Giveaway Bloggers – How to Manually Review Rafflecopter Entries to Keep It Fair

by Rachel on August 2, 2011

in Blogging Resources, blogging tips, Giveaways

It’s no secret that I love Rafflecopter, the giveaway contest widget.  I was getting kind of burned out on running giveaways due to all the behind the scenes work required, then along came Rafflecopter and set my heart aflutter.  I dare say it has revolutionized the little world of blog giveaways.  But today’s post isn’t about me crushing on Rafflecopter (although I do, pretty hard).

Like all things in life, Rafflecopter isn’t quite perfect and is still a beta program being constantly refined.  One of its major benefits is that you can kind of put everything on auto-pilot – the readers submit the entries within the widget and it keeps track of them, so all you have to do when the giveaway ends is click the “Add a Winner” button.

Except, you may be missing some really important stuff going on with your giveaway entries that skew the odds of winning unfairly.  Rafflecopter uses Javascript and cookies to keep track of who has already entered and which entries they’ve done.  The entrant must first do the mandatory entry, which will then ‘unlock’ all the other options.  A reader should only be able to do the mandatory entry once, and the only entries that show up multiple times are the ones I set as daily entries such as tweeting or daily votes.  However, problems arise when cookies are cleared or that person enters on different computers.

I’ve noticed when I click on Moderate Entries and manually review all the entries, that duplicate entries are slipping through the cracks and in a big way.  I’m not talking one or two or even three – I just reviewed a giveaway that ended and only had about 200 entries, and I had to delete nearly 20 duplicate entries! There were 2 or 3 people who had run down almost the entire list of entry options twice.

As someone who also enters a lot of giveaways, I’d be highly upset if I knew that other people in the contest were getting twice the entries, giving them an unfair advantage if the blogger didn’t check through the entries first and just let Rafflecopter randomly pick the winner.  Please be aware that I will be reviewing all entries prior to choosing a winner, so you can be sure that it’s a fair giveaway.

Luckily, Rafflecopter makes it easy to manually review entries and here’s how:

1. From your Rafflecopter dashboard, click on the giveaway and click “moderate”

2. Click “Show List” (or you can export the whole file to Excel, but I think this way is easier) and it will display a grid of all the entries.

3.  Where the dropdown box says “Group By:”, select name.  For any name that has multiple entries, I do a quick scan and make sure none of them are duplicates.

4.  If you see an entry that is duplicated, check the box to the left of that entry and click the red “remove entries” button at top.

I realize that many people just pick a winner and then just double check their entries, but giveaways are a game of odds.  If there are an extra 20-30 entries in even a small giveaway, it skews the odds for all participants.

The Rafflecopter blog also has an article explaining the grid and how to identify cheating on Rafflecopter, which includes helpful screenshots.  I hope this helps all of use Rafflecopter a little more wisely!

If you want giveaway hosts using Rafflecopter to ensure that everything is legit and fair, feel free to re-tweet this or share using one of the buttons below.

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{ 37 comments… read them below or add one }

ohkeeka August 2, 2011 at 9:22 pm

Thanks for the tip–I just started using Rafflecopter and I was hoping to eliminate all the checking for duplicates. I hate cheaters!
ohkeeka recently posted..Pittsburgh Soda Pop Review + GiveawayMy Profile

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Rachel August 3, 2011 at 8:35 am

Yeah, it was nice at first when I thought I could just click a button to pick a winner, but this only takes a few minutes and is worth it I think. Nothing is perfect, I guess :)
Rachel recently posted..Giveaway Bloggers – How to Manually Review Rafflecopter Entries to Keep It FairMy Profile

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Erika August 2, 2011 at 10:00 pm

Thanks for the tip! I’ve been using rafflecopter for my giveaways this past month and love it, but like you I’d wondered about duplicate entries. I will definitely follow your tips from here on out – thanks.
Also congrats on switching to WP! My designer is moving me over tomorrow and I’m so excited! Any tips for me?
Erika recently posted..Eatsmart Bathroom Scale Review & GiveawayMy Profile

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Rachel August 3, 2011 at 8:38 am

If you have a designer doing your transfer, you should be good to go. I did it myself and was changing code around, and I learned to ALWAYS BACK UP your work before making more changes!

Make sure you transfer your GFC widget and feedburner account too, and I suggest setting it up where all your old blogger links automatically convert and redirect to show on your new WP address (not just the homepage). If you need links to tutorials on how to do that stuff, just let me know :)
Rachel recently posted..Giveaway Bloggers – How to Manually Review Rafflecopter Entries to Keep It FairMy Profile

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Erika August 3, 2011 at 11:09 pm

Yes my designer is doing it. She’s starting tonight – I’m so excited! I already have my own domain name so hopefully I won’t have too many issues in regards to stats changing, etc. (FIngers crossed there!)
I would love some tutorial links if you get a chance – once the move is complete, I will still have to learn how WP works! Thanks so much! :) Btw, you did an awesome job for moving your blog yourself! Woohoo!
Erika recently posted..Under ConstructionMy Profile

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Rachel August 4, 2011 at 12:20 am

Thanks Erika! My blog is still a work in process, but it’s getting closer to where I want it to be :) I’ll try to post some tutorials soon.
Rachel recently posted..Blogging Meme – July Traffic Report My Profile

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stacey dempsey August 3, 2011 at 6:35 am

i am glad you are doing this, i actually really like rafflecopter , but i have run into a few glitches, if you clear your browser , which you have to do as regular maintenance on your computer , then you cant do you daily tweet without doing the mandatory again. I have had days i didnt clear my browser and this has happened, and with all the blog hops right now where you follow like 40 blogs etc, i was getting confused which ones i had done or not, especailly when all the buttons went green again lol i hope that blogs also realise that when the blogs join up it is hard to remember which blog you entered on with some of them, i know there is one i did twice, not on the same blog but turned out to be the same contest , so i hope that on the flip side blog owners dont assume we are cheating either, i hope the bugs get worked out soon as i, like you dont want to be up against people abusing the system, and also dont want to be wasting my time entering to be disqualified if i screw it up lol so that has been my experience so far

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Rachel August 3, 2011 at 8:30 am

Stacey, thanks for taking the time to comment. This is more of a fairness tool, to make sure people don’t get extra entries they shouldn’t, then to catch cheaters. I think most people have good intentions but sometimes the Rafflecopter form messes up, or they clear their cookies and then Rafflecopter makes them do the mandatory entry again to do the daily tweet.

I didn’t disqualify anyone who had multiple entries, I just deleted the duplicate ones to keep it fair.
Rachel recently posted..Giveaway Bloggers – How to Manually Review Rafflecopter Entries to Keep It FairMy Profile

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Susan M. August 3, 2011 at 8:29 am

Like the previous comment, I have noticed that on some blogs I end up not being able to do the daily tweet a couple days into the contest because it no longer recognizes I do the daily entry. I don’t go back and do the mando, I just quit entering. Some blogs don’t seem to have this issue though…is there a way to not require the mando entry be done before daily tweets, or would too many people not do the mando entry and still try and tweet?

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Rachel August 7, 2011 at 9:19 am

I talked to Greg at Rafflecopter and they’re making some changes that will make it so much easier! They will be going to a sign-in system so you don’t have to deal with cookies or typing in your name/email address each time, or having to do the mandatory entry to get to the daily tweets.
Rachel recently posted..Giveaway & Review: PaperJamz Pro MicrophoneMy Profile

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Susan M. August 3, 2011 at 8:29 am

Ugh, I meant to say I can’t do the daily tweet because it doesnt recognize I ever did the mandatory one!!

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Rachel August 3, 2011 at 8:33 am

Susan, I have had that happen occasionally too. What I do is complete the mandatory entry again, but where it says extra info I put “DO NOT COUNT” and then usually leave a comment explaining that I had to do the mandatory entry again in order to unlock the option to tweet.

You can’t set it up to let you tweet without doing the mandatory entry. This issues seems to happen when you clear your cookies or use a different browser/computer.
Rachel recently posted..Giveaway Bloggers – How to Manually Review Rafflecopter Entries to Keep It FairMy Profile

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Susan M. August 3, 2011 at 8:38 am

That’s a good idea to write DO NOT COUNT!! Thanks!!

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SnowflakeDay (Audra) August 3, 2011 at 10:15 am

I’m glad the bloggers are aware and are checking for it. I know for me, I never clear cookies and I only use one computer, but I still have the problem come up a lot about not being able to do my daily tweet because rafflecopter thinks I haven’t done my main entry. What I’ve been doing is putting “Do no count/had to do main entry again” or something to that effect. I do have software that blocks some pop-ups and other things…maybe that’s doing it? Or maybe it’s because I’m on a Mac using Firefox. Hope they get the kinks worked out soon. It is faster to use when it’s working right. Also, I wish there was a way with rafflecopter to tell if you’ve already entered a giveaway. Some giveaways are confusing because the same giveaway will be running on 10 or blogs and it’s unclear if we only need to enter on one or all of them. I had that happen the other day and halfway through entering I realized that I had already entered on a different blog. Oh, that’s another thing…you can’t go back and change your entry. Sometimes I might mess up and copy/paste in the wrong thing or put the wrong entry in the wrong box and then there’s no way to go back and change it. I’m not complaining though. I know it’s a new program. Just thought I’d toss in my 2cents worth to help out rafflecopter get things worked out. :-)

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Mike August 3, 2011 at 1:41 pm

Thanks for the info on the back side of Rafflecopter.

From our side of the widget. Let’s just say, check out the RC post in the forums on OLS.

I don’t usually link to my blog, here is a post I did that is a compendium of my experiences using RC.

http://ggggiveaways.blogspot.com/2011/07/my-impression-of-rafflecopter.html.

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Rachel August 4, 2011 at 12:22 am

Thanks for sharing another viewpoint. I know some people have major issues with Rafflecopter, but I’m getting way more entries on my giveaways now so many people seem to find it useful.
Rachel recently posted..Blogging Meme – July Traffic Report My Profile

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Connie G August 3, 2011 at 1:55 pm

I love Rafflecopter as a person that loves to enter giveaways. I’m just hoping I wasn’t one of the BAD GUYS! I was in Michigan with my Grandkids for 3 weeks but didn’t write down any of the giveaways I entered while I was there. Ohhhhhhh this could be a very bad thing!!!!
Does anyone have a way to keep track of what you do enter? That would make a great post. How you organize your entries so we don’t turn into BAD BAD readers/enterers.
Connie
(ohhhhh if it was me…. I am so so so so so so so sorry!!! Please don’t let it be me!!)

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Julie August 3, 2011 at 2:20 pm

I agree with evverything Audra is saying I wish their was a way to tell if you had entered a giveaway sometimes you enter 2 times and do not mean to . sometimes for the majority I am sure they are not trying to cheat I would not even know how to do that I am not computer savvy and if I acc. do enter twice i do send an email to the blogger adn theydo send me one back and say they will take care of it and thanks..It is so confusing sometimes..

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Kelly August 3, 2011 at 3:40 pm

I would actually suggest doing it by IP address so you don’t get someone entering multiple times under different names/emails.
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Rachel August 4, 2011 at 12:23 am

Good point, Kelly!
Rachel recently posted..Blogging Meme – July Traffic Report My Profile

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Love{&}Bugs August 7, 2011 at 6:13 am

Thanks for the tips! I just got Rafflecopter and will be hosting my first giveaway soon so this this good to know
Love{&}Bugs recently posted..The Importance of PlayMy Profile

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Rachel August 7, 2011 at 9:20 am

Good luck with your first Rafflecopter giveaway! Overall I love Rafflecopter – feel free to ask if you have any questions or need help :)
Rachel recently posted..Giveaway & Review: PaperJamz Pro MicrophoneMy Profile

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Tricia August 13, 2011 at 11:47 pm

I can see where that totally would be a problem. If people dont’ keep track of what they enter and clear their cookies nightly (as I do) then when they are surfing the internet in a week or two later they come across a giveaway that looks great… looks familiar but they enter again. If you can not see your entry you would not know if you entered.
There’s flaws with everything and double checking is the only way to get by that
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Amy T. August 19, 2011 at 9:27 am

Rachel, I’m so glad that you wrote this and that I found it on Brand Buzz! I had never thought of this before. I will be taking your suggestions about checking names (and IP addresses too).
Amy T. recently posted..A Blogtastic Extravaganza is HERE! $275 in Prizes! (US)My Profile

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Rachel August 19, 2011 at 10:03 am

Glad it’s helpful, Amy! I enter a lot of giveaways and do hope that the bloggers hosting them check to make sure they are fair too, just like I do.
Rachel recently posted..#Giveaway & Review: Olive Wood Comfort CrossMy Profile

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lisa September 4, 2011 at 9:11 am

I am having the same problem. It has been taking me longer to verify winners on Rafflecoptor, but the ‘search’ will make the process much easier.
lisa recently posted..Custom Posters at UprintingMy Profile

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Rachel Ramey September 7, 2011 at 1:23 am

I also really like, as a reader, that I can see whether or not I’ve already entered a particular giveaway. (Sometimes I forget.) I’d hate to think that I might be accidentally entering the same one twice because my cache cleared or something!

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Rachel September 7, 2011 at 8:07 am

Once Rafflecopter upgrades to the new system, this will be irrelevant – but for now, you can always leave an “anchor” comment on the giveaway post for your own reference (something like ‘entered on 9/7′). That way, if you’re unsure if you already entered or not, you can just scan the comments.
Rachel recently posted..Rafflecopter #Giveaway & Review: Lite Sprites Lite Wand ToyMy Profile

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Charlotte Varner September 28, 2011 at 2:01 am

Thanks for explaining this Rachel helped alot!! I’ve had this happen a couple of times (clearing cookies) and just thought it was from my end. I entered again because I was thinking my entries didn’t go through. It also makes me think about some blogs not checking the extra entries and people are winning unfairly whether it be by accident or intentionally. I sure would hope no one does this on purpose. I’ve won one Rafflecopter and that was from your blog!! =) I will be sure to share your post with other blogger friends!

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Rachel September 28, 2011 at 8:16 am

You made a good point Charlotte – I enter a lot of giveaways but I don’t think I have won any lately. I think it’s because I mostly enter rafflecopter giveaways, and I’m not sure if it has to do with more people entering them so lower odds of winning, or if the bloggers hosting never both to delete duplicate entries and moderate, so I can’t compete with everyone who accidentally has like 30 entries.
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Rachel October 20, 2011 at 6:19 pm

Hi Rachel! I just posted my first rafflecopter giveaway (I know, I’m only 6 months late jumping on this bandwagon) and I had to come back and check this one out. Thanks for posting!
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Jennifer October 28, 2011 at 9:37 am

if someone is cheating on purposes are they really using the same name over again?

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Rachel October 28, 2011 at 3:31 pm

No, I think there are 2 issues here. Cheaters would likely use different names/email accounts, so you can check the IP address. I haven’t really seen a problem with this though.

If you check out my newer post about duplicate entries (posted earlier this week), you can see a screenshot of my rafflecopter dashboard showing what I’m talking about here. It’s mostly people who are (I believe) forgetting they entered and coming back and doing all the entries again, or Rafflecopter glitches and the same entry gets counted several times when they click I Did This.
Rachel recently posted..Trick or Treat Halloween Giveaway Hop: $130 in Home Decor TreatsMy Profile

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Betty November 7, 2011 at 10:34 pm

I love using Rafflecopter because it saves me a lot of time. But I do have a few issues with it. I actually made a few suggestions and it looks like a couple are being instituted.
When there is a big giveaway with many bloggers participating, I would really like to know up front is this is a giveaway where you only enter one time from one blog or if you can enter from every blog.
I’ve seen a few bloggers specify to “enter on one blog only, additional entries would be disqualified” and others that say enter on the other blogs to get more entries. I don’t want to be entering multiple times, causing the blog owners to have to delete my duplicate entries and possibly totally disqualifying myself but if it’s a prize I really, really want I certainly want to take advantage of every possible entry.

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Rachel November 8, 2011 at 9:12 am

There has been a lot of thoughtful discussion on here and I do hope giveaway bloggers take note! I’ve made some changes based on everyone’s feedback.

I usually skip the big giveaways (ipads, cash, etc) but can see where that can be a little confusing when the same giveaway contest is posted on multiple blogs but you’re not sure if you should enter on each.
Rachel recently posted..#MadeWithLove Giveaway Hop: Handmade Prize PackageMy Profile

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Hermano April 13, 2012 at 7:11 pm

On the other end, sometimes I’ve accidentally entered a contest twice. It might be because my computer has frozen and I’ve had to restart it, or something else. Is there any way for an entrant to double check if he has made a double entry by accident? Or is it a matter of me emailing the contest-holder?

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Rachel April 20, 2012 at 9:30 am

If you are sure that your entry double-posted, you could email the person hosting the giveaway and we can delete the duplicate. I rarely see this happening anymore since Rafflecopter upgraded the widget though.

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