Hardly anything is as attractive to Internet users as the prospect of a great win. Hardly any website today can do without regular competitions. For site operators, such actions are among the most efficient methods in modern web marketing. Visitors not only interact with the website content, but ideally leave behind valuable personal data - in the hope of being the or at least a winner.
Whenever the temptation is greatest, enlightened web users should sound an alarm signal that warns them to be careful: Those who voluntarily give their data into the hands of third parties are foregoing the special protective mechanisms that modern data protection law has created. Basically, there is nothing bad in taking part in competitions on the Internet - as long as you stick to the basic rules and choose reputable competitions to participate.
The following article will help you to find reputable competitions on the Internet and to protect your personal data as well as possible.
What do competition providers really want?
Of course, even financially strong companies do not organize their competitions completely unselfishly. Considerable sums are now flowing into what is known as social media marketing. For an active presence in social media, companies created their own posts within their marketing departments years ago. The tasks of the social media manager also include the organization of competitions on the Internet - on the platforms on which the customers and fans of a brand are really out and about. Statistics speak for themselves: those taking part in competitions appreciate direct and fast interaction. Anyone who first has to laboriously change the website in order to be able to take part in an online competition is more likely to forego participation and prefer to miss out on a possible win.
In order for fans to react at all to the social media activities of the competition providers, and consequently to make their personal data readily available, reputable providers go to great lengths. Putting competitions carelessly on a Facebook page is nowadays punished with sheer ignorance and non-participation. Serious competitions on the Internet can therefore already be recognized by their presentation.
Well-made competitions offer customers and fans special added value beyond the mere prospect of a prize, such as entertainment or humor. This results in an invaluable advantage for companies: The more attractive and unique the presentation of a competition on the Internet, the greater the chance that the campaign will “go viral”, ie that word gets around among fans and attracts additional attention. This increase in reach is a plus point for companies that should not be underestimated.
Another important aspect from an entrepreneur's point of view is market research. Competitions on the Internet often work with data collections that go beyond mere contact details. Additional information can include, for example, gender, age, place of residence or income situation - all data from which marketers can create profiles of their users. In this way, advertising measures can be placed even more closely in the respective target groups in the long term, including new competitions.
With regard to the seriousness, one thing can be read off from this for participants: Providers who can handle competitions will base their pricing on their target groups!
For example, an electronics manufacturer is more likely to offer a coffee machine as the main prize than a book voucher.
What should participants in competitions on the Internet pay attention to?
The biggest benefit for participants is not a big surprise: there is something to be won! But because you are not rewarded for simply taking part, a simple rule of thumb applies: Participants exchange their personal data for the chance of a win. As a user, this should always be kept in mind; this commitment must be worth participation for a user. In addition to providing a prize, competitions on the Internet have another purpose. They keep a community active, provide variety on the various platforms and encourage fans to act communicatively.
The applicable data protection regulations, which reputable providers of competitions on the Internet always observe, are immensely important for participants.
First of all, participants should ensure that competition providers handle the collection and use of personal data transparently. If data is collected and possibly even used for advertising purposes, this must not only be indicated, but participants must actively and explicitly give their consent. Often this is done with the help of so-called check boxes, in which a tick must be actively set. In this context, active also means: the checkbox must not be pre-filled!
According to German law, however, it is disputed whether consent to the use of data for advertising purposes may be a prerequisite for participating in the competition. Serious competitions on the Internet therefore do without this link from the outset and always allow participation.
Double opt-in procedures (i.e. procedures in which the participant must explicitly give their consent by e-mail, telephone or SMS before taking up advertising contacts) are by no means standard, but if they exist, they clearly speak for the seriousness of a provider. Personal data that has not been released for advertising purposes must also be deleted after the competition has ended and the prize has been processed.
Game portals or special ones Sweepstakes comparison sites can be of great help for participants in finding suitable and reputable competitions on the Internet. Such competition portals filter the dubious competitions, so to speak, in order to offer users a minimum level of security. As with many comparison sites, it is above all the portals that can be used free of charge that give a visitor the greatest possible benefit. Only a free account can be used as a prerequisite for using the full range of services. These include, for example, exclusive competitions, free entry of your own competitions, collecting badges or interacting with other community members. Good comparison sites are noticeable because they do not randomly list competitions from the Internet, but rather deal with the content of a competition before they are published. On customer-friendly competition portals, for example, you will not find any links to dubious pop-up competitions that are solely aimed at collecting large amounts of personal data or ever distributing prizes.
Of course, websites that work with mere competition collections do not pass on any data to companies. Data protection law applies everywhere in the global network!
In a nutshell: Identifying serious competitions on the Internet
In order to be able to recognize serious competitions on the Internet, users should adhere to a few basic rules. Why companies run sweepstakes and how to Can find sweepstakes at all, answer competition portals clearly in their FAQ.
About sweepstakes collection24: The Austrian Fabian P. created a still young portal. With his project Sweepstakes Collection24 he wants to enable visitors to find serious competitions on the Internet in an uncomplicated way. The main idea of his website is not just collecting competitions from different areas: rather, his portal is intended to bring German-speaking visitors from Austria, Germany and Switzerland together to form a competition community. The additional services of Sweepstakes Collection24 gain in value against this background. Users who create an account have access to convenient functions, can submit their own sweepstakes free of charge, collect G24 medals and have the chance to be part of a growing community. In addition, registered users have the opportunity to take part in exclusive “express sweepstakes”. For example, an express competition is currently running for passionate gamers, in which participants can win a 20 euro voucher for Steam, Valve's popular gaming platform, is awarded as a prize. We keep our fingers crossed for all participants!
Those interested in a competition should consider the following six factors in order to distinguish serious competitions from dubious offers.
Serious competitions handle all information transparently. This includes data on the competition organizer himself (legally valid imprint), the conditions of participation, the process and data protection. All information should be easily accessible and understandable. In the absence of relevant information, users should be careful.
Revocation of data usage
Strict guidelines are at the core of German data protection law. Serious competitions on the Internet therefore inform participants of their right to withdraw from data usage - without exception! For the revocation, competition providers provide detailed information, especially with regard to the possible communication channels.
The prices offered should be realistic. When a large automobile manufacturer advertises a mid-range car as the main prize, nothing speaks against the seriousness. If, on the other hand, a travel portal with few visitors organizes a competition and offers a Caribbean cruise as the main prize, experienced Internet users should at least become suspicious.
Seat of the competition organizer
The strict data protection laws usually find their limits at national borders. From May 2018, the all-clear will be given at least for the European Union, because from this point in time uniform regulations apply to the entire EU area. Check the legal notice to find out in which country a company is based. Non-German competitions are not per se worse, but users should be aware that foreign providers may be less careful with personal data.
If there is already high-quality prizes to be won, then participants should be able to see who the noble donors of the prizes are. Serious competitions deal transparently with their sponsors and show where personal data may be passed on. The passing on of the data should therefore be narrowly defined and, above all, restricted.
Organizers of serious competitions on the Internet do not require their participants to wager. When users are asked to pay to enter, it is mostly a game of chance rather than a sweepstakes.
If you keep the criteria mentioned in the back of your mind and are aware of the conditions of participation, you usually don't have to lose in a competition - ideally, you have something to win. Much luck!