I can’t believe how long it has been since I last posted! This autumn seems to have bypassed me and at the rate we’re going it’ll soon be Christmas. I have one reasonably good excuse for my lacking of blogging – namely that after a 3 month plus wait we finally got a date for Abi’s heart surgery at the start of the month, and have had to attend a pre-op session and then return for the surgery itself. In the grand scheme of heart surgeries it was a fairly simple op, but when it’s your child on the operating table that’s not any real comfort. Happily she is recovering well, and hopefully a check up tomorrow will give her the all clear.
Now while I would like to claim the rest of my time has been spent burning off energy and stress at the gym that is only partly true. I have to confess that my competitioning habit has been taking up a lot of spare time. I started entering competitions back in the spring, having seen a friend enjoy win after win, including some amazing prize bundles. I started off as she suggested using The Prize Finder website, plus doing comps on Twitter and Facebook. It took some time for the prizes to start trickling in but it was worth the wait.
More recently I’ve been introduced to some groups on Facebook that share competitions and found one that particularly focuses on prizes for kids, what with Xmas on the horizon. With Abi also due in hospital I thought it would be great to try and win some extra treats for her, and help put some things away for her and my nieces too. So, I now spend a bit of time most days checking through the groups. And the funny thing is the people are very supportive of each other and keen to share competitions they’ve found with others. You’d expect people to try and improve their own odds by keeping quiet but it’s totally the opposite, which is great. The groups also seem to enjoy seeing other members win, maybe not as much as when it’s your own win, but it’s still a nice community which was a bit of a surprise to me.
I’ve also seen a bit of the other side of comping too though, and it’s amazing the lengths both compers and promoters will go to. Join an active comping group on Facebook and you will soon realise there are a lot of cheats out there, running multiple Facebook, Twitter and email accounts to get around rules about single entries. I have no idea how they have the time to do it, and part of me says if they have the time and energy to juggle so many accounts good luck to them, but the other part thinks why should cheats prosper when there are a lot of genuine people like me who spend time sat at home – some with kids, some physically unable to get out – who would rather be entering comps than watching TV or playing computer games, hoping they can win a few treats for their families and friends. I am sure there are people out there who will enter anything for the sake of winning, and then flog what they never really wanted on ebay, but my experience is that largely people only enter comps for things they want for themselves or know they could give to a friend or family member who wants or needs that item.
Now I don’t see any harm in that, but I have noticed some companies, and indeed some bloggers, who have a real problem with compers and the idea of someone who enters lots of comps as a hobby winning their prizes. I find it an odd attitude, as we do the same things to get a valid entry and are also spreading the word about goods and services being promoted, so I don’t think the contempt I have seen in some instances levelled at compers is reasonable. Anyone running a competition needs to be aware that there are rules and Codes of Practice in place that need to be followed, such as The British Code of Advertising, Sale Promotion and Direct Marketing (known as ‘the CAP Code’) I have seen bloggers talking on Twitter saying they would redraw a comp if the winner randomly drawn was not someone who regularly interacted on their blog – not cool and I suspect against the rules.
In fact some of the worst behaviour I have seen has been on the part of promoters. Just like week a company found itself in trouble when it posted a tirade against people who comp as a hobby and tried to refuse a prize to the winner who had been randomly selected because they were unhappy about her being a comper. They tried using technicalities but failed miserably, got a lot of negative attention and in the end made an online apology and sent the winner a massive bunch of flowers to say sorry for suggesting she was fake.
Most people heard about the Blue Peter debacle some time ago, but I think the most loathsome thing I have seen was in the last few days. A competition had been launched on Facebook by a company with a page that had only just been created. It was for a prize worth about £1500 and unsurprisingly attracted a lot of attention. However when the company failed to respond to certain questions and no winner was announced after the closing date it began to look a bit suspicious.
Eventually after a number of posts on the wall the company announced a winner who, despite entries from all over the place, coincidentally came from the same town where the company was located. One individual was so convinced there was something off about that they dug a bit further, realised the winner’s FB account was newly created, had no friends and one picture and also noticed they had not submitted a entry to the competition. They decided to go a google image search on the winners profile picture and they turned up a few hits – for a lady from another country who had died in a car accident. Strangely when this was put to the company both their page and the winners page disappeared. Terrible behaviour for the sake of some Facebook likes.
It’s a funny old hobby comping, but on the basis I’ve won over £750 worth of goods (from jellybeans and pens to a Barbour jacket) in 7 months it’s not one I’ll be giving up soon. If you’re a blogger running comps who is sceptical about compers why not try and engage with some of us, we don’t bite and lots of us will make extra special efforts to promote companies and services that do because it goes with the territory.