Winning me over

I freely admit that until recently I was a sceptic when it came to free draws, especially the ones that are a regular feature on social media sites. I assumed they were a cynical ploy to gather followers, likes and attention in general with no one actually winning anything. If anyone did win it was for the sake of appearances and they were probably friends or relatives of staff. I still suspect there are some unscrupulous companies out there doing just that but over the last few months have been converted to “comping”.

It started with a friend posting one competition after another on her Facebook wall. Some people weren’t exactly backwards in coming forwards with their opinions on how stupid she was in thinking she might win, or on their distaste for having to trawl through all these posts on their own feed. The latter is a fair point, and something I now try to bear in mind. Both the vocal naysayers and quiet doubters began to realise we might need to reassess when she started winning. And when I say started winning I don’t mean just once or twice, some days she was winning 2 or 3 times a day. She’s now approaching 100 wins for the year, including a £3000 prize package.

Before long, feeling a little envious of all the cool booty she was bagging, I asked her how she was doing it. Essentially she has a lot of time to devote to it, which didn’t help me much. What did help though was discovering the websites dedicated to telling you about current competitions and giveaways. There are a few but my tried and tested favourite is definitely The Prize Finder. On any given day they list over 3000 competitions which you can search in a variety of ways.

Having quite a lot on my plate I condense my comping into a bit of time first thing in the morning and then in the lull before bedtime. It has replaced time where in the past I would have been playing Farmville or Candy Crush so if anything it is time that has become more productive. I read a piece of advice that suggested you should enter 5 comps a day if you wanted to see results. I definitely do more than that but couldn’t devote myself to it even if I wanted to.

Since the last week of April I have won 26 prizes. Some of them are little things like sample packs of teabags, but at the other end of the scale I won premier tickets for ladies night at Exeter Racecourse, gig tickets (more on those soon), Costa vouchers, clothes, shoes and the gorgeous hardback book and DVD accompanying BBC’s Africa series. No massive wins, but I’m well over £200 in value and you never know what is round the corner. At the moment I’m focusing my efforts on winning a tablet for my dad. My sister has started entering a few comps and she too is getting wins.

I can’t pretend it’s all wonderful. Form filling can be a bit tedious and there are some companies offering great prizes but only in return for providing your info to PPI claims companies and the like. It’s pretty easy to sort the wheat from the chaff though. If you are planning on entering regularly you might want to have a separate email address to use as inevitably you have to provide one which can lead to spam and never ending newsletters.  On balance though I think it’s worth it – as the saying goes you have to be in it to win it.

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