Tuesday 10 July 2012

Get your online comping organised!

NOTE - I am giving instructions for the web browser I use most often, which is Internet Explorer 9 (oh go on, poke fun at me for using IE - but I like to use Roboform for completing forms,  it saves me hours, and the versions  of it for other browsers don't seem to be anywhere near as quick and easy to use). Your own browser, if you use a different one, will have a very similar system but there may be slight differences. You can still use it to help you get organised.

So many sites run competitions that it can be hard to remember what you have entered, especially when a new film, for instance, is released and there are lots of different competitions related to it. And there is always the worry that by entering more than once, you might find all of your entries disqualified. In practice, most sites will still accept your first entry and just delete subsequent ones, but since we don't know which ones take a more draconian stance it's always better to play safe.

Why not use your bookmarks or favourites to help you to become more organised? If you click the right button of the mouse while you are on a website, a menu will appear - choose “Add to favourites” and a box opens with the name of the site in it, and a list of the folders in your favourites, if you already have any, or choose “New Folder” if you need to make one. Choose the folder you want to save the site into and click on “Add” to save the site.  You can do the same by choosing "Add to favourites" at the top of your Favourites  menu.

Now here is the clever trick - make folders in your favourites with the names of the next few months, for example, “August 2012”, “September 2012” and so on, and save the page into the month that the competition closes. If you have already entered, you will have already saved that site into the same folder and a message will pop up telling you so. Result - no more disqualifying yourself from competitions by accidentally entering twice!

Some sites simply call their page "competition page" so to avoid overwriting one page with another, you can type the site name into the box where the name of the page appears.

You can use the same system to organise sites that you visit regularly because they have daily, weekly or monthly competitions. Just create folders called "Daily", "Weekly" and "Monthly". In fact you can go further than this - if you know a particular site has a competition that you always like to enter on a certain day of the week, you can make a folder for each day of the week, and set it as a sub folder of your "Daily" folder.

Editing and moving bookmarks is very easy. First of all, pin your Favourites list to your screen. Do this by clicking on the little star, indicating Favourites, at the top of your screen. When the menu appears, there will be a little white box with a green arrow in it at the top (I suppose this is meant to look like a drawing pin pinned to a notice board). Click on that and your list will appear at the side. You can now move the favourites between folders, or the folders into other ones to become sub folders, either by dragging them or by opening them, saving them into their new  folder, and then deleting the original. You delete a bookmark by right-clicking on the name in the menu and then selecting "Delete".

I find moving bookmarks very useful when I've made a note - by bookmarking them - of comps I am planning to enter but haven't yet done, maybe because I need to research an answer or write a tiebreaker, or simply because I've not had time. They can be in a "to enter" folder  and once I have entered, I can move them to their correct closing date folder.

If you are a Grape Vine subscriber, you will know that I can email you  direct links (subscribers only, sorry) to hard-to-find competitions that have been listed in Grape Vine. I keep them all filed in yet another folder, called, of course, "Grape Vine" and divided into sub folders by closing date. I keep each one for 12 months after it has closed, in  case a  winner has problems and wants me to find them a link to the terms and conditions, so it adds up to many thousands of bookmarks, all filed by closing date. So this is why it is vitally important for you to tell me the closing date of any competition you ask me for a link to - as long as I know that, I can generally find the competition within a matter of seconds.

And once you get into the habit of doing this, you too can find any competition you have entered in just seconds too. Now, won't that be useful when you get a winning email and want to check back to the site to see exactly what you have won?


  1. Great Blog - very informative and I'm off too sort my favorite bar out :)

  2. I use Internet Explorer and Chrome. I use the same version of Roboform across both browsers and the only difference is that the toolbar is at the bottom of the screen on Chrome.

  3. Thanks Clive - I tihnk the problem may be that I've not updated Roboform for several years and the version I use is not compatible with Chrome or Safari. I'm going to treat myself toan upgrade - just hanging on until after New Year in case I've won the latest version in their Advent comp!


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