10 Reasons Why Your Contest, Competition Or Prize Draw Sucks!

Posted on: September 5th, 2012 by Jason 15 Comments

Over the years we’ve seen a lot of competitions, contests and prize draws – for the most part they’re fine and we’re happy to tell our users about them. However more and more we’re seeing annoying little traits cropping up in online promotions – school boy/school girl errors which turn what should be a good marketing mechanic into something that – well, basically sucks. Here’s our top ten of things you should avoid….

1. No Closing Date

You go to through the hard work of putting up your competition/prize draw, getting it organised and promoting it – but you don’t bother to actually include the date it ends. A prize promotion needs an end date – so don’t forget to include it!!

2. Long Closing Dates

Sometimes we’ll see a prize promotion which has a closing date six to twelve months down the line – yet the prize is a £20 voucher for Fred and Brenda’s Emporium in The Outer Hebrides! Rubbish! We advise that most comps should run for up to four weeks – longer if there’s a big prize on offer. Giveaways involving small prizes really shouldn’t run for months!

3. Low Value Prizes

First off a discount code is not a prize – it’s a discount code – so don’t fob us off it’s anything but! Secondly a 50p or £1 prize pool is not particularly generous unless you have a number of the items to giveaway (to be clear 1 x £1 keyring bad, 100 x £1 keyrings good). Thirdly eBooks are fine as prizes provided you can’t download the book for free anyway.

4. No Likey No Sharey!

We’d really love Facebook page admin to move away from likes and shares. Facebook guidelines advise against them. It’s not that difficult to run promotions via an app and there’s really no need for any brand to not follow the guidelines. It’s high time Facebook clamped down on like/share to enter and it’s high time promoters made an effort to get away from them.

5. No Googley No Plussy!

In a similar vein to the Facebook one, we’re a bit fed up of seeing Google+ stuff in competition mechanics – mainly because Google states quite clearly they don’t allow it (Google+ Contest Guidelines). One offender even had the gall to say to us that they’d gotten “special dispensation” from Google to run their promotion. Yeah right!

6. We’ll Run A Competition When….

One thing that really irritates us is when a promoter asks us to link to their site/social media page and says “at x00 followers our competition will start”. Guess what!? You’re not getting listed with that one. Just tell us when the prize promo has started – simples!

7. We’ll Giveaway A Prize If….

A recent prize promo offered to giveaway a holiday if their Facebook page reached 2000 by the end of August. They hit around 800 – and didn’t give away the prize. That sucks big time! They should have said “prize offered at 2000 likes or xyz closing date, which ever comes first”. The people who took the time to take part completely wasted their time (and our apologies we should have picked up on it before it appeared on Loquax).

8. No Governance For Automated Entries

Yes, we haven’t forgotten about these things! They’re still about and although every promoter who submits their competition to us is warned about them, many still choose to ignore our warnings. Our blog offers sensible advice to all promoters – do try and use it. By the way, have you noticed that a lot of magazine sites are moving to Facebook or login to take part systems?

9. Not Understanding Compers

Last week we spotted a blogger bemoaning “freeloaders” entering their prize draw. They hoped that their winner would be someone who deserves the prize. First off, if you’re going to moan about compers don’t do it on social media – it gets found. Secondly if you’re unhappy with a link on Loquax or other comping service ask for it to be removed. Finally go to our promoter’s guide and educate yourself about running competitions. A little bit of knowledge will save a lot of unhappiness… guaranteed!

10. Do This! Do That! Jump In The Air! Voting!

One way of getting round loads of entries from compers is by making your competition a little more complicated. Instead you get a few entries – mainly from compers who like low entry, creative, tougher to enter comps. However, some comps have more stages than the Tour de France and the prizes aren’t that good either. Then just to crown the glory – the promoter throws in a public voting thingy as they think that’s a great way to choose a winner.

We were commenting on the unfairness of voting comps long before it became trendy for those who did them to now turn round and say “yes they aren’t fair”. Voting comps are unfair and comps that require 101 elements to take part are rubbish. And you can take that to the bank!

Well, that’s our little rant over with – over to you guys! You do plenty of comps, but what really grinds your gears when it comes to promoters? Leave a comment on the blog and release that frustration once and for all!

Join The Conversation

  • kevinwj

    I’m slowly cleaning up my facebook “Likes”, I’m un-liking ones that don’t use a seperate app and also those that send out loads of advertising posts to clutter up my wall.

    Thankfully, having learnt my lesson on fb my google+ account hasn’t gone the same way, although I rarely log in to it as there just aren’t enough hours in the day!

    Also I’m un following more firms on twitter, comp no shows, firms I don’t agree with ( mainly loan companies)and companies that haven’t tweeted for 6 months or don’t reply when you ask them a question. etc..

    Oh for the good old days: To enter on one side of a clean slate or send your smoke signal to… 😉

  • suroben

    While agreeing with most of what you say I don’t think you need apologise for 7. Even you cannot be 100% perfect and listing a competition that turned out to be prizeless is a tiny hiccup in an almost unblotted copybook. You and Mrs Jason probably need a break for a few days. 🙂 I have noticed quite a few Google+ requests lately and just ignore them. It’s hard enough to keep track of the Facebook likes and Twitter tweets. I’m with Kevin that life was easier when deciding if a blue or black biro should be used, or maybe a gel pen.

  • sheena444

    Another thumbs down for voting. It just doesn’t work. It would be much fairer to judge a competition properly, even if it does cost promoters slightly more. Surely the best entry should win, not the person who has drummed up the most support, by fair means or foul?

  • libra100

    My addition to the list would be to ban rafflecopters. They’re time-consuming and boring. The spawn of the devil!

  • glitterpuss

    I agree with all of the above.
    Can I add the: 3 entries per person comps. I’m thinking of ITV in particular. These are fabulous prizes and I’m sure we all make sure we get our 3 or 6 entries in. Why don’t they just allow 1 entry per person though, surely it’s less time consuming for us, and for them.

  • bestkeptsecret

    Well said. I never ‘share’ any competitions on Facebook because they just annoy your (non-comper) friends.

    Another thing that I find annoying is multiple ways of entering – either via the form below, an email, a tweet, a facebook share. How can they fairly pick just one winner when there are so many entries from different sources.

  • robin_l

    Facebook. I don’t do Facebook, I will never do Facebook, if that’s the only way of entering, I won’t.

  • locality

    Yup! If I get to a comp that needs me to ‘like’ or ‘tweet’, I already consider that I have wasted my time. A competition should be just that. You can’t buy love.

  • cazco

    I agree totally with everything you say but to me the most annoying way to enter a competition is to “like” on facebook! I think it’s a pointless exercise, I mean, how many people actually go back to the site? I know I never have. I now have refused to enter any competitions that ask you to do that. I’m sorry if you do it but that’s just how I feel

  • sylviajoy

    I agree with every thing you have said. I have started to clean up my facebook likes and decided not to use twitter to enter comps. To many things to keep track of.

  • slkgar

    Totally agree. I’ve given up with Marie Claire on line comps. I didn’t mind registering to enter but now you can enter the same comp once every day. I just want to enter once and be done with it. They also now have some comps where you select a series of numbers and IF, and that’s a big if, it matches their selection you win… I also detest that other site possibly What’s on TV, where you submit your answer and ‘while they’re checking your answer’ you have to answer survey style questions.

  • susandy

    Just seen the hoops/Voting for this comp and it made me want to SCREAM!!!!

    Competition Time!!
    As promised by reaching 750 likes it’s time for another competition!

    Up for grabs is a Rainbow Sparkle with 3 balls in AB crystal! (A personal fave of mine!)

    To enter follow the steps..

    – Enter a picture of yourself
    – Comment with why you think you should win
    – Share the competition to your Facebook timeline
    – Due to the way this competition is set out people can ONLY vote if they are a fan of our page (by liking our page) so please let everyone know

    1 entry per person (per facebook account)
    Invite your friends & family over to vote for you.
    The top 5 people with the most votes will be put in to a hat & random picked out to win.

    Oh so that’ll make it fair then. NOT! I’ve seen people boasting on FB about their thousand or so ‘friends’ so basically whoever has the most has got it in the bag.

    I think 1 entry per person in a comp is fair.

    Other pet rants: FB comps that ask you to tag. There are never enough to go around.
    Twitter: people who enter more than once when the Terms state one entry and then they go on to win.

  • izzie89

    You know what, if I never saw another person copy and paste “liked and shared x” again in my life I would be the happiest person on earth. They even write it when the entry doesn’t actually require you to like and share!

  • ianfairbairn

    Yes, definitely fed up having to say I like this or like that. What I DO like is a straightforward no fuss competition with one entry per person.
    John Cairns

  • 30chief03

    too many likes. clear them out