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.  

29 comments:

  1. I have to say I agree with you on every point, especially points 2 and 5. If I tried to live off comping I'd be living in the cardboard box my last prize came in, which wouldn't provide much cover from the rain being a board game. Don't get me wrong, I have had some great wins but I could never give up my job to full time comp!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I agree. These people who have gone to the media have claimed that you can live off it but they aren't living off it as they have other projects on the go too. It's very misleading xxx

      Delete
  2. nice to see you back, Im never going to win big prizes , partner is disabled so no holidays , consumer goods for the most part are useless to us . I dont have hours to spare so im a press a button here and there comper , and a few times a year i get little wins , usually foodie items , which is great .

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks. I too don't go for many of the holiday comps. I get a bi anxious about travelling. It depends on the mood I am in really if I do enter. I win food items a lot too.

      Delete
  3. *Stands Up & Applauds*

    I have a book inside me that is struggling to get out, they say there is a book in all of us mines not what I thought it would be about. My book would be about the underworld of comping.I have had the misfortune to be on two different comp forums & have found the same hostile, bitching & back biting behaviour on both. I never have & will not in future stand by while people are being nasty against anyone no matter who they think they are & no matter who runs the forum who does not want to deal with it & would rather turn a blind eye because it's easier & be nasty against me. One of the funniest things that has been said to me is "We don't want that many competitions on here" because I was posting comps others used to post a lot faster then they were, it really is like being in play school!. As always the few spoil it for everyone else. I'm not on any comp forums now because it has had an impact on my own health. I have found another comp website that you can add comps to & hopefully in the future I can post some again soon without all the drama of other peoples bad behaviour because I really do enjoy the hobby & enjoy sharing the comps to people too especially the blog comps & know I'm helping them too.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Sorry you have had bad experiences on forums. People become very possessive over posting certain sites which is a shame. I love entering blog competitions too.

      Delete
  4. This is so true. I hate No 2 aswell. If a company asks why I should win - I shouldn't - I would like to though! I comp regularly & have won some wonderful things but like you I don't know anyone who could live off it.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It's so hard to think of what to write when they say why you should win and people post things that "my mum is dying of cancer so I should win" and I would never stoop so low as to use my own family members to try and get the sympathy of a company.

      Delete
    2. I tend to go light or humorous with those answers. Things like, Why not? Who wouldn't want chocolate? Or It would be a nice gift for so and so. Or It would be something I'd really enjoy/ a nice treat for myself.
      I'm not going to go for a sob story for the same reason as you.

      Delete
  5. Fab post enjoyed reading it X

    ReplyDelete
  6. Great post and I agree with everything you have said! Thank you for your wonderful blog too - I love reading your posts!

    ReplyDelete
  7. Completely agree with you - I've been comping for about 3 years now and have had some lovely wins, mostly small things for myself or someone I know that would love it. I don't enter every comp I see, and I really really hate the sob story/suck up posts - we've all had bad times in our life, but normal people don't use it as a way to win a prize and I certainly wouldn't want to plaster it over Facebook! And how many emojis can you fit in one comment?! So nice to see I'm not the only one that feels this way! I love comping and love seeing people win, I just wish people could be kinder to each other and just enjoy it for the hobby that it is x

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I agree with the overuse of emojis. I read somewhere and I am not sure if it's true that sometimes overusing emojis can cause your entry to be marked as spam. I know I have ran some competitions on a Facebook page before and some got marked as spam but I unmarked them. Not sure every company would bother to do that though.

      Delete
  8. allison Sullivan1 July 2016 at 22:22

    Loving this fab blog Ellen so tight in every way xx i keep most of my wins to myself purely because of the ones who hate when they don't win and other do regularly.a so the shared on blog thing yep I hate that too

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I don't think the person who says they share on their blog has a blog...I think it's just a page on Facebook. Surely if you had a blog you wouldn't share that many comps to it as people would get fed up. Thanks for reading and be lucky.

      Delete
  9. Ellen I remember you from the forum uk rec competitions with many posters until a certain lady poster took over and flooded it with hundreds of comps and the banter died.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I remember the uk.rec.competitions group back in the day. It was fun on there. I am still in touch with a few of the compers from back then. I am not sure I remember who flooded the group. It was always nice to have people to chat to. Thanks for reading and be lucky.

      Delete
  10. glad you have started posting again Ellen keep entering those comps - there must be enough prizes for everyone!

    Caroline Watson

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks Caroline and there are plenty of prizes to go around. I love reading other friends winning great prizes. Thanks for reading.

      Delete
  11. I agree with this completely, I love entering and running competitions but there are a lot of things that annoy me about it too. I see a lot of bad vibes, bragging and accusations of cheating etc which is why I barely participate in the social side of blogging - chat groups etc.

    Grace
    http://www.grownupgrace.com/
    xx

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Grace I agree with you. I too love running competitions. It's such a shame some people ruin things for other. Good luck with your comps and I will check out your blog too. x

      Delete
  12. Absolutely brilliant post Ellen! I started comping in the 70's, and it turned into my main hobby in the 80's when I couldn't play sports any more. I used to shop in a different supermarket or two every weekend hunting out entry forms and on-pack comps that you used to have to purchase. I think 90% of current compers wouldn't be entering if they had to do that! You have everything summed up perfectly!

    1. I got accused of cheating when I won a dozen red roses on Valentine's Day from a florist 14 miles away. Apparently the Florist in Rotherham deliberately chose a "local" to win, and I'm in Doncaster.... *doh*

    2. Add to that the ones who post cute baby or kitten photos which say PICK ME! Anyone who does that and/or waxes lyrical gets on my blocked list - It's a VERY long list!

    3. I hate and detest Comping Queens and have them all blocked as much as possible, especially those that charge a subscription to unsuspecting newbies for information that is readily available for free! Oh, and who also use their referral links when posting comps for them!

    4. I really, really hate the one that is always self promoting and gets awarded prizes due to her publicising them. Luck has nothing to do with that! Her TV appearances always seem to show that comping is so easy! And we all know different....

    5. Again, totally agree - you won more than me in June, and my May was even worse!

    The one good thing about Facebook etc is that it's easy to block people, and my list is over 500! If people don't like me, I'll tell them about my VW Polo win in 1986, my week in Vegas, my long weekend in Monte Carlo, my ITV phone call :) etc and that shuts them up. I love this hobby and no-one is going to spoil it!

    ReplyDelete
  13. Oh and I forgot to mention, I really, really, REALLY hate "comp to sell" compers who have stuff straight on ebay, even after waxing lyrical about it being "their poorly son's dream prize!" And another one a few days ago actually complaining that she had so many prizes to sell and couldn't keep up!

    I've been trying to win a decent guitar for 40 years, and 5 or 6 of my (now ex) friends have won one then sold it, one even had the cheek to ask me if wanted to buy it!

    ReplyDelete
  14. Well said Ellen! I have been a comper since 2003 and have seen the impact of social media, most of the changes not for the better. Sob stories, bitching, people blaming sites and comps for being scams only because they didn't win, and so on. I think you have summarised it well. But like you, I'll keep ploughing on, and for the record, my latest wins were a pack of granola and a travel size facial cleanser.... :-)

    ReplyDelete
  15. I don't have time for entering much, but every so often, I either take the time to enter a creative comp or spend a couple of hours entering blog or twitter ones. Not a lot, so I don't expect to win much, but I'm in it just for the fun. And I enjoy running comps on my blog too

    ReplyDelete
  16. An interesting read! And let's not forget the army of bots ruining Twitter competitions too.....

    ReplyDelete
  17. Well said cant e don with long winded life stories either

    ReplyDelete