Automated Competition Entries – Are You Losing Out?

Posted on: January 18th, 2008 by Jason

So you spend hour after hour entering competitions, visiting sites and finding answers – how would you feel then if the prize was won by someone who’d never even visited the site and didn’t even know about the competition until a WEM (winning email) appears in their inbox? Not good I expect! Well, sadly folks this kind of thing can happen! Automated competition services offer people who pay a subscription fee a way of entering competitions without ever doing anything themselves. They just pay and the automated service does the “hard work”.

Recently one Loquax user reported a problem with their competition:

I have a free prize draw on my website, I normally get a couple of hundred entries a month, I have had over 600 in 12 hours! All of which from the same kind of email address and all only provding the first initial, surname and first line of an address, all of these are different

Now 600 extra entries, all from people not even visiting the site, is 600 less chances of winning! And unless sites are made aware of these things, the situation may get worse! Automated entries aren’t good for Loquax (especially if we’re finding the comps and then an automated service is using us – as has happened), but they’re not good for compers or the promoters. Promoters may well have extra entries, but 600 sets of details from people who are using competition specific emails and don’t even know about their site is pretty worthless.

So What Can Be Done?

The best thing that can be done is contact your favourite sites and ask them if they’re aware of automated entries? We’re already making sites aware of this issue through Loquax! Promoters can take steps to prevent automated entries by using CAPTCHA images and random questions.

Also more attention needs to be made with regards IP addresses of entrants – which means analysing entry patterns and entry details. A simple line in the rules “automated entries, bulk entries and third party entries will be disqualified” helps, but the promoter needs to ensure that this rule is implemented.

Are you concerned by automated entries? Do you think they’re fair? Do you run your own competition and wondered where your entries come from? We’d love to hear from you – we think it’s an important issue that needs to be tackled by compers and promoters – but do you agree?

If you think automated entries should be disqualified why not send an email to your favourite sites and let them know your concerns!


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