On my reviews and giveaways blog, I’ve noticed a lot of people enter my contests on the last day. I’m not exactly sure why, but I have two theories about this. First, some readers enter at the last minute to minimize the impact of their tweets. When they tweet about my giveaway at 11pm Pacific time on the last day of the giveaway, fewer people will see it compared to other times.
My other theory is that my readers read somewhere that random.org favors higher numbers. I don’t think random.org favors higher numbers, but to be certain I decided to do a little test. I used random.org to select a number from one to ten. I did this manually one hundred times while watching Inception (I can’t be sure but someone may have planted this blog post idea in my head). Take a look at the results:
As you can see in the above chart, random.org favored 1’s, 5’s, 6’s, 8’s, and 9’s. I was hoping the numbers would be evenly distributed (generated ten times each), but this is not the case. This actually makes sense because each number is generated randomly and has a 10% chance of being generated each time. Regardless of which numbers have already been generated, the probability does not increase or decrease. It’s always 10% each time (for ten numbers) and because it’s random, you will see random results like the graphics above. For instance, when I ran the random numbers generator another 50 times, I got something completely different. This time around, random.org favored 3’s, 7’s, and 9’s.
[Update: A reader emailed me and said a more likely explanation is that my giveaways are posted onto sweepstaking websites and forums and people usually sort by end date to make sure they don’t miss something — thus they’re not even aware of my contest until the day it ends. Makes sense to me.]