Competition Blog

Comps, scams and seafood surprize

By Lynne Suzanne
4 June 2020
During the Coronavirus lockdown I spent some time sorting through my photos, reliving memories of those wonderful travel and holiday competition prizes, win-teresting places I’d visited, new experiences and friendships along the way, which sparked an idea for this article.

The great thing about entering prize competitions is that it’s a pastime you can devote as little or as much time to it as you wish, and even return to after a period of months, even years.

I started comping quite by accident. My husband and I were both made redundant at the same time, and in-between job hunting, I read a newspaper article about a lady who had won thousands of pounds worth of prizes, holidays, cars, completely furnished her whole house, and even won the house itself!

With absolutely nothing to lose, I decided to give it a go. It was an exciting period of my life, winning two cars, worldwide holidays, games and toys for my family, and especially those prizes that money couldn’t buy (like reading the weather on TV, unless that happens to be your job of course).

A change of career meant life became busier and competitions, I’m sad to say, took a back seat.

Then six years ago, I picked up this pastime again. Although tiebreaker slogan competitions had almost disappeared, I won a creative task competition in a national magazine with a prize trip to the French Alps in a luxury villa; and another creative task comp online to win a family holiday to see Santa in Lapland.

Shortly after, entering literally hundreds of online prize draws, with no wins whatsoever, I stopped entering.

Fast forward to 2020 and having been in lockdown for the past couple of months, and sorting photos, I decided it was time to start entering again, but where to begin!

Fired with enthusiasm, I designed a website, found some articles I’d written many years ago, and published them online. It was good to re-read these as it gave a nostalgic insight into how the world of comping has changed.

Next plan was to decide what sort of competitions to enter and I decided to follow my own advice, entering around twenty free prize draws weekly, where winning is the “luck of the draw”, and to concentrate on entering just a few creative competitions a month.

Having done my research as to the types of competitions online, I’m avoiding social media contests, concentrating instead on those comps and prize draws promoted on supermarket, brand manufacturers and national magazine websites.

I have one email address purely for entering competitions. In my in-box, I added a folder marked competitions setting up a rule so that all emails from my comping email address automatically go into that folder. This means I can easily check the folder to see whether I’ve won a prize and delete any marketing emails that aren’t of interest.

You normally find, when you enter online competitions, that you are given an option to receive newsletters from either the promoter, prize sponsor or from third parties by email, SMS or postal. The choice is yours. However, even if you opt-in to receive a newsletter and then find you are receiving too many emails from that source, or indeed no longer wish to receive them, you can click the unsubscribe button, normally at the end of each email.

I hope you always read the competitions rules to ensure you don’t disqualify your entry from some infringement of the rules, or waste your time entering only to find the competition is country or age group specific, for example, a children’s competition.

Given the number of online scams and fraud, I always hover my cursor over any unsubscribe button to check it does belong to the competition promoter (and not a scam), and indeed was a factor in my decision to only enter competitions from companies and brands I’ve heard of. I avoid phone-in and SMS competitions, the latter simply due to receiving too many texts on my mobile, favouring online or postal competitions.

Where and how you decide to enter your competitions, both online and offline, it helps to be organised. If you keep a spreadsheet, or write in a notebook, those comps you’ve entered together with the URL website address, it helps avoid sending in two entries to a ‘one per household’ competition. It also makes for a useful list of website addresses which you can bookmark on your browser. It is easy then to return to those websites that frequently offer prize draws.

I find many of the creative task competitions I enter are from specialist magazines. For example, if you are a keen photographer, then you’ll find you can best use your talents to submit win-teresting entries. Many pastimes have specialist magazines including angling, motor cycling, sewing, crafts, travel, writing, cookery and other topics.

Cookery reminds me of a comping friend who submitted her ‘Seafood Surprise’ to a supermarket recipe competition, and only decided to try it out on her family AFTER posting her entry. It tasted ghastly. She tried again, testing on her family first, and this time it was delicious, so she posted another entry. When the supermarket manager phoned to say she’d won in her store, inviting her to have lunch with the staff, he revealed how they were looking forward to trying ‘Seafood Surprise’. She hastily thanked him and declined. It was months later before she dared ventured into that branch again, and still doesn’t know what the staff thought of their lunch!

However, you enter your comps, I wish you good luck. Stay safe. Happy Comping, Lynne Suzanne.
You can vist Lynne Suzanne at http://www.lynnesuzanne.com/