Did Your Competition Get Automated Entries In December?

Posted on: January 9th, 2012 by Jason

We’ve not done a “did you get…” type blog post for a few months, so we thought as it’s a New Year we’d revisit and remind compers and promoters about the issue of automated entry services. Automated entry services are subscription sites where people pay to be entered into prize draws.

A computer script then runs and dumps between 4000 and 20000 entries into the “hat” of unsuspecting promoters. Whilst these services are not illegal, there’s no benefit to the promoter in accepting these entries. They don’t get visits from these entrants and the emails are usually specific to the entry service so useless for later contact.

Our blogs from 2011 cover a multitude of topics in this area including advice for promoters. We reveal emails to look out for in your competition entries and how to avoid getting them in the first place.

A simple “automated entries will be disqualified” line in the rules should make a difference, but sadly there’s still many who fail to do this. Here’s a round up of the sites who were targeted during December 2011.

Those sites that received entries from these email accounts include…

Choice Discount, Early Learning Centre, BHS, AEG, Alt Fashion, Viagogo, If You Ski, Lloyds Pharmacy, Very, UK Turkeys, MTV, lastminute.com, Hilton Racing, Amazon, Debenhams, Company, Fragrance Direct, Instyle, Look Fantastic, Gardeners’ World, Nirvana Spa, Artbox, Opodo, Go Ape, Fred Perry, Visit Cardiff, Sendit.com, Hormann, Veg Society, Slazenger, The Entertainer, The Mirror, Sony Music, Cloggs, Advanced MP3, All About Soap, iVillage, LG Arena, MSN, MyBag, Ryvita, Go Ape, Overclockers, Female First, CBS Drama, Johansens, Zavvi, Mothercare, Money Supermarket

What’s interesting about this list is that not only does it contain some big name brands (who should know better) but some names keep reappearing month in, month out – Debenhams, Zavvi, Female First for example. Now either the auto-entry service is wasting their time and are being disqualifed at source, or these promoters aren’t taking care with their competitions.

Another company dumped autoentries on these guys in the past month:

Sunglass Hut, The Telegraph, Sky Sports (?), Tesco Magazine, Expert Beauty, Republic, I-On Magazine, Hormann, Clash Music (?), EMI, The Book People (?), Female First, All About You, Sofa.com, 220 Triathlon, Diamond Store, Debenhams, Royal Academy (?), Instyle, Swarovski, Gardeners’ World, Vogue, Original Factory Shop, Cartmel Village Shop, All About Soap

By the way, this auto-entry service also put entries in for a car competition. The promoter disqualified all the entries and provided us with this information!

There are more – and a couple of those mentioned above get more than one dose of autoentries. Female First for example get a fair few! In some cases some sites appear on both lists – so surely they must notice that they’re getting thousands upon thousands of entries?

This company stopped including the company names for the competitions that they target, but that doesn’t mean we can’t make a good guess. The difference here is that some of these comps have been targeted this month!

Ernest Jones, The Source Magazine, All About You, Competition Box, Global Cool, The Telegraph, TwistnGo, Female First, Buyagift, Tria Beauty, V&A Museum, Countrylife, Little Brown Book, Ski Club, Woman and Home, John Lewis, Lonely Planet, Tesco Magazine, Scalextric, Tesco Books, Sheerluxe, Sofa.com (?), Metro Snow, Instyle.

Again some familiar names appearing in this list – and remember these are just some of the sites!

Instyle by the way do have in their terms that automated entries do get disqualified. Yet they appear on all three lists above! Assuming that they do disqualify entries it would seem that these services aren’t reading the rules.

If your brand or site appears in this list then please go and check your competition databases and see what’s happening…. before you pick any further winners!

Annoyed by automated entries?

Some brands have asked us what can they do about complaining about these services. Firstly contact the hosts of these companies and make a complaint. Dumping 20,000 emails on you is spamming! If enough of you speak out the hosting company will need to act.

Secondly, contact The IPM – again if enough promoters start voicing their concerns then they may well get the message louder and clearer than if it came from us!

Thirdly, contact trade magazines such as Marketing Week, NMA and The Drum. Make your voices heard!

You can also contact the companies running these services! They’re spamming you so tell them what you think of them and to leave your company alone.

Finally, take simple measures to either prevent getting automated entries in the future or watch your promotions much more closely.

Hopefully next month there won’t be the same names appearing on our round-up!

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