Sweetie readers want to know if they can disqualified by using a program that will fill out the sweepstakes entry forms for them.
I love your blog and was hoping you could clear up a question. I enter a lot of sweeps and many of them state in the rules that entries using robotic scripts will not be accepted. I use Safari and love the Autofill feature. Do you know if Autofill is counted as a robotic script and could therefore be disqualifying? What if the rules don’t say anything about auto script entries?
You know how alot of contest official rules say no automatic generators computer entries stuff like that? well 1. how do they know and 2. do you know if that goes for the google tool bar auto fill? if so im in for it because thats how I fill mine out! ahhhh. But don’t you use a quick filler too? please let me know. thanks for your advise. 🙂
Are sites like Bigsweeps.com (or others that enter you into multiple sweeps at once) a good idea or is it better to do them individually?
So, will I get disqualified if I use a form filler program such as the auto-fill option in Internet Explorer or Safari, a Firefox form filler add-on or the popular Roboform form filler software?
Let’s take a look at what the official rules say about using form fillers and automated entries.
Sometimes you will see a phrase like this in the official rules of a sweepstakes:
The use of automated software or computer programs to register or to enter this Sweepstakes is prohibited and any individual who uses or attempts to use such methods to register or to enter will be disqualified.
or this. . .
Use of any automated system to participate is prohibited and will result in disqualification.
What does that really mean?
When something is automated it is something that applies a “technique, method, or system of operating or controlling a process…reducing human intervention to a minimum.” Dictionary.com
If you are using an automated system to enter a sweepstakes you are usually not physically involved. The software or website that submits your entry is doing the work for you.
I feel that when they are talking about automated entries they mean that you should not use a program that will submit your entry for you without you physically sitting in front of the computer to enter the sweepstakes.
In my opinion, I believe that it is totally acceptable to use a form filler program because it is just filling out the entry form for you but you still have to hit the Submit button to send it on it’s way. Roboform says the same thing on their website.
What DOES a website see in your computer anyhow
I once talked to a representative of a judging agency and asked them whether I would be disqualified if I used Roboform or other form fillers to fill out my sweepstakes entry. The representative told me that they would have no way of knowing if I used the form filler program because they could not look into my computer (legally) to find out if I had one of these programs installed.
When you log onto the Internet with any computer certain information is stored in the browser about your computer – information like:
- how you got to the site (through searching, from another website, Twitter)
- the time of your visit
- how long you spent on the site
- your IP address (example: 18.104.22.168)
- the browser you use
- the country you are coming
This information is standard information collected by browsers (Internet Explorer, Firefox, etc). It tells the website you are visiting a bit of information about the computer that is visiting them.
For a judging agency to know everything about your computer would be a violation of your privacy.
Timing Is Everything
Website and blog owners love looking at statistics because it tells them how many visitors they had in a certain day, how long the visitors stayed on their site, how many pages they looked at, what country they are coming from, and more.
If you were to manually fill out an entry form by typing the information in you would probably take 1 to 2 minutes depending on how fast you type. If you were to use a form filler program it could possibly take 15 to 30 seconds. If an automated program were to do the work for you it could take much less time, maybe 1 to 5 seconds.
I have a little trick that I have used for many years when entering online sweepstakes:
- I start by opening a sweepstakes I am going to enter in one window.
- I open a new tabbed window and load another sweepstakes entry form. I just my Bookmarks list and pick the sweepstakes I want to load.
- I do this in about 4 or 5 other windows.
- Once I get to the 5th or 6th sweepstakes and it loads I go back to the first window.
- At that time I bring up Roboform to fill out my entry form and click the Submit button.
- Then I move onto the next window and continue until all of the entry forms have been filled out.
Are you “catching my drift” here?
If a website is “watching” to see how long you spent on their site then by giving the first page time to sit there for 30 seconds to a minute the statistics will show that you were on the site longer than it would take for an automated program to fill out the entry form for you.
Ways Automated Entries are Tracked
One of the things that is recorded about your computer when you go online is your IP address – or Internet Protocol. If you use dial up Internet access your computer is given a new IP address each time you go online. If you use high speed Internet access then your IP stays pretty much the same.
An automated service uses a computer that also has an IP address. If that service sends out entries for a lot of people at the same time and all of those entries are tagged with the same IP address from their computer then the sweepstakes administrator will know those entries are all being automated. However, some automated services could have found a way to mask the IP so it shows a different IP address for each person in their database. There is no way to know though unless they can prove it to you.
If you want to be safe I suggest that you do not use an automated service. But, I have read of people winning prizes using automated service or programs so I would say that you have a 50/50 chance of winning either way.
If an automated service cannot prove to you that you will not be disqualified then why risk it? Roboform and other form fillers are just as convenient and won’t get you disqualified.
Manually Keystroked Entries
Now if a sweepstakes indicates that you must “manually keystoke” the entry then you probably should not even use your form filler program to enter. They may have a way of detecting movement within the entry form fields.
Flash Entry Forms
Many sweepstakes are switching over to Flash entry forms. In the case of an entry form that has been created with Flash you will not be able to use your form filler program because it cannot detected the text boxes within the entry form. This could be a sweepstakes administrator’s way of making sure you are entering the sweepstakes without the use of any program or add-on. It also keeps people honest and makes it fair for everyone.
If you are ever question whether your form filler may get you disqualified then read the official rules to see if there is anything unusual written in them or if in doubt don’t use your form filler program.
I use Roboform and have used it for years and continue winning prizes on a regular basis so I highly suggest using it. You can download their free version to try it out.