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.
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:
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!