KickoffLabs Blog:

Introducing KickoffLabs Advanced Fraud Protection for Viral Marketing Contests and Campaigns

By Josh Ledgard

May 6th, 2015

Running a viral contest on KickoffLabs to generate new leads and build a buzz for your business is easy. Pick one of our high-converting templates (or bring in your own), enter some content, and click publish.

From there every new lead you find becomes a potential source for even more leads, who can send you more leads, and so on. In fact most KickoffLabs campaigns see 35% of their leads come from this social sharing that we call our “Viral Boost”.

Campaigns that add more incentive to the sharing grow even faster.

We’ve made it easy to distribute reward notifications automatically with Viral Incentive Emails that can be sent when people reach certain referral milestones.

Significant rewards for sharing will lead to a greater boost in the number of leads you’ll generate! Unfortunately, the better the rewards, the more likely it is that people will try and fraudulently increase their contest scores by gaming the system.

Advanced Fraud Prevention

KickoffLabs has several features in place to both help mitigate contest fraud, and improve the quality of your captured leads:

Campaign Lead Verification – when enabled, all new leads will need to verify their email addresses in order to participate in your campaign and be counted as valid referrals. Commonly known as a double opt-in email.

Lead Filtering – when enabled, all leads should have a unique IP address in order to be added to your campaign. Leads and referrals from duplicate addresses will not count in any totals that are used for automatic emails or reward distribution. Duplicate IP addresses are automatically marked as suspicious within your Leads Report.

You can white list IP addresses for trusted shared networks (for example from an office, university, public workspace, conference, etc),

Email Status Flags – Within your Leads Report, we’ll automatically label email addresses that are potentially fake because email we sent to them bounced or a known fake email provider was used.

Advanced Fraud Prevention is available only to Business and Enterprise accounts.

Free Guide to Fraud Detection in Viral Contests

For all KickoffLabs accounts, we offer a free guide that shows how to do quick scans for fraud in your contests based on the exclusive lead data we generate for every email address you capture. Learn how to identify fraud in any viral campaign with KickoffLabs.

Campaign Lead Verification

When campaign lead verification is enabled, new leads will be required to verify an email address.

Depending on your campaign type, you have two options when using lead verification: 

  1. Use campaign verifications and require verification for contests (recommended) – this means leads and all their referrals need to verify their email address. All contest scores, emails, etc are based off of only verified leads and verified referrals
  2. Use campaign verifications but do NOT require them for contests – this means leads need to verify their email address, but their referrals do not need to verify. All counts/emails/contests are based off the unverified counts.

Required verification is great if you are going to automatically give out coupon codes or rewards that have significant value.

Not required verification is great if the rewards are of lower value or if you are going to draw a winner at the end of the contest that can be manually verified using Custom Contest Scoring.

campaign lead verification

You also have the option to set the default verification URL, which is the URL or page a new lead is redirected to after clicking the verify link in the Verification Email.

Modify the Verification Email by clicking ‘Setup Verification Email‘ from the Emails dropdown.

verification email

Until the email address is verified:

  • Notifications are not sent to MailChimp, Aweber, etc
  • Automatic reply and other KickoffLabs campaign emails are not sent.
  • They will not be counted as a verified referral for the person that referred them.

When campaign verification is enabled we start counting both verified conversions & referrals as well as unverified conversions and referrals. So you’ll see two counts like this:

lead count

You’ll also see this count by clicking directly into a Lead Card.

lead card referrals

KickoffLabs customers with a Business level plan or above can turn on this feature under the ‘Advanced Fraud Prevention‘ screen from the campaign menu.

adv fraud prevention

Lead Filtering

Have you identified fake leads coming from a particular IP address? You can automatically exclude duplicate IP addresses from signing up to your campaign by checking ‘Yes, all leads should have a unique IP address’.

lead filtering

If an IP address is filtered as a duplicate we will:

  • Not count leads that come from that IP address in conversion counts.
  • Flag leads that have come from those IP addresses in your Leads Reports.

We still include the leads with duplicate IPs in all other reports/emails/etc. We are being purposely cautious to both ensure you do not anger their potential leads and those with shared IP addresses (which is actually very common) are not accidentally excluded.

Business level subscribers and above can enable this under the ‘Advanced Fraud Prevention‘ page.

Email Status Flagging

When we send email to your leads we track if any lead emails bounce, are marked as spam, are invalid (.con instead of .com/etc) or are coming from a known fake email provider.

If we receive one of these signals we are going to make it obvious so you can use this information to determine the quality of your lead.

  • We highlight any lead with an email issue (including opting out) in the main Leads Reports list.
    • We show which flag(s) was set on the lead card.
    • We include all the contest score, suspicious and verified data if you export leads.

leads reports status flag

This information can also be useful to detect if someones referrals are fraudulent.

For example… if one lead has referrals and a majority of those leads email addresses are marked suspicious or haven’t verified… that’s an indication that they may be fake email addresses.

The Hard Truth

There is never going to be a 100% fraud proof solution. If there is enough value in the reward people may try and game any system. To date that hasn’t stopped any of our customers from running amazing contests.

These features, along with the best practice of simply leveraging the information (including the social data) we collect on leads should give you confidence. Confidence that the people you are rewarding have truly earned it.

Please let us know what you think by sending feedback to support@kickofflabs.com.


Josh Ledgard

Founder – KickoffLabs

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