Competition Viability

I’ve heard of these house competitions before, but they often run into problems. Will this be successful?

The competitions that ran into problems and closed as a result have been few, in reality.

The media attention — all repeating the same stories, of course — makes it look like it happens all the time, and some journalists/reporters seem inherently gloom-mongering types.

But remember, this format of “selling” a house is new and competition numbers (the number of competitions held to date) still very low indeed.

There haven’t been many moon landings yet either, and a few rockets haven’t quite made it, but does that mean the space programme’s failed? As with any venture, we learn and improve as we go and a few glitches on a project are not an indicator of failure. EVERY venture has glitches… and they can usually be overcome! Otherwise, should we all stay in bed and not try anything new?

Where such competitions did close, this seems to have been caused by the lack of prior research by competition Promoters. They ran into unfortunate legal or payment problems very early on. While some problems will always pop up, these same problems have – hopefully! – been avoided in this competition by:

– more than a month of solid research, with great legal advice and a strong legal team from a prize competitions-specialist, large law firm;
– making the question slightly harder;
– increasing the entry fee;
– including free entries, ensuring free and paid entries are truly equal;
– predicting global entries and catering for these;
– ensuring many payment means and not falling foul of the payment processors’ Terms & Conditions (specifically, Paypal).

If you see a competition that looks too affordable or too easy, there’s most likely a bigger risk attached. Regulations require that a certain % of Entrants is deterred by the fee level and/or entry process, so low fees and too-easy questions can mean an illegal lottery.

THIS prize competition is definitely not a lottery; I have run a pre-test among 1,000 respondents quantitatively, to ascertain that a massive 32% would be deterred from entering, by the specific question set. This is a high % and a tad scary, but I don’t want to get this wrong from a regulatory standpoint. I implemented research skills from being a strategic research & marketing director for 25+ years, to devise a respondent test and questionnaire’ this helped me see at what level of complexity respondents were deterred. I have ensured my question requires research by almost every entrant. Only the very few who live locally might know the answer already.

The results of the pre-test are available for inspection. By deterring around 32% of “would-be” entrants, the competition is better safeguarded against the accusation that the Qualifying Question is too simple. Respondent feedback was that they spent between fifteen and thirty minutes researching the answer to the qualifying question.

Other issues where previous competitions ran aground involved problems with payments.

Periodically, payment processors understandably get cold feet when prizes are high-value. The good news is, nobody has floundered sufficiently — as far as I can see — to have to end a contest based on the inability to take fees. While payment issues are a pain in the neck, they are almost always resolved. I offer several Entry Fee payment methods.

Competitions of this type are high-value and at some stage, a temporary pause to clarify some legality or streamline a payment option is normal. Don’t panic!