Did You Attract Automated Competition Entries In June or July?

Posted on: August 2nd, 2011 by Jason 7 Comments

Our last blog about automated competition entry services featured Prize Draw Centre and who owns the business, but PDC are not the only company making a mockery of online comping (in our view). Two other sites (at least known) exist and they’re WeWin4U and Win24. The latter is the most well known possibly because they are advertised on Idealworld TV.

Now Idealworld TV run their own prize draws, but there’s nothing in their competition rules about automated entries, bulk entries or third party entries – which is a shame as it would have made a nice angle for this blog.

Perhaps Idealworld are happy to have their competitions swamped with people not interested in their website? And perhaps they’re not too bothered about the damage automated competition entries do to other brand’s promotions? Maybe we’ll be able to get a comment from them about this?

Anyway back to Win24 and our monthly review of the sites they’ve been targeting. Over the few month’s that we’ve been doing this check it’s become noticeable that these automated entry services do like to target the competitions that close at the end of the month. For June’s entries, of the 195 competitions entered (as listed on their website) 100 closed on 30th June. The numbers for July are slightly different with 84 of 203 competitions ending on 31st July.

The good news for genuine compers is that still gives them a lot of competitions that aren’t being swamped by maybe up to 5000 extra entries from people who don’t even make the effort to enter their own details. However, we’d like every competition being managed fairly and even one competition accepting automated entries is one too many.

So who’s on the list?

Well in June we saw the following sites targeted: Dulux, Andrex, One Stop Phone Shop, Just Eat, Zavvi, Wilkinson Plus, Love Out Lamb, At Home Magazine, The Telegraph, Clothes Show Live, Freesat, Bighams, Pocket Lint, Sports Discount, Eye of Horus, Thatchers Gold, Handbag, Amazon, Tic Watches, Fonehouse, Virgin Media, Natoora, Pots and Pans, LG, Debenhams, Bears on the Square and The Independent. Remember that this is just a handful of around 200 competitions!

In July the list of competitions that attracted automated entries included Very, Kitchen Devils, Hilton Racing, Abbey Windows, Menkind, Netflights, Global Cool, Sofa.com, Mio Destino, Splenda, Pombear, Roberts Radio, Hot Dinners, Daisy Green Magazine, Womens Running UK, Ticketola, Saints FC (!), Wiley, New Look, The Hut, Easyio, Lovarni, Argos and many more again.

By the way, we know which sites are targeted because it’s published on their website.

It’s Not In The Rules!!

A quick look at the terms of some of the competitions mentioned and sadly “entries from third parties, bulk entries and automated entries” is missing from just about every one we looked at. That’s ridiculously poor competition management – and not what we’d expect from some of the brands named here. Surely they want to award their prizes to people who actually make the effort to visit their website?

Some brands who do appear on the lists have told us that they have a policy in place to deal with automated competition entries – if that’s the case why not just add “no bulk entries or entries from third parties and/or automated services will be accepted”. From what we can gauge Win24 do seem to target the sites that don’t spell this out in their rules. If more sites started to include this simple line of text in their rules then that could have a massive impact!

The good news is that some sites are on the ball. We found this article from Tincan reporting that they’ve got a solution to Win24 competition entries. So if you’ve got a competition and need a solution then these guys might be able to help. There’s also some useful advice on our blog.

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7 Comments! Join The Conversation!

  1. slovenlyjimm says:

    Thanks, for the interesting article. The one thing I wanted to ask was whether the use of Captcha resolves this issue, I’m guessing these automated entry companies can’t get around this?

  2. jason says:

    Captcha used to be a good tool to use against these entries, but we’re not 100% sure it’s successful now in blocking them. It’s a deterrent but not enough.

    Asking users to login is a good option – Facebook (as much as some compers dislike it) is another. Putting in some rules is basic enough – but can work too.

  3. bristolgirl says:

    Saints FC as in Southampton football club??? Do people who pay for these services realise what sort of weird and wonderful stuff they are being entered for? Imagine winning a Southampton season ticket when you live in Carlisle or somewhere similar, and presumably you wouldn’t be able to sell it as the club must have a policy against that. Why pay out good money to win something you cant use or sell on?
    Also do these sites come with some sort of if you don’t win guarantee? Like win a prize in 6 months or your money back?

  4. jason says:

    The Saints FC one is (!) for a good reason. The football league sites run regular music competitions – but Saints is listed on Loquax because I support Southampton. It’s a weird choice, especially when there are other football sites that could have been selected.

    Does make you wonder where Win24 find their competition info when you see things like that. We are looking into it though 😉

  5. bristolgirl says:

    Didn’t realise it was music related, thought it was tickets/kit sort of thing. At least that makes a bit more sense, still wrong though, maybe they have to pick *bigger* lower league clubs because of the volume of entries, 5000 isn’t (maybe) unreasonble for clubs like Southampton but smaller clubs wouldn’t have anywhere near that number of visitors to their sites so far easier to spot.

  6. bristolgirl says:

    That was me being generous, in all likelihood if they have just targetted SFC then I don’t think you have to look to far to find where they get their info from.

  7. suroben says:

    The Saints FC one definitely makes the Win24 source look suspicious.

    Sorry Jason but there aren’t many people who would name them if asked to name a team. 🙂

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