Those Dreaded Automated Contest Entry Tools

As contest managers who have been around the block once or twice, we often see multiple entries from individual contest entrants. They are most obvious when contest entry is limited in some way, such as one entry per person or per week. In some instances, it was clear by the database date/time stamp that there was not a chance that these people were entering the contest by typing on their keyboards.

We continue to see the jokers that think that entering a contest 10,000 times will actually improve their odds of winning–despite that entries were limited to 1 per person and that automated entries were prohibited by the contest rules. Personally, I’m offended by the audacity of these people, but that’s my issue.

Automated entries are, for the most part, contrary to the spirit of the contest, giving the user of the automated tools an unfair advantage over the participant who carefully types their own contest entry information.

Here are a couple of tools that these folks use to abuse contest entry forms:

Roboform & Roboform Companion

Turbo Sweeps

An even more insidious program:

BUPA (Barcode UPC Personal Assistant)

This software provides unscrupulous contest players with a workaround for contest that require UPC codes for their with-purchase methods of entry. Forget about the no-purchase method of entry, let’s cheat!

20 Responses to Those Dreaded Automated Contest Entry Tools

  1. I find this post very interesting becauseI find this post very interesting because you are assuming that everyone that uses those software packages is cheating. I encourage everyone to first read the rules and follow them. All those I know that consider contesting their hobby do not want to cheat because they want to win, not be disqualified. Yes, there are a few rotten apples in every bunch but I really resent that you are lumping all contestors into the same bunch.

    Just create promotions like http://www.launchfire.com and avoid anyone using those software packages. You sign-up once, login everyday, refer friends to gain more entries, play games to get more. It’s impossible cheat or flood their contests and they are fun.

    Also, you can just as easily require an verification code and software packages like RoboForm Companion will not work.

    As for the UPC code, what’s the difference between me going online to get it or going into the grocery store and copying it down?

  2. Brian Makse says:

    Thank you for taking the time to read our blog, Carolyn. Please note that it’s written for the marketer, not really for the consumer or the contest enthusiast.

    Perhaps you missed the point here–if a contest which requires a UPC code for the with-purchase method of entry, would entering a contest with a UPC code obtained wthout purchase be considered “cheating” when there is another no-purchase method of entry? At minimum, it’s certainly contrary to the spirit of the promotion, isn’t it?

  3. I am both a marketer and contestor. I have been a marketer for 20 years and only a contestor for the past 5.

    I don’t think I missed the point. You are saying if someone just gets the UPC from writing it down from either the internet or the grocery store are they cheating. I don’t think so.

    I guess the US is ahead of us on this one then because they have dispensed with the UPC code or HDF and just have people mail-in a 3×5 with their information on it. Solves the problem. Maybe we should do that here.

  4. Brian Makse says:

    For a moment, Carolyn, imagine you’re a marketer who has developed a contest which is tied to purchase via a UPC code on your product. You also have a mail-in 3X5 card for no purchase entries, as required by law.

    What do you think about those contest entrants who are obtaining UPC codes over the Internet instead of actually purchasing product?

  5. I understand what you are saying. The purpose of the promotion is to increase sales. Why not do it another way. Let all people enter for free (no purchase). Give bonus entries for buying a product and mailing in an original UPC.

    Or many people are brand loyal and won’t switch, contest or not. Give them a reason to switch. During the promotion, give out random free full-sized samples and for everyone else really good discount coupons (say 30-50% off). Once people try the product they may like it enough to switch permanently. (Increased sales…)

    Also, isn’t part of the purpose of the promotion just good old brand awreness?

  6. O.L. Smith says:

    My understanding is that Roboform is a FORM FILLING program and not an automated bot program that will enter sweepstakes automatically without a site visit. I personally think that difference is a huge one. If a marketer such as yourself has a goal of getting people to visit your website and raise the awareness for a given company/product/service, I don’t see why the way in which one goes about filling in the forms is relevant to your goal. You gain the site visit so using Roboform, copy and pasting, browser-saved info, or manual keystrokes seems irrelevant. In fact, I would argue that if you get people to spend less time filling out the (often tedious) forms they will spend more time navigating the site. I would further argue that since most marketing companies represent several clients and have multiple ongoing sweepstakes, that it’s to your advantage to encourage people to enter forms faster and thus free up time to visit many of your clients’ sites.

    Lastly, some people need a form filling tool like Roboform because of health issues such as arthritis. So do you exclude those people altogether? And if not, how do you regulate it?

  7. Robin B says:

    If a sweepstakes administrator wants to prevent the usage of form-filling software, then the entry form should be designed to not allow it. But to forbid “automated entries” (whatever that is) while allowing the internet form to function with RoboForm causes confusion.

  8. Alexxus says:

    I fell to see how RoboForm is cheating. If i wanted to use it to fill out my forms and someone else dosent then its a choice. Its not like i’m hacking into the system or anything like that. In the case of RoboForm a code wouldnt work because the form can be filled out but the person has to type in the code. I am a user of RoboForm but i dont send 10,000 entries to a 1X entry sweepstake I follow the rules so that i dont get DQ. When a person enters a sweep the owner of the site has no way of telling if it was RoboForm or what so it wouldnt be fair to DQ them because they completed an entry in 2 seconds.

  9. Ron says:

    What crap! The marketers that DQ you for using roboform state as much in the ‘rules’ but I guess you didnt look into that point as it wouldnt be convienant. Most people I know that enter contest read the rules first and abide by them so in my mind if the rules dont state no use of robo form then they are not Cheating as you say. As a matter of a fact I have a friend that owns a website and I suggested holding contests to improve stats and drawing more people in and if I were her I defenitly would never mind the robo form. I know alot of folks with arthritus and site problems and it helps. Cripes how petty can one get about something so totally absurd?
    Btw many sites are going ‘flash’ now so robo wont work. I never minded a bit but I DO know there are people out there it is immensely useful for not having to do with Greed which your obviously only jealous about.

  10. Ron says:

    “When I put in acct # or passwords those hackers can’t read it. And robo will not fill in info on a bogus site. 2 more reasons to use robo.”

    somebody else typed this in a post where we discuss robo…another really good point about it in my opinion

  11. Vince Pelss says:

    Is it not true in Canada that contests must be ‘no purchased required’?

    Then how can BUPA be insidious?

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