First things first, despite its name, Big American Giveaway is NOT a daily deals site, ala Groupon. Rather it is a platform that helps small businesses build their social marketing presence -- by offering consumer or customer prospects chances at a daily prize or giveaway.
The site, set to launch on January 1, 2012, is the brainchild of U.K.-based entrepreneur Mark Bowness, who sees it as an opportunity for small companies to build their presence and brand without having to reduce their prices to unsupportable levels. The dangers of daily deals are exemplified in the example of a cupcake maker who lost money after far more coupons were redeemed than the owner originally expected.
"We are seeking a way to help people discover new businesses, without creating operational challenges for the businesses themselves," Bowness told me during a phone interview several weeks ago.
The site works by allowing one business per day, per state "purchase" a specific day on the Big American Giveaway social marketing calendar. The per-day price that a business pays vary, starting at $1 per day (yes, you read that correctly), increasing by $1 per day throughout the calendar year. On the designated day, the site will go to work the business's behalf, encouraging prospective customers in specific state to "like" a Facebook page or follow a Twitter account. In exchange, those prospects will receive a chance to win some sort of prize of the company's choosing.
Let us be clear, when a business buys a given day in a given state, it is THEIR day. They will be the only promotion featured in that geography for 24 hours.
Even before its launch, Big American Giveaway said it completely sold out its "days" in January for both New York and California. As of Dec. 14, the company had sold more than 1,000 giveaway promotions (although I am sure that number is higher now).
Once it sells all its days, Big American Giveaway will launch its "ultimate" prize, a $1 million contest. But in order to be entered into the drawing, you have to be creative enough to produce a video saying why you want that money.