Behind the Scenes of Issue 48
Giveaway masterclass: how I won a heap of stuff recently. Related: Giveaways banned on r/mk as of today. Vendor database update, two new discount codes, Issue 47 follow-up.
Published October 18, 2021
OK, let's start with the giveaway part.
Giveaway Masterclass :D
Let me explain my ultimate recipe for winning giveaway prizes.
Right now, I'm staring at a heap of stuff I won during the last two months: PCBs, switches, acrylic cases, cables, other accessories.
So no, this is not clickbait, in this write-up I will reveal my proven tips, my train of thought and elaborated theory :), an exact step-by-step description of how I won stuff worth of hundreds of dollars. To make sure every giveaway was legit, I wanted every parcel to arrive, before I write about this. Now, everything on my desk, the time has come to reveal the secret – and ruining my own future chances. :D
(Because of the nature of this set of tips, the full editorial is available only for members this time.)
Of course there are no shady methods involved. On the contrary: I argue against e.g. using multiple accounts and point out the counter-productivity of this technique.
TLDR; This is a game of chance. Look at your odds and try not to spoil them. Target high effort giveaways with fewer entries instead of ones with thousands competing for a single prize.
Good and bad giveaways
First of all, let's cover how NOT to participate in giveaways. Or what giveaways should you avoid:
Most giveaways on Reddit, especially on r/mk suck. Period. They are gimmicks. They are not for you, they are an advertisement method and serve only the manufacturer/vendor.
(Last Friday r/mk mod dryver announced that giveaway posts will be banned on r/MechanicalKeyboards "as of Monday October 19th" - which is probably today (or tomorrow).
"Effective October 19, 2021, r/MechanicalKeyboards will be banning all new giveaway posts."
Not a big loss as you'll see in a minute. This ban does not affect the logic of this write-up, just replace r/mk with r/mm or any other sub.
Back to the main point:
At the very second of joining a giveaway you actually start to actively lower your chances. This may sound strange but I'll cover this immediately.
Also, I heard of people using multiple profiles to participate. As logical as this may sound, it is very likely that this technique will end them up with lower chances.
What the hell am I talking about? Shouldn't two identities double your chances?! Not at all. Here comes my train of thought.
Low effort giveaways aka "Comment anything you want."
So when participating in a giveaway requires minimal effort, joining seems to be a no-brainer. What can you lose? Nothing. (Unfortunately, you can't really win either so you will lose your precious time.)
Think of the last time you joined a giveaway. Was it a cool deskmat? A kick-ass keyboard? Or something you didn't like or want at all - but you joined anyway because it's free and takes some clicks only.
Did you read the original post at all? If you're like me you didn't. You just scanned the wall of text for the instructions:
"Comment anything you like." "Comment your favorite color." "Which one would you choose?"
Fine. That's easy. You type "anything" or "red" and you are done. Giveaway joined, you can forget about it.
Joining this giveaway took 5 seconds. Cool, they didn't waste your time. The problem is: joining this giveaway took 5 secs for everyone else too.
Competing with 4.600 other people
The result of this 5-sec threshold is how 4.600 Redditors get involved in a giveaway which practically leaves you with no chance to win. OK, there's a chance of 0.02%, or in other words, statistically, you have to participate in 4600 giveaways to make sure you win something – in about 10-15 years (given you find a giveaway each day and the increase in the number of members stops today).
As a side-note, if every future participation takes only 5 secs of your time, that's 6 hours altogether.
In case you have to actively look for the rules which costs you a tremendous 20 secs, that's one day of your life.
I'm more empirical than this and tried it while measuring the time: with opening the giveaway post, finding and reading the rules, commenting (and looking at 2-3 other comments) I spent about 40 secs.
So to statistically win a prize, with these variables and with people joining in this order of magnitude, I'd have to dedicate two days of my life for this project. To win an artisan which I'd never use. Or a desk mat which I don't use either.
I'm not sure about your hourly wage but with software engineers and IT people overrepresented in this hobby I'm pretty sure you could buy much more artisans and desk mats if you, instead of commenting on giveaway posts, would do some extra work for the same amount of time.
Increasing your chances
Alright, alright. You work enough for your boss, and sometimes you just want the thrill of gambling. Let's increase your chances.
People try to achieve this e.g. by using multiple identities.
That's not just a waste of time but also counter-productive. There is a chance you end up with even worse odds - at least on Reddit. How come?
With every additional entry (comment) and optional upvote the giveaway post becomes more popular on Reddit, it soon skyrockets to the top of the Hot list and resides there for hours - just to attract flocks of new users, diminishing your chances to win.
Using more identities would work only if you join at the latest stage of the giveaway post's Reddit life-cycle, when you no longer affect its popularity.
Nonetheless, let's think about what happens if you use two identities anyway. You now have a 0.04% chance. Congratulations. Only 2299 other GAs to go for a certain win. (But managing more users costs you more time as well so...)
In addition, some organizers disclose they refuse to choose winners whose zombie accounts are used only to participate in GAs.
The point is: by using multiple accounts you may end up with much worse odds. It may be a winning strategy elsewhere but on Reddit it's a plain stupid idea.
(In theory, you could do the opposite too. Trying to lower the post's popularity and exposure by downvoting it but it's quite unlikely this would work in a sub with almost 1 million members.)
What's the solution then? How did I end up with awesome keyboard stuff in my mailbox?
I simply prefer high effort giveaways.
Low effort vs High effort participation
We've seen what a low effort GA is but what the heck is a high effort one?
Well, when the time threshold of entry is considerably higher than the few secs in the previous examples. A high effort entry may decimate the number of participants, your competitors, and leave you with much higher odds.
To join a higher effort giveaway you can't simply scan through the instructions in a second but have to put some real effort into it.
How does this sound?
5 sec effort for a 0.02% chance vs. 10-30 min work for a 10-100% chance.
(100%?! Exactly. I actually participated in a GA with three entries "competing" for three prizes. :D We all new right at the start of the raffle that we will win something, the only question was which exact prize.)
On the other hand, I've just lost on a giveaway with 2 prizes and 4 participants. :D That's how luck and random number generators work.
So where do you find these giveaways?
Eventually, we arrived to the most burning question.
You already know that you shouldn't bother giveaways on Reddit. They are gimmicks. Instead, what you should do is...
Sorry, because of the nature of these tips, the last part of this editorial is only for members.
If you can't afford supporting this project, don't worry, I might publish parts of these write-ups later.
Btw, the full story is 9500+ characters long and you can read it at: https://www.buymeacoffee.com/dovenyi/behind-scenes-issue-48
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