Should I Use My Regular E-Mail Address to Enter Sweepstakes?

When I meet people just starting out sweeping I usually get asked about spam.  It is true that companies running sweepstakes sometimes collect and save your marketing information.  It’s also true that sometimes this information will get sold to third parties so they can advertise to you through e-mail.  There are sweepstakes that let you opt out of further marketing, sometimes by checking or unchecking a box on the sweepstakes entry form.  But, in general, this hobby will generate some spam e-mail.  The more sweeps you enter, the more junk e-mail you will probably get.

But there is a solution!  First, you can create a free e-mail account just for entering sweepstakes.  However, before you delete anything from your designated e-mail address, be sure to check it thoroughly for a winning notification.  I always check both my inbox and spam for winning letters just in case.

Second, some e-mail programs will let you set up filters to help organize your incoming mail.  In my case, anything addressed directly to me goes in to my main inbox.  Any e-mail with the word “unsubscribe” in it goes into a folder I call “Unsubscribe.”  This is because most winning letters will not have this word in it, but spam e-mail will have an option to unsubscribe from their list. While I still browse through the unsubscribe folder, most of what ends up there is genuine spam that I can either delete or unsubscribe from future messages from.

Another thing I do to ensure I don’t miss a winning notification in my unsubscribe folder is use the search feature of my e-mail program.  This feature allows me to select a folder– in this case the unsubscribe folder – and enter a search term.  I search for words like “winner” and “congratulations.”  Usually I don’t come up with anything, but occasionally I find one that didn’t make it into my regular inbox for some reason.

So, while I would recommend a designated e-mail address for entering sweepstakes, I also would not let the spam deter you from entering to win great prizes!  There are plenty of ways to manage your inbox, and seeing that “Congratulations!” message come in has always made it worth it to me.

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