Top 5 Tips to Avoid Bots During a Giveaway

Cheating occurs in contests of all sizes, regardless of the prize or premise. You could be thinking, “My competition is safe from cheaters because I’m only giving away a few bottles of nail polish,” which is a reasonable assumption. But we’ve seen cheating in the most unlikely places: a kid’s art contest, an internal talent contest at a church summer camp, and even a giveaway for blue nail polish.



However, cheaters can be kept at bay with quality contest software and a little forethought.

Now for the good news: with good contest software and a little forethought, you can keep cheaters at bay. Some of the features you’ll need to use when using an entry form and/or collecting votes are listed below.

To begin, here are a few features you should include in your contest’s entry form:


1. Use a reCAPTCHA


Before we get into how to stop human cheaters, let’s talk about how to stop robot spammers. Add a reCAPTCHA to your form if you want to ensure that all of the entries submitted to your entry form were created by actual humans rather than bots trying to fill spam entries on your form. Captcha is an acronym that stands for “Completely Automated Public Turing Test to Tell Computers and Humans Apart” and is a simple way to do so.


2. Prevent spam and duplicate entries in an entry form



A good contest builder will offer a number of ways to prevent duplicate entries when running a giveaway or any type of contest that requires entry in an entry form. For example, you can limit entries based on an email address, Facebook ID, or mobile number.

Because most people have more than one email account, requiring a Facebook login (i.e., allowing the contest software to see an encrypted version of the user’s Facebook ID) or a mobile number is your best bet if you’re dead set on offering one entry per person.


3. Block referring domains


Assume you’re a kayak manufacturer with a specific target market in mind: outdoorsy people who like to run rivers. You hold a contest in which participants can win a matching pair of your high-end white water kayaks, valued at around $7,000. Would you rather see this prize go to a fan of your company, someone who will use the kayaks and fill their Instagram feed with photos of your product cutting through epic white water? Alternatively, to someone whose only interest in your kayaks is to win a prize that they can resell on eBay.

Your contest could end up on one of dozens of contest websites that exist solely to provide links to current contests and giveaways. Some contest hosts enjoy using these contest sites because they can provide a lot of exposure for their contests. However, if you’re like the Kayak company, you don’t want a bunch of couch potatoes from the desert to enter your contest.

If you discover that the majority of your contest’s traffic is coming from a suspicious domain such as “,” you can prevent this domain, or any other domain, from viewing your contest.


4. Reserve the right to disqualify suspected cheaters



Knowing that cheaters exist can assist you in writing your contest’s terms and conditions with the necessary caveats. For example, you could include a provision stating that you reserve the right to disqualify anyone suspected of cheating.

The burden of proving cheating has occurred can sometimes be as painful as handing your prize to an undeserving contest participant. Sorting through spreadsheets of timestamps and IP addresses, as well as flagging fake email addresses and Facebook profiles, can be time-consuming. Save your team the trouble of playing detective by including a “We will disqualify suspicious entrants” clause in the terms and conditions of your contest.


5. Reserve the right to choose a winner by another means


When it comes to selecting a winner in your voting contest, it’s always a good idea to have a backup plan. No matter how much technology you use to prevent voter fraud, whether you know from experience or from reading this article, someone somewhere is trying to figure out how to make more submissions or cast more votes by any means necessary.



If you suspect cheating, reserve the right to select a winner using a different method – a panel of judges, you, or even a random selection. If you don’t want all of the votes to go to waste, you can still use vote tallies in your selection process without making them the sole means of determining your winner. Move the five entries with the most votes, for example, into a “final round,” and have a panel of judges choose from these top five. Even if the suspected cheater is allowed to compete in this round, there is no guarantee that they will win.

A good contest creator will always try to stay ahead of voter/entry fraud trends. Skyrush is no exception; we are constantly working to improve our platform.

Final Thoughts


Now that you learned how bots and cheaters operate and you know how to protect your giveaway from them, it is time to launch your giveaway campaign and experience the true power of this type of marketing.