Tag: giveaway cheaters

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!