Tuesday 30 October 2012

How to Win Competitons Part 4 - Speed Up Your Comping

By now you have probably realised that there are more competitions out there than you could ever enter, even if you stuck at it for 24 hours a day. And most of us have a limited amount of free time - so how can you use your time most efficiently?

I've already told you that the harder a competition is to enter, the easier it is to win, so if you want to have time to devote to those harder-to-enter ones, you really need to make sure that all the routine parts of your comping are as streamlined and turbo charged as possible.

One way you can do this is to get organised. If you like to use comping websites or forums, choose just one and stick to it, then you don't waste time checking between them to see if you have already entered a particular competition.

Or if you prefer to go it alone, or pick and choose between them, you can speed things up a lot by using your favourites or bookmarks. Make folders called "daily", "weekly" and "monthly" for those sites that have regular competitions, then work through the sites in that folder regularly. I always go through my "daily" folder with my morning cup of tea, it wakes me up and puts me in an optimistic mood for the day ahead.

You can also use bookmarks to track one-off comps, making it easy to check when you have  already entered them. When you enter a competition, bookmark the page into a folder labelled with the month it closes. Then if you see one you can't remember entering, check the folder to see if it is already in there. If you are a Grape Vine reader and ever email me for help with links, this is the system I use to b e able to find them quickly.

The other time saver is to use an automatic form filler. Most browsers have an autocomplete option - you will find it in the tools or Internet Options area. Even the iPad has one, although since the last update of iOS mine seems to just sit there and do nothing - if anyone has any tips on how to get it to play along again I would be most grateful.

But better still is to have one that will remember all your personal info, your passwords for certain sites and even regular answers that you use. And that is where Roboform comes into its own. You can download it from the Roboform website - the trial version is free and if all you want to do is save your personal details, that is all you need. But if you want to save different things for different sites, and be able to access that info on all your devices, then you will need to upgrade to the paid-for version. It only costs a few US dollars and can save you many hours. Being able to fill in a whole form with one click saves a lot of time - it also prevents typos creeping in. If you sleepily mistype a single character in your email address, a promoter's email announcing you as a winner will bounce, and they will have to choose somebody else!

I'm often asked if a form completed with autocomplete or Roboform will get you disqualified under the common rule "No automated entries". No, it won't. That rule is there to prevent promoters being spammed with mass entries from services that enter competitions on behalf of paying customers. The way they do those entries is to set up a programme that submits the information over and over again, and  a promoter can tell from the information they receive that this has been done. An individual using a form filling tool for a single entry is perfectly safe and their entry perfectly valid. I've been using Roboform for around 13 years, and the number of lovely prizes I have won testifies to that!

This is the final (planned) part of How to Win Competitions, but if you have any questions or anything else you would like me to write about, leave a comment below, or tweet me (@janesgrapevine) or email janesgrapevine@yahoo.co.uk and I will do my best to answer, possibly in a "sequel" to the series!


  1. Hi Jane,

    Would you possibly be able to do a post on using GFC? A lot of competitions ask for it but I just got lost trying.

    Thank you :) x

    1. I'll add that to my list of forthcoming posts, Naomi, thanks for the suggestion

  2. Thank you! You're a star! :) x


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