1. What gave you the idea for Win a Free Home?
Back in 2008 at the start of the financial crisis, a large number of win a house competitions were springing up in the UK and abroad; basically because the housing market had crashed, people were finding it very difficult to sell their properties. They started running raffles, competitions, and prize draws to try and raise money to move house.
I looked at this and thought it was a brilliant idea: giving someone a chance to win a property when mortgages were so hard to get. There were, however, a few draw backs that I noticed. Many of these competitions were charging relatively high entry prices of between £30 & £100 per ticket. Obviously for the winner these prices are a bargain for a house, but for anyone on a small budget, the ticket was quite a large outlay for them. Another issue was that the location of some of the properties up for grabs made them less desirable.
Due to this issue (and others), many of the old competitions failed to give away the full prize, and some of the organizers even ended up in debt.
Around this time I had just started looking at affiliate marketing as a way of making money online, and the two ideas seemed to tie in together really well. My idea was that I could run a win a house competition in the same way that a cash-back website works. Instead of earning cash-back for shopping online, taking surveys, etc, the users would be rewarded with free competition entry tickets. This means we don't have to charge a fee for entry, making the competition affordable for all and meaning there is no risk involved for participants.
Also, to ensure that potential entrants are not put off from entering due to the location of the prize, we decided that instead of giving away a particular property, our competition is going to give the winner the choice of any property they want, up to the price of £300,000.00. We are even providing a small team of house hunters to help them find the property of their dreams (only winners from the UK get this added bonus).
2. When did the contest start, and when will you be holding the final drawing for the home?
We soft launched the website back in August 2013; basically most of the development work was completed, and there were only minor enhancements left to complete. We have only just started to actually promote the competition this month (September 2013). As for the final draw, we are trying to be realistic here: we are aiming to raise a large amount of money, and that is going to take some time.
We have set the prize draw date for a few years' time, giving the competition plenty of time to find entrants and raise money. The current date for the prize draw is set at the 20th July 2016.
3. Do entrants need to live in the UK, or can people from other countries enter as well?
The competition is geared towards the UK public; however, unless there is a legal reason why you are unable to enter from your country of residence, you are welcome to join in.
The only issue we currently have with worldwide entry is the fact that most of the advertising offers are set up for a UK audience and may not be available in the USA and other parts of the world. We have further development to the website planned so that we can include country-specific offers. Check the blog on our website; when there are offers available for different countries, we will make an announcement there.
4. How many different offers are available for entrants to complete to earn entries, and are advertisers still able to get involved in this project?
We currently have 24 offers available from 24 different advertisers. Entrants can earn tickets to the competition by completing a survey for free; this takes about 15 minutes. Entry tickets can also be earned when people do their weekly food shop, order takeaway items like pizza and burgers, and when buying items like perfume, aftershave, and loads of other products which people require in their daily life anyway.
We are still on the lookout for new advertisers to work with, so if your company has an affiliate program and you are interested in getting involved, please contact us.
We are also offering users the chance to earn a larger number of entry tickets by donating to charity. We currently only have one charity on board but are on the lookout for more good causes to support. Please contact us if your charity is interested in getting involved.
5. What responses have you been receiving so far to this contest?
It is still early days for the competition, but new entrants are signing up every day and responses to the site seem to be mostly good so far. As with anything, there are a few teething problems but no show-stoppers.
We are hoping that with additional promotion and publicity, the competition will soon start to really take off.
We have a built-in sharing mechanism within the website which rewards users who choose to share the competition with their friends with free entry tickets. We hope that this will help the competition to "go viral," so we can reach a large number of potential entrants in the UK and further afield.
P.S. I would really like to thank you for the opportunity to take part in this interview. I hope that it is interesting for your readers and that they choose to get involved. To anyone who does get involved I would like to say "Good Luck."