ISP Warn Promoters About Online Competition Cheats

Posted on: September 4th, 2009 by Jason 16 Comments

The Institute of Sales Promotion (ISP) have finally started warning promoters about cheating in online competitions. They have issued advice to companies that run competitions to tighten up their terms and conditions regarding entry restrictions due to increases in multiple entries. They say that multiple entries vary from the use of numerous email accounts right through to automated scripts and that promoters need to take action to stop the cheats. Hooray!

The story also appears in Marketing Week who kindly recognise that Loquax brought up the subject of automated entry issues back in January 2008. In fact we have also brought the subject up on our affiliate blog (One Little Duck) and have been advising about automated entries and how to stop cheating in our promoter guide since mid-2007!

Since that time there have been some changes in the way some sites run their competitions. Captcha forms, designed to stop automated entry, have become more prevalent, whilst in some cases users now have to register before they can enter competition. Sites have also cottoned on to the fact that there are problems and for example Good to Know now state in their terms and conditions

All entries must be made directly by the person entering the competition. Entries made online using methods generated by a script, macro or the use of automated devices will be void. No responsibility can be accepted for entries lost in transit.

Stopping the cheats is actually pretty simple. In the simplest case we advise using forms for online entries, rather than an email address. We also suggest collecting IP addresses, randomising questions and regular monitoring of entries. In a competition we ran earlier this year we were able to spot automated entries simply because they all gave the same, very well structured, answer!

Whilst we welcome the fact that The ISP are now advising promoters on multiple entry, cheating and hopefully even automated entry services, there’s just a slight thought of “why did it take you so long to get involved?” at the back of our minds.

ISP issues advice on online entries
ISP warning on fraudulent online competition

Join The Conversation

  • gcn504

    Now if they could do something about the ‘game’ competitions where someone has a ludicrously high score which has obviously been obtained by cheating then it might encourage more genuine people to enter.

  • bikerchick

    Hopefully the ISP will also look into badly run competitions – such as promoters that change T&Cs part way through the competition and those that fail to despatch prizes within the stated delivery times.

  • DianeA

    It’s about time, cheating gives us all a bad name. And has already been been said, hope they look at the game ‘skill based’ competitions next.

  • mackemprincess

    Its good to see it is being looked into and as already stated hopefully they will look at the skilled games competitions which i tend to avoid due to the obvious cheating going on.

  • robinw

    glad they are finally doing something about this.

  • suroben

    While I’ll be glad to see the use of multiple emails outlawed I hope they don’t go too far in the other direction and stop more than one entry from an IP address. That would mean the rare comps that are entered by both of us could end up in a disqualification or worse, the neighbours might enter too and we could all lose out. The games that are reliant on high scores definitely need sorting out. I probably still wouldn’t win but those who are good at these comps deserve a fair chance.

  • libra100

    It’s good to see efforts to tackle cheating being carried out as it should giver fairer chances of winning for all.

  • Emmasophie

    Does this include the use of Roboform though? as that is a kind of automated script isn’t it?

    Even tought I always enter myself personally I sometimes use Roboform otherwise I’d end up with dreadfull RSI – will this be considered a cheat in future? can they tell if you’ve used Roboform?

  • Emmasophie

    Blimey – my picture is having a bad hair day (very accurate likeness)

  • anandi

    As tempting as multiple entries are, if there was an even playing field we’d still have the same chances of winning. However, I would like the opportunity to enter for a family member who would deserve to win the prize.

  • freyamae

    | agree with the comment about games im in the ukfamily comp at the minute where you have to vote people are clearly cheating ive got 611 first place has over 16000!!!!!

  • keljbj

    Freyamae, have you complained to Disney? We are in the same comp, and have also noticed the unfeasibly high vote counts of the top 4-5 entries. I have emailed and pointed it out to them, i`ve also threatened to inform the isp and asa. Had no response as yet, but if more people complained surely they`d have to look at it???? I know how they are doing it, but refuse to stoop that low!

  • Dee160959

    It would be so good if multiple entries were restricted in some way. But promoters open themselves up to “cheating” when putting multiple identical codes on code entry competitions. If a code is needed to enter it should be unique. Not the same code on multiple packets as with eg McVities. There seems to be so much mass entering with swapping of codes it seems pointless to enter my 2 lone codes!

  • Mamzie

    I love Roboform, as have trouble with my joints, I hope we can still use that.

  • Roboform wouldn’t be classed (at least imo) as cheating you’re still visiting the site and you’re entering details. What they’re on about (imo) is people who run pay to entry services or create scripts to cheat competitions with bulk entries.

    Compers really need to grasp the difference in what an automated entry is.

    If you’re visiting the site to enter a competition – good.
    If you’re a robot visiting to enter for people numerous times – bad.

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