I'm currently working together with Accolade (publishers of Compers News magazine) and Loquax to educate compers and promoters about why Automated Competition Entry Services are a bad thing. We want websites and promoters to BAN these entries from their competitions, by including a short line in their terms and conditions: “automated/bulk entries and entries from third parties are not permitted”.
Loquax have several interesting blog posts about Automated Entry Services, and Compers News featured an 'Ask the Experts' article in May about why compers shouldn't go near them. If you're not aware of these services, please read on to find out why they're spoiling our hobby...
What are Automated Entry Services?
- Subscribers pay a fee to be entered automatically in hundreds of competitions each month
- Examples are www.win24.co.uk, www.prizewise.co.uk, www.prizedrawcentre.co.uk and www.wewin4u.co.uk
As an example, check out the list of current competitions that Prize Draw Centre will enter you in at http://www.prizedrawcentre.co.uk/competitions-to-win-prizes.php
Your opinion may well be: 'Ah well, I won't enter any of those competitions because with thousands of automated entries I won't have a chance of winning!'. But with such great prizes on offer, why should we let these companies get away with spoiling our hobby?
Along with Loquax and Accolade, we're making a point of telling promoters why they shouldn't be allowing these automated entries - and I hope you'll support us!
- You can't choose the prizes you are entered for.
- You're paying to be entered into some prize draws where the promoter actually specifies in the Terms and Conditions that automated entries will be disqualified
- You have no proof that you’re actually being entered for any competitions at all
- You may find yourself entered for competitions on dodgy websites that you normally wouldn’t touch with a bargepole - leading to spam and junk mail
- You won't have any of the excitement that comes with finding and entering comps!
- You could disqualify yourself by submitting your own entry to a draw that you've already been automatically entered in
How do Automated Entry Services affect compers?
- As a comper, if you enter a prize draw that's on the hitlist of any of these automated entry services, that competition will get thousands of extra entries meaning the chance of you winning will be minimal.
- As a promoter, your competition entrants aren't visiting or interacting with your website
- Your prizes are going to people who probably won't appreciate them - surely you should be awarding your prizes to people who actually visit your site?
- Include “automated/bulk entries and entries from third parties are not permitted” in the terms and conditions
- Consider using a Facebook App to host competitions - Automated Entry Services can't access Facebook accounts, so this would be a deterrent
- Ask entrants to complete a tiebreaker or upload a photo/video - these types of competition will also forge a better relationship with your real fans
- If you enter an online prize draw, read the rules. If you don't see anything mentioning automated entries, email the promoter and ask them to include this text in their terms and conditions: “automated/bulk entries and entries from third parties are not permitted”
I entered a competition on your website today, but noticed in the terms and conditions that you don't mention entries from third parties, bulk entries or automated entry services.
Automated entry services allow thousands of paid subscribers to enter competitions without visiting the websites at all - often they don't know what competitions they are entered in, and will have no use for the prize. There's an example list of websites that are targeted at http://www.prizedrawcentre.co.uk/competitions-to-win-prizes.php
This is a real shame for the people who do visit your website and would genuinely love to win a prize! Many websites are now adding “automated/bulk entries and entries from third parties are not permitted” to their rules and I wonder if you might consider doing the same?
Just as promoters will insist on running voting competitions, I doubt that we will ever see the end of Automated Entry Services. But just as many of us have done with constant blogging, Facebook posts and advice to promoters on voting, we do have the power to make websites aware of the existence of these services - and can advise them on changing the rules to disqualify them!
Comping should be a fun hobby and we need to keep it that way - please Share this post to spread the word!