Thursday, 30 June 2016

The Truth About Comping (Entering Competitions)

I haven't written in my blog for awhile. I have had a lot of personal issues going on which has made me lose focus a bit. I am still dealing with these issues but I feel really passionate about my hobby of comping (entering competitions to those who don't know) and felt this was the best place to write about my thoughts and feelings towards the hobby at the moment. 

I started entering competitions way back in 2000 and it was such a different community back then. This was back when there was no such thing as Facebook and Twitter competitions which seem to have taken over these days. Most competitions were posted on websites or entries by postcard or entry forms. Fellow compers used to be so lovely back then with sharing entry forms, congratulating each other on our wins and helping each other to enter. It was a small group of people who enjoyed entering competitions and didn't mind if others won, in fact were happy to see their friends win. 

In my opinion there are a few things that ruined comping: 

1. Social Media - there are still a few competitions that you can enter via entry forms on sites but I am sure my fellow compers would agree that a lot of competitions these days are entered via Twitter or Facebook. This of course has caused an increase in entrants as the competitions are shared around. Over the last week I have seen people moaning about people entering the same competitions as them but that's what the companies wants people to do. To share the competitions with their friends to get more interest in their company. No company really runs a competition without an agenda to self promote. It's lovely they are so generous but in their minds it's about getting people to see their products/services. This is all fine. Most of us go about our lives happily sharing these competitions around. I love nothing more than seeing some of my non comping friends see a competition I enter and enter it for themselves and winning it and I personally have introduced a lot of friends to the wonderful world of comping.

The biggest problem with social media competitions is that it causes arguments; including people slating each other because of jealousy towards winners. People accusing others of cheating when they have no proof and people being nasty and spiteful to others. And on top of that you need to add the little group of people who absolutely love nothing more than getting involved in drama. It's sad. Before social media there was forums and newsgroups and their seemed to be far less drama especially on the moderated forums where moderators would defuse the situation. It's extremely sad to see people breaking friends with each other over a hobby. 

2. Sob Stories and sucking up - this kind of comes with the social media. On like and share competitions peoples comments sometimes make me cringe and bring vomit up in my mouth. We all have been through tough times in our lives or lost members of family we love or have sick relatives but to use that as a reason why you should win I personally feel is disgusting. I refuse to use such stories because I don't see that the spirit of comping and I would feel guilty winning a competition due to a sympathy vote. I like to hope that promoters see past all that and not pick them as winners but I know sometimes the sympathy card has worked for people. 

On the other extreme you get the people who overly suck up ie over a £1 bar of chocolate from "oh thank you for this PHENOMENAL AMAZING competition I would be over the moon to win this generous prize #NoHarmInTrying". Just cringe. Or "I have posted this to my blog page" when actually all they have done is post it to their own page but think having a blog means they look better to the promoter than the average Joe Bloggs who says "thanks for the competition, sharing with my friends."

I really hate competitions that ask you "Why do you deserve to win?" because it just opens it all up for the above sickly comments and sometimes I even avoid these competitions these days.

3. Comping Queens - there are a small group of people who seem to think they know everything there is to know about entering competitions. These people seem to feel superior to other compers. Almost that they run the whole community with their group of minions who suck up to them because they think they are awesome. Some of these people have been comping for a matter of a couple of years. They really are no better than any other compers but they thrive on recognition and people sucking up to them and then use these people to enter their referral competitions to gain more entries into competitions. 

4.  Media Hogging Queens - this pretty much comes under the Comping Queens category as usually it's these people that our a bit big headed that feel the need to go blabbing off to the media about the hobby so they get more recognition and making ridiculous claims which I will come on to in a minute. These people decide to go to the media because they want to brag and seem more superior to others and because they have another agenda. It's ruining comping because it's giving people false hope and is very misleading. After these reports we see a huge increase in people entering competitions and whinging when they don't win. You can't win them all. It takes time and commitment. 

5. CLAIMS YOU CAN LIVE OFF COMPING!!! - I put this in capitals as it's the most annoying of all. The media hoggers lie to the media that you can live off entering competitions. This is false and wrong to even suggest it. Most competitions wins come about by luck and each month is very different. I can go weeks without winning anything. I probably don't put as much time into comping as some people do due to my fatigue but I do a fair amount including comping nearly all evening most days and win no where near the amount that you could live from. I know for a fact one of the people who claims to live off comping runs a blog too which they make money from so they aren't living off it. It's really sad to see these claims. 

I enter hundreds of competitions most days and I will like to show you what I won in June so you can see what I mean. So my wins for June (and average amount they would be worth): 

Mascara - £10
Case of Hobgoblin Beer - £20
Fudge - £10
Hovis Queen Birthday Pack - £4
Vincent Niclo cd - £10
Batman vs Superman Lego - £75
Kylo Ren Pop! - £10
Horror DVDs and Poster - £80
Hard Boiled Eggs - £2.50

Total - £221.50

So I could really live off that could I? hmmm I think not. Don't get me wrong I am very grateful for all my wins but this is to demonstrate that you can't live off it.  I know some people enter for anything and everything (I personally don't) and I'm not going to lie and say I haven't sold a few prizes here and there especially as I don't currently work due to health and don't get any benefits but these have mostly been gadgets and sometimes I have sold to other family members. BUT I mostly enter to win bits and pieces that I can give to my family as presents for birthdays/Christmas or because I know someone who would love the prize. I occasionally get this wrong with the kids prizes because my nieces and nephew change so much each time I see them but for the most part I get it right and they are all really grateful for my wins. I don't enter competitions for tickets to events no where near me that I know I won't be able to go to. Although I  have won a few as runner up prizes.  Each to their own but I feel experience type prizes are nicer to leave for people who can actually use them.  

Comping isn't easy it takes a lot of time and dedication to win. I enter competitions for hours a day and sometimes I win very little but I actually enjoy entering the competitions and imagining what it would be like to win the prize or how the person I give the prize to would love it. I have actually learnt a lot of random trivia too from answering questions on competition sites. It is a fun hobby away from the above nastiness. 

These are all my opinions and I know others will not agree with them. My advice to fellow compers reading this is to just crack on with comping. Stay away from the drama and be positive and enjoy this wonderful hobby. 

If you are thinking of starting out comping click here to see my tips on starting out. Feel free to add me on social media via the details on that link. If you add me on Facebook please message me first to say who you are because I am getting a lot of random weirdos add me on there at the moment. 

Good Luck to all compers old and new - don't feel you are any different to any other comper. No one runs the comping community. No one is better than anyone else. And most of all have fun and be lucky.