Did Your Competition Get Automated Entries In January?

February 8th, 2012

It’s been an interesting month with regards to automated entries. There’s good news, some changes and some bad news. The good news is that we’re starting to see brands and promoters respond to the issue. We’ve had favourable feedback via Twitter, Facebook and email from a number of sites that have been targeted and we’re starting to spot “automated entries will be disqualified” appearing in terms. Well done everyone who pitched in and sent emails – and well done to the promoters/brands/agencies for listening.

The overwhelming consensus is that websites don’t want these entries and will do what they can to disqualify them.

We think that this campaign has rattled the automated entry sites too. Last month this service opted to remove site name details from their list of sites targeted. Now why would they do that? Another site – this one – likes to make their prize descriptions glib too. Again why do that? Most certainly not because they feel their service is fair and honest to the brands involved. Remember we challenged them to be open with promoters – and they’ve also chosen to be even more hidden.

Mind you, the automated service which has a relationship with a competition publishing site was emailing for new recruits this week. And that’s the bad news! Interestingly a number of you have emailed us with your concerns about their email and asked what you can do? We suggest you vote with your pockets and your feet! If you feel that strongly about their email – contact The IPM and complain as well.

Anyway, surely if these sites cover their tracks we won’t be able to put out a list of competitions targeted by automated entries in January?


Now these are our best assumptions – by this we mean we’re pretty confident that we’re right. Hopefully those mentioned below go and check their databases and just double check that they’ve not been hit during January.

So sites targeted by the email accounts from this automated entry service include:

Paramo, Route One, Dales Life, Omsco, BT, Pots and Pans, Get Ready to Rock, Comedy Central, Chevron, Holy Moly, Elizabeth Shaw, Donald Russell, Random House, Lovell Soccer, British Turkey, Benecol, Designer Desirables, Spoiled Brat, The Penny Post, Cruise International, John Lewis, Zoo Jewellery, Picturebox, Honda, The NEC, Countrylife, Vogue, Stylista Home, Mazola, Hoys, Great British Life, Visit London, Red House Online, Baby Expert, Lake District Hotels, Visit Durham, Shade Station, Visit Cornwall, The Telegraph, Jordans, BBC Homes and Antiques, Harringtons, Avis Berry, Melba London, Fordham Beers, Visit Durham, Lee Kum Kee, Hippodrome, Gourmet Garden, Biscuiteers, Republic, Weird Fish.

What about the site doing recruitment?

Again these are our best assumptions – and also some of these competitions have February closing dates.

Lake District Hotels, The Telegraph, Magic FM, House to Home, John Lewis, Nurishment, Ski Club, Trex, All In London, Little Brown Book, The Sun, Company, What Digital Camera, Virgin Media, Princes, Charbonnel, Blacks, Sheerluxe, Red House, The Source, Titan, The Hut, Vue Cinemas, Love That Wine, Activinstinct, EAT, Route One, Fordham Beers, MetroSnow, Woman and Home.

What’s interesting with this selection is that we know a number of those sites say in their rules that third party entries or automated entries will be disqualified. If you’re going to pay your money to Prize Draw Centre – we’d advise you ask a few probing questions first. For example “do you actually read the rules”?

And what about these guys.

Remember they like to dump up to 20,000 emails into a competition. We know Bosch will be disqualifying them from now on though!

Activinstinct, Tesco Magazine, Full House, Cath Kidston, Countryfile, Advanced MP3, Female First, Instyle, Bob The Builder, Oxfam, Debenhams, Company, 220 Triathlon, Honda, Mature Times, Kew, Mojo4Music, Period Living, Royal Academy, Beyond Travel Magazine, Original Factory Shop, Daily Record, Family Fun Guide, The Lady.

The list above is limited for a number of reasons. Firstly a lot of the prizes they’ve targeted this month are DVDs. Now an average DVD competition doesn’t attract many entries so it should be obvious to any promoters if the number of entries to one of their competitions suddenly increases. More intriguingly is that some of the competitions don’t seem to match up with recent prize draws and it has left us a little puzzled.

Anyway… as you can see the mix of competitions is most certainly changing. There are some usual suspects, namely Female First who claim to disqualify automated entries (why they can’t include this in their terms we do not know). The type of prize mix is also changing and that’s good too.

Unfortunately these services are not illegal, but it is possible to make their lives difficult and limit their choices when it comes to “spamming” online competitions with their subscriber entries. However, that needs you – the comper – to tell them – the promoter – to include “automated entries will be disqualified” in their rules and be vigilant for anomalies in their entries.

Let’s keep on about saying “no” to automated competition entries!

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