Appearing on a competition site or forum can generate a lot of traffic for your site. We can't say whether comping traffic will definitely translate to sales, blog readers or increase brand awareness for you - but it can help! We advise that you use your prize promotion wisely to promote your site, social pages, products, offers or sponsors - and use compers to spread the word, for example via social media.
Surprisingly, we do appreciate that some sites want to avoid the "comper" entering their competitions. For example, bloggers or specialist sites may want to reward the loyalty of regular readers by giving them the chance to win prizes! Some sites worry about their signed items heading to eBay and would like a genuine fan to win. We understand these concerns!
On the whole it can be difficult to prevent compers from entering/finding your competition. As well as using portals like Loquax, compers will try Google and other search engines! More recently money saving and hot deal sites have added competition sections to their forums plus there's Facebook and Twitter. On top of that you could be inundated with automated entries! In short, it can be quite hard to keep your giveaway away from competition hunters!
However, here's a few useful tips....
1. Use Hidden or User Specific URLs
For example use your mailing list to tell subscribers the URL of your competition, and don't advertise the web page on your site until a user has perhaps logged in. If you're able to you could also use a personalised url for a specific user. This prevents them sharing the link with others.
2. Use Forms
If you want people to visit your site and enter a competition, use a web based form. Email addresses and answers can be distributed quite freely and are often picked up by automated entry services.
3. Complicate Your Comping Questions
Answers to your comping questions will quite possibly find themselves into the public domain so why not rotate the questions (a randomiser script can do this) or ask for more personalised responses (e.g. favourite dress on your fashion site). Aim the questions or entry mechanic at your users!
4. Set Restrictions
Country, age and other restrictions can be used to prevent entries from certain areas. You can ask folks to follow you on Facebook or Twitter or perhaps register for your site. The more steps you put in then the less attractive the comp becomes to a wider audience.
5. Ask For A Link Removal
If you're a siteowner and don't want to be on our site - just say so. It's quite simple to ask us to remove a link. Likewise, if a site has published answers then ask them to remove them. Don't suffer in silence or whine on Twitter - just get in touch!
6. Use Common Sense
The web is after all worldwide. Sites with competitions can be found easily using the search engines, social networks, portals, forums or word of mouth. Competitions can be used as a traffic builder, to gain new customers, so make the most of the opportunity. By preventing entries to your competition you could end up losing out on potential visitors, users, and possibly even future sponsors!
7. Be Polite
If you discover your competition has been "hijacked" by compers and you're upset by it then first off take a deep breath! Some siteowners blow a fuse or two and then throw several teddies out the pram by posting on forums or Twitter about how annoyed they are. This is counter-productive as usually it's you who ends up looking daft and damaging your brand. So stay calm and stay polite - things get sorted so much easier that way!
Remember "compers" do talk, they do have opinions and they do shop on and offline. A well run competition can generate you positive feedback and good comments in many public forums and on social media.