It’s been almost a year since we started blogging about automated competition entries and the effects that they have on online competitions. Over that time we’ve managed to reveal email accounts that organisers, agencies and promoters need to be on the look out for when it comes to making sure that their competitions are automated entry free.
The bad news is that over the last year the number of automated competition entries has increased. Recently we’ve been quoted figures in the region of 25,000! In many ways that number is so large that it should be obvious to an observant competition manager that their prize draw is being – for want of a word – spammed by a service on behalf of paying customers who aren’t even visiting the website.
However, not everyone is on the ball plus not agency/marketing manager is aware of what to look out for! The the good news is that we now have even more information to help them spot these kind of entries….
1. Tally Your Numbers
The lowly page count can be a simple and effective way to set the alarm bells ringing. If your competition page has only received views, but your competition database contains 1000s of entries it’s pretty obvious something isn’t right. That would be your cue to check your database. Likewise, if your last competition had 1000 entries but your next one had 28,000 then that should make you concerned.
2. Take The Time
We advise all competition organisers to database the time of entry as automated entries tend to be just a few seconds apart. We suggest taking a full data stamp alongside IP address (REMOTE_ADDR) and perhaps even browser data (HTTP_USER_AGENT). The more data you collect at time of entry the easier it is to spot automated competition entries.
3. Watch For IP Addresses
We’ve found that some automated entries stem from IP addresses in Germany, specifically the Hamburg area. We advise looking out for IP addresses starting 84.142.*, 91.60.* and 91.62.* – these resolve to t-dialin.net! You may even wish to consider an IP block in this range. If you’re using PHP then gethostbyaddr is a useful way to resolve your numerical IPs at time of entry.
Another IP address to look out for starts 85.176.* – it’s our strong belief that this is the “competition research team” for one of the automated entry services. This IP also resolves to Hamburg in Germany. If you’re a Loquax competitor you may also want to have a look at this address.
4. Watch Out For Email Format
Bulk entries, it seems, have to have a very select format INITIAL.SURNAME12345@emailaddress.account! Keep an eye out for this when picking winners or reviewing your entries.
5. Watch Out For Emails
This is an updated list of email accounts that stem from a company dumping automated entries into your competition.
2rainmail.org.uk, barchor.org.uk, cannotmail.org.uk, crymet.org.uk, drecom01.co.uk, freggnet.co.uk, hoodmail.co.uk, kreahnet.org.uk, lonynet.oeg.uk, mailbreaker.co.uk, moussenetmail.co.uk, mywheelbox.org.uk, pluntermail.org.uk, prainnet.org.uk, rackernet.org.uk, railosnet.co.uk, rottmail.co.uk, runracemail.org.uk, runwaynet.org.uk, sherrymail.co.uk, shortsmail.co.uk, stonetimenet.co.uk, telph1line.org.uk, threemailnet.co.uk, tyermail.org.uk, wonandron.co.uk and wormail.co.uk
We also advise looking out for freemailstore.com, bestmailforyou.co.uk, easybusinessemail.info and yourmail4you.com!
If your competition winner has any of the above email accounts then you’re giving your prizes to someone who hasn’t even visited your website!
With this information above you should be able to easily spot whether your competition has received automated entries. If you have access to a coder then perhaps filter them at time of entry? Plus make sure you have “automated entries are not permitted and will be disqualified” in your rules – and see our blog for more advice.
If your competition has received automated entries – and there are a number of services now doing this – then please get in touch.
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