The time it was about cheaters

Posted July 8, 2016 by Stacee in Discussion Post / 32 Comments

Well…here we are at another attempt at a discussion post.  There were a lot of comments on the last one, but I don’t know if it was the topic or just that it was a discussion.  I do have a few ideas, so I might try doing one a month.  Anyways…


You may have seen me on Twitter a few months ago talking about giveaway cheaters.  If you haven’t, here’s the lowdown:

Once upon a time, I was picking winners for some of the various giveaways that had finished.  When I got to the giveaway for an arc, the first couple of entries were cheaters/fake entries/whatever the fuck you want to call it.  Not to get discouraged, I kept choosing. What I don’t always tell you guys is that I have cheater entries on every Rafflecopter I’ve ever done.  I usually only mention it when it’s taken me a looooong time to find a proper winner.

Fast forward 1 hour and 63 entries later, every single entry that I had verified had been a cheater.  Mostly it was people saying they followed and then not, but there were an overwhelming amount of entries of people doing the daily tweet with the same URL.

As in, they properly tweeted the giveaway message one time and then kept using that URL for every following day. 


Needless to say, I was super upset and decided to suspend the giveaway.  I took to Twitter, letting everyone know what happened and most people were super supportive and understanding about it {THANK  YOU}.

There was one person who made some comments about how there wasn’t any point in her entering if I was going to hold giveaways and not actually give the prizes out.  When I apologized, explained the situation, and told her that it was the first time I had ever suspended a giveaway, she came back to say that she wasn’t going waste her time entering my giveaways if cheaters on the blog were going to be a usual thing. {I’m sort paraphrasing here, she’s since deleted the tweets}

Okay, I totally understand.  Being an honest person and entering a giveaway, I see how this would be frustrating.  But, it’s not like I’m asking for people to cheat.

It’s not my fault that people choose to be assholes.

If you’ve never run a Rafflecopter giveaway, perhaps you don’t know that the Rafflecopter is like an all knowing oracle that tells us all sorts of information.


We can highlight a user and look at all of their entries, {which is something I do when I validate}, so it’s really easy to see if someone is working the system.

I always thought people would prefer a Rafflecopter giveaway because there are more entries/chances to win vs a Twitter/IG giveaway where there may only be one entry.  {And let’s be honest, I want my follower count in other places to grow as well.}  When I posted a poll on Twitter asking this exact question, I was blown away by the amount of people who said they would rather have a follow + RT sort of entry.  Some people said that if they were at a computer, they would do the Rafflecopter, but if on their phone, it’s too much of a pain, so they won’t enter at all.

The majority of the giveaways I hold are paid for by me.  Sure, some of the arcs are books that I’ve gotten from publishers, but I’m still paying for shipping.  It’s still the time I’ve taken to set up the giveaway, validate the entries, and either go to the post office {which is like my own personal hell}, or go online and order a book.  Seeing so many cheaters is like a slap in the face.

I’ve started holding mostly Twitter and IG giveaways as it is, but this event really has me wondering about how to try to combat the cheaters. Especially since it’s ruining my experience of shoving the books I love into other people’s hands.

What do you think?

If you’re a blogger: Have you had this happen? What have you done to change your giveaways? 

If you’re a giveaway enter-er, what sort of giveaway do you prefer?


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32 Responses to “The time it was about cheaters”

  1. I’m so sorry you have to deal with cheaters. I’m kind of blown away by people using the same tweet URL. With the way rafflecopters are set up, it’s not hard to tweet different tweets everyday. I think you should do whatever’s easiest for YOU. If people think it’s too much work or a waste of time then they don’t really deserve the books you’re giving away. People who really want the book(s) will take their time to enter. Anyways, thank you for always hosting awesome giveaways!

    • Stacee

      It was a bit shocking to see just how many people did it. I agree that it’s not too hard, but it seems that there will always be people who want to work the system.

      Thank you for reading and commenting!!

  2. i’m sorry you were confronted to that…cheaters really made the experience bad for everyone but it seems that there is no way against them

    • Stacee

      Yeah, there probably isn’t a way to make them go away. Maybe making people aware that it’s happening will help it.

      Thank you for reading and commenting!!

  3. I’m struggling with this constantly over on Novel Novice, and I have yet to figure out a solution. I’m also disappointed by fewer and fewer people even ENTERING my contests, which means the ratio of legit entries to cheater entries is even more disappointing.

    I’ve been pretty bummed out about blogging in general lately, what with all the DRAMA surrounding certain people taking advantage of the system and being general all-around scamming wankers, plus seeing fewer contest entries & comments & slowing traffic. Just … yeah.

    I wish I knew a good solution for ALL of these problems, but I think discussing it with other bloggers who I know and respect helps.

    • Stacee

      I’m so happy to see that I’m not the only one who struggles with this issue. When I first started blogging {almost 5 years!!} there wasn’t any of this drama. Or maybe there was and I just didn’t see it.

      Sometimes I feel like our little community has evolved to something that’s not as supportive. There seems to be less commenting back, less support between bloggers, and more jealousy and arc envy. I love that there are so many blogs out there, I just wish people would realize that we’re all here to support books and authors.

      Thank you for reading and commenting!!

  4. I definitely have a love/hate relationship with giveaways because of this exact thing. I’ve never had that many cheaters at once (that I’ve found) but I’ve definitely had to disqualify people. I love Rafflecopter because it makes verifying them so easy. Mostly I just wish I could get the books I’m giving away to people who will actually enjoy them or at least read them and not to people who just enter ALL the giveaways just to get stuff. Giveaway accounts are now an automatic disqualification. There’s nothing I hate more than a winner who doesn’t even say ‘Thank you’. I something wonder if they realize that I don’t need to host giveaways and that I pay for them myself. But, at least for now, I still enjoy hosting them more than I get annoyed or angry with cheaters. Hopefully it’ll stay like that.

    • Stacee

      Agreed!! I also disqualify giveaway accounts, no matter what medium the giveaway is on. I get wanting to not spam your followers with giveaway entries, but the point of a RT/regram is to spread the word about the giveaway. And yes, I’m always so amazed by the lack of “thank yous”.

      For me, the love of a giveaway is still beating the annoyance as well.

      Thank you for reading and commenting!!

  5. Tsuki

    I used to love entering giveaways and then I stopped even after winning. If I go to a giveaway and it’s like “Follow on a social media site and put your username” then I’m totally cool. If it says email subscribe to a newsletter then yeah, sure, I’ll do that. If it says, “There are 120 entries available to you. Twitter is 5, Facebook is 5, Instagram is 5, etc. etc. Follow each author on five different social media sites, etc. etc.” I back out of that real fast. I love blogs and I go to them all the time. I do not need to follow each blog, site, etc. on 15 different social media platforms, email, and bloglovin’. I’m more of a one entry kind of girl.

    The cheating thing is…expected but unfortunate. Of course people are going to cheat. They are going to say they did everything when they didn’t. The repeated twitter thing is a tad strange because that actually takes a little more work than saying “okay I did that” when they didn’t. The only way to really crack down on that is to make it a one entry kind of giveaway. If they have to do one thing and they don’t then it’s easier to validate.

    • Stacee

      If I’m having an author on the blog, I will always include ways to follow them as entries since they’ve taken their time to do an interview or provide content in some way. I can definitely appreciate not wanting to follow in all of the ways provided, but I like to give the option so people can decide how to follow. But it’s not 120 entries. LOLOL

      I appreciate your input! Thank you for reading and commenting!!

  6. Sorry about the people trying to scam the system… that totally sucks! I personally don’t mind Rafflecopter giveaways, unless it’s a big group giveaway where there are 75 million different people to follow on 12 different sites {slight exaggeration, but some of them are ridiculous}. I also have no problem with comment, follow or re-tweet giveaways, but I will not enter giveaways that require me to tag someone else {I have found a lot of people really don’t like being randomly tagged on posts and try to respect that}.
    I have not been able to hold any giveaways on my current blog yet, but in the past I have done both comment entries and rafflecopter and have had success with both.

    Michelle recently posted: The Friday 56 #1~ Into the Dark
    • Stacee

      I have participated in a few blog tours where the rafflecopter was provided by the tour host and there were close to 100 entries available. It does seem excessive, but at the same time, I appreciate them including the tour hosts as options to follow as entries.

      Thank you for reading and commenting!!

  7. I’m so sorry you’ve had to deal with cheaters to this extent! I haven’t run many giveaways on my blog (most are outside ones from blitzes) to have come across this with THAT many entries but there were a few people I had to disqualify. It really sucks that people abuse the system like this.

    I love both single-entry (Twitter, etc.) and Rafflecopter giveaways, and participate in both. As others have mentioned, the ones that have a million different ways you have to enter are turn-offs but if everything is optional, I can choose who to follow, what to tweet, etc. which is a nice freedom to have. It provides a lot more options. At the same time one entry means far less cheaters so there’s ups and downs to both kinds for both participants and hosts, I suppose.

    Hope you have better luck with any future giveaways you host!

    • Stacee

      Agreed! As I said in the post, I always figured people would want more entries/chances to win, so I really appreciate your opinion on the subject.

      Thank you for reading and commenting!!

  8. Tammy V

    I knew there were cheaters out there but never that many in one giveaway. Seems to me that is a lot of work to repost the same URL for a tweet, to remember which goes where. I’ve been reading another blog that spoke about a certain blogger that isn’t on the up and up and was shocked by that one too. My love of reading has been since I was in grade school. Now with all the technology we have it is even better. Blogs, Goodreads, author sites, etc. all are fantastic to the true reader. Contests are especially fun and give us a bit of a rush when we win something we were wishing for. The ones that cheat or misuse these are just hurting us and the people that put them on.

    • Stacee

      I always expect people to cheat because it seems like nowadays, everyone expects something for nothing. As I said in the post, the actual amount of cheaters was a bit of a slap in the face. Technology has made it easier to have giveaways and easier to cheat as well.

      Thank you for reading and commenting!!

  9. I’ve never hosted a Rafflecopter giveaway before so I don’t really know how it works. But, I have known some issues about cheaters and giveaway accounts. Personally, I feel like it’s an unfair advantage. Though I think both Rafflecopter and Twitter giveaways are based on chance, I think RT giveaways are fairer than Rafflecopter ones too. As for IG giveaways, I’ve never entered one because it always takes a lot of my time and I’m really shy of posting giveaway photos on my feed because I fear it’ll annoy my followers. >.< Great post, Stacee!

    • Stacee

      I just recently found out that rafflecopter uses an algorithm to pick the winner, so I’ve even stopped letting it pick the winner. I now use a random number generator and then pick the winner that way. I want it to be as fair as possible.

      For my IG giveaways, I try to make regraming an option. I know I hate seeing that stuff in my feed {especially when you get all of the people you following joining the same giveaway!}

      Thank you for reading and commenting!!

  10. Lucy

    I join lots of giveaways and one thing that bothered me last week was when i found a prompt on With Love for Books rafflecopter giveaway where under the “I commented” task says “Comment the name you commented with ⚠ if it’s different from your profile name.”

    Some giveaways only have the “I commented.” button.

    The thing is, i sometimes comment with my Bloglovin name which is DIFFERENT from my rafflecopter name.

    I don’t know how rafflecopter works, but since my rafflecopter name is different from the ones i commented, i may have unintentionally cheated without knowing. BUT DIDNT. (Because i comment, but since it is under a different name, they might not see. You know?)
    Friendly Tip: Have i commented under what name option on rafflecopter giveaways.
    I now have similar rafflecopter name and the name i commented on posts, so thanks to Suze and Anniek over at With Love For Books.

    • Stacee

      On rafflecopter, all of the details for the entries can be seen. It shows the name, email, entry type, extra info, time and IP address for each. So, even if the entry names display different, it’s still attached to several things.

      Thank you for reading and commenting!!

  11. danielle hammelef

    I’m not a blogger, but I read posts of many book bloggers. As a writer and avid reader, I love when I can read author interviews and find out about books that are coming out. The giveaways are always a great perk. I’ve always considerd them as win-win for both sides–I get the word out on social media for the chance to win a book and hopefully you earn more followers. I’m really sorry that people cheat in the ways you mentioned.

    • Stacee

      It’s always been expected, I just think that it’s getting worse. Which is sort of crappy because it means extra work for me.

      Thank you for reading and commenting!!

  12. I do maybe four giveaways a year on my blog via Rafflecopter, and even though my blog is small and I don’t get that many entries who are not bloggers I already know and trust, I still get cheaters. mine are mostly people who say they have followed by Bloglovin that don’t have a Bloglovin account, BUT now that you mention the tweet thing, I have never checked that. I always breathe a sigh of relief when the first person that comes up is either a blogger I know, or a bigger blogger I know is trustworthy. I prefer Twitter giveaways, but for some reason I don’t do well with them. Other bloggers will be giving away random bookmarks they got as swag from authors and they will get 20 times the RTs I get for a popular ARC, or signed hardcover, so I don’t do them that often. One thing I do know from enterting Rafflecopters is the “cheats” are sometimes honest mistakes. I have had my Kindle jump and enter the validation mid typing, I have also sometimes brain burped and copied and entered the Rafflecopter”tweet complete” url instead of the tweet url. There have also been times I have entered that I followed by (insert platgorm) and then gone to follow and not been able to find a button or link anywhere on the blog. I always tell them in the comments though. Sometimes thery give me the link and sometimes they don’t. I really don’t know what I will do when my Rafflecopters get more popular. Maybe only do two big ones a year and be prepared to sit for a good chunk of time and validate; maybe? That is a difficult question to answer. Great discussion post.

    La La in the Library recently posted: TOP FIVE FRIDAY #29
    • Stacee

      Yeah, giveaways are weird in general. If I do a giveaway on twitter I’ll get a lot of entries for something I wouldn’t expect and then minimal numbers for something I would expect a lot from. I’ve sort of just stop trying to make sense of how or why something takes off.

      I’ve also had people contact me about mistakes that have been made on the Rafflecopter, so I get that.

      I don’t know how to fix it or make it easier.

      Thanks for reading and commenting!!

  13. I haven’t had that issue with my Rafflecopters, so I guess I’ve been lucky. I do like you do and get all the entries of the person that is picked pulled together and then check to see that they’ve done what it says. Most of the time I prefer to enter Rafflecopter giveaways, just because it does make sure it is done fairly. I don’t mind the retweet ones, but how do you pick randomly with that? I guess that is what I always wonder with the retweet contests. And then on Instagram, with not being able to share posts without using an outside app, I hate when that is what the way to enter is. Great post, I hate that there are people who cheat like that and make giveaways not worth it.

    Lisa Mandina (Lisa Loves Literature) recently posted: Sunday Post #63 and Stacking the Shelves July 10th, 2016
    • Stacee

      With the RT giveaway, there are websites where you put in the URL and it picks a random account that RT’d it, so I use that. For IG giveaways, you can always screencap the giveaway photo and then repost it with the hashtag, no outside app needed.

      Thanks for reading and commenting!!

  14. Rachel King

    I used to enter book giveaways like mad because it was the only way I could get the books I really wanted to read. From an “enterer” point-of-view I always thought the fairest were the single-entry draws, but from the blogger’s pov, it makes more sense to add entries for following through different social media. I actually didn’t know that bloggers didn’t like social media accounts that were only used to enter contests until maybe 2 years ago. So there’s that. I also prefer to be notified via email if I won, since I couldn’t always remember when a contest was going to end and go find the site to check.
    When I ran a blog, I couldn’t afford to run contests on my own dime, so mad respect for doing them!

    • Stacee

      For me personally, I don’t like giveaway social media accounts because they usually don’t have a lot of followers and the purpose of a RT/regram is to help to spread the word about the giveaway. I would guess that’s how the majority of bloggers feel, but who knows.

      Thanks for reading and commenting!!

  15. As a blogger I’ve had this happen many times, it gets so bad sometimes that I just pick a winner and only verify if they cheated the system or not. The worst thing though is when users on a Rafflecopter giveaway will use their e-mail and Facebook to enter for double the amount of entries, though since lining out a set of rules on every giveaway post and threatening disqualification cheating has happened less and less though it still happens. I haven’t done a follow and RT giveaway yet, but I feel that would probably be easier than RC giveaways

    • Stacee

      The follow and RT is really easy, plus they have websites to pick a random winner from a URL, so I don’t even have to worry about fairly picking on my own. I haven’t seen the double entry on email to Facebook yet. I imagine it has happened, I just haven’t caught it. :D

      Thanks for reading and commenting!!

  16. Hugs. <3 I love this post Stacee. Thank you oh so much for sharing :) I remember this. And siiigh. Giveaway cheaters ARE THE WORST :( So so annoying. And mean. Hmph. And you are always so kind with your giveaways :) And giving away so much. <3 Eee. Thank you for always being so amazing sweet girl :) (I would never cheat on giveaways. Ugh.)

    Carina Olsen recently posted: Book Collection #20
  17. Giveaways have always kind of scared me for this reason. I don’t usually have the response you get to giveaways so I don’t get as many cheaters, but I have had a few. It’s so disheartening, especially since all the steps are easy to follow and I never require any on rafflecopter. Cheaters are the worst and I am sorry it has tainted your view of them some.

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