No matter how hard any lead collection system works – there’s going to be fake leads and/or attempts at contest fraud.
This is the unfortunate ugly side of trying to do something awesome for your audience. And while fraudulent entries are absolutely a tiny fraction of a minority of total entries… it’s something we work hard all the time to help combat for our clients and customers using smart filters and an internal fraud score.
In fact, since introducing the hosted app version of ContestDomination™ in late 2012 – we’ve been constantly improving our ability to recognize, flag and ban fraudulent entries.
Over the past 3 years, we’ve automatically stopped and banned over 10 million attempts to game your contests.
However, no system is 100% perfect – so it’s clear that we need to highlight “at risk” entries that weren’t quite bad enough to automatically ban without getting an unacceptable number of accidental bans.
Today, we’re pleased to introduce our first effort at self-service fraud tools.
The first step in giving you more control over the quality of your contests was to show you more information about each contestant.
Now, when you go into your “All Leads” section of your contest, you’ll notice a clickable token next to each contestant.
Click that and you’ll see some basic information about that particular contestant.
User Agent (what browser they used)
Additionally, we expose the contest details of each entry so you can see if you have leads who have entered more than one of your contests.
Peeking over at the “Referrals” tab will show you who has been referred to the contest from this contestant, and if the downstream leads have confirmed into the contest or not.
Confirmation status is a helpful gauge for initial lead quality if you’re requiring contest confirmation.
Lots of leads, but a low percentage of them being “Confirmed” is a strong indication of contest fraud.
Remove & Ban Duplicate IP’s
After reviewing the downline of referrals, you’ll also want to look at the “Entry Logs” to identify duplicate IP’s being used.
Note: If an IP has only been used 2 times, you may want to think twice before banning the IP as this is often just spouses etc. We usually consider this “fair game” but the ultimate call is your own.
When someone is clearly gaming the system using scripts, even if the emails are confirming as “valid”, it’s harder to spoof the IP address being used.
In the case of the contestant above, we saw them entering multiple customer and client accounts using different IP’s, email addresses etc. This is a good example of what we’ve uncovered from time to time during our manual audits of suspicious activity, and gives us increasingly better “fingerprints” for how people are attempting to cheat the system.
Other times, an original contestant might actually be trying to promote the contest in an ethical way, but has some bad seeds that are gaming the system further down the line.
In this example, it’s better to selectively remove the fraud without banning the original contestant all together.
Manual Contest Fraud Audits
We plan to continually improve our automatic and self-service fraud detection tools to better serve our customers.
However, if you see individual users who are slipping through the cracks and need to be addressed platform wide (such as the example with Bijan above), then please request a manual contest audit.
By emailing email@example.com – give us your account email, and the specific contest and lead you’d like reviewed.
Then, our team will manually look at the entry and make a decision on how to best proceed and clean up the system for future fraud attempts.
We hope you enjoy these new self-service tools, and that it leads to cleaner contests in the future for everyone!
Travis Ketchum is the Founder & CEO of Campaign Refinery and Contest Domination – helping 10’s of thousands of businesses build bigger email lists filled with qualified leads since 2012.