How Disqus & WordPress Comments Helped Me Catch A Giveaway Gamer

Posted on 12/08/2012 in Blog Tips / 23 Comments

B-Tips is less a tutorial and more a brain-dump of all the stuff I’ve learned how to do over the last couple of years. It is inspired in part by more knowledgable bloggers than myself, as well as the multiple conversations I’ve come across on Twitter, where the topic is fear of coding (usually in relation to switching from Blogger to WordPress). (This is NOT a how-to on switching. I had hiccups and help in switching, and it was many moons ago, therefore if you need or want to switch, I recommend reading one of the many tutorials out there to help guide the way). My point is, HTML and simple code is not a scary thing as long as you have Google. Or friendly bloggers to brain-dump on you. Other great references are Parajunkee’s View, BookNerd and Kimba the Caffeinated Book Reviewer. All of them have more knowledge than me.


How Disqus & WordPress Comments Helped Me Catch A Giveaway Gamer

They’re everywhere: people who want so badly to win something, they create multiple accounts to enter in hopes of scoring the goods.  But they don’t stop to think that, hey, they have an IP address…or maybe they just don’t care or think they’ll get caught.  The Bawdy Book Blog was hit by one such person just last week in the REACHED giveaway, and if it hadn’t been for Disqus, the commenting system I had installed here at the time, as well as the WordPress commenting system, I might not have caught her.  It’s still possible to catch a giveaway gamer via the regular commenting system, but Disqus also makes it easy to lay the ban-hammer on an individual and block their IP.  So if someone tries to cheat here, I can block them from ever being able to comment again.  Sounds harsh, but thems the breaks.  Jenn don’t play.

Let’s look at a timeline of the events.  I was on here, actually, writing my reviews for this past week, when I got hit with multiple comments, five in a row actually, and all of them were unregistered Disqus comments.  I know some people don’t want to register for Disqus, because it’s one more thing to keep up with or get emails about, but five in sequence, in less than five minutes?  That was the first thing that tipped me off and I’m not a dummy.  So I began investigating and my investigating didn’t even have to go that far:

  • Five (5) comments roll through with the same IP address, all unregistered (I have all comments set up to be emailed to me)
  • I then verified other commenters’ entries showed different IP addresses (they did)
  • Checked twitter and saw that all the dummy twitter accounts had variations on her same last name (they did)
  • Checked Rafflecopter and saw multiple entries for dummy email addresses; cross-checked them against twitter and verified they had the same variations of last name


  • I then went into Disqus and filtered for that IP and wouldn’t you know, I found a 6th (the original) entry from earlier that morning! (This screenshot is of the WordPress comment, but it shows essentially the same thing).


It seems like a lot of work when you factor in cross-checking (it really wasn’t), but I didn’t want to wrongfully disqualify someone.  Rachel was banned from commenting via Disqus, and has also been banned via the new commenting system I’m using now, Livefyre. This might seem harsh, but in my research of her tweets, I noticed through all the accounts that she was entering contests multiple times, and that is really unfair to those who actually do play by the rules.
So, in short, check for IPs (I used to use Rafflecopter to do this, but lately, they haven’t been showing that information), and in general, keep your eyes peeled for suspicious activity in your giveaways.


  • “@” yourself in Rafflecopter giveaway tweets so you can see the activity as it happens
  • If you use Disqus, filter by IP and look for multiple comments in one post
  • Have your blog’s comments emailed to you, the emails show IP addresses, too


Did You Know…
  • You don’t need to put in the link to your giveaway in the Rafflecopter tweet widget?  Yup, that’s right.  You have 120 characters to get your promotional tweet in, and Rafflecopter reserves the remaining 20 characters to link to your giveaway automatically when the post goes live with a shortened link.  So go forth and get even more creative with those tweets! 



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Jennifer is both a book nerd and professional photographer. That means she lives in the fantasy world all the time, whether of her making, or someone else's. She collects books like the Duggar family collects kids, and began waiting for her Hogwarts letter at the tender age of 33.


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23 responses to “How Disqus & WordPress Comments Helped Me Catch A Giveaway Gamer

  1. The Readingista

    Nothing should surprise me anymore, but it is ridiculous how desperate people will be.  Yikes!

  2. Great tips and I totally love using Disqus for this and so many other reasons. I know it’s a pain to register with so many commenting systems, but if you are a blogger you are foolish not to. Other commenters and the blog you are visiting cannot find your blog and it’s hard to build bookish relationships.  Great tips!

  3. grapeapril75

    That is sad that there are cheaters out there like that. Personally who has time  I barely get through the hops before the deadline sometimes! Although this does make things tricky for folks who live in the same house and do contests. For example my sister and I both do hops and live together. But that is two people entering not five like you mentioned.

    • The Readingista

      grapeapril75 You make an excellent point. I can see that with mothers and daughters too. Thankfully my daughter doesn’t enter contest. She just digs through my books and helps herself just like with my clothes.

      • The Readingista grapeapril75 This is something I did think of…or even college campuses (dorm halls, etc), so it has to be a judgement call, too.  In this case, it’s pretty damning, because there are a total of six entries with variations of the same name.  But yeah, siblings, mothers/daughters….that CAN happen.

  4. JENN, YOU SEXY THING! Things are looking GOOD round here! I LOVE THE NEW LOOK, DOLLS!\nThis is a FAB post. It sucks that you had to write it all, but this is SO helpful! THANK YOU FOR POSTING! ♥

    • @Sarah saz101 WHY THANK YOU!  It’s not complete….my bawdy chick will be making a comeback, but just in a less out there way.\nAnd yeah, at first I was like, aw man someone is trying to cheat!  And then it was, aw hell yeah,  I have something to write about for my next B-Tips!

  5. We had a cheater trying to game our system too. I used to reply on Rafflecopter to check IPs, but now they’re being a royal pain in my ass about showing them. Why is that? Is it because they want me to pay for that service now? Not gonna happen. So I’ve been using the WP comment IPs and Livefyre. \nThe only downside is that when someone enters and says they commented on the site, it can be harder to find their comment since Livefyre’s display name may be different from the name they used to enter the giveaway, especially if it’s their twitter name. It just makes it an extra step to check everything.

    • Stephanie Sinclair Yeah, i think they are prompting users to pay for their service, which sort of pisses me off.  It’s a bit of bait and switch, offering something completely free, get enough people on board and then making (or asking) them to pay for it.  \nI didn’t even think about the livefyre name thing, but that is true….I could change my name to anything.

      • @Jennifer @ The Bawdy Book Blog You can always check IP addresses. The name is only different if they are using Twitter. They wouldn’t be able to have multiple comments under different names unless they are using different social accounts, but then it’d show the same IP address. It’s kinda the same as how’d you deal with Rafflecopter, just withLivefyre or WP comments now. \nAnd yeah, Rafflecoper sucks for doing that. What a shady buisness move.

      • Jennifer @ The Bawdy Book Blog Stephanie Sinclair I’m with you guys on this. I used it today, and they’re totally pushing towards a paid version.\nLook, tbh, I still think they’re the best for giveaways. BUT. I’m with you, it’s dissapointing they’re, well, like you said, bait and switching. I’d happily support advertising, or something else, and I GET they need to make money, but ugh.

        • sazbah @Jennifer @ The Bawdy Book Blog I’m not sure I could actually justify spending a monthly fee on just a giveaway service. Blogging is a hobby and I don’t make any money from it (all of our advertisement monies goes to giveaway shipping costs and site fees). I know blogging has gotten bigger, as in more people do it now. That’s got to be a strain on their servers, but still. Oh, well.

        • Stephanie Sinclair sazbah TOTALLY. Especially when you’re already paying money in providing the giveaway. I mean, I guess it makes sense for BIG blogs, and the ones who make enough money to cover it. Which really isn’t that many book bloggers :S

        • sazbah Stephanie Sinclair Yes, this.  Maybe if my JOB was blogging and that’s what I did all day and that was my income…aka mommyblogger….but it’s not.  And honestly, the day it becomes a job is the day I quit doing it.

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