Tuesday 14 February 2012

A new way to draw a winner on Twitter - and the winner of my birthday competition

Running - and entering - retweet to win competitions on Twitter can be a very hit and miss affair. There doesn't seem to be any 100% reliable way of collecting entries and knowing exactly who has entered, and if you have entered a competition you can never be 100% sure your entry has been received.

People are sometimes left questioning promoters who announce winners - was the draw done fairly? Or did they just choose the last person to enter/the person with the prettiest avatar/their sister? Even a promoter who is determined to do everything by the book can be puzzled by the unpredictability of  Twitter's various functions.

Take for instance the "Seventh Birthday" competition I ran on Twitter a  few days ago. I bookmarked the competition tweet - Twitter tells me that it has been retweeted 95 times. So I should have received 95 entries. I could only see who the last 15 entrants were, and I couldn't find any way to access a list of the other 80.

I  set my account to send an email every time the tweet was retweeted. I only got 33 emails.

I checked my Activity and @mentions regularly to look for entries. I found about 40 entries.

I also included a hashtag and ran  a hashtag search. It gave me just 17 results, including some (but not all) of my own tweets.

However, a new system has been set up that will get round all those problems. It can pick up on every instance of a retweet of any given tweet, and what's more will perform a random draw so there is no danger of an entrant being favoured or losing out because  their name or avatar.  The system is called Twitterdraw and has been set up by Iain Haywood of Competition Hunter

It can draw a random follower from all your followers, a random retweeter of your chosen tweet or a random tweeter of a given hashtag.  And it takes a matter of seconds.

I used Twitterdraw to choose the winner of my competition, and it pulled Vicky Robinson, @xVickyRx  out of the cyberhat. It showed me a link to her profile and I could see that she had indeed retweeted, even though she hadn't showed up in my mentions, hashtag search or emails. So without Twitterdraw, even though she had entered correctly, she wouldn't have been in the draw.

I was delighted with Twitterdraw and would have no hesitation in recommending it to anyone wanting a simple and fair way to choose a random winner on Twitter.

Compers, if ever you feel a Twitter competition has been drawn unfairly, why not suggest Twitterdraw to the promoter?


  1. This is EXACTLY the situation I found myself in when I ran a RT competition for ThePrizeFInder last month - in my case I could see there had been 100+ retweets, but yet my bit.ly link search, hashtag search and Tweetdeck mentions only gave me a handful of entrants - some of whom had retweeted several times. I eventually paid $20 to use Tweetreach which gave me an excellent breakdown of the 271 unique entrants and could choose my random winner using random.org. I'm pleased there's now a free option and I'll be promoting (and testing!) it myself.

    I'm GUTTED I forgot to enter this though, I remembered at 8.02pm last night - two minutes too late!!

  2. It's good that this has been developed, but I have questions regarding it.

    1. You can't see the subset of who you're picking from.
    2. You can't see the tweet of the winner.
    3. You don't know the time the winner tweeted.
    4. There's no option to limit a time frame
    5. How far can it look back over the Twitter API (i.e. for long competitions, popular competitions).

    Clever idea, but for me it needs fleshing out to be won over.


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