Countdown Competitions – A Raffle Site To Avoid

UKGC Raffles

Countdown Competitions – A Raffle Site To Avoid

Back in February we wrote a blog asking Can Pay To Enter Prize Draws Be Fixed? In the article we showed how one site’s ticket sales jumped incredibly, despite being relatively new and having very low social media supporters and interactions. At the time we didn’t name the site in question as we didn’t want them to get wind of the fact that we were documenting their activity. Now we’re going to name them because we don’t want unsuspecting entrants spending money. Additionally we also know that others have clocked their activity. The site is called Countdown Competitions. We first became aware of them when they posted their giveaways on Loquax. Initially their draws were for low value prizes, but they suddenly jumped in value. Not only were they offering a £1000 prize in a free draw but £200,000 in a pay to enter draw. The red flags were flying high and the site wasn’t just removed from our listings but the owner banned, along with subsequent accounts that they created. So what’s happened since February?

Using Other Site’s Images

Since our blog post, Countdown Competitions has appeared on the radars of a couple of competitors. This was because they not only decided to use their images but text as well for selected prize draws. Mr Wish Competitions for example posted on Facebook that their competition text alongside artwork, complete with their logo, had been borrowed. Reverse image look ups of other content has shown that Countdown Competitions has taken images from Vogue Competitions and CompetitionGo. We think Trinity Club Competitions can also be included in that group. Now borrowing images from competitors doesn’t necessarily mean that the prize draws being run by Countdown Competitions aren’t real, but it does highlight the fact that this particular site is content ripping off their rivals. It’s not a good look but it’s also one that not many visitors would automatically be aware of unless they already knew of Mr Wish, Vogue etc. On a positive note some of the owners of the mentioned sites have raised their own concerns about having their artwork stolen.

The Great £200,000 Giveaway Mystery

When we wrote our blog in February Countdown Competitions were running a prize draw called the £200,000 Mega Draw. This offered entrants the chance to win 1 of 4 prizes of £50,000. On 17th February just over 56,000 tickets had been “sold” and this had risen to just under 58,000 within 48 hours. By 3rd March the number of sales had risen to 79602. Now if you go to the site today or indeed look on the brand’s social media you’ll struggle to find evidence that this particular draw existed. So what happened? Well it did apparently “sell out” and sometime in March there was a prize draw. However the draw was due to be made live but due to “technical difficulties” the draw couldn’t be made because Countdown Competitions couldn’t remember how many tickets had been sold. The winners were then drawn offline and announced on Facebook. Four people winning £50,000 each would usually be a highlight for any pay to enter prize draw site but there was no comments from the “winners”. Then all the content relating to this £200K Mega Draw was removed and today you can’t find any trace of it. The winners page doesn’t mention the draw and there’s no way to find out who “won”. It’s almost as though Countdown Competitions wants to pretend this draw didn’t exist! Except you can if you look at the Facebook lives! For example such as the one on the 11th February 2024, Countdown Competitions advertise that they were running such a draw.

The Mystery Of The 24 Hour Prize Draws

As a way of creating more interest in their site Countdown Competitions announced on lives that they were going to run 24hr only prize draws. These would take place every Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday. As it happens they actually only ran two of these competitions. The first one took place on the 19th March 2024 and offered £500 cash for 50p a ticket. The second one took place a day later and offered £1000 cash also for 50p a ticket. Interestingly both competitions were set up so that they’d be no profit because the maximum number of tickets was set at 1000 and 2000 respectively. Neither competition sold out with the first apparently reaching 642 sales whilst the second 967 sales. We know this because we made sure to screenshot the pages as close to the end time as possible. These sales figures which should have seen two winners taking home a combined sum of £1500 should also have resulted in a loss of around £700 to the website (payment fees from sales would also increase this). Can you see any evidence of any winners? Any notice on Facebook? The Countdown Competitions site states that they “draw fully transparent and fair competitions” but that’s obviously not the case. By the way they stole their straplines at the top of their site from Jammy.

Who Won The £1000 Free Entry Prize Draw?

To attract users to their website Countdown Competitions set up a free prize draw where one lucky users could win £1000. This launched on the 16th February 2024 and according to our checks went from 20 entries at 5.30pm on 17th February to 1821 entries just two hours later. Quite an incredible jump given that to enter you’d had to register and that it was only one ticket per entry. Interestingly there was only 1 more entry over the next 48 hours! By 3rd March the number had increased to 1830. The competition apparently “sold out” and therefore was drawn at the end of March. According to the site George Franklin was the winner but whether George Franklin exists or has received his prize remains to be seen. When asked about this data via Facebook comment (and this is why we originally held off mentioning Countdown Competitions) the result was Countdown Competitions removing the comment and blocking. Surely if you were running “fully transparent and fair competitions” you’d be happy to answer questions and disprove any concerns that these giveaways appear to be anything but fair and transparent. Anyway as they’re obviously not open to discussion – and infact removed other comments regarding their use of images from other brands – they’re now immortalised in this blog post.

Have You Won With Countdown Competitions?

So we have 4 x £50K winners missing alongside results for a £500 and £1000 draw. But we do apparently have winners for other draws, including the £1000 free one, where – and let’s face it – there’s question marks over whether these actually sold out. For example the latest to sell out is the Lego Star Wars Millennium Falcon which between the 17th February and 3rd March didn’t sell one ticket, even whilst other draws were piling in the entries. Then suddenly it sells out. Very strange. Anyway there’s currently over 30 apparent winners named on the site (plus some instant wins) and surely there must be one who can confirm that they’ve actually received a prize from Countdown Competitions. We’d also be interested to hear from anyone who’s actually spent money on this site and has been unaware of the above because we think they’d be grounds for a refund from your payment providers under the guise of failure to provide a service paid for. Likewise Ultimate Prize Draws! We mention them because they’re from the same person. In fact that site hasn’t been updated since the end of 2023 leaving several prize draws undrawn including huge cash prizes.

Ultimate Prize Draws

This is an addition to the original post made. Above we alluded to whether Ultimate Prize Draws was run by the same person who currently runs Countdown Competitions. It wasn’t totally clear but we’re now 100% that it is the case. Whilst the prize draw site is still live, the Facebook and Instagram pages have been removed, but not that on Posts made on that platform link to Youtube live drawing videos and from the format, voice over etc we can confirm it’s the same person. If you look at Ultimate Prize Draws it’s listed winners since June 2023 until December 2023. As mentioned above the winners for a variety of giveaways haven’t been drawn and the site is no longer showing any live giveaways. This begs the question as to why? Why did Ultimate Prize Draws stop functioning and efforts moved to kickstarting Countdown Competitions? Surely a site that is able to sell out many many competitions including a £25,000 Halloween Special would be a better option than starting from scratch? Mind the audiences for the various lives suggest that like the new site there aren’t that many people tuning in to discover if they’ve won or not.

A Site To Avoid

We’re not fans of outing sites as bad apples, but in this case it’s necessary for a number of reasons. Firstly it may force them to respond to the evidence. We’re guessing, judging by their approach of blocking and deleting comments they don’t like that might not actually happen. Not to worry as the above hopefully will make potential customers take their money elsewhere. Unfortunately because pay to enter prize draw sites aren’t regulated there’s no channel or watchdog for making complaints about standards. We know that Advertising Standards might be worth contacting but the result would simply be a telling off and a “don’t do it again”. Even if it did happen again they’d be little or no penalty. We did contact ASA about pay to enter prize draw sites but received no reply. Trading Standards is another option as is reporting the above as possible fraudulent activity. But will the relevant bodies take any notice? We’re not so sure and with Countdown Competitions deleting content it makes the paper trail harder to prove. Another option is the site’s payment provider. They after all should have seen thousands of pounds of ticket sales through their gateway – and therefore would make a tidy sum themselves. We’re pretty sure the people at NoChex wouldn’t want to be associated with a site that isn’t actually be fair and transparent. If you’ve dealt with Countdown Competitions or indeed any other pay to enter prize draw site that doesn’t appear to be shooting straight dice then let us know.


Million Pound Prize Draws

At the start of 2024 we wrote about the rise of pay to enter prize draw sites. In case you’re not aware these