Tuesday 26 October 2010

Have I missed any wins?

Sometimes it seems as if you enter competition  after  competition  online and don't win anything. But how  can you be certain that you haven't won? An email might bounce, be removed by your spam filter or just somehow not get sent at all, so  you could have won something you don't even know about.

From  time to time it is worth using a search engine to check whether you have  been listed as a winner on any websites. If you are listed,and it is a prize you knew nothing about, a quick  email to the site using their "Contact" page will often  produce a positive result.

I find  for this sort of search, Google is the best search engine to use as you can fine-tune your searches. So go to Google  and type in the following,  using your name and initial instead of  mine but otherwise exactly as below, with all the punctuation and capitals just the way I have done it

"winner OR winners" "(j OR jane) willis"

then run your search. I've just run it exactly as above and although it didn't show me any prizes  I didn't know about, it has just told me where the  unexplained picnic hamper  that turned up a couple of weeks ago came from!

However this can give you results from  a long time ago - I can see wins of mine listed from as long ago as 2000 - so you can bring  your search more up to date by looking at the left hand column,  and choosing a time scale. "Past year" is  a useful one to look at.

If you see a lot of foreign results - perhaps you have a namesake who is a keen athlete in the USA - you can use this left hand  column to select only results from UK pages, although for some reason some of the UK sites vanish when you do this!

When you are happy with your search, try doing it again with any usernames you regularly use on websites in  place of your own  name, and if you are on Twitter, search for your Twitter name both with and without the @.

Always follow the link from the Google page before starting to celebrate - some of the results you see may be lists of entries or of "near misses" - I have just searched on my Twitter name and found that I was on  a shortlist of five people to win an iPad, but wasn't picked as the overall winner.

Good luck- and please let me know if you find any prizes you didn't know about!


  1. Set up a google alert too. I found a few that way.
    Also register at Yasni that finds the blog comp entries too. Updates once a week.

  2. Apparently I won an Emmy in 2008 for best on-screen talent (Weather)!


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