Nine Notes for Newbies

 

 

  1. Don’t dismiss small competitions run through local businesses, charities, church or your local school, playgroup or pre-school. You often have a better chance of winning a prize through them than through the large, well promoted competitions, especially those advertised on television or national newspapers. Also keep you ears open for competitions on your local radio station or through your local paper. They often have great prizes and less people entering them too.
  2. Do your comping at a time during the day or night when you are the most relaxed. You will construct better and more creative 25 WOL answers then and make fewer mistakes when entering your details into forms. If you get stuck you can always get your kids or grandkids to help you with your answers as they are sometimes more creative, snappy and original. It might be serious to you, but to them it’s just a bit of fun.
  3. Take heart if you don’t win all the time. We all have prize droughts, some longer than others. Not everyone wins all the time. That’s life and sometimes it is good to have a reality check from time to time.
  4. If you are unsure about the legitimacy or fairness of some of the competitions that look at bit dodgy, you can always go to their website for confirmation and then do a quick check of the Terms and Conditions of the competition. In fact, make a habit of always doing a quick run through of the Ts & Cs. As for Facebook Competitions, just enter the ones run through apps (these are run on a separate page to the main FB page) or those that require a thoughtful comment or to upload a photo and where you are not required to �?share’ or �?tag’ anyone.These are the fairest ones and are more likely to be run according to FB rules.
  5. Work out which types of competitions you are best at (like WOL, photo comps, Instagram or Twitter comps or creative comps) and stick to those primarily. This will concentrate your energies and more likely lead to some success.
  6. Don’t let comping take over your life. Get off the computer and spend some time outdoors in the fresh air and make sure you actually use all the movie, concert or theatre tickets you win or cook up a feast for your family or friends using all the freebies you collect along the way. Enjoy your wins! Don’t forget to take a break from time to time to get refreshed. Comping can be a tiring hobby if you take it too seriously. After a break you are likely to be more energised. Don’t worry about all those comps you might have missed – there are plenty more!
  7. Think carefully before committing yourself to too many voting competitions. They are hard to win without heaps of enthusiastic online friends. There are always plenty of other competitions around – don’t despair.
  8. Take care entering Facebook competitions. Facebook clamps down occasionally on people �?over-sharing’ or �?over-tagging’  and are not happy about people operating multiple FB pages, even if they have been created with innocent intentions. Facebook can suspend people or close down their pages at the click of a button.
  9. Don’t be tempted to cheat to win a prize in a competition. Cheats do come to the notice, not only of competition sponsors but also to other compers, who don’t take kindly to them. On Facebook they can easily be reported and shut down and many competition sponsors and public relations agencies managing a wide range of competitions have been known to �?black-ban’ regularly cheating compers. Keep it fair for everyone and it will be a lot more fun!

Photo attribution – www.onewaystock.com

Dear Competition Sponsor

 

 

Dear Competition Sponsor

On behalf of the many enthusiastic and committed compers in Australia and beyond, I am writing to you to both commend you on your efforts to provide us with the competitions we enter every day and to give you some hints and tips from ‘the other side of the fence’.

We fully understand the aims of your competitions. You want us to engage with your business, your service and your products and in the course of doing so purchase something from you and spread the word: all very possible. However, many competitions are simply not engaging us. We enter them and cross our fingers in the hope that we win a prize but if they haven’t been very interesting or enjoyable, we simply fill in the form with our details and move on to the next one.

The competitions that are more likely to engage us are often simply fun. We don’t want to jump through thousands of difficult hoops to enter. We don’t want to spend hours trawling through your website looking for a hidden code. We don’t want to have to beg all our family and friends to vote for a silly picture of out pet cat. We just want a simple, straightforward competition that not only introduces us to your products but also makes us feel good about them (and you never know; we might even buy some). Just make them fun and keep them simple.

If you are determined to use Facebook to run your competition, please stick to Facebook Rules. Innocent people are being banned and suspended because in many cases you are not. We much prefer competitions run through apps rather than the ‘like’, ‘tag’ and ‘share’ ones which are actually against Facebook Rules. Facebook clearly states that ‘personal timelines and friend connections must not be used to administer promotions’ and that ‘a Facebook Page must not incentivise people to use social plug-ins or to ‘like’ a page’. You can ask entrants in a Facebook competition to ‘like’ a post. Facebook competitions can be interesting ways to engage us with your business as long as there is a fair way of judging the winners, whether by random selection or by the best or most relevant comment.

Most of us enjoy competitions where we have to comment and we also like it if there is more than one prize. The prizes don’t have to be large or even expensive, just worth the effort and if you use prizes as a way of introducing us to your products, this is a better way of ‘sharing’.

     Finally, when a competition is over, please make every effort to contact the winner as soon as possible. It is not too hard to send a quick email or private message to the winner rather than expect entrants to check back themselves. Facebook posts don’t automatically reach all ‘likers’, so just by posting the winners is not much help either.

If you have provided a link to the Ts & Cs of the competition (another Facebook requirement) we will be more comfortable about the legitimacy of your competition and more likely to have a good feeling about your business even if we don’t win. A competition is a great way of promoting your business and we would be happy to share our experiences (not just the competition links) with everyone we know, offline or online if we have had a positive experience: if we have been happily engaged and it has been a fun competition as well as fair. You’ll get a lot more ‘likers’ that way too.

Regards, The Compers of Australia

How Far Would You Go?

 

 

I waited with anticipation and a fair degree of curiosity until the Dracarkis Jeweller’s Facebook page announced the winner of a $10,000 diamond ring through their recent Hearts On Fire competition in April this year, held in Sydney. To enter this competition first you had to solve a number of clues that were posted on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and their website, then you had to access a map and finally on the last day, front up and join in a search in Hyde Park after asking the right person in the crowd to ‘marry you’. Finally you had a chance to find the ring hidden somewhere in the park. The competition was well promoted and appeared to have a huge following – at the beginning at any rate! Good on Dracarkis Jewellers for being creative!

The Facebook post announcing the winner finally went live and there, before us, was a photo of the smiling face of the winner, holding her prize ring in her hand, showing it off to all of us would were too lazy or couldn’t be bothered to go through all the hoops to win it. Silly us…she looked elated and so she should be. Who wouldn’t want to win a $10,000 diamond ring like this one?

Comping is a great hobby. It can be creative and challenge us mentally as well as social and just fun. Who doesn’t enjoy those days when the prizes arrive? But how far would you go in order to win a prize?

The steps that the winner of the diamond ring had to take were not as complicated or as daunting as some that compers I know have been prepared to go to in the course of securing a prize. Here is one story from a fellow comper that I am sure not many of us would be happy to replicate.

The competition was run by UBank, who offered the opportunity to win $1,932 (which was the average saving one could make at the time if they switched their home loan to UBank). Entrants had to say what they would be prepared to do to win the cash and they also had to be prepared to go through with their pledge if they won one of the ten prizes up for grabs. The only problem for the said comper was – his pledge was to man a Kissing Booth in the Queen Victoria Markets (in Melbourne) and raise money for charity. That was all well and good, but the stunt was also to be professionally videoed and uploaded to YouTube. Despite some early nerves, he duly went through with it, received his prize and actually admitted that it had been fun.

The other two prize-winners, who were bold enough to go through with their pledges were a male entrant who walked down Rundle Mall (in Adelaide) in full drag and a female entrant who dyed her long hair green (the UBank colour).

Would you have gone through with these? I’m not sure I would have but…? How far would you go? To get you thinking, here is a list of things I definitely wouldn’t do.

(1)   I wouldn’t do anything naked.

(2)   I wouldn’t cook anything in public. This is basically because I am just a lousy cook and probably wouldn’t get chosen anyway.

(3)   I wouldn’t do anything that would cost me money because essentially, I don’t have any (which is why I would have been hoping to win the prize).

(4)   I wouldn’t do anything where I would be too cold (winter) or too hot (summer) because I am a wuss.

(5)   I wouldn’t do anything that involves my hubbie because he is not into comping. Yes…he’s missing out, I know.

And that’s how far I wouldn’t go! For now.

A Comp Queen

 

 

Sarah Phillips is no ordinary, run-of-the-mill comper.  She has taken her comping hobby to a new level over the last year or so after starting her very popular blog – Diary of a Comp Queen. Now, on top of winning some pretty amazing prizes on a regular basis from week to week, she is also running giveaways through the blog for her many followers as well.

Sarah began comping seriously in May 2012. “I read a story in Take 5 magazine,” she tells me, “about a lady who had won over $600K worth of prizes over the course of a few years! I read all her hints and tips and wanted to put them to the test.” Not long after she started comping she began receiving packages containing prizes of all kinds nearly every week, so she kept going.

Sarah enters everything and tells me it doesn’t matter whether she wants the prize or not because she usually uses them for Christmas and birthday presents or donates them to charity, like through the Salvation Army Christmas Tree appeal. Sarah also loves winning toys. “My daughter’s birthday is in December near Christmas,” she explains, “so as it is a long time for her to wait to receive presents I like to give her a mid-year treat.”

     Although Sarah has won hundreds of prizes including a complete cleaning pack from Better Homes and Gardens that included a dishwasher, her ultimate goal is to win a car. “I read a story about a woman who had won 3 cars in the space of 5 years and after reading this, I am definitely not going to give up the dream,” she tells me. Winning keeps her motivated but also does hearing about other people’s wins.

Sarah’s Diary of a Comp Queen blog and Facebook page is rapidly growing in popularity and after one year (or so) she has over 1400 followers. While Sarah posts of her wins, hints and tips for entering competitions, she also runs great giveaways which I occasionally enter. Just before last Christmas I won a great pack of 2015 Calendars which were perfect for Christmas gifts at the time. When I asked her for a few tips for newbie compers here is what she had to offer: “Don’t just enter comps with big ticket prize; enter comp with smaller prizes too that way you will be spreading your luck around.” Her second tip was: “Always read the Ts & Cs and take note of all the important information such as the cut off date and the number of times you can enter because if you can enter more than once, you will increase your chances of winning.”

     Sarah loves using sites like competitions.com.au as a starting point to finding suitable competitions, then any sites she finds that have regular comps she saves to a favourites list and checks back on them regularly for any new ones. She now finds plenty of competitions on Facebook to enter too (don’t we all!).

I have been following Diary of a Comp Queen almost since she began writing it and as well as finding it inspiring, I love to direct others to enter her giveaways as well. I have watched it grow over time and am constantly amazed by Sarah’s energy and dedication to this fun and often lucrative hobby that many of us also enjoy. If you don’t already subscribe to it you can find Diary of a Comp Queen at www.compqueen.com.au. It’s worth ‘liking’ her Facebook page as well!

Photo Attribution Archer10

It’s Complicated

 

 

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

Mum’s The Word

 

 

You would think that running a household and raising five young children would pretty much take up every spare minute of the day but somehow Ali Henderson still seems to find plenty of time to enter competitions. “I’ve always entered competitions”,she tells me. “I used to get small wins through magazines such as Take 5 and That’s Life but I was never consistent with my comping. Then three years ago I won $1000 through mix106.5 radio station right on Christmas.”

It wasn’t until the middle of 2014 that Ali decided to take comping seriously. Pregnant with her fifth child she began entering competitions every day and just before giving birth she won a pram – a Mama and Papa Armadillo from www.stuffmumslike.com.au. She was hooked! Ali’s next big win followed in October with a brand new Thermomix and $150 cash. She couldn’t believe her luck as there had been over 50,000 entries. “Since that day,” she explains, “the prizes have rolled in. These have included a $6,000 holiday, white goods, toys, DVDs and movie tickets to name a few.” All together about $15,000 worth, she estimates.

Ali enters every competition that attracts her attention but she has found that she has a flair for 25 WOL less ones. “Winning helps to keep me motivated,” she explains when I ask her how she manages to find the time in her busy life. “Sometimes, if I have a few weeks between wins, I get a little down but keep going knowing the next win is probably just around the corner,” she adds.

Ali also writes a regular blog – Mum to Five – www.mumtofive.com where she shares her hectic life and also runs giveaways for her followers and I am sure with just as much hard work and dedication that she puts into her own comping, her blog will grow and grow and others will enjoy sharing in her successes. Ali’s best comping tip for newbies is to try to remember to send a thank you to the business that sends your prize out. “Manners are free,” she reminds me. “When I won the Thermomix, I sent a thank you to all the businesses that were involved in the promotion and a big majority said I was the first person to thank them.”

     I think this is a tip we all should take on board. Thanks for that great advice, Ali!

Speaking of mums, it’s nearly May and May only means one thing to me – Mothers Day comps! How retailers love Mothers Day.  Mothers Day competitions appear everywhere as May nears. It is amazing how many products and services can be related to Mothers Day. Maybe not tools, but I’d never put it past some company to tie these to Mothers Day (a kitchen renovation, perhaps?). So hold onto your hats for all kinds of competitions appearing with prizes like slippers (an old favourite), chocolates (again…still) flowers, lingerie, and restaurant vouchers and so on.

I fondly remember my son winning a $50 Kmart voucher for me one Mothers Day many years ago when he was quite small. His answer to the question “what is it you love about your mother?” was a simple acrostic poem – Mum Understands Me! As with other competitions you may find photos highlighting smiling mothers, grandmothers and even great-grandmothers could be useful. So get cracking and win some of the amazing prizes up for grabs during the next week or so!

Photo attribution – Miranda Ganache

Buy to Win with Nabbit

 

 

When I began comping many years ago the most common competitions were ‘buy to win’ competitions where you had to purchase a product, keep the receipt or packaging and send off an entry form (or put it in a special box at the supermarket). Times have definitely changed! Obviously the main aim of competitions is to encourage more potential customers to try a businesses product to ultimately increase sales and raise brand awareness in the marketplace.  So having to purchase a product to enter seems perfectly logical.

‘Buy to win’ competitions appeared in the early years of the C20th as seen in advertisements in newspapers and magazines of the time. However, it was during the 1950s that these began to become especially popular when advertising agencies came to realise that the chance of winning a prize (usually a product being promoted) increased ongoing sales, product and brand awareness.  I am sure these ‘buy to win’competitions still work well for businesses and supermarkets otherwise they wouldn’t keep running them. I have actually bought quite a few products in the past to enter competitions, come to like them and continue to buy them, for a while anyway. There are some competitions that came my way unexpectedly by simply buying something I would buy anyway. However I don’t enter all of them. I’m still a little choosy.

These days, however, with Facebook, Instagram and Twitter competitions being so prolific and easy to enter many compers can’t be bothered with ‘buy to win’competitions but statistically if you do enter them you will probably have a reasonably good chance of scoring a prize (even if small) especially if there is a large prize pool and a multiple entry option. But they can be a lot of work entering apart from the added purchase cost.

That is where Nabbit comes in. Nabbit is an app which give you a simple and quick way to enter ‘buy to win’ competitions while you are doing your shopping. Nabbit is easily and quickly downloaded onto your smartphone from the App Store or Goggle Play. Competitions are listed and you can choose any that interest you. You can also be informed of new competitions by email or through the Facebook page as they come onboard. After buying the product (and putting the receipt carefully in your wallet where you can find it if you win), you simply scan the barcode and your details are automatically entered into the competition.

Nabbit was only launched in February this year so the competitions will start to build as it grows. The brains behind Nabbit, Mitchell Barber told me why he developed Nabbit: “a lot of the biggest competitions with the largest prize pools are limited to purchasing a product but unfortunately (or fortunately for those that decide to enter them) not a lot of people end up entering them as they don’t know about them or if they do the steps they need to take to enter are too complicated” Nabbit certainly takes care of that.

I’ve only just downloaded Nabbit and am still trying it out (so haven’t won anything yet…) however it seems to have great potential and I will be keeping an eye on it over the next year or so. As Nabbit scans most barcodes, it also has a function where you can create a shopping list. You can find more information on Nabbit at www.nabbit.com.au.

If you decide it is something worth trying don’t forget that the most important things to remember is to ALWAYS check the Ts & Cs first and take note of anything you need to know before entering and ask for a receipt when buying the product for a competition and keep it somewhere safe. Nearly all ‘buy to win’ competitions will require you to provide a receipt as proof of purchase to claim a prize. There would be nothing worse than winning a prize but not being able to claim it as you didn’t qualify for it, ask for the receipt and kept it safe or had lost it.

Photo attribution – Simon Shek

A Winning Streak

 

 

We all know him on the competitions Forum as inwithachance but he could just as easily call himself mrwinningstreak because this lucky comper, who has only been comping since last August, has been on a winning streak ever since. At last count, he has won 62 prizes (with a few freebies and product reviews thrown in), 28 since the beginning of this year, which means he has won a bit over the average of around two prizes a week., around $7,000 worth in total. Not bad, if I may say so. Some of his latest wins have been DVD’s; movie tickets; a classy cutlery set worth nearly $600; a sound system and a charcoal spit-roaster.

“It all began,” he tells me, “last July when I won $2500 cash in the OzLotteries Lot-O-Trivia competition.” And he hasn’t looked back since then, his wins continue and the prizes keep arriving at his doorstep. Even though he has been enjoying his wins he admits that they have actually caught him by surprise. He tells me that he never thought it could happen to him: but he appreciates how lucky he has been compared to many other compers. He is also very grateful for his wins and thankful for his success even though he says: “sometimes it feels, in a good way, a little bizarre. I feel like I am in a Twilight Zone episode with all these prizes arriving!” Then he adds: “yes, it’s advertising and promotion for the companies and sponsors, but it’s all free.”

     Inwithachance feels much of his success has been due to luck, but he also admits he is very organised and uses his comping time wisely. I asked him for some advice for others, particularly newbie compers and this is what he had to offer. “Enter plenty of competitions and never talk yourself out of entering any. Three times I hummed and haa-ed about entering some but pressed on and won them. Yes, this winning streak is happening to me, but really anyone can be lucky too. Before I put my mind to comping, I never thought of myself as a winner. The only difference between then and now is that I decided to do it.”

     And the proof, I now add to his wise words, is in the pudding, as they say.

He also had a great anecdote to share: “Over the Xmas/NY period the prizes were arriving so fast it was a head-spin, literally!. Here’s how; one day I had just won an instant prize on the home pc when the doorbell rang, I turned around and  it was the delivery man with a prize that I didn’t even know that I’d won! In the space of a few minutes I’d won twice!” 

I took everything inwithachance had to say and eventually looked it up on a few online dictionaries and came across this definition of a winning streak – “a series of consecutive successes, a run of good luck. It is an expression that comes from gambling, possibly originating in the mid-1900s.” ‘Inwithachance’ attributes much of his winning streak to luck, but can we put any winning streak purely down to luck? Surely there is a lot of determined effort involved in all this winning as well, especially in the world of comping. Luck might have been on his side in the random draws, but even then it’s always still a numbers game – the more competitions you enter, the more chances you have of winning something. And what of the WOL comps? I think he has demonstrated a fair degree of skill with those as well and is getting better over time with lots of practise.

However, regardless of what it is that is giving him such a winning edge over most of us (for the time-being anyway) we can only wish him a continued winning streak and hope, like he wishes that some of his good luck will rub off on us! 

Photo attribution: Garry Knight

Mail-in Competitions

 

 

It doesn’t seem to be that long ago when entering competitions meant writing your answer and your contact details on the back of an envelope and posting it off or putting a filled-out entry form into a specially marked box at the supermarket. Well, these days are certainly gone! I have noticed that in other countries, particularly the UK there are still quite a few mail-in competitions but here in Australia, they seem to be few and far between.

I did come across one recently though. It had the option of entering through a website or mailing your entry in. It was through Scrapbooking Memories magazine and I suspect they provided the option to cater to all their readers, some of which they assumed may not have access to the internet. Anyway, after a bit of thought I decided to experiment a little and created an interesting envelope-sized postcard containing my 25 WOL answer on the back as well as a little hand drawing. I sent it off and waited to see what would happen. For after all, it was a creative magazine and I figured, perhaps a little bit of unique creativity would pay off. Well, it did and a few weeks later I found a large package at my door containing a generous pack of scrapbooking supplies and equipment. It was just the thing to help with my next creative postcard competition entry, if I can find one.

This particular competition was a skill-based WOL entry so my chances of winning were a lot better than if it had simply been a random draw. I had a feeling that if my hand drawn creative entry arrived in the mail with a decent WOL answer it would have a reasonable chance of standing out and impressing the judges. It turned out my hunch was right.

Mailing in the answer coupons from puzzle magazines has much less of a chance of being drawn as I estimate there could be thousands of entries in the barrel from which the winners are chosen. Even so, I have managed to score four prizes from these over the last year. I’ve had less success mailing in my name and contact details to the Seniors Newspaper for their monthly giveaways over pretty much the same time period even though I suspect there would be a lot less entries. Oh well. The only things I have won through that paper was a DVD Boxset by sending in a poem for publication.

Mailing in your entries does mean taking into account the added cost of postage (which I have recently found out is going up quite considerably later this year) and this can be a fair amount over time, especially if you are also buying the puzzle magazines each week as well. Bu the price rise of postage may actually improve your chances is less people opt to mail in their entries. Who knows?

When mail-in competitions were more popular much of the advice then was to use coloured envelopes and decorate them to attract attention but unless it was a skills-based competition where they were all read (like the scrapbooking one I entered) this could have been a waste of time. The winning entries were more likely to have just been pulled out of a barrel (or something).

I think there is still some potential to win mail-in competitions if you can find them as most people these days are probably just too lazy to bother as the online ones are so much quicker and easier to enter. I am certainly still going to continue to seek them out and give them my best shot!

 

Photo Attribution – Shan 213

The Pros and Cons of Autofills

 

 

One of the most annoying things you find when you start comping (apart from the fact that you don’t always win straight away) is the tedious task of filling out all the entry forms. Most competitions require quite a bit of information in entry forms, which fascinates me sometimes. Like, why do they always need my birth-date? And I sometimes also wonder whether all the personal information I am typing in is simply going to some database that will be used for identity theft further down the track.

However, so far nothing too dubious or disastrous has happened despite the thousands of forms I have filled out except for the occasional spam email (which is quickly deleted) or the odd telemarketing phone call (quickly dispensed with).

Anyway, back to the tedious task of form-filling. After many months filling out forms by hand some time last year I finally decided to use Chrome Autofill which immediately starts filling out a form as soon as I enter my name. On the surface this seemed like a sensible idea but after using it for a while now and with a bit of reflection, I can see that there are a number of pros and cons to using auto-fills.

On the plus side, it does speed up the form-filling a little, especially if you are entering quite a few competitions in one session. It is kind of magical watching the form instantly fill without touching the keyboard. Chrome Autofill (and most of the others I suspect) is a free function and very easy to set up. You can also trial Roboform for your desktop computer or mobile device for a specific number of applications before paying a relatively small fee for its ongoing use. However, I am still quite happy using Chrome Autofill at this stage.

One of the downsides to using an auto-fill function is that not all forms are the same: some want more information; some want less and depending in the competition, some want additional information (e.g. your Flybuys or Seniors Card number). Very few are laid out the same. So you have to double-check each fill-in to make sure the information is right, in the rights slots and everything that needs to be filled in or ticked, is. Sometimes I find that vital information such as my suburb is omitted which would make it very difficult for the sponsors to send me the prize if I won.

If you use a couple of different emails with one specifically allocated for comping, you will also need to double-check it has filled in the right email as it probably has both in the system. And, of course your auto-fill can’t write that amazing, unique prize-winning WOL answer. Would that be great if it could?

In the Ts & Cs of many competitions, it states that �?automatic entries will be excluded from the draw’. So should we worry that by using an auto-fill this might happen? Probably not because the automatic entries they are probably referring to (but I can’t swear to this) are those bulk entries being placed by third parties services for a fee. Many competition organisers design their entry forms to avoid these sort of entries by adding a CAPTCHA feature or some other way of checking that is it actually a human being filling out the form.

So, all in all, what is my assessment of using an auto-fill function? I think they can be quite useful but not totally relied on. You still need to check the form has been filled to your satisfaction before hitting the �?enter’ button. Then as always, it’s just a matter of crossing your fingers! And waiting….

 

Photo Attribution – Rob Enslin