In the first of our 'Comping Questions' posts I'm covering some of the most common questions about your email address, Facebook name and avatars – all of which may affect your chances in an online competition!
Should I have a separate email address for comping?
It's definitely a good idea to set up a new email address (I recommend Gmail) for your comping - and perhaps you could set it as your main Facebook contact email too, if you do a lot of comping on Facebook and want to receive your notifications via email. It's not a good idea to make any reference to your hobby in your email address. Even though all prize draw winners should be drawn at random, some companies might manually check the emails and might not like the idea of 'compers' winning! Wherever possible, try to use a short and memorable email address rather than using numbers - you might have to text it for a competition or write it out on entry forms and a short address saves valuable comping time.
Can I use a nickname on Facebook?
What about a Twitter username?
Again, try not to reference comping. I'm stuck with the username SuperluckyDi and I do think that adversely affects my Twitter win rate (which is very, very low!). With a Twitter name, choose something short and memorable with no numbers - so it's hard for a promoter to mis-type it. If your desired name is already in use, how about using characters from songs, books or your favourite films?
My name is really common - I regularly think I've won on Facebook when it's someone else with the same name. What can I do?
Do you have a middle name? Adding your middle initial is an easy way to give yourself a unique name on Facebook - or you could use a quirky mis-spelling of your name!
Does my profile photo make any difference?
If you're entering comps on a Facebook wall (Like, Comment or Share comps) or on Twitter then there's no easy way for a promoter to randomly pick a winning entry. The likelihood is that they will scroll through the list of Likers/Sharers/Retweeters and choose one - so having an appealing, funny, eyecatching or relevant profile photo may well work in your favour! If you enter a lot of baby comps, you could use a photo of you and your baby as your profile photo - the company will then see that your prize is going to a good home (the same applies to pets!). Think about a photo that could be relevant to the time of year - at Christmas you could have a photo of yourself in a Santa hat, or you could take a silly photo especially for the Olympics. I rarely see winners announced who have the default Facebook 'silhouette' or Twitter 'egg'- they seem to put off promoters. And I do believe that companies would rather choose a winner with a 'real' photo of a person rather than a cartoon - but that's just my opinion!
Will promoters click through to see a potential winner's profile page?
If a promoter chooses you as a winner, they might well click your name to check out your Twitter or Facebook profile before they announce your name. If you're already using Facebook Timeline make sure your large 'cover' photo is appealing - a family photo or something funny looks good. Having a timeline full of competitions doesn't bother most promoters, but a few might be put off if they see all your posts are Retweets or Share comps, with no friendly chat at all - try and interact with friends once in a while too!
If you've got any more questions on the topic of online identity, please ask them in the Comments section - or pop back to our original Comping Questions thread to ask me about any other comping matters!
I have entered many comps and I would say 1% I have got somewhere and sadly it's usually when there is a very low turn out....Well done to you for winning so much, I dream of winning a holiday for My Family, although I do not like the voting comps and try to avoid those.
Well, 1% is actually quite a high success rate - mine is about the same! How old are your family? I won two holidays last year thanks to my son starring in video competitions - you could always try those!
That's good to know actually, as I calculated a winning percentage of 0.6% for Feb comps!!! I just thought I was quite unlucky!!!!
Do you think that competition sponsors who ask for your date of birth sort out younger people to win? I am 67, I don't mind telling you that but I think I probably get 'disqualified' from comps because of my age.
I've often wondered whether age affects one's chances of winning. I guess maybe some people lie about how old they are, but I'm too much of a scaredy cat for that.
It's something I've wondered about too. I haven't lied either. I started comping very recently and have won four prizes, one on Facebook, one on Twitter, one instant prize and one where I had to be a member. None asked for my date of birth!
I agree with most of comments Di makes,but wonder if she feels its right to use videos of her son to try and win prizes.
Personally,I find this un-ethical.
Thanks for your comment! We all feel differently about how public our comping is, and for me it was natural for me to involve Ryland because comping is such a big part of my life and I've always shared a lot of photos on my blog and Facebook so keeping his identity secret wasn't an issue. I choose to make videos and take photos of activities that he will enjoy, I would never force him to do anything he didn't want to. I draw the line at any 'bonniest baby' type photo comps as I believe they're wrong: everyone knows their own child is the most gorgeous! The two holidays that Ry's videos won for me were both family trips to Europe, so are amazing prizes for him to enjoy. As soon as he stops enjoying it, I'll stop filming him: but for now he loves to watch himself on YouTube so I'll keep making my silly videos!
Reece, now that stamps are so pricey I definitely think it's worth doing postal comps as the entry numbers will really have dwindled. Don't bother with the ones where you can also enter online or by text though - stick to the ones where you can ONLY enter by postcard. Local papers/magazines and kids mag/comics are still full of these. I usually make my postcards between A6 and A5 size, often funny shapes with stickers and pictures on - if you can get hold of the fancy stamps to use too, that always makes them stand out! My theory is that the promoter would prefer the prize to go to someone who will appreciate it - so if you spend time on your entry then it's obvious you really want the prize! Another tip is to enter near the closing date, so your beautifully designed entry will be at the top of the pile when they choose a winner!
How do promoters choose a winner if compers are able to enter by text, post, email or through their website all for the same competition? In particular, would they favour text entrants who frequently pay for a premium rate text.
I started comping at the beginning of the year, both postal and online.i was entering over 400 cimps a moth had only won one item in that time. After having read your post on using emails that dont reference comping i think i'll have to rethink.my email and try again just to see if there is any difference?
As you can see my online name is compercol . I have previously won a few prizes using that name but have not won anything for a long time .I have now changed my email address so hope to win soon !!!!! PS I have not changed my log in here as i hope you don't have such a policy
compercol, we LOVE compers here at the PrizeFinder so no need to worry about that!
Most promoters email winners now, so I don't see that it would make much difference! With all the PPI calls it's not surprising that some people don't want to leave a number, and that should be understandable for the promoter!
IVE been doing compititions for some time time came across them when i was ill at beinging of the year entered lots and lots got nothing what am i doing wrong give me a clue
Lizzy, are you trying a variety of comps? As well as PrizeFinder listings, try searching for comps on Google, using Twitter or Pinterest, picking up your local free mags and papers. Facebook is an excellent source of comps with multiple prizes!
Hi Kee welcome to comping! One of the drawbacks of comping us def the amount of spam email- I must get at least 30 of those casino, confirm your details, euro millions ones a day! Hopefully if you mark these as spam in your email software they should start to get filtered out. Can you search in your email? If so you can search for "winner" or "congratulations" and check that way. Some promoters make it less obvious though, so do still be vigilant when deleting emails.
As for the phone calls, again it's a comping drawback. Some people keep a PAYG mobile SIM just for comping so it doesn't interfere with their personal phone line, but I'd be scared of missing important winning calls. What kind of companies are you entering through? Are they prize websites like my offers, if individual promoters? Generally you will get less spam through direct entries and social media.
Hope to see your winning announcements on our Share your Wins blogs! Good luck! X
Welcome to The PrizeFinder Steve, that's some great advice! Keep the positive vibes coming and lots of good luck to you! Kirsty x
Just a quick comping question , is it possible to get "black listed" as competition wins have dropped off dramatically over the last few months. 2013 was very good for me but 2014 not so , I believe I haven't changed my approach to competitions and I realise that nothing is guaranteed . If nothing else I will carry on and see if it picks up again .
Many Thanks to all of the team who make this a great site for comping
Hiya sorry to hear the wins have tailed off a bit. I personally believe that there are now so many extra compers around, mainly from seeing success stories in the media of compers who have won loads of great prizes, that the hit rate for us longer established compers has decreased somewhat. Do you do the lower entry comps like creative and Instagram/Pinterest? I think they are still somewhat of an untapped resource and may offer better results? My first weeks back comping since Christmas have been pretty rubbish too, compared to last year. I would say don't give up, keep at it and try and do more of the lower entry comps if you can. Good luck with everything! xx