Okay, these competition cheaters are not to be confused with cougars. Competition cheaters are the small number of people who cheat when entering competitions.
Companies, agencies and promoters have a responsibility to ensure as level a playing field as possible for entrants, to ensure fairness for the entrants and to prevent brand damage.
More and more companies are utilising Facebook as a competitions mechanism, however they appear to be naive as to how these are easily rorted.
Most Facebook competitions are decided on who obtains the most ‘votes’.
Here are some ways the competition cheaters fix the odds in their favour. Hopefully promoters may take notice and stamp these practices out. One easy way would be to not run Facebook ‘Like’ competitions.
There are many websites set up for exchanging votes and are dedicated to people who have no relationship to each other, with participants joining from all over the world. They join with the sole purpose to exchange votes or Likes in competitions.
Some entrants are using ‘freelancer’ type websites to pay others to vote for their entries, like the example image above.
Where promoters state one entry per person and are tracking IP addresses (a unique number allocated to each internet connected device), entrants sometimes use various proxy servers and/or Virtual Private Networks (VPN), which allocate a different IP address to circumvent IP tracking.
Facebook entrants have been known to create multiple Facebook profiles to enable more votes to be allocated to their Facebook entry, where the highest number of Likes is the winner.
Referral competitions, where an entrant receives additional entries for each referred friend, are similar in that entrants can create as many new free email accounts as they wish, and they basically refer themselves, thereby obtaining multiple entries.
Barcode competitions are simply a waste of time as far as product purchase proof is concerned, as entrants can simply obtain a barcode after the competition closes if they are drawn as a winner.
One of the oldest tricks still being used is where a product purchase is required to enter a competition and a receipt is required to claim the prize. Cheating entrants enter without the receipt, then if the promoter asks for the receipt (they don’t always ask), the entrant is part of a receipt sharing group and obtains it. The other slant on the competition winner requiring a receipt is where the winner has bought the goods, however has no interest in the product, and returns the product with the receipt after the competition closes.
lottos.com.au has had a ‘no cheat’ policy standing prior to when most other websites even existed and has always encouraged our members to tell promoters to ask for receipts (where purchase is a condition of entry), at time of entry, not after announcing a winner, as shown in this post, from June 2004: http://www.lottos.com.au/competitions/viewthreadlite.php?tid=24284
lottos.com.au does have more competition winners, more often, through the encouragement of honest comping practices!