After recently posting on Facebook about win percentages, a couple of people asked me why I keep stats. “Be free, like the birds on the wind”, they didn’t say, but meant. “Just enter then dance with us”.

I like stats. Basically, they are numbers, which are harmless, useful, informative, malleable data which can be used to make a point, a comparison, highlight errors and spot trends. I am taking a more analytical approach to comping than most. That is my design.

If you don’t like numbers, you may be offended by the rest of this post. It’s got lots of numbers in them. Not random numbers, but numbers that tell a story and make you think. It might make you think “this guy is an idiot”, but at least it made you think.

So far this year

So far this year, I have entered 4334 competitions. That’s from 1 January 2014 until 29 April 2014. I’ve had a total of four wins this year. These include a kid’s ice cream maker (value £15), Poundshop vouchers (£50), Frances Ha DVD (£8) and a box of Lego (£45).  When you break it down, the 2014 stats look like this:

  • Total competitions entered : 4334
  • Total wins : 4
  • An average of 1 win for every 1083.5 competitions entered
  • An average of 1 win every 29.5 days
  • An average prize value of £29.50
  • An average of 36.72 competitions entered a day

    and this is the bummer:

  • I have not won a prize in 99.91% of the competitions that I have entered.

To put this into context, I looked at last year’s stats. Coincidentally, I did a similar post on April 29th last year. At that point, the stats were as follows:

  • Total competitions entered (1 Jan 13 – 29 Apr 13) : 3464
  • Total wins : 6
  • An average of 1 win for every 577.3 competitions entered
  • An average of 1 win every 18.7 days
  • An average of 29.35 competitions entered a day

In a nutshell, I entered over 20% less competitions but won 50% more prizes. I entered 870 more competitions this year, but have been far less successful. How can this be?

Someone suggested that it’s because more people are entering competitions now. I suppose it’s possible. I think it might have something to do with it. Perhaps it’s fate and destiny conspiring against me because of my Derron Brown-esque experiment earlier in the year to try to attract more karma. (It didn’t work).

It’s more likely, though, that it’s none of these. It’s just random. Name out of a hat. The stats prove this – there’s no pattern. How could I know that there’s no point in keeping stats if I didn’t keep stats to prove it?

A couple of other updates.

I’ve just finished my third column for Compers News. It was a lot of fun and my typical nonsensical wittering. I’d like to think there’ll be a fourth one, but I have to wait and see.

The article about the ZX Recruitment Twitter competition received an immense amount of attention. I hear that they have been reported to the Advertising Standards Authority. They also continue to run their competitions, although they haven’t responded to anyone who has asked them about their practices.

Finally, a question for you. Which website, in your opinion, runs the best competitions, and why?

Salute!