Competitions

Reporter: Gavin Alder

"I've won $500 in cash on a radio station also another thousand dollars, I've won a Yarra Valley flight with a hot air balloon, couple of nights in the Yarra Valley…"

Mandy Graham is a competition fanatic - she wins an average of two prizes a week.

"Lots of DVDs, lots of good books, shampoos conditioners."

Over the past ten years Mandy's personal prize pool has added up to more than $50,000 but it's this little gem that's become Mandy's best friend.

"I've won the lovely $13,000 diamond ring."

The white gold sparkler didn't come easy. Mandy had to roll around in the mud with pigs as part of Melbourne Fox FM radio competition.

Fellow competition junkie mum of two Melinda McFadden recently used her creativity to crack the big one.

"The prize was $20,000."

They're part of a growing club of "Compers" happy to spend more than two hours a day entering competitions the old fashioned way on paper and online. But what if someone did all the work for you?

"Primarily for people who can't be bothered too lazy, don't have enough time to enter and we're just doing it all for them" says Mark Jones.

'Win 24' is a new website that automatically enters members into a minimum of 2 competitions a day via an email address allocated for you .. no envelopes, no forms just become a member - sit back and wait to win.

"What we do is our members are entered into here in Australia a minimum of 70 competitions each and every month with a minimum prize value of $200,000."

According to sales and marketing director Mark Jones, Win 24's automated entry system has already proved successful in Europe where there have been 170,000 winners so far- claiming everything from overseas trips to cruises, cars and electronic goods.

"We provide a service whereby we're reading the rules for the member, we're specifically entering the competitions that don't require any payment, subscription, any essay to be written these are simple online competitions that can be entered by anyone" explains Mark.

"Convenience is a big factor I just don't have time to enter 70 competitions or 5" says Paul.

Accountant Paul Jeronimo is new to the world of competitions - he's been a member for 4 months.

"I haven't won anything yet but I suppose you've got to be in it to win it… a holiday would be nice even a case of wine."

"The best thing I've won is a great home theatre system." Alex Cochran is a seasoned campaigner who is using the new site to maximise his entry capabilities - he hasn't won anything through Win 24 yet but is hopeful.

"Win 24 enters me into the easy competitions and what that allows me to do is it allows me to spend my time on entering the competitions like 25 words or less where I've got to use some skill" says Alex.

"It's all about the probability by increasing the number of competitions you enter each and every month" says Mark.

"I am concerned that as a competition website it will actually damage competitions."

Author and Competition veteran Craig Seitam runs his own website that lists hundreds of competitions which members must enter themselves. Craig is concerned Win 24 is a threat to the industry.

"Promoters put competitions in place for people to visit their website and buy their products and if competitions are entered automatically promoters won't want to run competitions anymore… that's not in the spirit of the whole game" says Craig.

But Mark believes competition promoters will see his service as a bonus.

"From our perspective we're actually a benefit to the competition sponsor… the whole point of entering competition is to have people enter that competition we're obviously increasing the number of people entering competitions so as far as I am concerned it has to be a good thing for them" argues Mark.

Then there is the cost to consider - Win 24 members pay 99 cents a day for the service.

"The idea and principle could sound tempting the problem is it costs quite a lot of money around $340 per year" says Craig.

Both the die-hards and beginners seem happy to wear the cost.

"I couldn't put competition forms in envelopes address them, and stamped them for $30 it would cost me more to do that as a value for money thing it stacks up as far as I am concerned" says Alex.

How good the value may be in the eye of the comper. For hard core compers like Alex it's worth a punt.

"No matter how big or how small the prize is when you win something you get a real buzz" adds Alex.

s Win 24 - www.win24.com.au

s Competitions Guide - www.competitionsguide.com.au