Whilst we expected home owners to copy Dean Tate and use Raffall as a platform for their own home competitions we most certainly didn’t expect seven new additions in just under one week. Homes in Newcastle, Manchester, County Durham, Huddersfield and Wakefield are now listed on the Raffall platform. Tickets are selling with the Manchester competition doing the best so far with almost 60,000 sales. However there’s still a long way to go and it remains to be seen whether these will be successful promotions.
They Are Prize Competitions
We have covered Raffall in a previous blog post but now it’s come to prominence as a potential property competition platform we felt we should take a closer look. Tipped off by a comment a Facebook user we decided to check out a few things that are well worth considering before you jump on the bandwagon. Let’s be clear from the start – selling your house in a prize competition is not a simple process and you need to be 100% certain that the approach is right for you.
Before we go further we also need to address the “raffle” versus “prize competition” issue. In our view if you’re selling tickets for the chance to win something then it’s a raffle. Raffall claim that they’re running “prize competitions” and thereby don’t get into issues with licensing etc. However login to Raffall and the first thing you see is “Host Raffle” and “Search Raffles”. Apparently this is “for marketing and SEO purposes only” and therefore complies with The UKGC laws and regulations. We think The UKGC need to sort out this grey area especially given the increase in this kind of promotion.
Anyway setting up a raffle on Raffall is easy. You simply register and start completing a form. But how easy is it to giveaway a house? Well we went through the process on Raffall and it’s very simple. You fill in a few boxes, add some images, set ticket sale volumes and decide whether the entrant needs to answer a question or complete a puzzle. Note that we didn’t submit the competition we set up because we’re unclear whether we could actually delete it and we didn’t want to give away our own property.
What we did learn is that there are few issues. Firstly the number of tickets you can sell are in fixed volumes. You can select 100,000 or 200,000 or 300,000 etc but nothing in between. This means if your property is worth £200,000 then you need to sell 300,000 tickets at £1. You can’t opt for 250,000 at £1 for example. So the set up is quite inflexible. We suspect that this inflexibility is why some promoters are adding their cars to the prize package.
Free Listing Or Premium Option
Before you publish your competition you’re offered a free listing or a premium option. With the free listing it’s explained you’ll receive 90% of ticket sales if the promotion is successful. This is important! If your property is worth £200,000 then you’ll need to sell 220,000 tickets at £1 to achieve the valuation. Would be promoters need to factor this in to their costings. Being a “Featured Competition” costs more. For £5000 you get 3 days as a featured raffle. Spend £50K and you’ll get lifetime coverage and your promo emailed out to Raffall users.
Choosing the featured option is a risk because if your house raffle fails you will end up with nothing. 75% of the ticket sales goes to a winner whilst the rest is taken by Raffall. On one hand £5000 is worth the marketing cost if your property promotion on Raffall goes viral, but what happens if it doesn’t? And what if the interest is these promotions rapidly subsides or becomes dilute due to too many “me-toos” jumping on the bandwagon? These are things to consider before you jump on to Raffall and add your home listing.
We have to say that the Raffall platform is a complete disaster when it comes to finding specific prizes. We’ve managed to locate the house competitions on the platform through checking the most popular raffles. The other option is simply clicking around the 40 odd pages of raffles and hoping for the best. We guess that if Raffall introduced a better category system then that may negate the need for their featured option.
Because we didn’t submit the competition we don’t know whether there’s a due diligence process for promoters submitting win a house competitions. Given the nature of the beast we would expect that before such a competition went live that checks were in place. For example that the person offering the property legally owns it, that they understand the competition process and what happens with a successful conclusion including payment of solicitor fees and stamp duty. Hopefully we can get answers to this from current promoters but to date no one has been able to answer our concerns.
If you aim to try and run a house prize competition for free then Raffall is a no brainer. However if you’re thinking about spending money on marketing or the featured competition option then might you want to weigh up the costs of investing in your own site. Setting up a site will incur an initial outlay – web design, payment gateways etc. but then you can start generating income from ticket sales. Some of that revenue – say 80% – has to go into a pot for a cash prize, but the rest will go to cover your costs.
Choosing Raffall to raffle your property has plenty of advantages. It’s relatively easy, saves having to set up your own website and payment gateway and gives you instant access to would be entrants. You also don’t have to spend money upfront. However the platform is inflexible in terms of ticket volumes and the categorisation is awful. You also lose 10% of ticket sales to the platform if the promotion is successful. If it isn’t successful then you’ll get absolutely no income to cover any of your overheads such as marketing.