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Friday, 19 February 2016

The Bloggers vs Compers Debate

The debate between bloggers and compers has been going on for what feels like forever. Both sides think they're in the right, which means things have a tendency to get a little heated when one side says something the other disagrees with.

But for those that don't know, what's it all about?

Image copyright: Lorna Holland
Let's start with the basics.

Compers are people who regularly enter competitions. Most compers do it as a hobby or a way to get things they could never usually afford, but some people, known as extreme compers, see it as a career, and can enter hundreds of competitions every day.

Now, for whatever reason, a lot of bloggers have a negative opinion of compers. Many smaller bloggers fund their giveaways themselves and run them with the intention of gaining more followers/readers from the exercise. Therefore, when their giveaway post is flooded with entries from compers, it's understandable some get a little annoyed.

The minority give the majority a bad name

The problem lies with the minority of compers giving the majority a bad name. The minority are those compers who go to a blog with the sole purpose of entering a giveaway, complete the steps required to enter, then are never heard of again. They're the types of empty, spammy-looking profiles you see, the ones that make you question if they're actually a real person or not.

So when a blogger sees their giveaway inundated with entries from profiles like these, that's when the problems arise. Bloggers don't consider these people to be engaging followers, because more often than not, they aren't. Another bugbear for bloggers is when compers repeatedly follow their blog/social media channels when a giveaway is running, then unfollow as soon as the giveaway finishes. Compers like these are not the quality, engaged followers the blogger hoped the giveaway would attract.

Now we know what the problem is, but who's in the right?

The short answer is that both sides have valid points.

Bloggers have the right to be frustrated with spam accounts and the minority of compers practising bad habits who take advantage of their giveaways. However, this doesn't excuse those bloggers who tar all compers with the same brush, and it definitely doesn't excuse those bloggers who try to ban compers from entering their giveaways (not least because it's technically against the CAP Code and ASA's rules).

But on the other hand, compers have the right to be treated fairly by bloggers. The majority of compers do nothing wrong, and I think it would surprise a great deal of bloggers how many compers are actually regular readers of their blog as well. On the flipside though, compers who search for 'anti-comper' bloggers and proceed to start a witch-hunt against them are no better than the bloggers they think they have the moral high ground against.

I see where both groups are coming from

Personally, I find it hard to stick with one side over the other on this debate. As both a blogger and a comper, I empathise with both groups on different points. When I run giveaways, I'm happy for compers to enter them, and I know compers have won at least some of my past giveaways. I'm also incredibly grateful to other bloggers when I win items from their giveaways.

I know several other people who are also bloggers and compers, and it offers a very interesting view on the subject. However, to make this as fair as possible, I opened the debate up to get people's opinions from both sides.

The Money Shed on Twitter said:
London Bird Lucy said:

"I have two hobbies; comping and blogging. I love both - I like winning things, I also enjoy being creative when I write my blog. I like the company of both compers and bloggers; the communities are similar, I have friends in both. I don't like that there is a divide for some people. After all, we are all consumers."

Rachel from Parenthood Highs and Lows said:

"I was blogging for a while before I started comping, but the two seemed to work well together. I enjoyed running competitions on my blog, and started to make friends with one or two compers who entered regularly, and we became friends on Facebook. I started entering blog competitions and was quite lucky, so moved onto entering any competition that I came across. I've made lots of friends through comping, won some lovely stuff (nothing huge sadly!!) and last June started a group on FB called 'Comper Friendly Blog Competitions' for bloggers to share their competitions with compers. It all started after seeing a huge argument on Twitter where some big name bloggers were trying to ban compers. Now we have about 1600 members sharing and entering blog competitions in the group."

Leanne from The Comping World! Reviews and Wins said:

"I'm not an everyday blogger, I post relevant posts so don't post every day. But I love competitions and bringing the two together works! Like all blogs, they help so many people in all areas. And I disagree that some bloggers say compers can't enter. My opinion is that they are people too! Just because they blog, doesn't mean you shouldn't win." 

Carol said:

"I am a comper only. I haven't time for blogging, though I wish I had. Simply put, as I tell bloggers, don't run comps that come out of your own pocket if you can't afford them. Just use the prizes given to you by companies. The main moan is that most compers don't stay around. As I told bloggers, companies love us compers. We give them free advertisement in more ways than just saying who we won through. We share, we talk about them with our friends, online and off. They reach a far bigger audience.

I explain this to others and to bloggers. I also say that, like anything, most don't stay around. However, some do, and it drip feeds how you pick up followers. I have stayed on some blogging sites. I have also found companies I would never have heard of if it wasn't for competitions through companies and bloggers. Both can compliment each other, however most bloggers have to have that explained to them."

Rebecca from Mum of a Premature Baby said:

"I fell into comping first. I was pregnant with my first child and was looking for free baby samples. I discovered competitions for baby items then subsequently found parenting blogs hosting competitions too. A year later, when my son was 4 months old, I started my own parenting blog because I liked the idea of writing about his life. Everything grew, I blogged a lot and got to offer my readers competitions prizes, but I was an avid comper too. I'm very 'comper friendly' and would never exclude anyone. I think I'd be a bit hypocritical if I did, considering I started as a comper too! I'll be completely honest and say that I love the traffic that compers bring me when I run a giveaway, and lots of them stay as readers which is nice. 

Being a blogger and a comper, I do sometimes see people complaining that bloggers seem to win a lot. I find that bloggers just know more tips and tricks. For example, with Rafflecopter and Gleam comps that are hosted on blogs. If there are daily entries via tweeting, I'll make sure I go back every day to do that tweet because from running my own, I know that the people who put more effort in DO seem to win more." 

Louise Rose said:
Super Lucky Di said:

"The compers vs bloggers battle has been raging for a while, and as someone with years of experience as both a blogger and comper I can see it from both sides. In the UK, every promoter should follow the CAP Code - even a blogger giving away a spare mascara needs a set of terms and conditions and must 'deal fairly and honourably with participants'. Excluding people from a giveaway because their hobby is entering competitions simply isn't fair. Particularly when those particular entrants do a rather fine job of telling the world to visit a blog via posts of Twitter, Facebook and competition forums!

On the other hand, I do appreciate that most bloggers prefer to target a specific audience. If that's the case, they should avoid hosting giveaways with a simple entry method. Instead, ask people to put thought into their entry, and keep it relevant to the blog - it might be a detailed review of a beauty product, a travel photograph submitted on Instagram or sharing an original recipe. If a blogger is keen to reward regular readers, they could start a mailing list and run the promotion via the newsletter. Don't want a stream of compers visiting via a link on the MoneySavingExpert forum? Then create imaginative barriers to entry, rather than simply banning 'competition accounts'. Ask readers to comment about their favourite books, moisturisers or spices - that will filter out any lazy entrants who aren't bothered about the prize!"

Chloe from The Life of a Student Comper said:

"I can understand why bloggers are against compers in that they feel the prize should be rewarded to someone they consider a 'loyal follower' instead of a comper. However, in doing their giveaways they are trying to advertise and attract more attention for their blog, and through compers getting involved and liking and sharing their posts this gives them the publicity that they originally wanted. In fact many compers have also stated that they have found out many unique blogs/companies that they now love and avidly follow, through comping. In addition, there are also a lot of compers who publicly thank the promoters of a competition when they win a prize, and this again gives them that extra publicity. Therefore, I feel in one sense compers help bloggers attract new loyal followers".

From the number of responses I received, it seems that a lot of people have opinions on this topic. We could easily talk round and round in circles about this, but at the end of the day it all comes down to a question of kindness and mutual respect. I know both bloggers and compers who are lovely people, but I've also had dealings with people from both groups who have been much less pleasant.

So, comper or blogger, my advice to you is this - try and see things from their perspective, and think about how you're treating people. Remember, kindness costs nothing.

Are you a blogger or a comper? What do you think? Let me know in the comments below!

2 comments:

  1. Thank you very much for including me in your post. It's really interesting to read other people's thoughts, especially those who solely comp. I totally agree with the compers who seek out anti-imperialist blogs. If I come across one, I close the page and move on. There's no need to kick up a fuss.

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    1. Completely agree with you there Rebecca!

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