Competitions in newspapers and magazines are very similar to online competitions and the prizes are every bit as good. In most cases, all you have to do is visit their website and answer a simple question, or fill out a postcard and mail it in to enter.
Just like with online competitions, in most cases you’ll be asked to register your details as the whole point of the competition for them is to generate traffic and boost subscriptions.
A money-saving tip is to grab free postcards whenever you can to enter competitions where you have to send in your answer. These sort of entry-form competitions take a bit more effort – and therefore have far fewer entrants. So if you do come across them, get your answers in as you have a greater chance of winning.
Don’t be put off by the big ticket items you see – remember, fewer people enter these competitions believing the odds of winning are slimmer.
Image credit hwards.
There’s endless free online competitions you can enter, but have you ever stopped to think what the promoter gets out of it?
In many cases, they place a value on your personal details, and if you’re not careful, you could end up on a spam email list, or worse. While the majority of promoters are legitimate, there are a few rouge operators out there, and even when entering an “above board” competition, simply ticking the wrong box can quickly result in a flood of spam emails.
Here’s our guide to what you need to watch out for when entering online competitions.
If you enter an online competition you’ll be asked to include your email address. This generally means that your inbox will soon be flooded with spam – lots and lots of it. To avoid this problem all you have to do is set up a separate email account, or alternatively, make sure you tick the ‘opt out’ box.
Often, competitions ask for your mobile phone number. Often this is so they can contact you if you’ve won, but don’t be afraid to give a fake number (missing one digit, for example) or leaving this box blank - they can always email you, after all. We’ve heard a lot of stories about people giving their phone numbers to promoters, and then being bombarded with sales calls and text messages.
Dodgy app downloads
Always be very wary about a competition website that asks you to download any software to your computer. Chances are it’s a virus, or spyware which will record your personal information. This can also be a problem on Facebook; often when entering competitions, you can accidently end up spamming all your friends with sales messages!
Avoid any competitions that ask you to pay to enter and think twice about those where you’ve got to ring a premium rate number. Giving your card details online can also be risky, especially if the competition is being run by an unknown or overseas promoter. Most TV and radio competitions are legally obliged to offer a free route to enter, usually via their website, so do your homework.
Win24 member, Hellen, has written to us, telling us about her amazing winning streak. While she is a Win24 member, she is also a self-confessed “pro comper”, and her commitment to the cause has certainly paid off! Read her fantastic story below and get inspired!
“I have been comping for 5 years now, and have not bought a Christmas or birthday present since. Last year my daughter received Italian leather handbags, and a few other bits and pieces that I had won - the bags alone were worth $500 each.
“Up to now I have won more than 500 competitions, and am still winning. I’ve won everything from undies, sunglass, bags, shoe, drills, to a 5 year’s supply of wine (twice!). I’ve also won jigsaw puzzles, toys, games, electrical goods, the list goes on. I’ve even had a stint on A Current Affair about my wins, and at the moment I’m waiting on a pasta maker, a batch of coconut water, another cook book (which will be number 12!) and lots of DVDs. The list keeps on going.
"As well as giving away my winnings as presents, I also donate books and DVDs to my local library when I’m done with them.
"I'd like to say good luck to everyone who is comping, and just remember, what you enter today may not be drawn for months down the track, so don’t give up hope!"
Ok, so we lied a little bit, there’s never a sure-fire way of winning competitions (without cheating) but there are ways to dramatically improve your chances. This is especially true for 25-words-or-less competitions, where winning comes down to penning a unique and judged entry. These type of competitions also attract lower number of entries than random draws, meaning even better chances of hitting the jackpot.
Here’s our guide to improving your chances with this type of competition:
1) Laughter is a good thing. Making the judge laugh is one of the easiest ways of winning a competition.
2) Don’t beg for sympathy in your entry. You will NEVER win this way!
3) It’s no crime to rhyme. An acrostic poem or simple rhyme will stand out in the minds of judges. Just don’t overdo it!
4) Think outside the box. The majority of winners are those who think creatively and make their answer stand out.
5) Remember to mention the product or brand in your entry. Chances are the entries will be used in their marketing, and it’s also a good chance to massage their ego!
6) Make sure you are not over the word limit! As obvious as it sounds, you’d be surprised at the number of people to get this wrong, which leads to instant disqualification, no matter how good your entry.
1) It's fun. First and foremost, comping is fun. From hunting out the latest competitions, to working out the obscure answers, and then crossing your fingers and toes in the hope you're a winner, we love every stage of the process. And when you find out you've won. Wow, even better!
2) You learn new things. Not only the answers to weird and wonderful questions (how many steps on the Eifel Tower, for example), but in your career as a comper you will learn everything from how to shoot perfect photos or videos with your iPhone, through to how to write a witty short story, or solve complex mathmatical puzzles.
3) There can be some real money in it. As fun as entering competitions is, we do love to win too. Remember, you've got to be in it to win it, and when you are entering lots of comps each week, then your luck will improve. And that's when you can really start getting payback, whether it's vouchers, event tickets or even cash.
4) You can be surpised. If you're entering loads of competitions (or are a member of Win24 where we enter you into a minimum of 70 comps each month), then you can often be surprised by an email, letter or phone call from a promoter, telling you that you've won something that you had no idea you entered. Now that is a nice surprise!
5) It keeps you mentally agile. Many competitions require a real mental effort, whether it's a quiz, a word game, or a number puzzle. Taking part in these type of competitions on a regular basis can keep your brain razor sharp, and that can only be a good thing.
6) It makes checking your email or post fun. The beauty of comping is you never know when you're going to win. So you could be merrily going about your day, and then "bang", you receive an email telling you that you've won a holiday!
7) It can give you new experiences. Sure, we all enter competitions with obviously appealing prizes like cash or holidays. But most compers also enter competitions that offer more niche prizes, whether that's an obscure TV series, a sailing experience or food and wine adventure. And that means trying amazing new experiences that many of us would never havve considered in a million years!
Image credit: Stock Images via FreeDigitalPhotos.net
As you know, here at Win24, we enter you into a minimum of 70 competitions each month. But there are many types of competition we can't enter you into and for some compers, 70 a month just isn't enough! Here's our quick guide to some pro-comping tools that can supercharge your entering!
Pre-entered form data
Web browsers’ settings can be a great device to use when entering comps. Internet Explorer and Firefox often give you the option of remembering specific information that you repetitively enter. So, next time you go to fill in your name and address, the details will appear highlighted in the box as you type. Et Voila, speedy date entry.
NOTE- Be careful with shared computers. Clever web-pages remembering your info isn’t always a blessing if other people could have access to the sensitive stuff. Be sure to click ‘no’ to the ‘Do you want this webpage to remember your details?’ prompt if this is the case.
Divide your time
Split Panel is a fantastic free tool that can be downloaded direct to your Firefox toolbar. It enables you to see two web pages along-side each other, resulting in you being able to copy and paste answers between pages quicker than ever before! To get your hands on this great add-on, simply head to mozilla.org to download the Firefox browser. Then go to the Split Panel tool and click ‘add to Firefox’. Don’t worry, its completely safe and won’t infect your device with viruses. Easy Peasy!
Fiddle your keyboards memory
Some computer secrets are definitely worth knowing about! Say you have grown sick of typing the same 11 digits so they can call you if your entry is a success. Fear no more- you can modify your keyboards memory to remember your numerals using free software called AutoHotkey. You create a ‘script’ with the information you want to recall. Then, all you have to do is click in the field in your form, hold down alt and the number you have assigned it to. (e.g Alt+4 will instantly produce your address details.) While the prospect of writing a technical script is daunting, the reality of it is extremely simple. Visit the programmes AutoHotkey tutorial page to download the software and start cutting corners!
Roboform your form filling.
If you do have shared access to your computer, or find the web pages are filling stuff inaccurately on your competition forms, there is another option. Roboform is a storage vault of information that lives on your computer. Create a single password, known only to you, and access it whenever you need to fill out the same old rigmarole of info. It keeps your address, phone numbers and postcodes safe, and automatically fills online forms at the click of a mouse! Find out how to get Roboform here.
One small consideration to have is Roboform’s software is similar to that of a spambot. Some companies may mistake the technology for a spammer filling out wreaths of entries, and reject your ability to apply. If you’re concerned that a competition will think this, go for the traditional method or copy and paste info from a saved word document.
Multitasking- Not just a woman’s strong point
If you’re savvy in your searches for competitions, you will often stumble across comp boards bursting with different links and threads to fantastic contests. The problem lies in making sure you click through each link there is, to maximise your chances of winning. Go back to your Firefox browser and download the free add on SnapLinksPlus. This handy tool lets you draw a box around all the links your interested in entering. All you need to do is right click and highlight the area of threads. They should all open simultaneously, allowing you to go through and enter at your own leisure!
Christmas is an expensive time, and if you're not careful, can knock a huge hole in your finances. Here's the Win24 guide to saving money during the festive period. Let us know if you've got any more hints and tips!
eBay, Freecycle and heaps of other sites are packed with loads of decent items that are collection only. This makes them less universally appealing, which typically drives costs down. See what’s available in your area, you might be surprised.
Flash sales abound online in the run up to Christmas. Many branded online stores invite you to sign up for membership, and in return will give you advance notice of flash sales in the pipeline. The resulting spam in your inbox can be a pain, but discounts gained can be huge and you can always unsubscribe in the new year.
As you probably know, comping is the name for the process of systematically finding and entering online competitions. There is no guarantee of success of course, but if you do win a few items you could save yourself a few pounds on gifts, or boost your own personal stocking for free.
Always be on the lookout for bargains you can stash away for Christmas. Not only does this spread the cost over the year, but it also allows you to snap-up items at rock-bottom prices and reduces your stress as the Big Day approaches. You too could be that person who is all wrapped and ready to go by late November!
For adults this can work a treat. We all know the January sales are coming, but can’t resist having ‘something to open’ on Christmas Day. If you think your recipient can wait, then print off and give a photo of your intended gift instead, and then go shopping in the New Year sales to snag your present at a knock-down price.
With some many competitions out there, how do you decide which is for you? Here at Win24, we've compiled a guide to the main mechanisms out there. Let us know if we've missed any off!
More popular than ever, twitter competitions usually involve having to ‘re-tweet’ to enter, using a special hashtag, or simply answering a question. Pros and cons: dead easy to enter, but that means hundreds of people can take part, reducing your changes of a win.
Not quite as popular as twitter, but Instagram comps are gaining in popularity. Entry mechanisms usually involve ‘regramming’ or using a hashtag. Pros and cons: easy to enter (generally), but some mechanisms can be clunky, and it’s not always easy to find out if you’re a winner.
Radio or TV call-in (or text to enter)
Once the king of competitions, these type of entry mechanism are starting to die out, largely due to exorbitant call costs, and the rise of online competitions. That said, they still offer the chance for some serious excitement and big ticket prizes. Pros and cons: huge prizes, but can be expensive, and thousands of people may take part!
Purchase to win
Customer has to buy a product to be entered into a prize draw. Pros and cons: often great prizes and attract fewer entries than some of the other mechanisms. However, these usually mean you have to buy something you might not want.
Users have to come up with a caption for a usually funny photo. Pros and cons: fun to enter, and often attracts fewer people. But often tough to come up with a worthwhile entry!
Facebook like to enter competitions
Users simply have to like a Facebook page to be in with a chance to win. Pros and cons: incredibly easy to enter and there are often some amazing prizes to win. But be warned, you could end up being spammed by heaps of Facebook pages, and in some cases you’ll also have to share your data and contacts. Also a much lower chance of winning due to the high volumes of people who enter.
Sign up to a company mailing list to be entered into a prize draw. Pros and cons: very quick and easy to enter, but unless you have a separate email address you’ll be opening yourself up for spam. And there’s also a much lower chance of winning than some of the games of skill we’ve talked about.
To enter the competition, all the questions need to be answered. The most correct answers wins. Sometimes there’s a time limit in place. Pros and cons: great fun, but can be challenging.
Photo upload competition
Users have to upload a photo, usually according to a brief to be in with a chance to win. Pros and cons: great fun, and a chance to be creative. Attract fewer entries than the sweep-stake type competitions. However, creativity is key, and unless your shot is great, then don’t bother.
Video upload competition
Users have to upload a short video usually according to a brief to be in with a chance to win. Pros and cons: great fun, and a chance to be creative. Attract fewer entries than the sweep-stake type competitions. However, creativity is key, and unless your video is great, then don’t bother.
Refer a friend competition
Often run via Facebook, but not always, users can increase their chances of winning by referring their friends. Pros and cons: a great way to give you more chances to win, but there’s a risk of seriously ticking off your mates!
Vote for me competition
Users have to submit an entry, often via Facebook, and usually a photo or video. They then have to ask their friends to vote for them to win. Pros and cons: you’re in with a great chance to win if you’ve got lots of friends who can vote for you. But these types of competition are controversial as they’re open to vote rigging cheats.
We've talked about all kinds of social media competitions here on the Win24 blog, including twitter, Facebook and Pinterest competitions. But what about Instagram? The fast-growing photo-based social network now has more than 150m monthly active users, and we're seeing more and more brands using the platform for competitions and promotions.
For the comper, that means more opportunities to enter and win. So, before you get started, what do you need to know about competitions on Instagram?
We're going to be putting together a number of in-depth posts examining everything you need to know about comping on Instagram. But first thing's first, how do you go about finding Instagram competitions online? Here's our quick guide:
Next time: the different types of Instagram competition explained.
Entering a large number of online competitions is a sure fire way to increase your chances of a win. But there are other ways to improve your hit rate too. Here's our quick tips to make sure you win more!
1) Search out less popular competitions
While the more popular competitions offer the 'big ticket' prizes, the chances of winning in such competitions are smaller. Involving in less popular competition gives you an easy edge and thereby enhances your chances of winning.
2) Enter more!
The more competitions you take part in, the more your chances of winning increase. It's like the probability theory where the item with a greater frequency earns the chance of showing up again and again. When there are so many competitions happening daily, why take part in just a few?
3) Don't get thrown out!
Often the thrill of winning can make you ignore the basic "competition rules" written in small print. Some competitions are area-based while others may allow just one entry. Make sure you don't get disqualified before even starting the play, let alone winning.
4) Don't fake it
Whenever taking part in an online competition, always enter your factual details. You would not like some xyz person taking your prize away just because you recorded false data. If you dislike filling forms to enter the competitions, you can try using the auto-filling software and join 100 competitions instead of only 10.
5) Don't give up
When the world says, "give up" hope whispers "try it one more time." If you fail to win a competition in the first go, don't be disheartened and keep trying till you win.
Image credit Stuart Miles.
As a dedicated comper, you probably think you've seen it all. However, here at Win24, we've done a bit of research into some of the weirder, and stranger competitions out there. Most of them are probably not the type of competition you'd normally enter (though we could be wrong) but the list certainly makes for entertaining reading!
Yep, you heard us, there are now a network of 'air guitar' championships around the world, here in Australia, but as far-a-field as Mexico, Romania and Brazil. The rules are generally the same; a wannabie rocker gets up on stage in front of a huge audience and plays along to a rock classic. However, the instrument must be invisible & be a guitar, i.e. air drums not allowed. With around $10,000 prize money, and all the media attention you could ever dream of, it's not to be sniffed at! There's also some real skill!
This even weirder competition started in Leicester in UK in 1997. Its premise is that players must iron a few items of laundry, preferably on a difficult climb of a mountainside, ice or under water. The official Extreme Ironing Bureau claims: "It is an outdoor activity that combines the danger and excitement of an 'extreme' sport with the satisfaction of a well pressed shirt. It involves taking an iron and board (if possible) to remote locations and ironing a few items of laundry. This can involve ironing on a mountainside, preferably on a difficult climb, or taking an iron skiing, snowboarding or canoeing."
We've got ourselves to blame for this one. Midget Throwing, or Dwarf Tossing, is said to originate from Australia, where it started in bar rooms in the 80s. Dwarves wearing special Velcro costumes are thrown onto mattresses or Velcro-coated walls. Participants compete to throw the dwarf the furthest. Nowadays this is understandably hugely controversial, though it does occasionally rear its ugly head in places you'd least expect.
Image credit: DanSays used under Creative Commons.
Lottery syndicates are increasingly popular in the workplace. This can be a simple and effective way of increasing your chances of winning the jackpot, and it also adds a little bit of fun to something that is usually enjoyed individually.
So, all good fun then. But have you ever thought about what might happen with the money if you actually won a considerable amount? Disputes are known to happen and often cause troubles between staff and management if the money is not correctly distributed or someone believes they are entitled to more than others in the syndicate. So the lesson is, get it right from the outset and then there's no room for ambiguity.
All about an agreement
While workers participating in a lottery syndicate may feel that there is no need for a specific agreement as they all trust each other, it's important to look beyond that. Participants may decide they are entitled to more of the winnings because they have been at the company longer or they have been in the syndicate longer than others. Some may put more money into the syndicate and feel that they deserve a larger percentage. This can cause a great deal of problems and can disrupt a perfectly functional workforce.
Allocate a chairman
The best way to avoid these possible problems is to allocate a lottery syndicate chairman (usually someone in management) as this person can arrange the rules and steps of the agreement. Once someone has been allocated get together and work out the agreement, as this can be used as legal evidence if a participant is not satisfied with the way the money is distributed.
Make sure the agreement contains specific policies about:
Include the date of the lottery, so there is no confusion and make sure that changes to the agreement are made where necessary with all participants present, that way everybody is clear of how everything is carried out. This includes:
Finally, make sure everyone reads, agrees and signs the agreement so that everybody is completely aware of how your syndicate is run. Make sure the person responsible for the syndicate collects the money and buys the tickets and informs everyone of any changes or information they have to everyone involved.
An agreement like this may sound ridiculous but it can be an important part of any syndicate and may help you avoid a number of problems that come with winning and distributing a lot of money.
Have you got the 'comper's eye'? If you don't know what that is, it's the knack of spotting competitions wherever you are; whether it's online, in a supermarket or even on the notice board at your local cafe!
So, how to develop an eye for winning? The key to finding the best competitions is not to look in the places everybody else is looking. For example, the consequence of the Lotto being the most well-known competition in Australia, are winning odds of several million to 1!
A competition in a newspaper or a magazine, on the other hand, could attract only a few thousand entries, and the keen comper eyes can spot those unusual promotions, obscure website and minor publications offering competitions with odds of one in fifty.
The best way to develop a comper's eye is to keep a watch for competition opportunities at all times, not just on your coffee break but every hour of the waking day - always keeping an eye out for that 'WIN' banner, whether out shopping, at the local cinema, the bank, the petrol station. Hardcore compers don't even stop at bedtime - their comping eye goes off searching through their dreams for inspiration!
For the traditional competitions, many retail outlets, such as supermarkets and clothes shops and even banks, feature competition entry forms on their counters and instant win offers in their aisles. The large circulation of some newspapers means that they can afford to give away some fantastic prizes such as lavish holidays, huge cash sums and even houses. Of course their popularity means the odds of winning are very low, so publications such as free store magazines, local newspapers and small specialist magazines, offer a better chance of tasting sweet success.
Some less traditional avenues to consider include appearing on a radio or TV quiz. These offer the not too nervy comper great opportunities to win fantastic prizes in game shows specialising in, for example, word skills or general knowledge.
Yes, we know most competitions now take place online, but there are still 'paper' entry competitions where you have to mail off a postcard or an envelope. While there isn't much you can do to distinguish your entry online, the good news is, with these types of competitions, there is the potential to really make your entry stand out from the crowd.
As a starting point, consider using a large envelope. Many mail-in sweepstakes simply drop the envelopes into a big bin and have someone pull one out. A bigger envelope has a better chance of being pulled. Many sweepstakes, however, have rules regarding the size of envelope or postcard you can use, so you can't always use this trick.
Maybe you could decorate your entry. Sometimes the person picking the entry will be blindfolded, but many times they will not be. Set your entry apart by using a brightly coloured envelope, applying stickers, or otherwise decorating the entry (within the rules, of course) so that it catches the eye.
Often there's the opportunity to fold your entry in a unique way. For drop-your-entry-in-the-box sweepstakes, fold each entry so that it's attractive and bulky. An accordion-style folding job or some simple origami may make your entry more likely to be picked over all those entries that are simply folded down the middle.
Good luck, and let us know if you've got any more tips!
One thing's for sure; you've got to be in it to win it, at least when it comes to competitions. However unless you've got some amazing insider knowledge, then you don't usually know what the exact odds of winning, because it depends on the number of entries.
However, there are ways to estimate the odds. For example, if you get an entry form in the post for a sweepstakes with a huge prize, you can be assured of an enormous number of entries, probably from people all across Australia.
On the flipside, if you see a jar at a local restaurant for a free lunch, however, you know your odds of winning will be much greater. You may even be able to see how many entries are in the jar
In general, the number of entries will depend on the size of the prize, the range of the target audience (local contests usually have better odds than national contests, and don't even bother with international contests), the duration of the sweepstakes (a weekly drawing is better than a monthly drawing), and how well publicised the sweepstakes is.
The relative difficulty to enter will also have an impact on the number of people entering. For example, a simple Q&A competition, will receive many more entries than a short story competition. And if you're entering a competition on Facebook, then take a look at how many 'fans' the Facebook page has. If it's only a few hundred then your odds are greatly improved.
You'll also want to consider how many prizes will be given away. A contest that receives hundreds of thousands of entries but offers a thousand prizes has odds of hundreds-to-one. That means you would likely need to enter hundreds of times in order to win even a single prize
Does this all mean that you shouldn't bother with big contests? Maybe not, unless they're offering big prizes or plentiful prizes, or the mechanism is really easy. But remember, a legitimate competition always has a winner, and it could be you, and that's the joy of comping isn't it?
Comping is great fun and can offer some real rewards. However, if you're new to this exciting world, then make sure you don't make one of the most common mistakes when entering. Getting it wrong can end up ruining your chances of a win, could get you disqualified, and will almost certainly waste your time.
1) Failing to read the terms & conditions. We're not suggesting you read all 11 pages of the terms and conditions, but they're worth a quick glance. Key things to watch out for are closing dates, and whether the competition is actually available in your city or state!
2) Not following the rules. If there's a specific entry requirement, then make damn sure you do it! For example, you might need to write a slogan featuring a company name, or stick to a certain word limit. This should be easy! If you get that bit wrong, then you really can't expect to win!
3) Giving up if you're not successful right away. Some of the most successful compers are so successful because they plug away day after day. Do the same - sometimes you might wait a year for a big win, but when it comes it's all the sweeter.
4) Not checking your spam folders, voicemail and Facebook in-box in case you've won. There's nothing worse then dedicating weeks of effort to entering competitions, and then missing out on collecting your prize! It does happen (in fact, it happened to us not so long ago, so be warned!)
5) Not having fun. Comping should, first and foremost, be enjoyable. Writing slogans, taking photos, answering quizzes. What's not to like? If it's a chore, then chances are you won't dedicate enough time and effort, and you won't be as lucky than if you really enjoy it.
Remember, if all this sounds like too much hard work, Win24 can take away the effort, entering you into a minimum of 70 competitions each month, for one low monthly fee.
Public vote competitions can be a nightmare. Even if your entry is the best, then someone else with more friends can pip you at the post. Worst still, 'vote for me' competitions are rife with cheats, who buy votes from shady online services. However, the good news is promoters are clamping down on the cheats, and if you follow simply guidelines, you can maximise your chances. Check out the Win24 guide right here!
1) Never, never, never be tempted to buy votes. Even if you think you can get away with it, don't go buying votes. A lot of the time it will be a complete waste of time and money, and you may not even receive them. Even if it does work, it will be painfully obvious you've cheated, and that's not really in the spirit of being a comper is it?
2) Do check the competition rules. Always check the terms and conditions of entry. Is there anything that forbids buying votes or referencing vote rigging? If there is, then chances are the promoters are clued up to what can go on in way of cheating, and will take steps to prevent it. That means a much fairer chance for people like you.
3) Always tell your friends (and everyone else you know!) A great way to get votes for your entry is to tell all your friends about it. Make sure you don't get into 'spamming' territory, but certainly consider using your Facebook and twitter pages, and even emailing your friends if the prize is worth it.
4) Make sure you vote yourself too. Most 'vote for me' competitions allow you to vote for yourself. It can't hurt to can it?
5) Don't forget to make sure your entry is amazing too! One thing to remember is that you can also get 'organic' votes for your entry, independent of your friends. So that means making sure your entry is great quality too. This can be easy to forget sometimes!
Image credit: Kaz used under Creative Commons
So, what is a reverse auction? One thing's for sure, they're a type of competition that causes a huge amount of confusion. Put simply, they are a way of allowing players to buy items for a few cents or dollars, as opposed to the asking price. The aim is to make the lowest unique bid - the person who does that in the allocated time wins the reverse auction and gets the prize for the bid price.
Auctions tend to have bid limits (the number of bids made in each auction) and time limits. Players can usually bid more than once, but it costs a fixed amount to enter each time. Entry is either via online payment or SMS credit depending on the game. Increasingly, competition promoters are using the reverse auction mechanism as a means to run competitions, where you, for example, have to bid for tickets for an event, or bigger prizes like cars, holidays or electrical goods. The latter type usually don't involve real money and re free to enter.
So, how to win? Remember if you bid early there's a greater chance that your bid will be repeated by another player, so it won't be unique. Bid late and there's a chance you'll be making non-unique bids and therefore lowering your chances of a win (and costing you more to play if there's a fee). According to research, the most popular bids are round numbers (20 cents, $1) followed by numbers ending in 5 (e.g 25c, 75c). The best advice is to look at other results and see where the winners pitch their bids at.
Remember, if you've got any more tips, let us know.
We've been lucky enough to speak to a competition promoter who has been involved in judging many, many competitions in her time. A fair few of these include photo contests. Here, she (who will remain nameless) shares with us some top tips into what it's like to be on the other side of the fence. With a bit of luck, you can use her advice to improve your own hit rate, and change your approach for the better when entering these type of competitions.
1) Always follow the instructions! This might sound stupidly obvious, but it's all too easy to quickly scan the competition instructions for entering and either not enter the image in the way as requested or even just not fill in the form correctly. From a judge's perspective, it's always such a shame to see some amazing photos not reach judging because there had been an error in completing the form. So, before sending off any entry, double check that you have completed everything correctly and if it helps, get someone to just check your entry for you.
2) Have a great technique. Unless you have an artistic reason for it, make sure that your images are in focus and correctly lit. Try not to crop into an image to much as that only decreases its quality. Most competitions need to have winning entries that are of a good enough quality to print, so don't enter something that you wouldn't print out yourself.
3) At least try to be unique. This one is really important. It's common for entries to feature common themes; well-known landmarks, settings or animals for example. When you have a range of images like that, all technically perfect, all beautifully framed, how can a judge choose a winner? Think carefully when entering an image of a well-known or well-loved subject. What are the chances of someone else having shot the same subject? If somebody else is likely to have shot something similar, how can you make your image stand out?
4) Give your image a great title. A great title gives a photo context, and helps make it unique. Giving your image a great title also helps differentiate it from other, similar entries, helping give it standout.
5) The WOW Factor. All judges look for the 'wow factor' when it comes to a photo entry. This is something that makes you look at an image a little longer than the other; whether it be the lighting, the angle, the subject, there is just something that makes you pay attention to that image. This is easier said than done, however! Be highly critical of your entry; does it have a certain element of "wow"?
Image used under CCO
Do you ever enter caption competitions? They can be a lot of fun and we love them here at Win24. However, more than just being fun, caption competitions - with the right technique - can be a great source of prizes.
The key point to remember is that winning a caption competition is not always about luck, it's often about knowing exactly what the judges are looking for, and coming up with an answer that plays to their agenda. If you know what you're doing then you'll drastically increase your chances of winning.
Here are our top ten tips to helping you achieve standout with your entry:
Or... if you want to take advice from The New Yorker, be funny, and enter more!
We've all said it: "you make your own luck", but how true is that? According to the experts, very, do we've gathered together five of the best pieces of advice in this area to help you be more lucky in life. Interestingly, many of these points also apply to the world of comping too, so if you try them out, please let us know how you get on. Good luck - not that you'll need it after reading this article!
1) Define what you mean by 'luck'.
Being lucky doesn't have to mean winning the Lotto or landing that top job. Consider the smaller things that happen to you in life, and celebrate them. So it might be avoiding being splashed by a puddle, or it might be finding a five dollar note in your pocket you'd forgotten about. Taking this more positive mind-set will help you feel luckier in life, and as you'll read in a moment, this can become a self-fulfilling prophecy.
2) Maximise opportunities.
When you think about it, this one does really make sense. If you lock yourself away in your house, how many exciting, fortunate things are going to happen? Very few. However, if you get out there, meet people, talk a lot (even if it's online), then you will make opportunities for yourself. Certain personality types are therefore 'luckier' than others - extroverts more so than introverts, and so on.
3) Expect good fortune
Put simply, this is about optimism. You're more likely to try new things, meet new people and follow through on opportunities and have them succeed if you believe they'll turn out well.
4) Always look for the silver lining.
Unlucky people have the same amount of bad luck that lucky people do. The difference is that lucky people tend to find ways to turn bad luck to their favour. For example, consider someone who falls and hurts them self jogging: an unlucky person would probably take that as an example of yet another piece of bad luck. A lucky person would probably say that it shows how lucky they are because they didn't break their ankle or worse. By looking at the positive aspects of even bad luck, you can continue to have a lucky attitude.
5) Try new things.
If you want to improve your luck, you should try new experiences and see how you like them. When we're talking about competitions, that means improving your luck by widening your range and entering as many different types of sweepstakes as possible - something we do for you here at Win24. And in general life, that means going to new places, experimenting with different foods, talking to people at work although you've never had a conversation with them before, and so on. Everything new that you try is a new opportunity to become luckier.
Image used under Public Domain CCO.
Ok, so perhaps our blog title was a little misleading, but we're going to be writing a number of posts about luck, and most importantly, how you can go about improving it. We're going to start with something that's a bit of fun; lucky charms and lucky symbols.
You're probably already familiar with a number of the good luck charms from your own culture, but what about other luck symbols from around the world? Some of these are said to improve your luck ad others ward off bad fortune. Either way, here's a list of some of our favourites from around the world.
Four leaf clover
We'll start with one that everyone knows! The four leaf clover is one of the best known western symbols of luck, probably due to its popularity on St. Patrick's Day.
Tortoises are considered a good luck symbol in Feng-Shui decorating. They also make great pets!
These insects are considered good luck in Asia. Harder to catch the tortoises though!
Dolphins are considered lucky in many different cultures including the Ancient cultures of Greece, Sumer, Egypt, and Rome. For Christians and Native Americans, the dolphin is a symbol of protection, and its image is said to bring good luck.
Feng Shui and the Ganeshsa is the Hindu God of Luck. The elephant has also made its way into British, Canadian and United States cultures as a good luck charm in the 1930s.
Red Chinese Lanterns
Red Chinese Lanterns are another red symbol of luck in the Chinese culture.
The Number Seven
The number seven is considered lucky by different cultures including the U.S. and UK culture. There's little consensus on why this number is luckier than others though. Just make sure you avoid number 13!
One of the more unusual ones, a stray eyelash is seen as a wish maker, much like the wishbone. If a stray eyelash falls upon your cheek, place it on your finger and make a wish. Then blow the eyelash away.
Have you got any to add to our list?
Image used under Creative Commons via Public Domain Pictures.
If you're new to entering online competitions, then it's a good idea to stick to a few rules to keep you safe online, and just as importantly, on track for a win. Here's a few of Win24's top tips;
Always keep track of what you enter
There's so many competitions out there and after a short time they can all start looking the same. So why not keep a spreadsheet of which competitions you've already entered? It will help you avoid wasting time or risking disqualification by re-entering the same competitions. You'll thank us for this one!
Join a comping community
Even though the more people who enter a competition makes it less likely any one person will win, "compers" are a surprisingly sociable lot, and they generally love to share tips and tricks. There are hundreds of online communities where people share stories of their wins and swap information on new competitions. Start with our very own Facebook page.
Check your spam folder regularly
Many email accounts filter messages from competition promoters straight into your spam folder. That means you could easily miss news of a win (disaster!). Get round this by frequently checking your spam folder and make sure you update your address book with the details of any websites you regularly enter competitions through.
Create a draft email
Most competitions want the same information with a few variations. This includes your name, email address and a contact number. Rather than waste time re-typing these endlessly, why don't you create an email template that already has the information? That will save you quite a lot of time, giving you longer to search for other competitions to enter!
When you fill out any online competition forms, you'll almost always be invited to sign up to a newsletter or mailing list. That's often the price of entering the competition, but often you can opt out. Always opt out if you can - it will help you keep some control of your inbox.
As with everything in life, if the deal looks too good to be true then it probably is. Check that a company is legit before you enter its competition; you don't want to walk into the net of a phishing attack. Run an internet search if you're unsure and see what other competition regulars have to say. Check out our recent ost on the topic here.
Here at Win24, we've been hearing a few reports about dodgy Facebook competition pages; usually grand promises of iPads, iPhones or dream holidays. The prizes seem too good to be true, and that's because they usually are!
These pages usually pretend to be a genuine company or product, usually well known. A classic example of a post on these scam pages is:'We have 250 iPads which can't be sold because they're unsealed, so we're giving them away! Just share this photo and like our page'.
As you've probably already figured, this is nonsense, and any page claiming that unsealed products must be given away should be treated as suspect.
Why would someone set up a fake Facebook page just to get Likes?
This is called Like-Farming, and it works because pages with lots of fans (usually 100,000+) can be sold. Once these fake giveaway posts are liked, shared and commented on by Facebook users and their friends, the pages can gain thousands of Likes in a matter of hours. People can then BUY these popular pages on the black market and use them to send out spam posts advertising their products or services to the large fan base. In some cases, pages may go on to share links which direct fans to sign up for expensive text messaging services.
How to spot a scam Facebook page:
If you do come across a scam page, you should report it. See the screenshots below from the scam Apple Store Giveaway page - click the 'settings' cog on the main cover photo, and choose Report from the drop down menu. Then choose It's spam or a scam. You could also message the official company Facebook page - eg. Argos, Tesco, Morrisons, etc - a link to the imposter's page.
Facebook takes far too long to remove these scam pages but if we all remember to report them - and warn our friends when we see them sharing these fake giveaways - hopefully we can stop them infiltrating our news feed too much!
Comping on Facebook can be fun, but if you do it a lot it can become very anti-social for your friends who just aren't interested in your relentless posting.
Instead, there are several ways you can be organised and use a single account for everything - it makes life much easier, and here's our tips to keeping your non-comping friends happy!
Advise your friends to hide your activity
On a friend's page you can click 'Friends' to access a drop down menu where you can adjust settings for that friend's activity. You may want to advise your friends to either;
- Hide ALL your activity from their news feed - to do this, they can untick 'Show in News Feed'
- Hide all activity EXCEPT important updates - to do this, they can click 'Settings'... and then tick 'Only Important'
- Customise what they see - they may want to see most of your updates, but untick Comments and Likes, which are the most annoying ones!
However, unfortunately, you CANNOT stop your activity appearing in friend's tickers (the ticker is the moving newsfeed to the right of your browser window).
Use Facebook friends lists
We've talked about 'coming friends' before[link] and Facebook lists can be useful for compers to separate their friends, family, workmates and compers - when you share a status or photo, you select which list(s) to make it visible to.
To create a list, go to www.facebook.com/bookmarks/lists - or click on 'More' next to Friends on the left of your Home page. Then click '+Create List' and search for friends to add. If you do create a 'compers' list, try to get into the habit of adding new friends to it as soon as you accept their requests. Then you can choose to share App comps and comping-related status updates with your 'compers' list rather than to 'Public' or all your 'Friends'.
We've covered just two tips there, but if you've got any more, please let us know!
We know that loads of you enter competitions on Facebook, and if you do this there's lots of good reasons to 'add' like-minded comping friends.
Well, for a start, they can tag your name if they see you announced as a winner, making sure you don't miss out if you are lucky.
You can also send them invites for referral comps or add them to your team. Any competitions they're entering you'll be able to see on your own News Feed and Ticker, meaning they're a handy source of new competitions too!
And of course - your comping friends are usually happy to chat about their latest wins or offer a helping hand if you get stuck.
So, here at Win24 we're going to start a 'Facebook Friends' thread, for those of you who would like to add new comping friends. All you need to do is click COMMENT to add your details!
You can also comment there with your Twitter name, Instagram name or Pinterest link if you'd like to connect with fellow compers on those sites too.
When you add comping friends, you could try adding them to a new 'Friends list' called 'Compers' - this will make it easier for you to share your competition posts only with friends that are interested. And remember, for all the latest comping tips and advice, make sure you check out the Win24 blog, Facebook and twitter.
Our last post was about the different types of Pinterest competitions out there. We've since received a number of questions asking how to go about finding Pinterest competitions to enter. Here's our quick guide. Let us know how you get on!
Currently the third biggest social network in the world (after Facebook and Twitter), Pinterest is the website of choice for companies looking to launch creative promotions. If you already use Facebook or Twitter, you should find it fairly easy to get up and running on Pinterest - and it's addictive! There are a few different styles of comps on Pinterest. Winners may be judged, chosen at random or by the number of Likes and Repins. For some comps you don't even need to be signed up to Pinterest, as the promoter might ask you to email or Tweet a photo which they will then add to their own board. Here's our guide to the main type of Pinterest competition out there.
Repin a photo
A promoter may simply require you to Follow a particular Board (or all their boards) and then Repin a specific competition image, or your choice of prize image. Winners are chosen at random. If you spot a competition image on a friend's board, make sure you Repin from the ORIGINAL board. If you repin or comment on a fellow comper's entry, the promoter won't see your Repin!
Create your own board
Promoters often ask you to create a board with a certain theme, usually asking you to repin a minimum amount of items from their own Boards, or pin photos from their website. Entries can be tracked by the board name, or a competition hashtag (eg. #ACHICAMustHaves) used in its description. A better way to monitor entries is when promoters ask you to leave a link to your board as a comment on the original competition pin, or email/tweet them a link to the Board, or (less commonly) ask you to invite them to join your board via the Edit button. Most competitions where you create a board are judged, but for some the winners are chosen at random from all valid entries.
Contribute to a promoter's board
Follow a Board, and the promoter adds you as a contributor - you can then Upload a Pin as an entry to a competition. This is a poor way to run a competition as it's an invitation to spammers, who are able to upload irrelevant pins to the board. Or you may be asked to email or tweet a photo which the promoter will add to their Board.
Most Likes/Repins wins
With these popularity comps, the winner is the person who creates the board or pins the image that gets the most Repins or Likes. Like any public voting competition, these are flawed and rarely worth entering.
Most Followers wins
Again, this is an unfair way to choose a winner - if someone has 600 followers on Pinterest then any new board they create automatically has 600 followers!
How to the Terms & Conditions work?
Competition details are usually included in the image or description, and some promoters link to full T&C's on an external website. Check for a closing date and read rules carefully before you enter - it's also worth checking to see how the winner is chosen: you don't want to waste time creating a beautiful original board if the winner is picked at random!
Our last post was about the different types of Instagram competitions out there. We've since received a number of enquiries asking how to go about finding Instagram competitions to enter. Here's our quick guide. Let us know how you get on!
Instagram is now a hugely popular social network, with around 1.6m active Australian users. That means there are now a large number of promoters running competitions across the platform. For compers like you, this means more opportunities to win some great prizes. Here's our guide to the main type of entry mechanism on Instagram and how they work.
Photo or video upload
Most competitions where you have to upload a photo or video are judged, but for some, the winners are chosen at random from all valid entries. You'll usually be asked to use a competition hashtag and mention the promoter in your caption.
Like or comment on a photo
A promoter may simply require you to follow them on Instagram and then 'like' or comment on a specific competition image. It could be a winner chosen at random, or the first to comment that wins.
Share a photo
Sometimes you'll be asked to share an existing photo on your own Instagram feed. To do this, first, screen-grab the original competition photo from the promoter's feed. To take a screenshot on an iPhone or iPad, hold down the power button and press the home key at the same time. Android phones have different shortcuts so you may need to Google yours. Then re-upload the screengrab from your photo gallery to Instagram - crop it to a square around the original photo, and use the competition hashtag before sharing. You'll usually have to tag the promoter too. Make a note of the right hashtags and usernames in a notebook so you don't get them wrong when typing in!
How are winners notified?
There's no message function on Instagram, so promoters may use several methods of contact. This could be mentioning you in a comment on the competition photo, or on your own entry - they will usually leave a contact email address or ask you to message them on Facebook or Twitter. Make sure you regularly check your notifications.
Some promoters ask you to share your entry on Twitter. In this case they're more likely to contact winners via a Twitter DM so make sure you're following them on Twitter as well as on Instagram! It's a good idea to have the same username on Instagram and Twitter, as the promoter will find it easier to get in touch.
If a winner isn't announced, try commenting politely on the competition photo to ask if a winner has been contacted - or find the promoter on Twitter and tweet them to ask. Most companies share their Instagram comps on Facebook too, so you could find the Facebook post and comment on that to ask for the winner's name.
What about Terms & Conditions?
Competition details are sometimes included in the image or description, and some promoters link to full T&Cs on an external website. Check for a closing date and read rules carefully before you enter - it's also worth checking to see how the winner is chosen: you don't want to waste time taking a fabulous original photo if the winner is picked at random! If unsure, post a comment to ask for more details on the original competition photo (on Instagram or Facebook) and tag the promoter's name - or tweet them!
If you don't know how to use Instagram, then check out this handy guide.
We love to keep you up to date with all the Win24 members who have been lucky, so here's a selection of our most recent winners from the last few weeks. From Robo Vacuum cleaners to cinema tickets, one thing's for sure, the world of comping is full of surprises! Remember, if you're lucky enough to win a prize, then make sure you tell us about it and we'll share the news here on our blog, or on our Facebook page.
Robo Vacuum Cleaner
In the last few weeks, Peter S let us know about his latest win - a Robo Vacuum Cleaner! That will make cleaning the house easier, that's for sure.
Helen Y and Ian L have written to us to let us know about their latest wins - a Hairy Maclary gift pack each. Well done guys.
Congratulations to John R, Sian C, Mary Y, Lorna R, Stacey T and Serena V - all of you were lucky enough to win the National Geographic's Megafactories: The Ultimate Showroom Collection DVD Box Set, which is valued at $54.99. Happy viewing!
Frozen Movie Packs
Dane, Sahar, Debi, Karen, Margaret, Virginia, Christine and Elaine have all won a Disney prize pack for the new movie "Frozen" plus a season movie pass each. Well done guys
Cash cash cash!
And last but not least, we've had some cash winners; Tom P, Laurent G and Andrew M have all taken home $500 between them.
Well done everyone!
Image credit: Coolddesign via FreeDigitalPhotos.net
We recently wrote about the different types of online competition out there giving you the chance to win some amazing free stuff without spending a cent. Well, now you know the basics, here's our handy guide to saving time when entering competitions. Remember, if you want the easy life, then check out Win24, where we enter our members into more than 70 competitions each month, giving you even more chances to win.
Pre-entered form data
Web browsers' settings can be a great device to use when entering comps. Internet Explorer and Firefox often give you the option of remembering specific information that you repetitively enter. So, next time you go to fill in your name and address, the details will appear highlighted in the box as you type. And there you have it - speedy date entry.
NOTE - Be careful with shared computers. Clever web-pages remembering your info isn't always a blessing if other people could have access to the sensitive stuff. Be sure to click 'no' to the 'do you want this webpage to remember your details?' prompt if this is the case.
Divide your time
'Split Panel' is a fantastic free tool that can be downloaded direct to your Firefox toolbar. It enables you to see two web pages alongside each other, resulting in you being able to copy and paste answers between pages quicker than ever before! To get your hands on this great add-on, simply head to mozilla.org to download the Firefox browser. Then go to the 'Split Panel' tool and click 'add to Firefox'. Don't worry, it's completely safe and won't infect your device with viruses. Easy!
Fiddle your keyboard's memory
Some computer secrets are definitely worth knowing about! Say you have grown sick of typing the same 11 digits so they can call you if your entry is a success. Fear no more - you can modify your keyboards memory to remember your numerals using free software called AutoHotkey. You create a 'script' with the information you want to recall. Then, all you have to do is click in the field in your form, hold down alt and the number you have assigned it to. (e.g Alt+4 will instantly produce your address details.) While the prospect of writing a technical script is daunting, the reality of it is extremely simple. Visit the programmes AutoHotkey tutorial page to download the software and start cutting corners!
Roboform your form filling.
If you do have shared access to your computer, or find the web pages are filling stuff inaccurately on your competition forms, there is another option. Roboform is a storage vault of information that lives on your computer. Create a single password, known only to you, and access it whenever you need to fill out the same old rigmarole of info. It keeps your address, phone numbers and postcodes safe, and automatically fills online forms at the click of a mouse! Find out how to get Roboform here.
One thing to bear in mind is that Roboform's software is similar to that of a spambot. Some companies may mistake the technology for a spammer, and reject your ability to apply. If you're concerned that a competition promoter will think this, go for the traditional method or copy and paste info from a saved word document.
Multitasking - Not just a woman's strong point
If you're savvy in your searches for competitions, you will often stumble across comp boards bursting with different links and threads to fantastic contests. The problem lies in making sure you click through each link there is, to maximise your chances of winning. Go back to your Firefox browser and download the free add on SnapLinksPlus. This handy tool lets you draw a box around all the links you're interested in entering. All you need to do is right click and highlight the area of threads. They should all open simultaneously, allowing you to go through and enter at your own leisure!
And the most important tip of all? Have fun!
Christmas is over, and many of us are left feeling a little depressed, overweight, not to mention poor having bought all those presents! So that makes January the perfect time to start entering competitions, which are almost always free-to-enter, and give you the chance to win some amazing free stuff without spending a cent.
Here's our guide to the main types of online competition out there. If we've missed any, let us know, and more importantly... good luck!
Facebook like to enter competitions
Users simply have to like a Facebook page to be in with a chance to win. Pros and cons: incredibly easy to enter and there are often some amazing prizes to win. But be warned, you could end up being spammed by millions of Facebook pages, and in some cases you'll also have to share your data and contacts. Also a much lower chance of winning due to the volumes of people who enter.
Sign up to a company mailing list to be entered into a prize draw. Pros and cons: very quick and easy to enter, but unless you have a separate email address you'll be opening yourself up for spam. And there's also a much lower chance of winning than some of the games of skill we've talked about.
Vote for me competition
Users have to submit an entry, often via Facebook, and usually a photo or video. They then have to ask their friends to vote for them to win. Pros and cons: you're in with a great chance to win if you've got lots of friends who can vote for you. But these types of competition are controversial as they're open to vote rigging cheats.
Video upload competition
Users have to upload a short video - usually according to a brief - to be in with a chance to win. Pros and cons: great fun, and a chance to be creative. Attract fewer entries than the 'sweepstake' type competitions. However, creativity is key, and unless your video is great, then don't bother.
Users have to come up with a caption for a - usually funny - photo. Pros and cons: fun to enter, and often attracts fewer people. But often tough to come up with something worthwhile!
Purchase to win
Customer has to buy a product to be entered into a prize draw. Pros and cons: often great prizes and attract fewer entries than some of the mechanisms. However, usually means you have to buy something you might not want.
To enter the competition, all the questions need to be answered. The most correct answers wins. Sometimes there's a time limit in place. Pros and cons: great fun, but can be challenging.
Photo upload competition
Users have to upload a photo - usually according to a brief - to be in with a chance to win. Pros and cons: great fun, and a chance to be creative. Attract fewer entries than the 'sweepstake' type competitions. However, creativity is key, and unless your shot is great, then don't bother.
Refer a friend competition
Often run via Facebook, but not always, users can increase their chances of winning by referring their friends. Pros and cons: a great way to give you more chances to win, but there's a risk of seriously ticking off your mates!
We launched our Comper's Corner blog nearly 12-months ago, and in that time it's established itself a burgeoning readership of compers interesting in discovering more about how to enter and win online competitions and giveaways.
As we're approaching the end of the year, we thought it would be a great time to look back at our five favourite blog posts of the year.
14 Tips to winning caption competitions.
The caption contest is a type of competition where you are presented with a picture and you have to submit a witty or funny phrase to go along with it. A panel of judges will then decide which is best. Find out our insider's tips into how to get it right time after time.
Four tips that will save you time when entering online competitions
We know that entering games of skill can be really time consuming - especially when you have to be creative. Luckily, we've got four top tips to saving time and turbo-charging your performance when it comes to entering online competitions!
How to Win a Video Upload Competition
As a rule, the harder or more effort a competition is to enter, the fewer people will take part. A prime example of this is the video upload competition. Facebook in particular run lots of these types of competitions, and the prizes are often high value. Read our blog post on the topic right here (also our most read-ever post!)
How to win competitions that ask for 50 words or less
You always see those competitions in a magazines and newspapers, where a company asks you to write in your own words: "why you would like to go on holiday to Lake Como in Italy" or "why do you love to eat milk chocolate Easter eggs." Most of these competitions tend to be limited to just 50 words - sometimes even less - and you have to explain exactly why you want the prizes they are offering. No easy task - unless you take our advice!
How to quickly fill in forms when entering online competitions
Usually when entering prize draws you will have to fill out a lot of information such as your name, address, etc. This can take a surprisingly long time if you're doing multiple entries, and can often be too much to warrant the effort. There are however, a few ways around this.Find them out here.
Being a successful "comper" requires a wide range of specific personality traits, and not everyone fits the bill! Here at Win24, we've come across more compers than most, and we've compiled a list of what we see as the key qualities to be successful at competitions. We'd love to know your feedback on this, and remember, with Win24, you don't necessarily need any of these skills, as we automatically enter you into at least 70 competitions each month.
Tenacity is hugely important for compers. Rather than giving up after entering a few and not winning (that's most of us), successful compers stick at it, entering hundreds each month. They understand the importance of 'being in it to win it' and it's this approach that gets them results, even if it means waiting a year for a big win.
A good comper has a great understanding of competition strategy. They get into the mind-set of the promoter or judges and understand exactly what they need to do to catch their attention and ultimately, win. This might be writing the ultimate '50 words of less' copy, or snapping an on-brief photo, whatever it is, a successful comper understands the different competition mechanisms implicitly.
All good compers have an element of deviousness (this is a good thing!) whether it's finding a way to enter a competition more than once, getting the inside track on what the judges are after, discovering a tricky answer, or even plotting a way to enhance their chances of winning. But, there's a difference between deviousness and cheating, and a good comper would never use underhand methods to get a win.
Positive mental attitude
Finally, a great, positive attitude is essential for compers. Ultimately, comping is a bit of fun that sometimes yields some fantastic prizes, and a good comper understands that. Like the Lotto, it's often the taking part that is the fun bit, and when a prize does come through then all the better. A great attitude also helps compers stick at it, even when they've not had a win for a while.
We recently talked about how to succeed at creative writing competitions. Here's some more tips from Win24 at how to get it right when it comes to submitting your stories.
With the rise in the popularity of Twitter, it is increasingly being used by promoters and brands to run competitions. Here's the Win24 guide to the main types being run on this platform, and how they work.
The Follower Milestone helps to increase a brand's followers on Twitter. The most common 'follower targets' are '1000 Followers', where people have to tweet to guess the time and date they will reach this milestone. People can then continue to tweet in days and times to increase their chances of winning.
This type of competition is where winners are chosen at random through a 'lucky draw'. This concept is usually carried out via one of two methods; a lucky tweet with a hashtag, or a 'RT to win'. The former works by each tweet containing a chosen hashtag and @mention is entered into the draw.
Meanwhile, Retweet To Win is one of the most popular competitions on Twitter as it's simple but effective. As the name suggests, entrants are asked to retweet the brand's message to be in with a chance of winning. Much like the hashtag sweepstake, after the duration of the campaign has ended, the winner will be picked at random from all retweets.
A question and answer campaign is very straight-forward form of competition on twitter. All you need to do is answer a question and then post it on Twitter. Winners could be selected in a sweepstake form from the correct answers, or possibly through the fastest response time.
Something we're seeing more of is 'QR' code competitions. The codes are usually used on posters, business cards, leaflets or menus. Once scanned by a smart phone, they take customers to a bespoke URL that is selected by the company, this is often simply the customer website, or in some cases to a competition landing page on your website or Facebook Page.
Creative Answer To Win
In a 'creative answer' competition, followers are asked to participate by answering a question using a hashtag. The answers need to be as creative as possible, and the winners and their ideas will be chosen by the promoter. People love it when they can actively get involved with a campaign and use their creativity and humour in order to win prizes. This type of campaign often asks a fun question about a brand or perhaps an innovative idea that an audience can participate in.
Submitting stories to creative writing competitions can be quite lucrative, but only if you know the tricks of the trade. If you do want to enter these type of competitions, then make sure you don't make any obvious mistakes. Here's the Win24 guide to getting in right.
Here at Win24, we love to hear about the prizes you've won, whether it's a $100 shopping voucher, or a holiday of a lifetime. But for a bit of inspiration, we thought it would be fun to look at some of the most-famous, and biggest winners around the world.
The best job in the world (AUS)
We'll start with something local, Tourism Queensland's Best Job in the World competition. In 2009, the tourist board promoted the Great Barrier Reef as a global tourism destination with a website encouraging people worldwide to apply for The Best Job In The World, to be a "Caretaker of the Islands" to "house-sit" the islands of the Great Barrier Reef for half a year, based on Hamilton Island. More than 35,000 applications were received from over 200 countries, including one chosen by an on-line vote... boooo!.
Finalists came from all over the world and following extensive interviews, Ben Southall, 34, a charity fundraiser and ostrich-rider from Petersfield, Hampshire, UK, was appointed as the new caretaker of the island on 6 May 2009
Who Wants to be a Millionaire (UK)
Who Wants to Be a Millionaire? is a famous British television quiz show, with versions now in place across the world. It's even been featured in the movies with Slumdog Millionaire. As the name suggests, it offers a maximum cash prize of one million pounds for correctly answering successive multiple-choice questions of increasing difficulty. Judith Keppel was the first million pound winner ($1.6m) on the show in 2001, exactly a year after the first episode was broadcast. Meanwhile, John Carpenter became the first winner of the U.S. version of the show as well as the first winner worldwide.
The $941 million lottery win
We all dream of winning the lottery, but at best it's a few dollars. Not so for Gloria McKenzie of Zephyrhills who holds the world record for any lottery prize, at a staggering $370.9 million in the Powerball game on 18th May, 2013. Wow! Do you think she bought a round after that?
Perhaps not quite as impressive as the others, but worth a mention for her total dedication to the world of comping, Kim Searle from the UK has won £100,000 worth of prizes since 198. The 50-year-old bookseller has won so many competitions that she has accumulated £100,000 worth of prizes - thanks to her fail-safe tactic of entering 100 competitions a day. She has netted so much that she and her husband Dave, 50, recently had to sell their cottage in Powys, Wales, to move to a bigger property with a garage for storing items such as their brand new giant fridge-freezer.
Image credit: Nikkimm via Creative Commons.
If you've entered a Facebook competition in the last 12-months, then chances are one of them was organised by Matt (not his real name) who works for a large Sydney advertising agency. Matt and his team work with a number of high profile brands (the kind you'll see and use every day) and part of their remit is to organise online competitions, usually via social media, to help promote those brands. Here at Win24, we've managed to grab a few minutes with Matt and ask him what it's really like to be a competition promoter, and whether he's got an tricks of the trade he can share.
Tell us about your typical day
I work in advertising, so competitions are only a relatively small part of my job. But that said, most of our clients will want to run competitions as part of their ad or promotional campaigns and it's our job to come up with the creative for those, as well as organise and run them. In the past these were often done in newspapers, but increasingly things are heading online. In a typical month, we'll be running 10 - 20 competitions, usually via Facebook, for our clients.
How many entries does a Facebook competition typically get?
It really depends on the type of competition, how easy it is to enter and how big the prize is. It's often the competitions with smaller prizes that get the most participation, while the big ticket prizes are often ignored as people don't believe they'll have a chance to win! One of our clients is a bed manufacturer, and they were giving away a top-of-the-range bed worth $7,000. Because people had to upload a photo, and it was a relatively niche item, hardly anyone took part. So next time you see a high-value, slightly obscure prize, then get involved!
Which of your competitions get the best responses?
It's the ones that are really easy to enter, such as 'like this post'. Anything involving even a bit of effort - like 50 words or less or photo upload - dramatically cuts down the amount of people taking part. That said, there are exceptions, and a recent competition we ran for a clothing retailer attracted around 10,000 entries in the first week, and that was a 50 words or less mechanism and a prize worth only a few thousand dollars.
How do you go about choosing a winner?
Given the incredibly high number of entries some competitions get then it can be quite tough. We're always after someone who has answered the question first of all. And then we're after something a bit creative or different. If it's a 50 words or less mechanism, or a creative writing competition, then typically 90% of people will say roughly the same thing. We ignore those straight away. You'll then get 5% of entries which are complete nonsense, and then 5% which are really clever, creative and thoughtfully put together. They're the ones we're after, and we'll often shortlist 4 or 5 and debate in the office who should win.
Do people always claim their prizes?
Surprisingly not, and we do make every effort to track them down too, via phone or email usually. We usually have a clause in the terms and conditions saying that they need to claim the prize within a certain timeframe or we'll do a re-draw. Often they'll find an email in their junk folder several months later and send us a begging email. But it's too late!
Have you ever had a cheat?
Yes, absolutely. Public vote competitions are particularly open to abuse. We had one lady who clearly broke the rules and purchased several thousand votes for her entry. We could see she's done it, and it was against the terms and conditions to do that. Even so, she threatened us with legal action and all sorts because of it. When we pointed out that 95% of her votes had come from Algeria, she quietened down!
When you're entering lots of competitions, it's often too easy to get caught up in the 'entering' bit, at the expense of the basics. This means your entry won't stand out, or worse still, won't even be in the running. Here's theWin24 list of the top 5 things people get wrong when entering online competitions.
Make sure you answer the question! Sounds obvious, but you'd be surprised at the number of people who fail to properly answer the question in a competition, either getting an obvious answer wrong, or failing to do their research properly and spelling a brand name incorrectly, for example.
If it says 50 words or less, then make sure it's 50 words or less! Following the rules is also key. Promoters will automatically disqualify any entries that get their (usually simple) rules wrong, so to avoid wasting your time, take 30 seconds to read them.
Check the terms and conditions. Always check out the competition terms and conditions. Common mistakes are entering competitions that are only open to New Zealand, or another country's citizens, or entering multiple times when it only allows you to enter once. Getting it wrong will usually result in disqualification and will be a big waste of your time.
If it's a photo or video competition, make sure your entry is yours! A surprising number of people think entering a photo upload competition with an image they found on Google is a sure fire way to win. It isn't! A 'stolen' image is usually obvious to promoters, and even if you do get shortlisted, chances are someone else with tip off the promoters and you'll be disqualified in a flash.
Always check your emails. Promoters often notify the winners of a particular competition with an email. If you don't respond within the required time-frame then someone else will get the prize. So always, always check your junk email folder, and if you're entering on Facebook, make sure you check your 'other' inbox (located to the right of your main in-box). I once missed out on Kings of Leon VIP tickets for this very reason!
We love competitions here at Win24, and we know you do to. However, while the majority of online competitions are genuine, unfortunately, there are a few out there which can be scams. Usually, entering a 'scam' competition just results in you wasting your time, but sometimes it can be more serious. Luckily, scams are usually easy to spot, and here's our guide to the most common out there.
Careful of the personal details you give out
Most of us entering competitions understand the drill; answer a simple question, give out a few details like email address or phone number, and you're entered into the draw. However, never, ever give out personal details like bank account number or card details. Also be wary of what boxes you tick when you enter - make sure you're not signing up to some service you've got no interest in!
Careful of premium rate numbers
We've been hearing a lot about a recent competition scam where potential winners are mailed something through the post, asking them to call a premium rate phone number. Of course, you don't know it's premium rate until you get a hefty phone bill through the post that month. As a rule, if it looks dodgy then avoid it all together, or if it sounds dodgy when you're on the call, then hang up.
If it sounds too good to be true... it probably is!
It's increasingly common to receive emails about overseas lottery wins or prizes from sites that are asking for payment. While it's often hard to remember all the competitions you've entered, as a rule, a genuine promoter will not ask you for any payment to claim the prize, and certainly no bank details. Also watch out for 'hidden costs', like excessive postage charges.
Learn to spot dodgy sweepstakes
Report Sweepstakes Scams to the Authorities
It is very difficult for law enforcement agencies to pinpoint sweepstakes scammers and prevent them from targeting other victims. By reporting scams to the proper authorities, you can provide them with vital information that might stop someone else from losing their life savings. If you do come across any, make sure you share them on the Win24 Facebook page so others can learn from them.
Even winning the smallest prize is something worth celebrating. Here at Win24, we've put together our top reasons why you should celebrate even small wins.
Small wins are often really useful
Of course, we all set our sights on a holiday or a new car, but remember that small prizes are great too and often come in really handy. A pair of tickets to the movies isn't going to change your life, but it's certainly a fun evening.
The small wins show that winning is possible
As you probably know, there are loads more small prizes awarded in sweepstakes than big ones. If you enter only sweepstakes with huge prizes, it can take loads longer to win, giving you - understandable - reason to become discouraged and decide that you're just not meant to win sweepstakes. Small prizes show you that yes, you CAN win, and a big prize is just as possible as a small one.
(A bit cheeky, but...) small wins make great presents
Small prizes can be useful for ourselves, sure. But they can also make great gifts for others. DVDs, iPods, autographed books, jewellery, vouchers are just a few of the smaller prizes that make fantastic presents. If you don't want it, then simple, give it away!
Small wins are exciting too
There's nothing like the surprise of a packages showing up on your doorstep without notice, a bit like Christmas presents arriving all year long. While this won't happen with large prizes, as sponsors will generally ring you up or email first. However, small prizes often appear as delightful surprises at the front door.
Small wins can prepare you for big wins
Entering lots of competitions takes discipline. And believe it or not, so does winning! Don't believe us? Well, you need to know what a 'win notification' looks like, you need to make sure you respond to any email requests within the given time-frame, and so on. Small prizes help prepare you for big wins by teaching you what to expect when you win a prize. Wouldn't it be terrible to miss out on big win because you didn't respond properly?
Here at Win24, we know you've got to be "in it to win it", but that doesn't mean you have to spend hours in front of your laptop entering competition after competition. Thankfully it's possible to take the boring parts out of comping with these essential tools; the majority of which are free.
This site is designed to provide 'Winspiration' for those trying to write competition tiebreakers or slogans. Many successful 'compers' tackle this task by brainstorming i.e. thinking up words and ideas relevant to the product, the prize or the promoter. The aim of the site is to give you a head start, by providing ready-made lists for various subject areas. Some previous winning tiebreakers have also been included, to give you an idea of the various successful styles used.
Having trouble getting the last word in that crossword puzzle? Having trouble getting the first? See if this search engine can help! Unlike pure pattern dictionary searches, it actually analyses the clue as well.
Sometimes we don't need inspiration to write a tie breaker, we just need a word that rhymes to finish ours off. Rhymezone is a great tool for amateur poets. Type in the word that you want a rhyme for and the website will present you with a list of words; you'll be surprised how well some of them fit your needs.
Windex is a unique collection of past winning slogans from competitions spanning the last 30 years. More are added every week, so get inspired today and here's to more winning slogans!
A massive win for David H, who has won the Balvenie Ultimate Tasting Competition in conjunction with liquor store, Dan Murphys.
David receives the major prize of return airfares to Melbourne, accommodation and two seats at the Ultimate Balvenie Tasting Experience Dinner valued at $6,100.
Wow! David - make sure you let us know how you get on!