One thing that’s been a mild irritation to us since we started highlighting automated entry services here on Loquax is the lack of comment from other publications. Given that automated services impact upon sites like ourselves from a business level plus it impacts on the hobby of the very people who enjoy competitions you’d have thought they’d be more buzz.
Well, you’d have thought!
We think they’re a problem and some promoters think that they are a problem. Even The IPM have suggested they’re a problem as back in 2009 (Marketing Week). We have contacted The IPM about automated entry services, but as yet we’re still waiting for an official comment from them for their 2011 view.
The problem The IPM have is that one of their members, Oxfordshire Press who support The IPM with their Winner’s Gallery site, has links with the automated competition entry service – Prize Draw Centre (revealing more about automated entry services). We wonder if there’s a conflict of interest here perhaps? Still, we await The IPM’s thoughts with great interest.
Even more so now that Oxfordshire Press (who for the record run Simply Prizes, Competition Club for Twitter and Facebook, Just Comps, and National Compers Alliance) have now published an article on their MyComps site. They’re written a blog titled “Automatic Competition Entry Review” in which they review Prize Draw Centre.
Forgot To Declare An Interest?
First off, they don’t tell the reader that they have a link to the Prize Draw Centre site. We’d have thought that they would have had to declare an interest? The directors of Oxfordshire Press are we believe the directors of the company who own Prize Draw Centre (revealing more about automated entry services). Given the link though it’s no surprise that they then don’t share the same view of automated entry services that we do.
Anyway in their review they set about explaining Prize Draw Centre – mind they don’t mention the cost. But they do try and justify it’s role in comping! Their analogy of some people like to make lasagne (do comps themselves) whilst others like to buy them (pay to enter) is – in a loose sense – fair comment. Whether that makes them right or not is debatable. We know that promoters don’t like them – they’ve told us and many have implemented changes to try and nullify their effect.
Promoters Can Choose…
Interestingly MyComps suggests that promoters “can choose to include or exclude Automatic Entry”. That’s great news for the promoters then! Especially those like BBC Good Food, Woman and Home and Marie Claire who do have in their rules they don’t accept automated entries but who do appear in the latest PDC prizes entered list. Maybe PDC should may more attention to terms and conditions as their subscribers are possibly paying just to be disqualified.
The conclusion from MyComps in their latest “review”, however is a bit belittling to your day to day compers – they say “if there’s a prize at the end of it all, are you really bothered how you won it?”.
Now the ethics of comping is something we could really delve into. Is it right to give answers out (we don’t on the main site btw)? Is it right to post competitions from magazines for others who don’t buy to enter? Is it right to even list competitions? Is having a Facebook account for comping and a special email account for comping akin to paying a company to enter comps for you?
Whatever the answers for those, the well I can win a prize so that’s all right argument to justify an automated competition entry service that they have a vested interest in is at best lame.
Automatic Competition Entry – Justifiable?
Of course the above is our view – and if nothing else it’s nice to see another competition publication present their view. We await something official from Accolade Publishing who print Compers News. At least by putting their cards on the table, compers can now see (at least to a point given some omissions they make) who says what about these things and who to perhaps even spend their time and money with!
We know we’ll never get automated entry services closed, but we can make sure compers and promoters are aware of them and who’s behind them. Compers can then choose to vote with feet and money. Promoters can also consider whether they’re happy seeing their promotions featured on a particular site.
The fact that many promoters are including “entries made online using methods generated by a script, macro or the use of automated devices will be void” is perhaps a good indicator to us that automated entry service compers are not very welcome.
As ever we welcome your views… do you think automated entry services are fair? Do they have a role in comping? And are you of the mind “if there’s a prize at the end of it all, are you really bothered how you won it”?