I think it’s interesting, though, that everyone just assumes that all of these giveaways are legit – on her site she doesn’t even show the item in person, but rather shows a stock picture! So how do you know if it’s a real giveaway??

  4. Kate March 11, 2009 at 12:10 am #

    I have contests on my own blog, and the way that you can tell that they’re real is that I give away $10 gift cards to Amazon. If it were fake, I wouldn’t be near so cheap 🙂

  5. Kelly July 30, 2010 at 7:28 am #

    I don’t think the worry here is that her giveaways are fake … but instead that much of what she portrays on her blog as her life is FAKE … FAKE

    PW is no average rancher’s wife, you know that when you see her luxurious ranch home, her guest house, the ranch, thousands of head of cattle etc
    She married a Millionaire rancher, people – of the largest landowner ranching family in OK.
    She may have STARTED her blog on her own, but it is professionally done by others, just as much of her photog & writing is… She does NOT do all of this, no human being on the planet COULD !!
    PW made 1-2 MILLION $$$$$ last year in Ad revenues alone. PLUS the cookbook and next, the MOVIE … plus more books and who knows …
    I just don’t like how she portrays herself as the hardworkin, little ranch wife … cause nothing is further from the truth !!!

  6. Concerned Citizen November 9, 2010 at 6:08 pm #

    Kelly, you are completely right! I just found out about this scam (Ok, I’m a bit behind the times…), when I read the cookbook. Didn’t even know about the blog, but I smelled a rat.

    I’m a graphic designer by training and let me tell you, I do not see anyway that site could be done by PW herself (sometimes she says she does it, sometimes she admits to design and IT help). And WHEN would she do it? She has five hours a day of homeschooling PLUS cooking and cleaning and laundry PLUS getting up at 4AM to herd cattle or what, PLUS taking hundreds of Photos and photoshopping (she claims) every single one. Well, I had a job two years ago, where my sole PAYING JOB was to clean up and edit high-res color photos in Photoshop for ads (so they had to be done right) and it took me an EIGHT HOUR WORKDAY to do about as many photos as PW is posting. That’s with NO writing, no blogging, no contests.

    And she claims to read every post. Her recent posts are getting an AVERAGE of 700 comments. If I read 700 comments, it would take HOURS. And remember, the cattle, the ranch, the cooking (for 6-10 people), the laundry, the HOMESCHOOLING…etc.

    Even if all this were untrue (or she’s the superwoman of all times), I would despise her for constantly talking about (and I QUOTE) “my retarded brother”. Who the hell talks this way? Who would post such embarrassing stuff about a disabled sibling? What a hateful woman …. and why is it the hateful, self-promoting types always seem to get rich and famous? I don’t know.

    She’s not getting any of MY money. I got her cookbook at the library! (Her recipes are a heart attack in book form.) But I will keep getting the word about what a rich faker she is.

  7. Minnesota February 16, 2011 at 8:18 am #

    I just love how her kids are perfect and everything is just perfect. No one is perfect no matter how much money they have. I wish she would blog about her displine or her homeschooling, not letting someone else write about homeschooling.

  8. J-anonymous February 16, 2011 at 11:14 am #

    @Concerned Citizen: Agree 100% My husband worked in publishing (as journalist, editor and publisher) and when I described her blog he immediately said that it is held by an editorial company in charge of managing the site, they have writers, editors, layout, etc etc and basically all she would need to do is once a week read through the written posts they email her to make sure they all sound like her. Period. And no way she doesn’t have nannies/babysitters, home tutors (someone told me she mentioned one once), maids, etc. No way. And any, the writing and the photography are pathetic and appalling. She has little talent for anything except creating something mediocre that pleases the masses and keeping up the fake persona she has invented.

  9. scootersbabygirl February 16, 2011 at 8:18 pm #

    Seems amazing to me that I wrote this post a year ago and it’s still attracting attention. I have nothing against the Pioneer Woman – but I do think that something seems shady. If what you wrote is true, J-Anonymous, I’d love to see the proof. I know that a lot of websites have ghost bloggers, and it still shocks me that she’s become so popular so quickly.

  10. Melissa March 25, 2011 at 1:40 am #

    Her family are millionaires, they make at least 1 million a year from the BLM for “taking care” of mustangs. Ie, they let them run around on the land and feed them a 100k in hay, and that’s it. Plus her blogging revenue is at least 1 million a year too.
    She pretends to be a “good ol’ gal” but she’s not AT ALL. Her family is filthy rich and she’s just a snobby selfish woman who only cares about money and her own self.
    This is clear when you see her whining about homeschooling her kids so she doesn’t have to drive them to town everyday, yet she jet sets all over creation to sell all of her crap and do booksignings. She “jokes” about how she won’t have to teach her kids anymore because she can pawn it off onto the oldest two girls. Gee, how nice to have a mom who cares so much she can’t even be bothered to teach, despite the fact that she is the one who insisted on homeschooling them.
    I wouldn’t have a problem with her blog if she were actually upfront about being a millionaire. But she goes to great lengths to hide that, even though the farm records are readily available online on the gov’t sites, because they have to be. It must be nice to be millionaires off of taxpayer money!

  11. Kendra April 22, 2011 at 9:17 am #

    I just googled in “Pioneer Woman so fake” and your site came up first. This was just after leaving her site , I don’t even know why I keep going there, to torture myself I guess. I can’t believe people can be sooooooo gullible! There is something terribly wrong here!

  12. Lisa Hill September 26, 2011 at 11:53 am #

    What I know:
    1. I have yet to find a recipe posted that I don’t like. (I’m sure I will)
    2. The funny pictures & stories gives me a chuckle (whoever is writing it), This is a positive thing that exist in a mean and negative world.
    3. I have never seen her post anything negative about her brother. Retarded is the appropriate medical term. It’s mean humans that have made it a negative term.
    4. Why waste time on trying to take her down. Anybody who is smart enough to do what’s she’s accomplished, has something going for her. If you could have done it, I’m sure you would have. Why not promote blogs you do like? That would be a more positive & uplifting thing to do, for you and for others.

  13. social media sites July 18, 2013 at 9:41 am #

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  1. Time to Rat Out Another “Internet Superstar” « If You Can’t Say Something Nice… - March 24, 2009

    […] to Comments I swear I’m not in a bad mood! Although you guys must think I am, first with me dissing Pioneer Woman, and now with this next […]

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