Comping 101: A Definitive Guide To Winning Competitions
The Art Of Comping
First thing's first, let us start with some definitions before we launch head first into this hub...
- Comp: Abbreviation of Competition.
- Comping: The word to describe the activity of entering more than one competition over a period of time.
- Comper: The person partaking in the activity of comping.
- Sweepstake: A form of competition typically found in betting where the winnings are divided between the winners. Similar to syndicate lottery draw.
- Cash Incentive: A replacement prize for an 'unwanted' winning.
- Post card entry: An entry via post.
- Premium Rate Competitions: Competitions which are typically entered by phone often costing money and subscription fees.
The above definitions are probably the most important words you'll ever need whilst comping and reading this hub.
So, back to The Art Of Comping;
It is possible to walk away from competitions a winner with your arms full of prizes but to achieve this, there's an art one must learn. You can also walk away with thousands of pounds worth of prizes without spending a penny, even by entering PREMIUM RATE COMPETITIONS!
You see, to explain this art, we need to first figure out why companies offer competitions?
And this is simple to answer, so stop figuring it out and let me tell you...
How much does it cost to feature a full page advert in a national newspaper for an entire month? £100, maybe £200? Nope, higher.
No... still higher.
We are looking at between £3000 and £7000 whereas hosting a competition where one winner will win a week-long holiday to the Caribbean with £1000 spending money on a competition forum for one month will be significantly cheaper! So economically speaking, it's better than an advert. The downside is, not half as many people use these websites as opposed to those who'll see the news paper.
It's better for us too, to see a competition rather than an advert, I mean... think about it; which would you rather?
Would you rather...
I don't need to see the results to know that any normal person would rather see an advert which both raises awareness fo a product and gives an opportunity to win the said product. As human beings, we don't like barnd-new stuff all too much, typically speaking anyway, instead we like the option to try before we buy. This is evident even in our life times, it is very rare now that a person will abstain from sex before marriage, this is because we like to try before we buy!
So, here the question that BEGS to be answers:
How do I guarantee that I'll win competitions?
The truth is, you can't. But what you CAN do is treat comping like you do your day job and systematically greatly increase the probability of winning.
For example, if you dabble in the occasional competition, it is like placing all of your money on a bet on the 0 in Roulette with little chance of success whereas if you say divide your m,oney by twenty and place smaller bets over twenty numbers, you have a much higher chance of winning.
In other words, rather than bet it all in one go on one competition,enter several competitions to increase the probability of you winning. In fact, the probability of winning a competition is revealed by Money Saving Experts later in this hub.
PLEASE NOTE: The below is not a link to a competition but a photo of a competition advert.
You should treat comping as a second job.
What inspired me to become a comper?
Back in September, I entered a competition without even realising it. You see, I use a Sony Xperia Z smartphone and it's on it's way out; I had learned that the latest model, the Z3, will be released by Christmas so I registered for updates (so that I'd get an email the day of it's release) via the EE (used to be Orange and T-Mobile) website and unwittingly entered a competition to win a £100 Amazon Voucher.
Come the first of October, last year, I received a telephone call off a lady called Emma, she had a sickly, sweet voice and she informed me I had won.
Now, you see those texts you get saying you've won a $1000 ebay gift card, even though you're British and never entered an ebay competition? Well, that would be a scam which usually asks you to 'confirm' your account details so they can pilfer your accounts and leave you broke. As a rule,. if I don't remember entering, I won't open the link.
So naturally, I thought this was a joke or a scam or something and didn't believe it. She assured me I would receive an email with the voucher code and well, whats the harm in a single email?
Sure enough, fifteen minutes later, I had an email from Emma@EECompetitions.Com (or something similar) and I thought it must be similar to the fake emails from Paypal@hotmail.com, right? We've all had them, even those who don't have paypal are inundated with claims that a payment into their paypal account needs verifying. Inside the email was a voucher code and, see I'm smart, rather than click the link to claim the voucher, I went to Amazon.co.uk and set up an entirely new account and applied the voucher code to my account manually and low and behold, my gift certificate balance was up £100. It wasn't a con.
Since the new year, I've been entering competitions religiously, being unemployed there's not much else to do and I won't lie, I've not had much success but I've had more success these two weeks into the new year than I have the past twenty years I've gone not entering competitions.
Yourr favourite method of comping?
What's your favourite comping method?
More Reasons Companies Offer Comps.
We've already covered the cost of a competition in comparison to running an advert. But why else is a competition more beneficial to a consumer?
- Gives consumers the sense of having fun rather than filling in a pointless survey.
- Allows companies to gain data on individual consumers for the purposes of selling on to other marketing companies or for the purposes of market research.
- Also, competitions offer an opportunity for people to visit the company website and to further advertise other products which are available.
So what exactly is comping?
Comping is systematically putting in the hours to gain winning entries into competitions, greatly increase the statistical chance of winning a competition. Compers aren't people who enter just one competition here and there over the course of their lives, these are just individuals. Compers enter several competitions a day, sometimes into the hundreds of competitions per day.
But why is comping one of the best ways to get rich?
Well that's easy,,, Just like gambling wins,
Competitions wins are TAX-FREE!
Yes, that's right. Just like gambling wins and gifts (up to the value of £60'000), competitions are exempt from the greasy hands of the tax-man. This means, when you win big, you really win and the government don't steal any of it!
For those wondering, yes, competition wins are also exempt from the greed of the Child Support Agency and Child Maintenance Agency, unless the receiving parent specifically asks for these funds to be investigated as income. How to avoid that, just don't tell the receiving parent.
Let's get this straight; Competitions are NEVER guaranteed wins.
In fact, if they are guaranteed wins, then it's not a competition. instead, it's a freebie. It isn't the same.
But you CAN increase your probability of winning significantly by entering more than one competition more than once and I'll teach you how to 'cheat' the system*.
*Please be aware, if you choose to 'cheat' the system, you do so at your own risk. In fact, this guide holds no responsibility for the actions of it's readers regardless of whether they are acting on my advice or not, my advice is designed to be impartial so that readers can make an informed decision on their actions. They are to use my advice only as reference .
Success is never guaranteed in this life, But hobbies are, so treat comping as a hobby more than a job, if you must treat it like a job then treat it like a commission only sales job where a lot of potential leads pull out regularly.
Examples of Winners From Around The Web.
It is possible to win, and just scouting the Money Saving Experts forum and I see many winners. For example, the next two are winners of MSE competitions and the last one is a winner of ITV's Good Morning Show competition.
- Aptly names LUCKYSTAR101 won £20thousand and her rent paid for two years (MSE)
- PINKTEEGAN won a wedding worth £17thousand and honeymoon! (Also MSE) and;
- Isla *last name not published* won £20thousand and a top of the range BMW (ITV GOOD MORNING).
Clearly, these sort of competitions, especially the one on ITV (a VERY popular TV channel in the UK), would have had thousands if not millions of entries and only one winner was chosen. Like with the Lottery? The lottery is an example of a sweepstake, a type of competition I've defined at the start of the article. whereby you'll have an x in y chance of winning where x is equal to the amount of lines of numbers you hold and y is equal to the several thousand to million other people who have entered.
The Institute Of Promotional Marketing prove a kite mark on a lot (but not all) legitimate competition sites, to obtain this the competition provider must comply with strict promotional guidelines and you'll find many of these competitions, you'll statistically have a much less chance opf winning as these competitions will be more popular as they are 'verified'.
More Tips On Comping
- Technology is your friend. Most browsers today are equipped with Auto-Fill, making the previous advise you've read on the web about copying and pasting from a premade text document your details into forms pretty much null and void. Also, there's a program called AutoHotKey, which makes filling in forms as quick as a push of a button, should your browser not have auto-fill options, a quick google of your browser + Autofill will show you how to configure it if it's not done so automatically.
- Dedicate times where you will solely be entering competitions and figure out whether your primary competition method will be online, bye phone/text or by post.
- Keep a diary of all the competitions you've entered! This will help you to not renter competitions more than once unless you choose you.
- Have an email address specifically designed to receive your junk mail, competition websites are notorious for spam. They will sell your details to other marketing companies, it's their biggest income spinner and nothing will ever change that.
- Also, a comping HotLine wouldn't go amiss either. A dedicated, cheap, disposable phone you will use to receive all those boring marketing texts/calls.
- Create an email template for your email entries, often a competition will email you asking for your details to confirm entries or to offer exclusive competitions only enter-able via email.
- NEVER PAY FOR COMPING LISTS (or to enter competitions). This, I can't stress enough. Firstly, most comping lists are out of date and been available online for years for free which someone has taken and then sold. Most lists you'll buy will be found several pages away for free on a search engine, do not fall for this trap. Also, PREMIUM RATE COMPETITIONS ARE FREE. All premium competitions MUST by law offer a free method of entry, usually on their website but sometimes by email or post only.
Top Tip: TURBO CHARGE YOUR ENTRIES...
Turbo charge your entries by opening several competitions in several new tabs at once, work your way through them whilst the new tabs load... I'd suggest opening no more than ten new tabs to prevent your computer from crashing and to optimise visual appearance. If you can't see what tab you're on, how can you progress?
It's the way of the world for less deserving people to win.
So, if you see a competition you don't particularly want to win, enter it anyway. Nobody more deserving is going to win. And if you're lucky enough to win it, you can always ask for a cash incentive or sell the prize (selling the prize usually yields more money than being offered a cash incentive anyway), just be careful of non-transferable prizes, like personalised items or often gift vouchers.
Keep a Prize Draw Calander
So you can see when compition winners are selected. Often, the competition providers won't contact you to say you've won, that way they can keep the prizes/give them to someone else/rerun the entire competition. Most will announce their winners by phone, email and online but some will only announce winners using only one medium.
Explaining The Asterisk (*)
No, not the little guy with a winged hat. But the marker to show where further explanation is offered*. Keep an eye on that little star just there and you'll see further information usually in the small print. This will give you the special permissions it refers to and often special rules which apply which could cost you your prize.
*ALWAYS READ THE TERMS AND CONDITIONS, as these will give you the draw dates, the rules and sometimes the probability of winning (usually in sweepstakes).
Some freebies I've recieved this month from AptiClub, Cow&Gate and Andrex......
FREEBIES and TIMESHARES
Sometimes, you'll receive a guaranteed win. This isn't a competition, it's a freebie. There's a host of Freebie Forums on the web, a google search will reveal the top two, Magic Freebies and Freebies UK. These are great for trying new things but don't expect anything great. Even if it says claim a free bottle of Pantene Pro-V, usually it's mistaken for the word "SAMPLE".
Don't get me wrong, samples are brilliant. So are freebies, but it's not what this hub is about.
Also, TIME SHARES, they are NOT competitions! Even though you do get 'FREE' holidays as advertised, you need to sit through a presentation and then purchase a time share which means you get paid each year if you don't use your share (of time) to accommodate the holiday villa/caravan/whatever. But if you do choose to, minus entertainment passes and travel, it is a free holiday. But you don't get any free holidays without parting with your cash first.
IF YOU HAVE TO PAY TO ENTER, IT IS NOT A COMPETITION!
Rule of Thumb: Avoid parting with your cash.