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Are Bots Always Bad for Sweepstakes?

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Question: Are Bots Always Bad for Sweepstakes?
Lots of sweepstakes prohibit the use of bots, and I've seen that cheaters use bots to enter sweepstakes falsely. What are bots exactly, and are they always bad for sweepstakes?
Answer: Although bots may sound sinister, they're actually nothing more than simple programs that can help people perform repetitive tasks automatically. For example, a bot could be what sends you automatic emails after you enter sweepstakes. For more information, see What Are Bots?

Are Bots Bad for Sweepstakes?

There's nothing inherently sinister about bots. Whether they're bad for sweepstakes or not depends on how they're used.

For example, form-filling programs like Roboform are technically bots. But unless the rules specifically prohibit them, using shortcuts to fill forms more easily does not break sweepstakes rules.

But when bots are used to enter the same people over and over again in violation of the sweepstakes rules, they are damaging to sweepstakes. Not only does misusing bots cheat honest entrants out of the wins they deserve, it also prevents sponsors from achieving their goals, which could discourage them from offering more sweepstakes in the future.

Bots and Captchas

Bots are the reason why so many sweepstakes use CAPTCHAs, those strange-looking codes you have to type for your sweepstakes entry to be accepted. Captchas are designed to differentiate between entries from real people and from automated bots. So if you're wondering why captchas are getting harder, it's to stay ahead of bots who attempt to crack them.

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