True Random Number Service

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Guide to Random Drawings

RANDOM.ORG is a true random number service that generates randomness via atmospheric noise. One of the most popular uses of the service is to hold drawings and lotteries. Using RANDOM.ORG, you can hold drawings in a manner that is fair, unbiased and in a way where entrants can easily convince themselves that you had no influence over who was picked as winner. This page explains how to do that.

Blog and Business Giveaways

New! → Check out Video Tutorial #1 to see how the Third-Party Draw Service works.

If you are a blogger or a business who uses random drawings for promotional giveaways, then you probably have the entrants' email addresses. (You can also use Twitter IDs, if that is how you identify your entrants.) In this case, the best way to hold drawings is as follows:

  1. Register for a RANDOM.ORG account with at least $4.95 worth of credit. This is enough for one drawing with up to 500 entrants and multiple winners, and you can always top up later if you like.
  2. Login to your account and go to the Third-Party Draw Service and begin an entrant-accessible drawing.
  3. When the service asks you to upload your entrant list, use the email addresses for your entrants. RANDOM.ORG will keep these addresses confidential and never send emails to them.
  4. When the draw is completed, you receive a link to a record of the drawing, which you can post on your blog or web site. Someone who participated in the drawing can go to this record and enter their email address to confirm that they really were entered into the drawing and whether they won.

This approach lets the entrants in your drawing verify that the drawing was held as you promised (e.g., on a particular date), whether they were included as entrants and whether they were picked as winners.

Questions? As always, feel free to get in touch or see the section 5 of the FAQ, which concerns the Third-Party Draw Service.

Audited Lotteries and Sweepstakes

If you are a PR company, a media company, a charity or a professional lottery operator, you may not want your drawings to be publically visible, but you do want the records to be available to your auditors. In this case, the best way to hold random drawings is as follows:

  1. Estimate the number of entrants in your drawing and use the Price Calculator to see how much it will cost. For large individual drawings or many drawings over a period of time, you can inquire for a quote on a flat fee pricing or bulk discount.
  2. Register for a RANDOM.ORG account with sufficient credit to cover your draw. If you end up having more entrants than expected, you can add the remaining credit later.
  3. Login to your account and go to the Third-Party Draw Service and begin a private drawing.
  4. When the service asks you to upload your entrant list, your can use entrant names, database identifiers, email addresses, phone numbers or any other alphanumeric string that identifies the entrants uniquely. These identifiers will remain completely confidential, available only to you and any auditors that you give access to your account.
  5. When the draw is completed, you receive a link to a record of the drawing. The record is private, meaning that the details are only visible when you are logged in. To facilitate auditing, you will need to provide your auditors with your RANDOM.ORG login and password, so they can review your records.

Please see the description of the Third-Party Draw Service for further details.

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