I love entering competitions from many different sources. Just going to one place like Competitions Database or Prize Finder can really limit the number of competitions you source. You might also miss out on low entry competitions if you don’t look for your own. However entering competitions from lots of different places and looking for your own to enter creates a new problem.
Duplicate Competition Entries
Ever go to enter a competition and the page looks hauntingly familiar? I’ve lost count of the number of times I go to a web entry competition and cannot recall if I have entered it already or not. Worse still the web entry competitions are quite often for large prizes for holidays. Terms and conditions vary between promoters but some do indeed state that multiple entries will be nullified. Does this mean they nullify all entries or just the extra ones? It’s not always clear unfortunately. So in light of this I try to ensure I don’t miss out on my chance of winning by tracking what I’ve entered.
Tracking Competition Entries
There are both pros and cons to tracking competition entries
- You won’t accidentally enter a competition twice and void your entries
- It can take a lot of extra time to track all your entries
I’ve tried tracking a number of ways over the years. Here’s a brief overview of what I’ve used and what has worked best for me
When I first ever started comping I actually hand wrote down everything that I entered. Every single competition, even social media ones! I wanted to go back and check who was announced as the winner. I don’t recommend this a method of tracking ever. Nor do I recommend checking who won every single competition ever. There are much quicker and easier ways to search to see if you have won a competition. This method takes forever and leaves you open to toddler attacks when they spill water all over your notebook, losing all your information.
There are a few notes applications that I have tried. I started simply writing a list of a comp whenever I entered it with its closing date on my iphone. This then became a problem if i was entering a competition from my phone and wanted to cross reference the app. I then switched to the free version of evernote which allowed me to access my notes via my laptop and my phone. This made recording what I;ve entered easier. However this is a huge pain when actually trying to cross reference and check to see if I had already entered a competition as there was no way of sorting through the information.
Simply load up a new google sheets and every time you enter a web entry competition record it on the spreadsheet. I had one column for the prize, one column for the promoter and one column for the closing date. The benefit to this method is you can quickly and easily sort by date. This means when I enter competitions by closing date on Competition Database I can quickly check and see which competitions I may have entered (sometimes months before). The downside to this is the time it takes typing all the information out for each competition!
Back Again Chrome Extension
This is my current and favourite method of tracking competitions. It’s a simple add on for chrome that is able to tell you how many times you have visited a webpage. It’s not without its downsides for a tracking method but it’s the quickest and easiest way to track simply if you may have already entered a competition.
Everytime you visit a page the little icon at the top of chrome will tell you how many times you have visited that day. That’s not particularly useful for us, however if you hover over the number it will tell you how many ‘all time’ visits you have had. If that number is more than 1 than you have visited this web page before. As I enter competitions as I find them a number of 2 or more all time visits means I have already entered the competition.
There is one major downside to this method. The back again extension works by counting the information saved in your history folder in chrome. If you delete your all your cookies and browsing history regularly then you shall also delete all the data from your count. For this reason I’ve just started clearing mine after the end of month competitions.
It will also only work on chrome. So you need to ensure all your competitons are entered from a PC or laptop using Chrome and you use a chrome browser on your tablet/phone if you also enter web entry competitions from those devices. Lastly you need to be happy that you’re using an extension that is reading and storing your browsing history!
My Perfect Solution
For me this is a prefect solution. It’s not as full on and time consuming as recording every single web entry competition. Those moments when I get to a website competition and think I may have entered this already I can quickly hover over the extension and see quickly if I have indeed visited the page before.
Do you track your competitions? If so how, I’d love to hear about what you do in the comments.