Remember Queensland’s Best Job in the World competition – a global search for someone to fill the position that required them to live on a tropical island for six months and earn a top salary by simply exploring the surrounds and writing, blogging, twittering, and vlogging about it. The campaign, which lasted a few months, attracted 34,000 applicants and provided the Queensland Tourist Board with unprecedented (and free) media coverage.  All in all, it was a brilliant form of advertising.

Since then, numerous business and tourism agencies have jumped on this idea and are offering variations of the Best Island Job although none as lucrative as the Queensland one.

The Taiwan Tourism Bureau is running The Best Trip in the World campaign.  In the first stage of the competition, which closes 30 June 2009, teams of two or more must submit a Plan for Team Travel in Taiwan based on a theme – ie green, spa, nature, etc – complete with video highlighting why they should be chosen.  50 teams will be chosen from this round to move onto the next round.  It gets a little complicated from there, so anyone interested should head over to the site and read the rules for themselves.

Meanwhile, Healdsburg winery Murphy-Goode in Northern California is running  A Really Goode Job campaign to find someone to spend six months learning the wine business, chatting and blogging with your online friends, making videos and living rent-free in Healdsburg.  And you’ll get paid $10,000 a month to do it. (this one is now closed for entries. They are in the process of picking the top 50 to move on to the second round).

On the other coast, in Florida, the Orlando Tourism Bureau is running the 67 Days of Smiles campaign that offers one couple a  furnished two-bedroom condo in downtown Orlando plus $25,000 for living expenses while they spend the next 67 days exploring all that Orlando has to offer and reporting back on it. Entry for this closes on 30 June 2009.

Back in Australia, there’s the World Nomad’s  Van-Tastic Adventures compaign which offers seven pairs of travelers the opportunity to win an ultimate Aussie roadtrip for six weeks. It’s a pretty sweet deal, with airfares provided from anywhere in the world, the use of a campervan, video equipment, and other assisted costs in exchange for blogging, podcasting, and videoing your experiences. The first round closes on 5 July 2009 so there is still time to enter.

And here in New Zealand,  a travel company (Entirely Kiwi) is running the Be Famous in New Zealand campaign which offers the winner the chance to tour New Zealand for three months, complete with transport, food, accommodation, camera and tickets. A few restrictions here – mainly the age (18-30) and the ability to get a visa. Entries 31st August.

Some tourism agencies and businesses have obviously discovered the value of social media over old-fashioned advertising.  After all, they are the ones that will gain the most out of these campaigns, getting free advertising through media outlets both online, on television, and in print.

For those who enter, however, it’s a different story. Having followed those who have entered these competitions, it’s clear that their time and effort is enormous compared to the possible payout.  Entrants often dedicate days and weeks to creating their own campaign to win the prize. As well as spending huge amounts of time creating an entry video, they also start blogging and twittering constantly about the campaign.  In the end, you have to wonder, is it really worth all the time and often money they sink into it.

So what do you think?

Who really wins?

Would love to hear from those who have entered into these campaigns whether it was worth the effort?