Holloway postcode lottery boss marks year of giving money away

A Holloway web developer has come up with a novel way of beating the recession – by giving money away.

Chris Holbrook’s ‘‘micro lottery’’ business Free Postcode Lottery celebrated its first anniversary by doubling the daily cash prize to �20.

The 33-year-old from Widdenham Road set up the website last year after noticing excitement generated by winning as little as �10 on the National Lottery. Players sign up without any charge and check every day to see if their postcode has been picked at random as the winner. If the prize is not claimed it rolls over to the next day.

New members are joining daily and there are 18,000 registered postcodes.

But its launch on April 1 last year didn’t run as smoothly as hoped. “With hindsight April Fool’s Day was probably the worst time to launch a novel website,” said Mr Holbrook. “On the internet people are instantly suspicious of scams and I received a lot of abuse and accusations of being a con artist.”

It was a difficult few months until a mystery donor – thought to belong to the secretive world of “comping”, whereby internet users make a living from entering online competitions – gave the business a boost last June.

He said: “The business was really down in the dumps and I was close to packing it all in. One day I got an email from a lady who said she could help me if I paid her �50. I decided it was a shot to nothing so paid her.

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“For the rest of the day emails flooded in as she promoted the website to her internet friends through social media. But she would never reveal her name to me. It’s a bit of an underworld.”

Mr Holbrook makes around �15 profit per day through advertising but his aim is to one day give away �1 million.

He said: “At its peak I had been making about �25 a day through advertising, which would have made very nice beer money for the rest of my life on the side of my day job, but I have gone for the big time and decided to double the winnings at a personal sacrifice.”

He added: “I am hoping to double it again to �40 prizes every day as soon as I can and in 10 years time I want to be giving away �1,000 a day.

“It is this way that I break through the niche ‘comping’ market and into the mainstream where people like you and I are actually interested in winning that money.”