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Saturday, 17 December 2011

Enter via Japan

Just a short post to bring out into the open some intriguing facts that have come to my attention concerning a recent competition I've been running on Twitter.

For those of you familiar with Twitter, you've no doubt seen the occasional "retweet" appearing in your feed from someone you follow who has entered some competition or other on Twitter via the quite common method of "following and retweeting" a tweet posted by whoever is running the competition. Quite often the competition prize is some item of monetary value (for example, a Kindle or Amazon vouchers) and obviously the prospect of winning these items is fairly appealing to a proportion of the general tweeting public. Indeed, such is the prolifigacy of such competitions on Twitter, there is a growing army of people who have twitter accounts solely for the purpose of entering as many as they can find, retweeting merrily a hundred times a day or more, and tweeting nothing else save the odd "thank you" when someone tweets to tell them they've won a pair of shoes or some such.

Now, there is absolutely nothing wrong with that - entering competitions is fun and. after all, we're living in financially awkward times at present - but, as I say, some very intriguing facts have come to light arising during the course of running my competition.

Firstly. hand in the air, the reason behind the competition was a simple marketing exercise for my Kindle book on Amazon. Included in the "competition announcement" tweet was a bit.ly link to my book, which was there to gauge how effective the marketing campaign was at directing traffic to view the book on Amazon. Users of bit.ly links will know that this system captures some useful geographical detail about where in the world someone is when they click on the link (just the country, not the city or exact street address!). Given the "competition tweet" talked about vouchers in UK currency, my thinking about those most likely to be interested and also click on the link was people within the UK. But what I discovered was that while the UK was the 2nd highest country of click origin, it was dwarfed 3 to 1 by Japan.

Yes, that's right - Japan.

This somewhat unexpected statistic got me thinking. Of all the follows and retweets that were attributable to the competition, 99% did indeed appear to be claiming UK as their location in their Twitter bio; given that 75% of all clicks on the bit.ly link were from Japan, something wasn't adding up.

Now, so far, I haven't dug too deeply. But a couple of thoughts spring to my over-active mind:

1) well, maybe there's a lot ex-pats in Japan, who just like clicking the link on my competition tweet;
2) bit.ly's country indicator might be pants;
3) there's some sort of organised crime network at play here who have people working in teams, entering and winning competitions with any kind of monetary value, and then using patsies local to the UK to collect the gains, then use these for whatever nefarious deeds they get up to.

So, over to you - what do you think?

I should add that there are many genuine "compers" out there, but as with any demographic, there are some bad eggs and even a few engaged in suspicious activities.

Thanks for your time.

* update (2012-01-07): interestingly, there have been no "Japan" based clicks since the competition ended.