And the winners are……..

by Gunnar Engblom on December 26, 2009

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The BIG Kolibri Expeditions Give-Away has some winners

Eye-ringed Thistletail - Special endemic bird of Satipo road

To stimulate eco-tourism in new areas still at large undiscovered by birders and to support the local communities in these areas, I made this first social media PR experiment for birders giving away 15 birding trips in Peru to the same areas. Read about the back-ground here…….

The  birders mentioned at the bottom of this post  have spread the word on various social media platforms, some of them general such as Twitter and Facebook, while others more specific for birders such as listservers and forums.

The above post has got 3000 hits since Dec 12 and is the most popular of all my blog posts since my blog started (seriously) a year ago.  A big hugg to all of you for making this such a fantastic event.

40 participants!

In the end I had 40 names in consideration, so in reality the chance of winning a tour was extremely high. Those that did not make it all the way in large did not have large enough networks on the internet, or simply in several cases gave up too early and did not send in a final activity report. Others that I certainly considered when they first contacted me and by professional merits seemed to qualify immediately, just disappeared and in some cases did not even bother to subscribe to the newsletter.  Connectivity and emails lost in Cyberspace  may have played trickes in some cases. I have checked my spam boxes just in case, but there may still be lost emails out there.

Many young birders

I noticed quite early that I got many requests from quite young birders. Many had excellent social media skills, but admitted not the economic means to take a organized trip to Peru. It made me very happy to see that there is a new generation of young birders out there – and I decided to ear-mark several slots for young birders. However, in the end I am unsure of the actual age of several of the winners, but I still hope I could pin down a few of the young birders.

Lack of Social Media skills

So while I ceertainly am very happy with the final results in this excersise, I wonder if we should not have had more than just 40 contestants, considering there were 3000 page views. I am looking forward to see your comments below why there were not more people wanting to part?  Was it because birders in general don’t have enough Social Media skills? I believe this could be the case, so I am pondering on the idea of maybe offering a social media workshop for birders.  Would you be interested?

I made the same question on my Facebook and immediately got the question: What is Social Media? So just in case – here is my answer: Facebook, Twitter, Blogs, Listservers, Forums, Flickr, StumbleUpon, DIGG, YouTube, etc.

The offical launch for the social media workshop for birders will be presented tomorrow with start around Jan 10, 2010 (to be confirmed)

Too good to be true!

I had some reactions that obviously is not favoring the cause. These words have been mentioned: Scam, Spam, Ponzi Scheme, fraud, too good to be true…etc.

How do you think this campaign has affected the company? Good or bad?  It can’t be good for us if people think we are scamming birders!

It is not very easy to give away something without some sort of catch. But there is really not much of a catch. Just let others know about. The alturistic message is to promote community based eco-tourism in new areas. This will be good for conservation.  My company and I, get some exposure, which could/should lead to more sales. I also get 21 ambassadors (15 free trips and 6 bloggers already confirmed). That is very valuable to us!

How does it work financially for Kolibri Expeditions?

You will see from the price structure, that both trips are cheaper priced than our ordinary trips – and on top of that we are giving away a free space.  It is true that the costs of operation is somewhat smaller, but there is also an operational risk involved. Since there is lack of infra-structure and communication problems with the areas, no client shall expect things to be top-notched.  Both areas are difficult to sell among our regular programs as they are neither established and lack comfort.  By offering free trips of only 8 days, it is hoped that many of the winners as well as participants in these trips will take other programs with us. We shall not lose any money by operating these trips, but the revenue lies with selling some of our extensions.

From the communities standpoint they get the chance of doing things right from the beginning, because there will be a stream of birders coming every month. This continuity is vital to the success of this idea.

The winners are……..

No more beating around the bush….here they are. The winners:

Joel Brady-Power
Alan McBride
Kimberly Sucy
Jan Axel Cubilla
Bill Lynch
Greg Grant McCreary
Brian Allen
Radd Icenogle
Rob Ripma
Vernon Laux
Isaac Grant
Chris West
John Riutta
Chris Drysdale
Scott Artis

Congratulations all of you!!! Please resend me your preferred dates ( so I can put each in the calendar. In the next post I shall make the justification of my choices as well as designate each winner with a slot.  Now, please all winners, tell the world that this was not a scam – and invite your friends to join you paying their fare (which is quite reasonable compared to many other trips we and others offer.)

Everyone’s a winner!

Getting this sort of engagement, is extremely valuable. So I would like to offer those that have taken part a special offer, which was delivered in the  newsletter today. The offer is only available to those that were subscribed before the end of Dec 25.


There were a few people that were in consideration until very late, but I just ran out of slots. Many of them were highly qualified. With small adjustments they could have won a trip.  I will contact each personally with comments. It will take a few days, so please bare with me.

Thanks again all of you for taking part in this somewhat historic PR event in birding circles. Future will tell if we do it again!

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{ 18 comments… read them below or add one }

Steven Corbett December 26, 2009 at 1:57 am

Big congrats to all of the winners! This will be one incredible trip for all of you, I’m sure!

I hope to see lots of photos and videos from some of you! :)

chris drysdale December 26, 2009 at 2:40 am

I recently attended a business forum with approx. 75 delegates, all business owners, in a small, though regionally important, community in British Columbia. The topic was social networking; the presenter an interesting guy called Rik Logtenberg of (you are, perhaps, kindred spirits in the new world of viral networking). I would estimate that 80% of the audience had never even contemplated Twitter (eg. didn’t even know what it was); had heard of Facebook but not the concept of Facebook pages, let alone considered participation; had dismissed YouTube as ‘just for the skate-board generations’; and were, frankly, simply freaked out by digg, yelp, reddit etc. etc. If this is business owners, who stand to gain (or lose) enormously from social networking, I suspect that many, many regular folk (and this is where birders fit in) are simply unaware of the opportunities, or maybe aware, but just not quite confident enough to dive in. I think that you are some long way ahead of the game. Personally, I learn from what you are doing – please accept that as a compliment, whilst not not meaning to sound obsequious (sp?), but your business marketing is perhaps ahead of a proportion of your target audience. I don’t think it is the offer that has failed to energise people, it’s perhaps a simple lack of …what’s the right word here …knowledge, or maybe capacity, of the means to achieve it. I know a pack of birders who are still child-like excited that they can share their sightings on Yahoo Newsgroups…it would never occur to them to look further.

I will ponder this further tomorrow (we’re still on Xmas Day time here)….chris

Anonomous December 26, 2009 at 5:51 am

I am so glad you choose someone else. I am one who fell away. It was the bombardment of emails you sent and bombardment of FB postings that sort of indicated the type of trip it would be.

I appreciate and am very grateful to have had the opportunity, but it would not have been for me.

I thought you would want to know.

Leslie Kramer December 26, 2009 at 7:06 am

Just read about this on Massbird this early AM- sounds like a fabulous opportunity, and congrats to all. I would have submitted my name had I heard earlier….

Debbie Blair December 26, 2009 at 8:15 am


I think the trip give away was an excellent idea and will give Peru a wonderful chance to showcase itself and you birding! Keep up the great work.


Jan Axel December 26, 2009 at 12:58 pm

Wow, the best X-mas (and B-day) present ever. Congratulations to all the winners. Now the action really starts, we still need to spread the word to have birders to host at the trips and to let the world to know that the projects in this communities worth the effort!

Gunnar Engblom December 26, 2009 at 2:53 pm

@Steve Thanks for participating. I shall contact you seperately to see if we can do something together. I checked your video. Very impressive stuff. I shall be backlinking (with Facebook and Twitter) to all participants web-sites the coming days, just been too busy sorting out the contest.
@Chris Yes, that is my impression as well, that there are relatively few birders that have jumped on the bandwagon…but imagine how this will change birders way of consumption for birding gadgets and trips.
My next challange is to get +1000 birders signing up for the Social Media workshop. This could/should be possible as the final objective of this work shop is not to sell more birding trips, but to get more regular readers to my blog. In the end more visitors to my blog may sell more trips, but it is not the main objective. It would not be seen as a advertsing I hope but rather the essence of being successful in social media taught by gurus like Guy Kawasaki and Chris Brogan – SHARE!!! I’d like to share what I have learnt so far and also create a dialogue in which I can learn more from the participants.

@anonomous (sic!) I would usually not allow for anonymous comments, but your comment is constructive in many ways. I did a serious mistake in this campaign. I assumed that those +80 people that had signed up for my regular bi-weekly newsletter also wanted to participate in the give-away. I should (as I intend for the Social Media challange) have started a new list all together. By the end of the contest, I could have told people to sign up for the regular newsletter. I lost of 9 of my regular subscribers and 3 of the ones that had only signed up for the contest. Luckily, the mailing list system gives me the emails of the people who signed off, I shall approach each personally.
As for the bombardment on Facebook, it may seem that way to people who have few followers. I often send a status update, when the post is ready with the same short URL as created by Twitter. This is often at an unconvenient hour when there are few people on internet, so it is logical that I want to send the link again at a more visitor friendly hour. I want to send just one link post, that both show title of the blogpost rather than…only the url – and also allows me to chose which photo to display. Unfortunately, when linking directly it does not show the title of the blogpost…but a rather ugly url containing my company name…but I do get to chose photo. Networkedblogs application automatically pulls a the blog to show on the Kolibri Expeditions fanpage. This same can be published on the blog, and I usually do that in the end, as each post in the app has a little button inviting to publish. The nice thing is that it does show the title of the blog post rather than the Url, but I don’t get to chose the picture. So yes, I am quite aware that it can be overwhelming although I do try to spread them out. The solution is to get more birder friends on Facebook, so your live stream gets less clogged with my messages.

@Leslie yes, it was a bit late. I surprised me that not more people passed the word on list-servers (in time) as I had by far the largest numbers being referred from a listserver, especially if the person who posted is a regular contributor to the same list. In some instances list-owners saw it as being too “commercial” to fit within the list-rules. This does not surprise me. But it is a bit strange with very strict list rules when many lists are housed by Yahoo. You get far more irrelevant advertising than the occassional bird related semi-commercial post like this one.

@Debbie Thanks. Looking forward to visit your lodge in Iquitos one of these days.

@Jan Axel. Well you know more than anyone about the potential of Central Peru. I think with the combined effort of all the winners, we shall be able to do a lot of good to get these community projects off the ground. Securing visitors is one of the best way to go!
.-= Gunnar Engblom´s last blog ..10/19/2009 =-.

Mel December 26, 2009 at 3:52 pm

Hi Gunnar!
Cool contest :)
Bit too late for me now, hope to be able to go birding with you again soon. Tommy and I will move to Cusco in a few months, hope to see you down there sometime next year?
Take care!
.-= Mel´s last blog ..Costanera Sur and La Plata =-.

Mel December 26, 2009 at 4:00 pm

Hey, just noticed John Riutta made it!!!
He’s awesome!! Well deserved :)
.-= Mel´s last blog ..Costanera Sur and La Plata =-.

Dawn Fine December 26, 2009 at 7:02 pm

Congrats to all the winners! I am look forward to reading all the blog posts of the trips.
Great job Gunnar.
.-= Dawn Fine´s last blog ..Dawn Goes horseback riding =-.

anon December 26, 2009 at 9:09 pm

I was interested in the contest initially but with each description and email I felt it was more like a pyramid scheme than a contest. I know you are a start-up business with good intentions because I follow you on twitter and many other people I follow support you. But when you use language like “promotions” “promote” and “marketing” in the contest details it paints a very different picture than “contest.” I think you should include, in explicit terms, what the winner does get in detail, what the winner does not get (air fare?) and what is expected of the winner. When you use the word trip I think it includes airfare from the US to the destination and back again and was initially interested in the trip. But the trip does not include airfare and is completely inaccessible to me because I will not have money for an international flight in 2010. Also, saying the winner will act as a “host” makes me think if I won I would be responsible for recruiting others to go on the same trip and I do not have the internet presence or anyone close to me that could afford it. What I feel you did right was stay connected to the contest and continue to promote it personally. If I had the money for airfare I would have participated because I feel like you really believe the things you say (sometimes hard to tell over the internet) and your passion for the region is contagious. But I can see how people who do not follow you and share followers on twitter, and who do not read your blog or follow your facebook would be hesitant or turned off by the description of the contest.

Alan McBride December 27, 2009 at 12:01 am

Pleased to have entered and won a berth with Gunnar.

Hopefully will be able to get some decent publicity for the communities involved, such a good idea Gunnar. Well done, I’m sure it will be an immense long term benefit for you and Kolibri Expeditions. Cheers


Gunnar Engblom December 27, 2009 at 1:48 am

@Mel thanks for popping in. Are you in Lima. Thinking loosely with Stephen Gast to informally arrange a Christmas Bird Count in Lima on Jan 1. Are you in Lima?
Cool to move to Cusco. More birds close to there!
@Dawn Would you help finding 1000 participants for the Social Media for birders workshop? Then there could be 1000 more bird bloggers by next year.
@anon. Pyramid scheme..hmm…well, MLM – multi-level-marketing – which is all too common on the internet is often accused for being Pyramide schemes….and truth is that it is the same principal, except that there is a tangible product at the end.
But accusing this even for being a pyramid scheme is a bit harsh. For the people taking part there is no money involved. The model will work if people are effective in spreading the word about us. If you like you could see the winners as ambassadors for the company. I don’t know if everyone else agrees, but the blogpost
cleary says that the trip is free from Lima (even trips you pay for with most US birding companies that operate in Peru will start in Lima…flights are not included in the given price!) and it states that the winners will be those that best spread the word about the contest.
In the newsletter I also explain that the winners don’t have to recruit all the participants, but participants who think they have a capacity to actually recruit a few trip members are better off if Kolibri Expeditions can’t get 5 people to each departure on our own. After all with 21 free trips given away, it does mean 105 paying clients need to be recruited. That is not a small task, and probably not possible for us alone without having 21 ambassadors also networking.
Hopefully, the social media workshop for birders will make all the winners more effective reaching other birders.
In the end, you are probably right, that the whole thing could have had a negative impact as well on several people, but if it was the first time people heard about me giving away trips and thinking it was some sort of a scheme, and the next time they hear about me finds out it was actually true… shall not be so bad.

@Alan. thanks mate!

Mel December 27, 2009 at 12:13 pm

Yep, I’m in Lima. Will be until mid-February. Still have to show up for work on weekdays but weekends I’m free ;)
.-= Mel´s last blog ..Costanera Sur and La Plata =-.

Radd Icenoggle December 28, 2009 at 2:21 pm

I am so excited and grateful for the contest and the trip. I just found out this morning (been with family and friends all week)…I guess now I should choose a date and trip…I’ll send an email to bounce some questions off of you later.
.-= Radd Icenoggle´s last blog ..Christmas in Plains =-.

Brian Allen December 29, 2009 at 4:03 pm

Wow, exciting news I just heard from Tom Pavlik a fellow birder that has traveled to Los Amigos, Abra Malaga etc. as I had this year. Glad that you are working to promote eco-tourism in Peru , helping to save some of the incredible biodiverse habitats there and of course that I have this opportunity.

BA, Michigan World Birders Facebook travel group.
.-= Brian Allen´s last blog ..Manistee Christmas Bird Count 2009 =-.

Gunnar Engblom January 3, 2010 at 12:32 am

John has a lot of experience as a blogger. I am sure he will be an asset for the communities.

Gunnar Engblom January 3, 2010 at 5:32 am

John has a lot of experience as a blogger. I am sure he will be an asset for the communities.

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