The Seven Deadly Sins of Comping

As 2014 draws to a hectic close, I thought it might be a good idea to reflect on the things that compers often do wrong (including me!) in their quest for the ultimate prize. So this week I have put together a list of what I regard as The Seven Deadly Sins of Comping. Feel free to add any others you think are appropriate or comment below or in the Forum.

  1. Not Reading the Terms and Conditions. I wonder how many of us actually read the (sometimes long and boring I must admit) list of Ts & Cs attached to a competition before ticking the ‘I have read and accepted the Ts & Cs’ box? Not many I would suspect. However, if you deliberately or inadvertently don’t adhere to some clause in the Ts and Cs, you may not be eligible for the prize, no matter how good your entry was. Most Ts and Cs are fairly straightforward and often fairly similar, so it is possible to just flip through them and take note of the main points. These are (a) closing date (b) number of entries permitted (c) whether the competition is valid in your state (d) a list of the prizes and their values and (e) who the sponsors are (in case you need to contact them!). So always read them.
  2. Missing the Closing Date. Don’t miss the closing dates – mark them on your calendar if you are going to enter them at a later time. How disappointing, to say the least, if you have just created the perfect answer and it doesn’t count and you missed out on the prize!
  3. Going Over the Word Count in a WOL Competition. If the rules of the competition says 25 WOL or even 50 WOL or 100 WOL, make sure you stick to the word count (and always spell check as well) before you hit the ‘enter’ button. Even if an entry is only one word over the count it is more than likely it will be disqualified. Simple as that – and who wants the same disappointment as above.
  4. Not Making Enough Effort or Taking Enough Time in a Skills-based Competition. Skills-based competitions like WOL or photo or interactive game or question and answer require much more effort than the random draw lotteries or sweepstakes and it is generally worth the effort if you win. So take your time when coming up with the answers or looking for the right photograph or that captures the theme best. There is usually some time between when you find the competition and when it closes so use the time wisely and don’t rush it.
  5. Pestering your Family and Friends for Votes until they No Longer Speak to You. Big mistake! You will need your friends and family long after the competitions close and unless you are really sure you are likely to win, this will only cause bad vibes. If you can’t get enough votes easily, give these competitions a miss. There are plenty of others out there…
  6. Spreading yourself Too Thin. If the competitions are random draws, it doesn’t matter how many you enter as long as you get them entered in time and don’t mind all the emails that will follow chasing you to buy something. However, if the competitions are skills-based it is not  worth spreading yourself too thinly as it will be the quality of the entry that will get the prize not a whole lot of ones you enter quickly without too much thought.
  7. Cheating. A big no-no. Competition promoters can see and track the names of cheaters easily – that is why they ask for so much detail in an entry and often have security codes for entering. Cheaters do come to their notice and are likely to be black-listed, so it’s not really worth it in the long run.

After working for thirty years as a journalist/historian, Jenny started writing sci-fi for children and adults and occasionally illustrating them (when she was not spending time with her grandkids). Most have been published in The School Magazine, anthologies and online. She has also been contributing to a wide variety of magazines such as Antiques and Collectables for Pleasure and Profit, Australiana and Nurture. Now essentially retired Jenny has taken up a challenge of entering and (hopefully winning) competitions. Jenny will track her journey through this challenge here at www.competitions.com.au.

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