Proof Why You Should Moderate Rafflecopter Entries Before Picking a Giveaway Winner

by Rachel on October 24, 2011

in Blogging Resources, blogging tips, Giveaways

Here’s a tutorial for how to run a fair blog giveaway using Rafflecopter, and address some issues you may not be aware of as a giveaway blogger. If you’re a fan of entering Rafflecopter contests, you may want to ask bloggers if they moderate their entries before choosing a winner, and I’ll demonstrate why below.

The concept of blog giveaways is pretty simple – you complete a number of entries, they all get thrown into a pool with everyone else who entered, and a winner is randomly chosen.  Obviously, the more entries you have in the pool, the better odds you have of winning.

A huge number of giveaway bloggers, myself included, have switched to Rafflecopter.  Now don’t get me wrong, I love Rafflecopter, but I feel like some bloggers sort of put their giveaways on auto-pilot with the Rafflecopter entry form.  When a Rafflecopter giveaway is over, you can just push a button and it will pick a winner’s name from the pool.  After bringing it up to fellow bloggers, it’s apparent that most people stop right there, or they just verify that the person drawn did that winning entry.

Here is my huge issue with this…the Rafflecopter uses javascript and a bunch of other code to work, and it’s not perfect.  The developers of Rafflecopter realize this, and give us bloggers the option to moderate all our entries, but I feel this is under-utilized.  You can see every single entry, IP address, timestamp, etc.  which is on a spreadsheet that looks like this:

 

To to make Rafflecopter giveaways fair

 

This is a real example from one of my recent giveaways. I cut off the identifying information for the entrant’s privacy, but I wanted to leave enough for you to notice a couple of things. The email and IP address show it’s the same person, but they have received 4 identical entries for voting on picket fence on the same day, and 2 other entry options are also duplicated. They just received 5 extra entries into the giveaway, or effectively DOUBLED their chances of winning unfairly.

Most bloggers say they just let Rafflecopter pick a winner and then maybe verify that one person’s entries. When I have pointed out the problem with duplicate entries, they say if that shows up with the winner, they will just disqualify that person and pick another winner. But if you look at the timestamp, it’s posting at the exact same time and some of these are entries that can only be clicked once. I see multiple people doing this in any given contest of mine, so I think it’s a Rafflecopter glitch and they’re not cheating per se (ie you click on the form and think it didn’t take so you click again, but it actually counted both times).

If you automatically disqualify this person, you’re eliminating them for something they have no control over and probably have no idea is occurring. If you just leave all these extra duplicate entries floating around in your pool, I realize this is my personal opinion but you’re running an unfair giveaway because the people with accidental duplicates will have much better odds due to the glitches. The bloggers in my networking group basically say, “I have a life, I’m not sorting through entries”. It does take a little more time, but I think we should also respect the time of people who enter our contests and make sure they have a fair shot.

There’s an easy solution. All you have to do is moderate the entries first, delete the duplicates so you’re choosing from a pool of qualified entries, then pick a winner. It takes maybe an extra 15 minutes or so of my time, but I feel that my readers deserve this. I enter giveaways too, and I don’t want other people entering to have an unfair advantage over me!

Here’s a screenshot showing how to do this:

How to moderate Rafflecopter giveaway entries

 

Under your dashboard, go to the finished giveaway and click moderate. Then click on the dropdown arrow on the right side and it will pull up a spreadsheet, or you can export it to excel. I click on name, then skim through each person’s entries and delete the duplicates.

I also like to sort by entry options and check for a few things. I was surprised when I looked at all my entries where users are suppposed to leave their tweet url so I can verify. Some people were leaving random made up websites, my own blog address, or just leaving it blank. You really might be surprised if you take a closer look at your entries.

So what’s your 2 cents on all this? Giveaway bloggers, how do you choose a winner on Rafflecopter and do you check for duplicate entries? Readers, do you care or am I wasting my time by checking these things?

If you agree with me, please re-tweet, stumble this post, share on Facebook, etc to help me bring this issue to light with other giveaway bloggers.  If you have another method or a different angle I haven’t considered, please share in the comments!

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{ 111 comments… read them below or add one }

Dee W. October 24, 2011 at 1:54 am

I enter a lot of giveaways, so I do care and appreciate the effort you put in to make sure things are fair.

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Rachel October 24, 2011 at 2:07 am
Cheryl Free October 24, 2011 at 2:03 am

I care a lot and always enjoy reading your Rafflecopter tutorials! I wish everyone would and I share them ヅ

As a giveaway entrant I can tell you that sometimes I go so fast I accidentally click submit before pasting the tweet url I’ve copied. Other times I don’t get much sleep and make other mistakes. Never intentional though. I would never cheat to win. There are too many opportunities for that.

I’ll be using Rafflecopter for all of my future giveaways. It will be easier for both me and the giveaway entrant, but I don’t expect the application to do all the work.

I’m going to do exactly what you do and moderate entries before selecting a winner(s).

I suspect some bloggers also don’t want their entry numbers to go down by eliminating duplicate and other unqualified entries.
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Rachel October 24, 2011 at 10:22 am

I never thought about bloggers wanting their entry numbers to remain high, interesting point! My giveaway numbers are so much higher now that I use Rafflecopter, even for low value prizes, that it’s not something I even think about anymore.
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Cheryl Free October 24, 2011 at 10:52 am

On the other hand, I used to try to mostly enter blog giveaways with low entry counts. Rafflecopter makes entering so much easier and faster that I don’t really care about numbers anymore ヅ I might take a peek at the total number of entries when I go to tweet one last time or when I delete my bookmark, but that’s about it.

If Rafflecopter entries are moderated to some extent, then I feel like I have the fairest chance of winning! I don’t have to worry about whether a blogger knows how to use a randomizer right (believe it or not!), or that idiotic Wordpress plugin that re-randomizes entry numbers.

As much as I love many of the comment entry or even Google form blogs, I quit entering those giveaways in the last week or so. There are still a few in my bookmarks that haven’t expired. Rafflecopter is the way to go, and it’s the only way for me from now on.
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Julie D. October 24, 2011 at 2:25 am

As someone who enters a lot of giveaways, I certainly appreciate bloggers who keep things fair. I haven’t started using Rafflecopter for my own giveaways yet, but I’ll definitely moderate the entries if I do.
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Jl Johnson October 24, 2011 at 3:23 am

I too enter a lot of giveaways and I like a fair playing field. I know that I have never knowingly cheated extra entries and would hope that I am not being disqualified for something I am not knowingly doing. Knowledge is power
Thanks for the post

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Debra F October 24, 2011 at 5:40 am

I enter lots of blog giveaways and I do not like Rafflecopter. At first (actually up to a few weeks ago) I was always getting that annoying statement that I’d have to try again. Now that the kinks are out it is ok but I still prefer the ones that don’t use it. But I agree with you. I don’t knowingly cheat but a lot of times I enter and when I go back the next day — to do the tweet it shows up I haven’t done any entries at all so I go back and re-do all of them. I wish there was a way we could check to see if our entries were actually entered or not. Thanks so much for your post and helping us understand how it operates. I’ve tweeted and shared your post on Facebook.

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Cristina Wyatt October 24, 2011 at 8:51 am

I read somewhere that if the buttons turn green on you again, not to worry that your entries did go through, and the buttons going green again could do w/ clearing cookies, etc… Hope this helps with what you are wondering. I happened to put the same entries in a couple of times before deciding to look up that question, as I did not want it to seem as though I was purposely trying to cheat, and also was not sure if my entries had actually gone through. I am sure there are still alot of others doing entries over again, but most I am sure are not doing it purposely to have a greater advantage over others.

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Rachel October 24, 2011 at 10:24 am

Rafflecopter uses cookies, so if you clear them out every day, the “I Did This” buttons will turn green again but your entries have already been counted and you don’t need to do them all again. I see people in my giveaways do all the entries twice (usually a few days apart, so I think they forgot they entered), and I just delete the extra set.
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Sophie S October 24, 2011 at 5:43 am

I closely moderate all of mine, which is why it always takes me longer to declare a winner than some other blogs. I used to enter giveaways a lot, still do, but I used to enter a lot before I ever had one to offer my own blog readers. I want to make sure that they get as fair a chance as possible and so I check before any random winner is drawn. If you draw and then toss when you realize the winner has duplicated or cheated or not done the entry, then you have already deprived a possible winner of their chance because the unfair entry was in the hat to begin with.
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Mary Beth Elderton October 24, 2011 at 6:02 am

I’m a giveaway lover, and I care that it’s fair.

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Carrie Phelps October 24, 2011 at 6:22 am

I really do care! I enter a lot of giveaways & put forth much effort & time. I have noticed that sometimes if I go back to a Rafflecopter giveaway form it doesn’t allow me to re-enter, only the daily entries such as tweeting is allowed. To prevent all of these extra entries perhaps all giveaways should be set up in this way? I have no doubt I may be guilty of this and I apologize.
Carrie

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Rachel October 24, 2011 at 10:26 am

That’s the way Rafflecopter giveaways are supposed to work, but if you clear your cookies, it will reset and look like you haven’t entered. They are changing to a different system soon that doesn’t use cookies (last I heard from Greg anyway) which should eliminate a lot of these problems.
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Jen V. October 24, 2011 at 6:25 am

This is a great article Rachel! One thing I have to point out though is that this really isn’t an issue that is exclusive to Rafflecopter. I think that duplicate entries also occur with blog giveaways where entries are left in a comment. People forget that they entered and enter again, or they intentionally cheat. So moderation of entries is important no matter how you are choosing to run your entry.
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Rachel October 24, 2011 at 10:28 am

That’s a good point! In fact, I think Rafflecopter makes it EASIER to catch the duplicate entries (I see a lot of people come back and enter all over again a few days ago and they are loyal readers, so I think they just forgot they already entered). Rafflecopter gives bloggers the power to easily sort and eliminate duplicates, the main point of my post is that most bloggers I asked just don’t bother.
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Jen V. October 24, 2011 at 10:35 am

I would love to see Rafflecopter implement something so that entrants can check their entries and edit them. That would eliminate most of the issues with duplicates because people forgot they already entered. Also with errors in entries that you have no way of fixing (such as forgetting to include a tweet link etc.) Then we would only have to moderate to catch the cheaters. Despite its issues, I still love Rafflecopter for both hosting and entering giveaways.

Thanks for your post Rachel. I hope that it makes more bloggers moderate their entries before choosing a winner.
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Jennifer Boehme October 24, 2011 at 6:37 am

Thank you! I enter giveaways everyday, and sometimes I am at it for hours, and to know someone won just because of a computer error makes me livid! I only like the giveaways that use raffelcopter because my ulnar nerve in my hand is bad, plus carpel tunnel, and moving up & down just to leave 25 comments is stupid! Now, I hope all bloggers read this info you have, because now I realize raffelcopter entries I make may not even matter.

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Rachel October 24, 2011 at 10:29 am

Rafflecopter is supposedly switching to a sign-in system that won’t use cookies, so it will be easier to keep track of what you’ve already entered and will fix many of these ‘glitches’, but for now it’s up to the bloggers to maintain a fair giveaway.
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Allyson Bossie October 24, 2011 at 6:46 am

Rachel, Hi, I really enjoyed this info. I am a newer blogger, on my second giveaway, and I finally got rafflecopter. I had no idea,but upon moderating you are so right! I follow your blog daily and have a question I hope you can give me insight on. What do you do when there are two mandatory entries and you have several people who only complete one entry. I re read my instructions, they are pretty self explanitory. Should I email those people to give them a chance to rectify or just eliminate. I was shocked to see more than one do it, but again I am super new. If you can either email me or hit me up on my site that would be great, as I am really in a pickle on this one :)
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Rachel October 24, 2011 at 10:31 am

If the giveaway is still going on, I would email them and give them the option to complete the 2nd mandatory entry. Many people hurry when they are entering giveaways and I think many don’t read instructions closely. I like to give people the benefit of the doubt and hope it was a honest mistake.
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marilyn October 24, 2011 at 7:46 am

wow, thank you! i never knew about any of this actually. i am doing my very first rafflecopter give away it ends in a few days so winner was not chosen. but thankx to you, i will surely double check all entries and make sure its all fair game. then winner will be chosen. i will take the extra time to do that checking, why, because its not right to knownly or unknownly “cheat”. thankx again

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Leanne October 24, 2011 at 8:21 am

Interesting. I love Rafflecopter, but I had no idea this was happening! I have never tried to cheat on it…I’m not even sure how you could do that. So I hope my entries have never been duplicated! The thing that bugs me about Rafflecopter is that sometimes I forget to leave the extra info in an entry, but there is no way to go back and add it in! I worry that I’ll be disqualified because of that sometimes.
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Rachel October 24, 2011 at 10:32 am

You could always leave a comment and let the blogger know, or email them.
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Amber October 24, 2011 at 8:26 am

I hope you reported this to Rafflecopter so they can fix it. I love RC and now only enter giveaways that use it.

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Rachel October 24, 2011 at 10:34 am

Rafflecopter is aware of these issues which is why they gave us a wonderful dashboard to moderate entries and the ability to delete. The issue is bloggers who don’t bother to use it. Rafflecopter is supposedly working on a system that will eliminate some of these problems, but for now it’s up to the person hosting the giveaway.
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Terri's Little Haven (@terrishutterbug) October 24, 2011 at 8:30 am

I monitor my giveaways because I use rafflecopter as well. I think but not sure that some of the ones that have entered must double click (I for one am bad about double clicking out of habit) and it leaves two entries (if that is what is causing the error on the double entries).
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Ada Miller October 24, 2011 at 9:01 am

I am not a blogger & only a reader who also enters giveaways & 1st i would like to add that i really appreciate you caring enough about things being fair & spending the extra time to make sure no extra entries are in for anyone. It is good to know when someone cares enough to do extra little things to make things fair.

On second note being someone that enters giveaways i spend a lot of time entering them,so now i am left wondering if it’s just a waste of time, if so which blog’s giveaways are etc. I know everyone has a life,but i think for fairness i wouldnt mind if it caused the winner to be announced at a latter date. I dont mean before or now i always thought the winner should be posted immediately because i understand having a life etc,but im saying if it meant for the blogger who use to notify or post the winner immediately i wouldnt mind that being delayed for things to be fair. I do appreciate all you all do & offer to use & everything you do helps me in its own little way,so Thanks to you all. Just hope the ones that didnt use to will take the extra time to make things fair.

Also something i have been worried about was sometimes i will sign up on so many giveaways & if the 1st set of entries dont stay showing that i done them i might forget until i get down to a entry such as like on FB or something. I am worried i will get disqualified by someone thinking im cheating. I wouldnt dare cheat because im signing up on these giveaways to help myself out if i win for the holidays coming up with money being tight.. I have recently started Google + the ones that have it as a option that way if i stumble back to it & its liked by me i know i have already done it to only do the daily entry. Also if the blogger dont have Google + on their page i will leave a comment on the giveaway,but if it has tons of comments that it would take forever to look for,so is their a chance that if not sure of entering was done like i stated above,could you tell it was a accident or would it just look like to you i tried cheating? Again thanks for everything & for sharing this. This is a great post & i hope a lot of people think about this & do whats right..

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Rachel October 24, 2011 at 10:38 am

Unless I saw the same person doing it over and over again, I wouldn’t think someone with duplicate entries is cheating. What I consider cheating is the examples I gave above where someone clicked they tweeted, then for the URL where they’re supposed to leave the their tweet they leave ‘rachelsgiveaways.com’. Clearly they didn’t do the work to earn that entry and are just typing anything in there and clicking the button to get an extra entry.
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Jennifer Rote October 24, 2011 at 9:04 am

I enter tons of giveaways! Sometimes I find out near the end that I have already entered ( due to clearing cookies, cache and bad memory). lol But that would be days apart for the duplicate entry, not the same time.

I am running my 1st rafflecopter giveaway now and will be checking before I do the draw. Thank you for the great article!
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Rachel October 24, 2011 at 10:40 am

Yes, I see a lot of people entering the giveaway, then coming back a few days later and doing the entries all over again. I just delete the extra set. I’ve now started telling people to leave a comment if they wish as just a placeholder, that way they can look through the comments to see if they already entered.

Or if you look through the comments here, some people are using google + to like a page, then if they come back they will know they already did it.
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Ericka October 24, 2011 at 9:57 am

I loved Rafflecopter when it first came out but I feel it is over rated, now that your pointing this out I see why it is so hard to win on Rafflecopter! I appreciated that you care about your readers and take the extra time out of your life to make sure everyone has a fair shot. Means a lot knowing that you do take extra time to do so. I love entering the giveaways that has a comment box that opens in a new window makes it easier and better chance at winning verses the Rafflecopter :)

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Rachel October 24, 2011 at 10:42 am

I’ve noticed I win a LOT less often now that I mostly only enter Rafflecopter giveaways, and I think this is a huge part of it. When I participated in the Fashionista Event a few days ago, many of us had giveaways with several thousand entries, yet they were in the Facebook group announcing winners after the giveaways had only been closed for like 5 minutes. I didn’t know how they could possibly moderate entries that fast so I asked, and that’s when I got this feedback that many of the bigger bloggers don’t moderate at all, just verify the winner’s winning entry.
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Leigh Owens October 24, 2011 at 10:28 am

Hmm, I hope I’m not an unintentional cheater. I get the “Oops. Try again.” message from RC very frequently (I thought it was my awful satellite connection), and I have come across one giveaway -that I know of- that turned green again. I re-entered and didn’t realize it until I was about halfway through. Nothing I can do about it though. And like others mentioned, it stinks to forget to include the extra info and not have any way to fix it. Overall, I still prefer RC over the endless scrolling.
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Rachel October 24, 2011 at 10:43 am

If you forget something in the extra info box, I would just leave a comment and put the extra info there, or email and explain to the blogger. We can always manually add stuff in to the Rafflecopter entries.
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Ada Miller October 24, 2011 at 11:45 am

That is nice to know. Actually to think of it it wouldnt hurt to leave it in a comment or email…Thanks

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Tiffany October 24, 2011 at 10:43 am

Thanks for this. Im pretty sure everyone has made all the points I was going to make so Ill just end by again saying thanks and I tweeted :)

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Rachel October 24, 2011 at 10:44 am
Christine SD October 24, 2011 at 10:46 am

Before I decided to do my first giveaway, I had entered TONS that used the Rafflecopter Form. We have two computers at home and I use whatever is available and in my observation, it’s really easy to duplicate my entries ’cause I can enter on one giveaway twice. I never played dirty though, I promise. That’s when I thought I would never allow these things (aka duplicates) to “float” on my pool of water. On my first giveaway, duplicated and incomplete entries were deleted before the picking. It’s just a matter of experimenting with the grid. This article on RC blog helped me a lot: http://blog.rafflecopter.com/2011/07/the-grid/

I wonder how others do it when their giveaway earned 100k plus plus entries. That’s a great pain in the arse. Lol
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Romina October 24, 2011 at 10:58 am

I love using Rafflecopter as a giveaway host and as a giveaway entrant. It did not occur to me to moderate before picking the winner as I just verified the winner after randomly choosing one. This may be something that I will invest more time in for the future to ensure fairness. I just started leaving blog comments on Rafflecopter giveaways to remind me that I entered. On occasion I have forgotten if I entered a giveaway or not, so by leaving a brief comment, it sets a reminder that I’ve already done so. Thanks for this post…as always, very informative.
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Jammie October 24, 2011 at 11:15 am

Thank you for this! People need to read this that are using rafflecopter. I at first loved it, now I am not a fan at all for many reasons. I feel bloggers are taking advantage of a platform and using it to their advantage and not the readers/sweepers. I will not use it on my sites no more. but that is me.
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MSRheinlander October 24, 2011 at 11:16 am

This is a great tutorial Rachel : )
I definitely think moderating entries is important also!!
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Darcy October 24, 2011 at 1:48 pm

I do try to remove duplicates before announcing because I like to have accurate entry numbers. However, it doesn’t actually increase the odds to leave invalid entries – IF you redraw after drawing an invalid entry. It only skews it if you just pick the entry after the invalid one.

National sweepstakes do not validate millions of entries before drawing a winner.
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Ashley October 24, 2011 at 3:24 pm

Agreed. The odds do not actually increase.

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Rachel October 24, 2011 at 3:57 pm

I understand if you draw a cheater you can just throw out that entry and redraw, and that’s fine. My main issue is with Rafflecopter’s entry form, there are glitches all the time which inadvertently create duplicate entries, as shown on my example spreadsheet.

If you had not moderated any entries beforehand and picked that person in my scenario above as the winner, then saw the duplicates, what would you do with that person? If I just let them have the win, they had higher odds of being picked because they had double entries, thus an unfair win. If I see they have duplicates and redraw, they just lost the giveaway due to RAFFLECOPTER’S glitches, not their own fault.

That’s why I moderate first, THEN pick, so I know I’m choosing from a level playing field and no one has any unfair advantages/disadvantages due to the entry system.
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Darcy October 25, 2011 at 2:10 am

I treat it the same as if I had weeded it out to begin with. The first one counts, the repeats do not regardless of glitch or repeat entering. I don’t completely disqualify for dupes but only the first set are valid.

Let’s say you have my main entry done 3 times: 100, 101, and 102.

I draw 101 – doesn’t count, I redraw.
I draw 100 – you are verified then win!
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Rachel October 25, 2011 at 8:32 am

Ok, that makes more sense than disqualifying them completely and I can see what you’re saying now.
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Brooke C October 24, 2011 at 2:28 pm

Thanks for doing the extra work to make it fair. I am not a blogger, only a reader who also enters giveaways. It is very much appreciated to know that bloggers do want to make the giveaway fair. I know it must be a lot of work to host the giveaway to start with but I am glad that you take the few extra minutes to check.
When rafflecopter first started, I couldn’t believe how easy it was to enter. Just a few clicks & you were done. However over time, it has become almost impossible to win from a rafflecopter giveaway.
I have noticed that the winning entry (when only one winner) seems to always be towards the end and therefore you see everyone entering the giveaways on the last couple of days. (This is probably just coincidence but it is still very frustrating.)
I try not to enter the giveaways that use rafflecopter and stick to those where you enter comments.

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janet October 24, 2011 at 2:54 pm

Thank you so much for pointing this out!! I enter a lot of giveaways and fairly new to running giveaways on Rafflecopter. I have glanced at the Moderate feature a few times, but I also have used the excuse that I don’t have time…and I don’t want my readers to have to wait for me to moderate. I have been that reader waiting to hear if I won!! But then again, I have not thought about how I could be treated unfairly or be eliminated because my computer froze and I accidentally entered too many times!! I know that I have accidentally entered a giveaway twice and if I realize it, I try to email the blogger to tell them to delete my second set of entries, but I would hate to be completely eliminated!! I’m definitely going to be paying closer attention to moderating now…thank you so much!!
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Mike October 24, 2011 at 3:14 pm

I find it hard to believe that all the entries are legitimate when a giveaway has 20,000+ entires and previous giveaways for the same blogger had about a tenth of that. If the number of entries in a blogger’s sweeps increases dramatically, that would have to mean they are attracting, not just increased participation in the giveaways by their usual entrants, but a significant number of people who haven’t ever entered giveaways. Or someone is cheating – and, if entries aren’t moderated, it really wouldn’t take any effort to cheat on a massive scale. I just don’t see how such an increase in numbers can be real. I could be wrong.

My wins went down dramatically since rc debuted. I’ve already stopped doing any rc giveaway with >10 actions and/or 10,000+ entries. I an do a ‘comment’ giveaway in about the same time as an rc giveaway when I have to wait for rc to load. I have a greater chance of winning when there are 250 vs. 20,000 entries.

Eventually, I am sure I will stop entering rc giveaways, entirely. RC is new. Eventually, its novelty will wear off. I am wondering what will happen then…
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Rachel October 24, 2011 at 4:05 pm

Rafflecopter is supposed to be switching to a sign-in system that doesn’t use cookies, but Greg told me about that a while ago and I haven’t heard anything since then. I’m sure it’s hard to develop the coding for all that.

I don’t even bother entering all the RC giveaways with 20,000+ entries for things like Kindles and Amazon gift cards. Unless it’s one I’m involved in, I’m pretty sure they are not going to check 20,000 entries and I have already seen firsthand how many duplicate entries I get even with only 1000 entries.

I have no problem with Rafflecopter itself and obviously enjoy using it on my own blog, but I wish bloggers were a little more involved with the process.
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Mike October 24, 2011 at 4:34 pm

If I may ask, who pays for the work on the RC interface?
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Rachel October 24, 2011 at 5:46 pm

You would have to ask them that. I noticed they have gotten into finding sponsors for giveaways and connecting them with us bloggers, which I appreciate, but I wonder if that’s diverting attention away from perfecting the Rafflecopter form. Since it’s free, I’m not complaining about them.
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ohkeeka October 24, 2011 at 3:18 pm

This is why I’ve cut down on doing giveaways. The last several I did on TTAH were awful–it would take me so long to pick a winner because so many people weren’t doing what they were saying and I don’t have time to police everything. I did it, but it took time away from other things, like writing posts and networking. So, IMO (and maybe this is an unpopular opinion), you shouldn’t run giveaways if you’re not willing to put the time into moderating & validating the entries. If bloggers want to be treated as professionals, we should adhere to the same rules that companies running sweepstakes would adhere to.

Anyway, thank you for this really helpful post!
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ohkeeka October 24, 2011 at 3:20 pm

Just want to clarify, I mean validating the winning entries. :)
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Rachel October 24, 2011 at 4:12 pm

Thank you for saying what I was thinking! I didn’t want to be too judgmental and write it in my post, but it kind of upset me when major bloggers told me they didn’t have time to check entries before choosing a winner (this was after the Fashionista event). The concensus seemed to be let RC draw a winner, and verify they did that entry and maybe the mandatory entry too, and not look at anything else. I could win a lot of giveaways if I just hit the tweet button 20 times and knew no one was going to check.

I just moderated entries for a giveaway that had about 1000 entries and it took me 12 minutes. I worked about 75 hours at my real job last week and still had time to do this. I feel like maybe bloggers should post fewer giveaways if they must, so they can do it legitimately, but I’m sure that’s not a popular opinion.

Oops, I’m sounding kind of rant-y now huh? :)
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Aly Mashrah October 24, 2011 at 3:46 pm

Thanks for posting this!
I actually DO moderate each entry, check the timestamp, IP, email, etc… delete any duplicates that were mistakes, (posted the same time, like your Voting example, which I think is just a glitch), and then choose a winner. It takes me no more than 10 minutes, but I still do it for each giveaway. I’ve actually had a problem with legitimate cheaters, so I check each entry.
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Rachel October 24, 2011 at 4:14 pm

That’s what I don’t understand…YES, it’s tedious and does add a little more time, but it’s really not that much longer and it ensures a fair contest. I will have to start entering more giveaways at your blog since I know I might not lose to someone who has a bunch of duplicate entries.
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Grace October 24, 2011 at 4:16 pm

WOW! I had no idea. I didn’t know that you could moderate entries either. I have a giveaway blog AND i enter lots of giveaways so it’s important to me to get rid of cheaters and make the giveaway as fair as possible. Thank you so much for this information. I will definitely be doing this from now on.
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agenti99 October 24, 2011 at 4:55 pm

Interesting post, I will be RTing this. I enter a lot of contests, but only fairly and never for prizes I don’t want. I know of people who use 5 or 6 email addresses to enter contests sometimes, especially instant wins. I wish it could be monitored a little better because it’s quite discouraging.
I hope others follow in your footsteps!

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C Hulsey October 24, 2011 at 5:07 pm

I am your example – most of the twitter ID is clearly visible and the end of the e-mail address is visible, so I know it is me. I can honestly say that I did not knowingly enter unfairly. I do sometimes get the Oh noes…try again message and I used to try again every time until I realized that it will sometimes, eventually, go through anyway. I wonder if that is what happened on the giveaway example….I can not remember if it happened that particular time or not. I rarely clear my cookies and I keep a word document list of the giveaways I have entered so I can double check if the cookies were cleared to make sure I don’t enter again.

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Rachel October 24, 2011 at 5:50 pm

That’s exactly why I just delete the duplicates and don’t automatically disqualify someone and redraw on that basis alone, which is apparently what some people do. I really think this is not an issue about people getting away with ‘cheating’ on Rafflecopter, I think it is about bloggers not taking the time to moderate. Rafflecopter makes it very easy to fix these things but most people don’t want to bother.
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mary beth i October 24, 2011 at 5:26 pm

I did notice when entering rafflecpoter giveaways if you clear your cache, you can possibly enter a giveaway again. I enter many and do not always remember each one I enter. Yesterday I noticed I had started to re-enter one I had entered earlier in the week. Unfortunately I probably disqualified myself.

I am not going to check each entry but I am checking for each of the names that I draw that this individual did follow the basic entry requirements, and follows, which is the main requirement.
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mary beth i October 24, 2011 at 5:28 pm

ANother thing I don’t like about rafflecopter is if you do mess up on an entry you cannot go back and fix it – it locks it for editing. (ex – if you forget to put in the tweet url before you submit)

Other than that though I love rafflecopter – it makes it so much easier for the entrant vs. commenting 20x
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Jenny October 24, 2011 at 10:32 pm

Thank you so much. I just started using rafflecopter and I was wondering if there was a way to double check everything. I find it very important to make things as fair as possible.

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Kelly October 24, 2011 at 11:06 pm

I don’t enter giveaways that often, but when I do I definitely prefer Rafflecopter. And Rafflecopter also makes my life so much easier as a blogger. I don’t verify each entry as it comes in but I do verify before selecting a winner.
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MichelleS October 25, 2011 at 4:45 am

I AGREE WHOLEHEARTEDLY. I was just lamenting about this to my husband. I’ve emailed blogs and they’re like “we don’t check for IP addresses because everyone who gets internet from XX company has the same IP address”..uh, WRONG. I’ve taken screenshots and everything and the blog owners just “don’t care”. I don’t email ALL of them when I see foul because idk what their policy is on IP addresses. I wish they would be clearer on their “one per household/IP address” because I know husband/wife combos enter together for better chances. People can enter, clear their cache, and the form will be new. I think checking the IP address is a MUST because who knows, they could be using multiple variations of their names/email addresses to gain multiple entries. Sadly, if the blog owner doesn’t want to check IP addresses then there’s nothing that can be done.

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MichelleS October 25, 2011 at 4:51 am

Might I add, lol, I make sure to NEVER clear my cache so I remember what I’ve entered. If for some reason the form resets I ALWAYS put “do not count–cleared cache” in the “extra info” box because sometimes you’ll get a form that has like 10 mandatory entries having to be done before it unlocks the optional entries. Anyways, point being–I hope blogs take note and double check IP addresses.

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Some Lucky Dog October 25, 2011 at 2:24 pm

Thank you for this post. I enter a lot of giveaways and definitely care if things are checked! I prefer the comment method just because of things like this. Rafflecopter makes it easy to enter, but I don’t find it reliable at all. I’ve shared your post every way I can!
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ANGEL JACKLYN October 25, 2011 at 3:35 pm

TWEETED. I am so glad someone took the time to write this up (YOU). I will most def be checking entries in the future!! Thanks so much! =)

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Diane October 25, 2011 at 9:12 pm

Yes, I do care. Thank you so much for bringing this up. I enter alot of giveaways and I hope the blogger/giveaway host is ensuring that it is fair across the board. In every way possible.

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Tammy Allgood-Hemmerling October 28, 2011 at 10:13 am

I really appreciate you posting this. I run my own review blog and will probably start doing giveaways soon using rafflecopter so now I know how to make things as fair as possible for my readers! Thank you!

daisies0999(at)yahoo(dot)com

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Yasinisi October 28, 2011 at 3:02 pm

I’m running my first giveaway with Rafflecopter and thanks to your tutorial I know how to do it right. thank you so much.. I will definitely check every entry.

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Leah Colson October 31, 2011 at 9:32 am

This is a great post. I’m glad you put this up. I don’t host giveaways (yet) so I didn’t know this was a problem. I’m glad you brought it to light. As someone who enters giveaways I want things done fairly even if that means I don’t “illegally” or “accidentally” get extra entries.

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Kay November 6, 2011 at 5:39 pm

Another problems I found, people click “I Did it” and they enter their info. Example “like” Facebook page, but in reality they never did “Like” it. Like your blog post states for every winner you pick double check that they followed through with the rules. So many people enter hundreds of giveaways every month. Unfortunately they have found ways to defraud the contest.

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Betty November 7, 2011 at 8:41 pm

Thank you for the tutorials. This is a great thing you are doing.

Your example of claiming 4 entries for Picket Fence voting got my attention. I’ve always assumed that Voting for the blog was like being a subscriber or GFC follower, the entry was good on all drawings the day you voted. I do read the instructions and honestly cannot remember being told Picket Fence voting is only good for a single drawing. So now I know

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Rachel November 8, 2011 at 9:14 am

It’s fine to vote for a blog on picket fence, and then click that entry for each giveaway you enter on that blog for the day. However, in the example I posted, there appeared to be a glitch with the entry form and that person got credit for voting on picket fence 4 times…for the same single giveaway.
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Betty November 8, 2011 at 11:35 am

Thank you for affirming that I have been entering ok. Blog directions are seldom even complete sentences and when we start to doubt what we are doing, it really comes down to asking that specific blogger what is wanted. I’m sensitive to the Voting entries instruction right now – Here are instructions off a live giveaway that I found last night:

Vote for me on picket fence blogs (See button on right side of blog — One entry per vote, per day; Note: You can only your one vote per day on ONE giveaway; duplicate comments on other giveaways on the same day with be void)

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Na S. November 21, 2011 at 4:42 pm

Hi Rachel. I found your blog and this post from googling about Rafflecopter and seeing how winners are selected. I enter a lot of giveaway and want a fair playing field. I find this post very useful and I hope many bloggers are active in monitoring their entries. It’s a bit more time but I’d want the winner to have won it fairly. When I enter using Rafflecopter I like seeing other entries and sometimes I notice the same people over and over entering the “once only” section and whether they do it knowingly or not, it does make me not want to enter. I’m glad to know you’re bringing this to the attention of both givers and giveaway entrants!

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Rachel November 21, 2011 at 7:22 pm

The good news is the creative minds at Rafflecopter are listening to us. Greg has said they used feedback from you guys in my recent posts about Rafflecopter to help them develop their new sign-in system, which I will be doing beta testing for very soon! This should eliminate a lot of the fairness problems with duplicate entries.
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Amy November 23, 2011 at 12:19 am

WOW!!! I’m on both sides of this, as a host and as a giveaway entrant. I just now started using the rafflecopter on my blog because I assumed it would be easier for my readers and more accurate. I also enter a lot of giveaways and some of them are very lengthy to enter. I think anyone hosting a giveaway needs to read this and take the time to moderate AND LET US READERS KNOW THEY ARE. Otherwise, I may just stop entering any giveaway with Rafflecopter. I’ll continue to use mine until I get a large amount of entrants on mine, but this really makes me question using it. Thank you for this post. I really appreciate it.

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Rachel November 23, 2011 at 8:20 am

The issue is not really with Rafflecopter, it’s just a tool. I think the bigger problem is with bloggers just slapping up a Rafflecopter giveaway and letting it pick a winner at the end, without doing any moderating. Luckily, Rafflecopter is very close to doing a test run with their new sign-in system, and they said they used a lot of feedback from these types of posts on my blog to address some of the issues we are complaining about :)
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Mark Reeves December 19, 2011 at 11:53 pm

We just set up our first Rafflecopter giveaway at http://squareinchesoflove.com/2011/square-inches-of-love-holiday-giveaway/ and were trying to find the answer to what happens when you are giving away multiples of the same prize – can a person win more than once or is there be a way to limit one prize per person? Found their email and asked directly so maybe they will answer first. Did see evidence that the issue this article mentions has been dealt with, I think on Dec. 12th. Hopefully won’t be an issue! Thanks for the heads up!
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Rachel December 20, 2011 at 7:28 am

A lot of the points in this article have been corrected with the recent launch of their new widget. I’m not sure if there’s a mechanism in place to prevent the same entrant being picked twice if there’s multiple prizes. Since it’s supposed to be random, I’m not sure how they could do that – but I’ve been using Rafflecopter since it came out and I’ve never seen that happen when drawing winners.
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Mark Reeves December 20, 2011 at 11:36 am

Response was “Rafflecopter is set up perfectly for this. When the giveaway is over, you’re given the ability to choose as many winners as you’d like. It will choose it as if you took 500 tickets and pulled them out of a hat. If you buy 5 of the 500 tickets, you still have the ability to be chosen 5 times.” (I guess that is “perfectly” as long as that is what you want, which in this case is fine.) Thanks for your response!
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Thalie February 15, 2012 at 12:28 am

Thank you. I will be hosting my first giveaway soon,and have been hesitant to try rafflecopter,but knowing what I know from your post,it’s put me at ease.I was a bit concerned,especially since I enter giveaways myself.Some of them are time-consuming but I would want to make sure my followers’ time is well spent and honored for their valid entries.

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Rachel February 15, 2012 at 10:25 am

Glad you found it helpful! Since I wrote this article, Rafflecopter launched their 2.0 version and upgraded a lot of features, eliminating many of the problems I mentioned. There will still be occasional cheaters, but the upgrades seem to have eliminated the glitches causing multiple entries for the same option, and now it doesn’t use cookies so you don’t have people forgetting they’ve already entered.
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Scottishlass10 February 15, 2012 at 12:48 am

I didn’t do this on my first giveaway – I didn’t know about it, but I did it on my second (and last) one and plan on doing it in the future. I was trying to figure out how to do a blog post on it, but I’m not good with screen shots and tutorials and such. I’ll just share your post! You did a fantastic job explaining it!!!
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Rachel February 15, 2012 at 10:26 am

Glad you found it helpful! Since I wrote this article, Rafflecopter launched their 2.0 version and upgraded a lot of features, eliminating many of the problems I mentioned. There will still be occasional cheaters, but the upgrades seem to have eliminated the glitches that caused multiple entries for the same option, and now it doesn’t use cookies so you don’t have people forgetting they’ve already entered.
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jessica February 15, 2012 at 9:51 am

Lovely post! I moderate entries for all my giveaways. It’s part curiosity about where they came from and part security! :)

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Jenni E. February 18, 2012 at 2:12 am

This is a GREAT post and thanks so much for sharing. One thing I’d like to ask is how do you moderate and/or double check those Facebook “Likes”, Twitter “follows”, and tweets for entries. Not all entrants will leave their Twitter name or tweet link, and sometimes it’s difficult to search the facebook “Likes” especially if they aren’t new ones. I would think that RC would be able to create a link somehow to say, “whoops, you didn’t like them yet” before they hit the enter key. Or am I missing something?? Other than that I love RC for posting giveaways and entering…it’s so much easier but I really want to make sure everyone gets a fair chance!

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Rachel February 24, 2012 at 3:40 pm

For Facebook, it is basically impossible to verify likes as they will only show the first 450 or so fans (I’m totally making this number up off the top of my head but it’s something like that). With the new Rafflecopter update, if they win on a Facebook entry, I will verify another entry.

For twitter follows, there’s a very easy website called doesfollow.com. You just plug in their twitter name and your or the company’s twittername and it will let you know if they follow. On the entry form, it will change the shade of the twitter option to gray if you already follow that user. If you don’t, the button remains in color so they should know they need to click the button to follow before saying they did the entry. Hope that helps!
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Jenni E. February 24, 2012 at 3:48 pm

Thanks so much for sharing the does follow website. I’ve added it to my favorites and will be using it soon! Thanks again!!

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Jaimie Fayt March 11, 2012 at 8:07 pm

This was extremely helpful. I just made my own blog and with only one reader (being my best friend), I figured a giveaway may help. I still have to see how to promote the giveaway, but now I can ensure it’s fair to everyone. :)
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Susan M (MomBlogger) March 26, 2012 at 9:58 pm

Thank you for this informative post! I just started actually moderating my entries before posting the winners due to the realization that a few of them do “cheat” – they push “enter” but do not actually complete the task. I have not been using rafflecopter long, and have only so far found 1 fraudulent entry, but that entry could have cost another person a prize.
Thank you for bringing this to our attention!

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Meg May 3, 2012 at 2:53 pm

I absolutely agree you need to moderate the entries. I just ran a giveaway and found that more than 20 entries were not eligible. I removed them and then had rafflecopter select a winner. Of course the winner’s entry # was higher than the actual amount of eligible entries so now I am being questioned as to how this is possible. I put the following note up on all related posts – do you think it makes sense?

Note: There were more than 250 entries to the contest. Caitlin was entry 243. Upon reviewing all of the entries, more than 20 were removed due to not following instructions correctly – hence Rafflecopter is showing 226 entries.
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Rachel May 3, 2012 at 4:45 pm

Yes Meg, that explanation makes sense to me.
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Gladys Parker May 4, 2012 at 7:12 am

Wow, this explains a lot. I have only done 3 giveaways so far. The first ons self sponsored, 2nd self sponsored then My Birthday Chronicle. My $25. PP Cash and the 3rd have not ended. I will have to ask around to find out how to delete extra entries etc I am switching to word press so I will be using Google Docs. I am in a wheel chair and seldom leave my home. I do giveaways all day or night long unless I get a visitor. Not so much for me as for the holidays I live on $700. a month so I have no money left for “nice” things or gifts even to go to a baby shower. Even though I do giveaways all day (my son said it is my addiction) Ha ha I rarely win except at a couple blogs and I really didn’t understand why. Not to be rude but to the person that said they would take out 101 but let 100 win that still leaves all the extras in the pot to change the numbers. I won from your blog and Aly’s withing the first while of entering on your blogs. I wonder how this is going to work with Google Docs? Also I have cheated accidentally. losing the entry to soon or reenter. I must be getting old cus I have those moments of oh crap! I wouldn’t want to win if I wasn’t suppose to. There should be a list of who moderates and who doesn’t. lol Thank you very much for this post and I tweeted.
Gladys P

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Rachel May 4, 2012 at 7:50 am

If you’re going to be using Google Doc forms as your entry method, then a lot of this probably won’t apply to you other than catching intentional cheating. I’ve never used Docs for my giveaways though, so I’m not sure. This post mainly referred to the accidental duplicate entries due to glitches and the javascript code when Rafflecopter first came out. They have rolled out a newer version which corrected most of these issues, so I moderate differently now. I’ve been meaning to write an update since this is still a popular post…it’s on my never-ending to-do list :)
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Rachel May 4, 2012 at 3:29 pm

Every blogger does it differently, you will need to decide what you think is fairest and works best for you and your readers :)
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Shane White May 27, 2012 at 8:25 am

Great article! I never thought about this before. I will definitely go through my entries before I select an entry from now on.
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amy marantino June 10, 2012 at 1:30 pm

i learned alot from this post. i enter many giveaways, and have wondered why sometimes the I did it button comes back on. I didnt realize that there was a link to cookies. i will need to be more careful, i am sure that i inadvertently entered a few contests more than once because of this. thanks for the great information.
by the way, i do care… thanks for making things as fair as can be.

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Kelly Stilwell June 21, 2012 at 10:56 am

Wow. I am so naive! I decided to take a look this time and you were right! People said they left a comment and didn’t! I will be sure to look over entries from now on. I just think it’s part of my responsibility if I am going to hold giveaways. Thanks for this awesome post. I’m subscribing!

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Nicole October 22, 2012 at 2:42 am

I also enter many rafflecopters because they do make entry easier.
I agree with others that it is appreciated that you check the entries.
I will say, I prefer when you are given the box to add what name you commented under (or what email address) because my screen name is different than my email address.

If I start doing giveaways I will spend the extra time to verify the information.
Thanks!
KC

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Sana @ artsy musings of a bibliophile December 19, 2012 at 12:00 pm

I went and checked the entries of one of my giveaways and you’re right, there are duplicate entries. I do delete fake entries but these entries seem to be a glitch of some sort. So as dull as it seems sorting out the entries, I think a quick skimming of the entries for doubles won’t hurt anyone. I agree with you here.

Great discussion post, it helped me a lot! And for a person who likes to enter giveaways from time to time, this gives a new perspective.

Sana @ artsy musings of a bibliophile
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Helena (microbio) January 7, 2013 at 1:47 pm

I am running my first rafflecopter giveaway (not ended yet!) and had a snapshot on my entries so far just for curiosity…and yes, you are very right -we should all take that extra bit of our time to moderate! Just starting, but i want a fair shot to all my participants.

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Caroline August 27, 2013 at 8:03 pm

Thank you for your post!
I run contests on my company site using GiveawayTools.com and really like it. Especially since I didn’t have a blog to start out with and it’s super easy to tie in with our Facebook page.

However, when I tried to set up a giveaway using that site OR Rafflecopter on my new book review blog the widget was not working. Thanks to your blog, I know I should just GIVE UP! I’ll still use the widgets for the company sites, but for my blog, at least for now, I’m going with good old fashion commenting. :)
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Rachel @ Rachel's Giveaways August 28, 2013 at 9:30 am

This post is a couple of years old. I have switched over to GiveawayTools for my blog giveaways and I like it because you can set it to auto-verify entries. This saves me lots of time verifying entries. Before I switched, I noticed that Rafflecopter was becoming less glitch-y. I wonder why you couldn’t get either to work on your website? If you wanted to give it another try, I’m sure either GT or the guys at RC would help you figure it out.

If you’re happy with the commenting method that’s good, but just know that a lot fewer people will enter that way.
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Caroline August 30, 2013 at 9:33 pm

I’ve noticed there’s a difference between my blogs that are fully hosted by Wordpress vs blogs that are set up using wordpress installed on my own website. I’m guessing that has something to do with it.

I’ll contact them and see what they say :)
It was odd. When I’d post it (under the text field, not the visual field) it would only display “Rafflecopter Giveaway” (or something to that extend) and something similar for Giveaway Tools. My Google search brought me here :)
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edna September 10, 2013 at 1:16 am

Am so glad I read this, I had no idea. I like giveaways who doesn’t . So if I enter a giveaway and it say the entry did not go through. Should I click again or not?
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Rachel September 18, 2013 at 10:54 am

Yes, if it doesn’t go through on Rafflecopter I just click it again. From talking to other bloggers, I don’t think most of them moderate and look for duplicate entries so it shouldn’t penalize you if it goes through twice.

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