Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) about Multi-Round Giveaways

Q1: What is this service for?

If you run giveaways, the service lets randomize your entrants (1,000 or less) in a way that you can prove to your participants is genuine. The service supports multiple rounds, which makes the giveaway suitable for broadcast in in real-time, e.g., via a live stream.

If you participate in giveaways, the service gives you a way to verify that what you saw in a live stream or a video was not rigged. For a long time, people used our List Randomizer for running giveaways, but a broadcaster can easily trick you by using a fake lookalike of our List Randomizer instead of the real thing. Not so with the Multi-Round Giveaway Service.

Q2: How does it work?

Our How to Run a Giveaway guide takes you through the whole process, but we'll give a short summary here too.

When you run a giveaway, you paste your list of up to 1,000 participants into our form and select the number of rounds you want, or simply roll the dice for a random number of rounds. Then you randomize the rounds one at a time until you have your winner. In the final round, we generate a verification code, valid for one month, which proves your giveaway wasn't rigged.

Your winners are picked using true randomness that comes from atmospheric noise, which for many purposes is better than the pseudo-random number algorithms typically used in computer programs. RANDOM.ORG has generated true randomness since 1998 as described on our main site.

Q3: What does it cost?

There are three plans to choose from:

  • Pay as You Go
    $0.00 per month
    Giveaways cost $1.00 each
  • 100 Giveaways per Month
    $15.00 per month
    Extra giveaways cost $1.00 each
  • Unlimited Giveaways
    $25.00 per month
    Never run out!

Q4: The List Randomizer is free. Why do I have to pay to use the Multi-Round Giveaway Service?

The List Randomizer was made in 2007 as a nifty tool for randomizing lists where the quality of the randomness was important. It was never envisioned as a giveaway tool, and for that reason we didn't include features to let people share or verify the results. People still use the List Randomizer for many other things than giveaways, so we didn't really want to change it a lot. At the same time, we realized that a lot of people wanted to run small giveaways, but didn't have the budget for our professional Third-Party Draw Service. For this reason, we built the Multi-Round Giveaway Service as a good fit for small giveaways performed as live streams.

So, why does it cost money? First, we spent a lot of time developing and testing the new service, and we think it's fair to charge a small fee for it. Second, and as you may know, we offer a lot of free services (like the List Randomizer), but since we don't carry ads, we need to cover the costs of hosting, bandwidth and maintenance for those somehow. Finally, we can safely say that all our profits are currently going into building cool new services, many of which will be free, and we hope that you will benefit from those too some day. For these reasons, we hope you won't mind paying for the Multi-Round Giveaway Service. The alternative would have been to put ads on the giveaways or the verification pages, but we're not keen on ads. They take up space on your screen, make our services slow and ugly, and most people don't click on them anyway.

Q5: Is there really a risk of fraud when using the List Randomizer?

Unfortunately, yes, and a very real one at that. Basically, you shouldn't trust the List Randomizer more than you trust the person using it. Our Fraud Warning contains more details about this, including actual videos of people running rigged giveaways using a fake lookalike of our List Randomizer. The Multi-Round Giveaway Service is safe, though.

Q6: Can giveaway verification codes be forged?

People have asked if it's possible to ‘clone’ or otherwise forge the verification codes generated by the Multi-Round Giveaway Service. The answer is simply no. If someone makes up a fake verification code, it will be exposed as soon as you enter it into our Verification Page. If the verification page tells you that a code checks out (and the result you see matches with what you saw in the live stream), then you can be sure the giveaway was genuine.

If a verification code doesn't check out, it can either have expired (each code lasts a month) or the person who ran the giveaway can be trying to scam you and the other participants. See Q9 for details on how to determine which is the case.

Q7: Can someone cheat by running the same giveaway multiple times?

People have asked if it is possible for someone to keep running the same giveaway until they get the result they want and only publish the result then. While the Multi-Round Giveaway Service doesn't prevent this type of fraud per se, it does make it very easy to detect and expose.

Here is how to do the check:

  1. Open any giveaway run by the person in question. You can do this by clicking on a link to any of their giveaways or by entering a verification code for any of their giveaways into our Verification Page.
  2. On the resulting page, click on the button labeled ‘More giveaways by X’ (X is the name of the person who ran the giveaway). This will take you to a history of all the giveaways run by this person over the last month running.
  3. Look through the person's history. If the person ran the same giveaway twice, you will see it listed twice in their history.

This method works because it is not possible for someone to delete or hide giveaways from their history. Please see Q14 and Q15 for more details.

Q8: Someone insists on using the List Randomizer for giveaways. Should I trust them?

Probably not, unless you know them personally, or the items they're giving away carry little or no value. With our monthly subscription plan, the Multi-Round Giveaway Service is so cheap that anyone who is serious about their giveaways can afford it. However, fraudsters know that they can use a fake lookalike of our List Randomizer to scam you (more about this in our Fraud Warning), and for that reason, it's in their interest to keep using the List Randomizer. Someone who is serious about their giveaways should have no problem using the Multi-Round Giveaway Service instead, simply because it's in their interest to show you they're being honest.

Q9: What if I suspect someone of fraud?

If someone uses the Multi-Round Giveaway Service, you can easily check if they're being honest. Simply open our Verification Page in your browser and enter the verification code that appeared on the broadcaster's screen at the end of their giveaway. If RANDOM.ORG shows you a giveaway that matches what you saw in the live stream or recorded video, then the giveaway is genuine and you can trust the result.

If RANDOM.ORG tells you the giveaway doesn't exist, then the broadcaster is either trying to scam you (i.e., what you saw in the video was not the real RANDOM.ORG) or the verification code has expired. If RANDOM.ORG shows you a giveaway with a different outcome than what was in the video, then you know for certain that what you saw in the video was not the real RANDOM.ORG and the broadcaster is trying to scam you.

If you have a video of someone using the List Randomizer and you suspect they might be using the fake lookalike, please email us a copy of the video. We are dedicated to exposing fraudsters and will do everything we can to check its authenticity.

Q10: Can I verify a giveaway that has expired?

Our Verification Page cannot verify a giveaway that has expired, but you can drop us an email and we'll have a look in our achives. A verification code is valid for one month, but we do keep the results of old giveaways around, even if they're not readily accessible.

Q11: Do the multiple rounds make the giveaways more random?

No, the giveaway result is already perfectly random after the first round. Subsequent rounds make it neither less nor more random. The reason we support multiple rounds is that people find it more exciting to watch. As with all our services, the Multi-Round Giveaway Service uses true randomness generated from atmospheric noise. If you'd like to learn more about this, check out the main RANDOM.ORG site.

Q12: Can other people view a list of my giveaways?

Yes, if you use the Multi-Round Giveaway service, a public list of your recent (within the last month) giveaways will be automatically available at a URL like the following: https://giveaways.random.org/list/login

(Replace login with your own login (username) in the above to get your own URL.)

You will also find this URL in your giveaway history. If you change your login (which can be done from your account overview), then the URL for your public list of giveaways will change too.

Q13: What is the meaning of the number after my name in my public history?

One your public history page, you'll see a number in brackets, e.g., ‘Joe Bloggs (102).’ This number shows how many giveaways you have run over the last month running. Giveaways expire after a month, which means that this number will increase as you run more giveaways but decrease as the old giveaways expire.

Q14: Can I make a giveaway private or hidden?

No, it is not possible to hide a giveaway. You can choose not to give out its verification code, but even then the giveaway will still appear in your public list of giveaways (see Q12).

Q15: Can I delete a giveaway?

No, a giveaway automatically expires after a period of one month. It is not possible to delete a giveaway before it expires.

Q16: How likely is it to get two identical rounds in succession?

You might be interested in this question as a result of reading our How to Run a Giveaway guide, where we happened to get two identical rounds in our example giveaway, or you might have encountered a giveaway where this happened to you. To human eyes, successive identical rounds may not look very random, but of course there is a chance it could happen. So, the question is: Exactly how likely is this to happen?

The answer depends on how many participants and how many rounds are in your giveaway. In the example giveaway, we had four participants being randomized over four rounds. So let's do some calculations. For each of those rounds, our four participants can be arranged in 4! = 4×3×2×1 = 24 ways. This means that when we go into any round (other than the first, which has no predecessor), the chance of getting the exact same result as we had in the previous round is 1 in 24, i.e., just over 4%. Hence, with only four participants, we should expect to see a round being identical to its predecessor roughly once for every 24 rounds, give or take.

But it's a little more complex than that. Our example giveaway has three rounds in which this could happen (since the first round does not have a predecessor). The following formula can be used to calculate the chance of getting a successive identical round in any giveaway. If n is the number of entries and r is the number of rounds in your giveaway, then the probability P can be calculated as:

P(n, r) = 1 − ((n − 1)! / n!) r

For our example giveaway where n=4 and r=4, this gives us a total chance of just under 12% of our giveaway having successive identical rounds. Hence, getting identical successive rounds with our four participants as happened in our example is a little out of the ordinary, but it is certainly within the realm of possibility. And if we do many rounds, we should expect it to happen pretty regularly.

If your giveaways are larger, the probability of identical successive rounds will be much smaller. To illustrate that, we've calculated the probability P(n, r) for a range of giveaways in the table below.

Entries (n) Rounds (r)
2 3 4 5 6 7 8
250.0000%75.0000%87.5000%93.7500%96.8750%98.4375%99.2188%
316.6667%30.5556%42.1296%51.7747%59.8122%66.5102%72.0918%
44.1667%8.1597%11.9864%15.6536%19.1681%22.5361%25.7637%
50.8333%1.6597%2.4792%3.2919%4.0978%4.8970%5.6895%
60.1389%0.2776%0.4161%0.5544%0.6925%0.8304%0.9682%
70.0198%0.0397%0.0595%0.0793%0.0992%0.1190%0.1388%
80.0025%0.0050%0.0074%0.0099%0.0124%0.0149%0.0174%

We've highlighted the cell in the table that corresponds to our example giveaway. You'll note that the chance of getting successive identical rounds drops very rapidly as the number of entries increases. The chance also increases (but much slower) as the number of rounds in your giveaway increases.

Q17: I have a question that isn't answered in the FAQ. Can you help?

We are happy to take additional questions! Just drop us an email.