By Heidi Glaus
St. Louis (KSDK) -- Almost every morning on Today in St. Louis we tell you about a contest you can enter on KSDK.COM. Those contests prompted NewsChannel 5 viewer Steve Eshbaugh to ask Heidi how we choose a winner. Heidi talked to KSDK.COM's web developer to find out the answer to this week's Hey Heidi question.
NewsChannel 5 has taken two groups of viewers to Chicago via Amtrak to see the Cardinals take on the Cubs, given away the Best Seats in the House to some of the best concerts of the year and on a daily basis set aside a coffee mug for our Facebook Fan of the Day. Whether we read your name or not, is well how do I say this, just dumb luck.
"Best Seats in the House we usually get about 5,000 entries on those," explains Diana Melton.
But here's how a winner is technically selected from all of those entries.
"So basically, this is the system we use for our contests," Melton says as she logs on.
"Within that system, we're able to choose how many winners we want," she goes on to say.
Diana Melton is a Regional Web Developer for Gannett, the company that owns NewsChannel 5, and she's knows way more about this than anyone else in the building.
"The Facebook Fan of the Day is actually chosen differently. We have a different vendor that we use for that because Facebook only works with specific companies," Melton explains.
But that too is a randomly selected process via a computer program.
Get this, less than four people in the building have access to any of the programs she's talking about, and for the record, she wouldn't even tell me who those folks are. Here's something else I didn't realize, we often give away things we don't even mention on air.
"We use social media to market it, obviously, but yes we have contests that run that we don't even talk about on the air," Melton explains.
So maybe you'll have luck with one of those contests, but before you fill in the blanks and cross your fingers, remember this.
"The key is you have to read the rules because there are some contests where you have to write a short little essay, or you have to send a picture. A lot of the companies have filters that if you don't follow all of the steps, they can automatically filter out your entry," Melton warns.
In the next few days we'll be giving away tickets to Nickleback, Phineas and Ferb and the St. Louis Boat Show so be sure to check out our contest page frequently.