Anything goes when it comes to competitions. Do whatever you need to do to secure those wins. If you really want the prize, I'm sure you will. For the creative ones, go over the top with your entries. For the random draws, enter multiple times. Secure the winnings.
When I got into comping, I wasn't proud to say I did it. It seemed lame. I was effectively just begging for loads of low value things. I would go for the big ones too, but there were just so many books and DVDs and small toys on the go that I had to enter those too. I wouldn't have cared if I had a regular name. Jack Stevens would go completely unnoticed in the sea of entries. My name is bait. No one else in the world has it. What if someone I know catches me doing this?
That's exactly how I was thinking back then. I still wanted to play, but I didn't want to do most of them as myself, so I came up with a comping pseudonym. I just needed a little inspiration.
I grew up south of the Trent in Nottingham. There were very few people of colour on that side of town in the early '90s. Mixed ethnicity couples were all the rage on the north side, but not so much in Rushcliffe and Clifton. My mum wasn't afraid of parading around with me, but knew that white woman with a mixed baby was going to provoke reactions from older people she crossed paths with. So she had to troll them a bit.
Here was the plan: if anyone she didn't know gasped at the sight of her brown baby, she would tell them my name was Winston Groovy (yes, just like the singer), just to make her look extra inconsiderate for bringing me into the world. If you look at any photos from me back then, I could have rocked Winston Groovy just fine.
That name was retired for 20 years, until I decided to comp under the name Winston G. My comping back then largely revolved around checking a few forums, websites and Twitter accounts for the latest opportunities and joining in. Enter enough and you will win, as Winston G did. A few parcels came through the door addressed to my funky pseudonym. It was all fun and games until I needed to go and collect one of the prizes from the local Royal Mail depo.
There was no way they'd give me the parcel with someone else's name on it. I didn't even bother trying, and never altered my name like that again. It was so obviously not going to work out and it took for this incident to clock that the fake name route just doesn't work. I was much better off simply adjusting my entries to be from my first initial and surname, and I would get that anonymity I desired from the start.
Let's cut this right down: if you want to be a comper, accept that you're going to put yourself out there. Forget who might find out. Very few people care. If you still would prefer if your name wasn't attached to any entries or wins, the best way to cover it is by playing with your real name (not someone else's).
One of the following may suit your needs:
Initial Surname (eg. C Stoppard)
First Name, Initial (Chiino S)
Initial, Initial, Surname (C C Stoppard)
Middle name, Surname (Cameo Stoppard)::::::::::::: - Chiino I don't do comments around here, so let's keep the conversation going on Twitter. If Twitter's not your thing, give us an email.