I often wish I had a time machine and could transport myself back in time to when entering competitions was as easy as sending off your 25 WOL answer on the back of an envelope or filling out a form by hand and putting it in a box at the supermarket. These days entering competitions can be so complicated that I often get turned off the idea of entering them despite the appeal of the prize. This is because of the many hoops that you are sometimes expected to jump through to get to the part where you fill in your name and address. If you ever get that far!
Simple forms sometimes scare me as well because then I think ‘OK, it’s just my name and contact details you are after, so you can harass me later’. I still manage to enter most of the comps I really want to enter without too much stress but occasionally I wonder whether it is all worth it. Then the prizes start arriving… So I thought I would take a look at some of the various ways of entering competitions these days.
(1) By email. A few competitions require you to email your answer and personal details. I don’t feel too pressured by these. In fact, I like them as they give me some time to think and compose my WOL answer. I just carefully note the question and the closing date and make sure it get it emailed in time.
(2) Through a website entry form. These are also pretty straightforward and don’t cause me much concern but I still always wonder why on earth do they need my birthday? As long as they don’t ask too many other personal questions, I go ahead, because, so far my identity doesn’t seem to have been stolen (although I have subscribed to more websites and newsletters that I can count).
(3) Through a Rafflecopter or Gleam entry form. I’m not a huge fan of Rafflecopter or Gleam competitions but they are easy to enter if you use your Facebook account or email. But what exactly is Rafflecopter and Gleam, I hear a few newbie compers ask? Rafflecopter is a widget (an application) that used for competitions on blogs and Facebook.. To enter a competition using Rafflecopter there are a number of tasks you need to perform to get a certain number of entries. The more you do the more entries you get. At the close of the competition Rafflecopter then chooses a random winner and checks that the winner has complied with the mandatory tasks. Once a winning entry has been validated the promoter then sends an email to the winner. The form will indicate how long you have to complete the tasks; the number of entries so far and the number of entries you have already achieved or can gain. In some competitions all the tasks are mandatory; in others some are mandatory and some optional. All these can look a bit daunting but you usually don’t have to do them all, just the ones you are most comfortable with. Gleam is very similar to Rafflecopter but it has been described by some as better.
(4) Commenting on a Facebook page or blog. These are usually the simplest and quickest ways to enter a competition. However, it pays to take your time before typing in your answer. If you do it too quickly you are likely to make mistakes or just miss the point of the question. Take extra care if using a smart phone (how anyone can get their fingers around a smartphone keypad without making mistakes is beyond me). Facebook commenting can also be a little dispiriting when there is also the requirement to do a little ‘sharing’ or ‘tagging’ friends in order to qualify as an entry. This is actually against Facebook rules but nobody takes much notice of those.
There is noting more annoying than a complicated entry form. I’m sure it puts many other compers off besides me. At the end of the day, I still prefer simple straightforward ways of entering with a well-thoughtout 25 WOL answer. I just wish they were all like that!
Photo Attribution – Howard Lake