The Ultimate Contest SNAFU

Today I happened across a couple of web sites promoting a contest being run by Dr. PepperI hope you see this Dr. Pepper. The Contest encourages participants to head out to the convenience store (7-eleven) and purchase a Dr. Pepper product that contains a redeemable code for some free products. These sites had posted a number of reusable codes and provided instructions for individuals on how to redeem them without purchasing the required products.

Background:

Each participating Dr. Pepper product has a “non-unique” code associated with it that allows the person redeeming the code to a free XBOX/PC Download for 1 of four games, some games have multiple download files available. This code can then be redeemed by one registered user account, each account can redeem 1 code for one download.

The Issue:

    1 – These sites I was reading were encouraging people to create multiple accounts in the Dr. Pepper system and redeem one of the provided “non-unique” codes for the free download. “Create as many fake accounts as you want, for each download code” were the instructions – potentially resulting in dozens of fake email accounts being added to the Dr. Pepper email file.

    2 – The new accounts are sent confirmation messages, to these random/fake accounts which could very well end up being real accounts (This is spam issues) or worse yet – spam traps.

    3 – Multiple popular gaming sites are encouraging this same behavior.

Prevention:

    1 – Send the redeemable game codes via email “Here is how you access your Free Download – LINK…”

    2 – Force account activation for redemptions. “Click this LINK to confirm your account and your download code will be provided”.

    3 – Offer non-unique codes or limited redemption of the same code to prevent sites from sharing it with a number of non-customers

Next Step Recommendations:

    1 – Review of new email addresses added to house file via this contest, send a separate email validating the recipients. Maintain a separate field or source code for these addresses. One bounce and your out.

    2 – Trend the performance of the individuals that entered via this contest and see if they are worthy subscribers or just people looking for free stuff. Then split out active users and remove the dead weight.

    3 – Build future contests with the idea of valid accounts get the bonus, fake ones get nothing 😉

Hopefully this gives you something to consider if your planning a contest for in the future.

Author: Matt V - @emailkarma

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