Contests: gifts, secrets, dirty tricks … How do they win?

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Jérémy, 30, opens his presents each month in a video posted on his YouTube channel, “Le Concouriste”. (© The Concourist)

A trip, a voucher or even a sausage for an aperitif. All gifts are safe to take. Be competitor, it’s almost a full time activity.

The good old competition game on paper, through newspapers, magazines or product packaging, still finds its audience, but it is on the Web that most of the competitors are now trying to find all kinds of prizes.

With the advent of social networks (Facebook in the lead), the number of contests has exploded, offering an immeasurable playing field, provided you are willing to devote a lot of time.

"Le Concouriste", 2,400 subscribers on YouTube

This is the case with Jérémy. A fan of Internet quizzes for ten years, this young man of 30 created a YouTube channel two years ago. With the nickname "Le Concouriste", he distils advice and tips to novices and casually captures the attention of 2,400 subscribers. He's also gotten into the habit of opening his presents in front of the camera every month.

By creating this channel, which didn't exist until then, I wanted to prove that it really worked. That we could win.

Jeremy"The Contestant"

Two hours and a hundred games a day

But how can you optimize your chances? Are there any tricks? Jérémy's only secret is "the quantity". Multiply contests over and over again. "On average, I spend two hours a day on it, or about a hundred games," calculates the one who is also a volunteer firefighter in the South of France.

A repetitive and time-consuming penalty that mainly consists of filling out registration forms. “You have to be very patient. "

Sites that list contests

So, to make things easier, "Le Concouriste" has registered on one of the many specialized sites, such as toutgagner.com or concours-du-net.com, which lists thousands of contests. “These sites do the work for us. "

Today, some sites are free, others are chargeable. "The one I use costs me around 30 euros per year," says Jérémy.

A meager expense which, combined with his daily attendance, ensures him a minimum return on investment. “Out of the 700 games I play every week, I win once or twice. "

Disneyland and Martinique

It doesn't seem like much, but Jérémy is happy with it, as evidenced by the Excel table that he keeps rigorously up to date.

I am at over 17,000 euros in ten years. Knowing that I only play for gifts that interest me. It could be a beer glass, food, cosmetics, vouchers… The average prize I win is 30 euros.

But it happens that Jérémy fishes bigger. Recently, four tickets to Disneyland Paris, a gourmet meal worth 300 euros or, "the most beautiful", a voucher of 700 euros to spend on plane ticket (s). "I took the opportunity to treat myself to a trip to Martinique! "

"A rather mysterious environment, which intrigues"

Another competitor who wishes to remain anonymous knows that the biggest players "don't count the trips and cars they've won anymore." They earn more with their passion than with their profession! He does not hesitate to speak of omerta in "a rather mysterious, intriguing environment." “These people do not want to testify, they prefer to remain discreet. "

Scams and abuses

Today, Facebook has become an inevitable playground for contestants. Jérémy is no exception. But cautions against the pitfalls to avoid: “People create false profiles by pretending to be a brand. They pretend we won and still ask to pay the shipping costs. "

He also denounces the abuses of the system: “Some players create several Facebook accounts and email addresses to increase the chances of winning. I know that others are doing everything they can to accumulate the gifts and then resell them. That saddens me a bit. "

In one of his videos, Jérémy even goes so far as to say, jokingly, that the main enemies of a competitor are the other competitors.

"A lot of jealousy"

More seriously, Soazic, a competitor from the West of France, says that there is "a lot of jealousy in this environment". She points the finger at the "angry" who, "if they do not win, report our publications to invalidate our participations, or make us block our accounts".

Two years ago, I lost my Facebook account with over 10 years of memories because my account was flagged. During this period, I was in luck and I was winning a lot. We had to start from scratch.

SylvieContestant

Threats on forums or on social networks, the large community of competitors is not the world of care bears. Fortunately, there are also great encounters. Soazic created a Facebook group three years ago. It now has more than 2,400 members.

“It helps to bond. I made friends all over France. We help each other for local competitions, we offer each other prizes when we cannot collect them because of the distance. Real friendships are formed, we even send small parcels for Christmas with some of them. "

Purchase of "like" on Facebook

If the relations between competitors appear sometimes cordial, sometimes hostile, another scourge is sowing trouble in this very special universe. On the Internet, games by score or those which consist of accumulate votes on social networks are particularly gangrenous by cheaters. "I know that some buy" likes "via specialized sites, informs Soazic. Others use software that generates automatic clicks.

The different ways of playing

There are several types of quiz. We can first of all differentiate between games on paper, on the Internet, on radio / TV and games which consist of answering a question by text or telephone.
Regarding Internet games, if we exclude paid games, we can distinguish these main categories:
– Games by drawing lots (after answering a question or simply filling out a form).
– The winning moments (a player enters his details before playing and immediately knows if he has won).
– Regional games (which earn local gifts such as cinema tickets, tickets for a show …).
– Creative games (you must send a photo or a video on a given theme to participate).
– Games by score (to win, you have to be in the ranking of the best players).
– Games on social networks (which generally include one of the types of games listed above).

But tricks to win existed long before the Internet. In the heyday of paper competitions, the smartest exploited every loophole in the organizers. Christian Roux knows the subject like the back of his hand:

I knew someone who won a trip by forging a newsletter. I also know that players arranged with their postman to post an answer after the contest by putting the stamp of the day before so that their mail is valid. Others, specialists in phone or text games, could have up to several hundred phone chips to play 400 times when you, you could only play once.

Christian RouxEditor of a magazine dedicated to competitors

Christian, the last “listier” in France

A great witness to this period, Christian Roux is what we call a "listier" or playful advisor. Since 1983, he has been running a review intended for an audience of die-hard competitors, called CPub Mag.

"I go out two issues of my magazine per month, says the Stéphanois to actu.fr. My job is to find and publish new games, and to propose lists of answers to the contests and thus to save time for the contestants. "

Until the 1990s, Christian Roux could spend several hours in a store to find games on the products. "I was also calling brands for answers. "

It was better before ?

Subscription to his magazine is chargeable (between 129 and 162 euros per year). That’s how he’s been making a living for 37 years. Even if, he admits, the number of subscribers is gradually dwindling from year to year.

Ten years ago, we were a dozen listiers in France. I had up to 1,500 subscribers. Others had 2,000 or 3,000. Little by little, I bought my competitors and I am now the last to send a publication by mail. Today I have about 700 clients left.

The reasons for this decline? Internet of course. “There are hardly any paper competitions anymore. It is only found in some women's magazines or TV. "

A bit nostalgic Christian Roux, adapted by offering a digital version of his magazine and created a website. It is partly affected by competition from free sites but has retained a loyal following. “The internet has transformed the business of competing. But those who play on the Internet are not real specialists in competitions, ”he said.

"I even play for briefs"

Finally, there is another category of games that has seen the birth of its community of specialists: games on radio and TV.

Sonia is a taxi driver. In her car, she is on the FM band all day long. “I play all the games, I know all the time slots. The switchboard operators are starting to recognize me! I play for a pencil or a car, and even briefs! "

Dominique, around fifty TV games to his credit

More numerous and above all potentially more lucrative, TV games are popular with a community that Dominique Bernard calls "the teleludophiles". This 58-year-old Seine-et-Marnais took his first steps on a plateau more than thirty years ago. “Then I quit for eight years when I had children. Then I got back to it and haven't stopped since. "

Dominique has become a regular. A fan. From Astro Match in 1988 to Everyone wants to take its place in June 2020, he worked with many animators. Fa if the Sing, A gold family, The weakest link, The road to fortune … "I played just about every game, about fifty," he reckons.

A life dedicated to play

Pierre Calendini, him, bathed in the game "since always". Now a community manager for a gaming club in Paris, he previously worked for the French Federation of Scrabble and a poker news website.

In his spare time, he has a weakness for game shows. “When I was working in the world of scrabble I was advised to participate in Motus. And that’s how he stepped in. Assessment a few years later: three participations in Motus but also in Slam, Harry, Questions for a champion and "others less known".

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Pierre Calendini (purple desk) on the set of the game show Harry, presented by Sébastien Folin from 20112 to 2018. (© Pierre Calendini)

The 43-year-old Parisian particularly targets games related to words. “I have been overtrained at Scrabble for a long time. This serious advantage allowed me to win. "

His other asset, the fact of living in the capital.

The casting teams keep my name and call me back because they know I can be readily available.

Pierre CalendiniCandidate for several TV games

"I went to zapping several times"

Finally, he readily admits that his personality and his flair make him the ideal client. "It is true that I am chatty and rather at ease. Suddenly, in the lot, there is bullshit that comes out … I spent several times zapping. "

In 15 years of TV games, Pierre Calendini has been able to assess his earnings at "around 25,000 euros and a lot of travel, not to mention all the little gifts on the side".

100,000 euros in 30 years

Dominique has been playing longer. So inevitably, his booty is more substantial. Money, car, travel… He thinks he has accumulated around 100,000 euros in earnings.

Our two die-hard players are not satisfied. Le October 15, Pierre will record a program of the game Everyone has a say in, presented by Olivier Minne and Sidonie Bonnec. For broadcast in early February. Dominique is aiming at The Twelve Blows of Noon. "I've tried casting three times, without success so far. "

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Dominique Bernard, here right on the playeau of the show Everyone wants to take his place, is one of the biggest TV game players in France. (© Dominique Bernard)

A blog and a guide for TV candidates

No matter the medium, playing has become a way of life for these contestants of all kinds. Play, win, start over. A mechanism that can easily lead toaddiction. "It's true that when you start, in general, you don't stop there," agrees Dominique Bernard, who decided to share his passion seven years ago by creating a blog. “There are news on TV games and casting announcements. "

For the past four years, he has even released a "TV candidate guide" every year (published by Prem’Edit) in which he compiles all the games that are aired. A kind of bible which has helped to unite the gaming community. And who puts all the cards in hand to make a success of his passage on the small screen. Afterwards, as the name of a game animated by Nagui said in the 1990s, may the best win …

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