The object of this project is to create a system that will register and account for the activity of contest entrants leading to a prize for the entrant that produces the most progeny activity. It is similar to a multi-level-marketing system except adapted to a contest.
Contestants will enter themselves (or have someone make the entry for them) on a terminal situated at a retail counter. They will enter four fields: "First Name", "Last Name", "email address" and "code number". The "code number" will be taken from a card they received from someone who introduced them to the contest, and this number will identify their place in the progeny system (see proposed system below).
Clicking the "Enter" button on a completed set of fields will cause the system to check two things:
(1) The entered email address isn't a duplicate of one already in the system. If it is, the screen will display a page so indicating, and congratulating the person for already participating in the contest. Clicking anything will then return the screen to the entry page. If the entry is not a duplicate, the screen will advise the entrant to go check his email and follow the instructions.
(2) The entered code number is legitimate. If the code does not match any in our system, the user will be returned to the data entry page, with the entered data still intact, and will be prompted to re-enter the code number because the displayed one is not found in our system.
The email that is sent to the new participant will contain some welcome text with a link to a website where he can go check his status in the contest using his email address as login name and a randomized number our system generated in the email for a password.
Most importantly, it will also contain a .pdf attachment containing a sheet of business card-sized stock with the advertising message inducing people to come to the store, buy some product, and themselves participate in the contest. The card will contain a code number identifying the person who will be passing out these cards, and the generated code number will identify the upstream participants as well (see proposed system below). Alternative to the .pdf attachment, the sheet generating function could be handled at the website as a printable page.
The participant can then print out this sheet, either on Avery card stock for the contestant to conveniently turn into business card-sized handouts, or on blank paper for the contestant to cut up by hand.
CODE NUMBER GENERATING SYSTEM:
Any code numbering system that works would be acceptable, but I propose a "9A9A9" system.
In this, numerals and alpha alternate, with no limit to the number of entries in any position. For example, if there were 999 virgin entrants, the initial batch would be numbered 1-999, and each of these would then potentially spawn a following alpha. So, for example, number 456 would spawn 456A, 456B, and so on, again, with no limit. After 456Z would come 456ZA, ad inifinitum. 456A would spawn 456A1, and so on.
The contest will assign point values in diminishing decimal value according to the position on the tree. To illustrate, #456 will receive zero points for his own entry, 1 point for entry 456A, 1 for 456B, 0.1 point for entry 456A1, 0.1 for 456A2, 0.01 for 456A1A, and so on. At the end of the contest, the person with the highest point value wins.
The participant will be able to log into the website and view his contest point value at any time, but he will have no way of knowing how well he is doing relative to the whole field of contestants until the end, when the winner and his point value will be announced to all participants, both by email blast and by a sign at the retail location.
The announced winner will have 24 hours to come to the retail location, show picture ID matching the winner's name, and collecting his prize -- also agreeing to participate in a photo of the occasion. If the winner does not appear within the 24 hours, the prize will be cancelled and reissued to the person with the next lower number of points until the prize is awarded.