Comping, is it Worth it?
Comping is a hobby where you enter as many competitions as possible in order to maximise your winnings.
It can quickly become a habit, and sometimes, as many click-bait headlines will have you believe, ‘you can make a living winning competitions!’. It’s a global phenomenon, which has expanded massively over the last 10 years, with many people entering thousands of competitions a week in order to win a glorious bounty. Then depressingly sell it on eBay!
You'll never run out of competitions to enter - there are so many. Running a competition is a cheap way for a company or blogger to gain brand visibility. A few quid spent on a prize is far cheaper than most other forms of promotion such as buying advertising space either online or in print.
Unfortunately yes, some companies will sell the details you give them. If you enter by text or email, expect to be sent spam, and not just from the brands whose contest you’ve entered. Being able to sell on your contact information to other businesses makes your application even more valuable to them!
So the first thing you should do is set up a new email address specifically for comping. That way, your usual account (filled it important stuff), won't get spammed.
Can you make a living comping?
When the recession hit in 2009, there was lots of excitement about comping because it was a chance to get extra income (or any income at all - a lot of people lost their jobs).
Everyone has read the headline that says ‘This Woman Makes a Living out of Entering Competitions’, so let’s examine one of these lucky people. Comper Di Coke claims to win an average of £15,000 in competitions every year. Her website gives you hints, tips, interviews with other compers.
One of the blog entries we enjoyed was entitled ‘Is Comper’s News Worth the Money?’. According to Di, it apparently is! Bear in mind however that she is a contributor to the magazine. You see, that £15,000 doesn’t just come from winning competitions, lots of it comes from just being ‘the woman who is a professional comper’. Being a graphic designer, she had the skills to make her website superlucky.me look fantastic, and now by using this site as a living business card, she has become a comping celebrity.
One thing that has got better since comping ‘got big’ is the online networks of people who dedicate time to this crazy hobby. You can find comping ‘professionals’ who can tell you everything you need to maximise your winnings using the Loquax or MoneySavingExpert forums, but most importantly you can chat with people (for free of course), learning and developing new strategies. Arguably, that friendly networking edge means that developments in the world of comping have made it a more welcoming enjoyable place to spend time. They even give you the answers to competitions where you need to solve a question to enter, which is incredibly cute.
So does all this make sense for students?
Lets face it, students are poor, and could do with the extra money comping can provide . OK, so a hobby level comper looks out for offers and puts in a few hours a week to google and enter loads of competitions, communicating with seasoned experts and developing strategies.
Do this with a few friends and treating it as a fun evening in, and hopefully this could lead to some wins that could make your week just a little bit more special. Just remember, one reason why you’re at uni is to get a career just that little bit more glittering than the prospect of buying £1000 worth of fizzy drinks you don’t need in order to increase your chance of winning that £1000 back again. Not only should the prospect of treating comping as a salary sound somewhat unrealistic to you, but in comparison to your other far higher aspirations (and of course our freebies section), perhaps a bit of a waste of time?