Tag Archives: Contests

Sweepstakes Experiment: Days 11-13

and-the-winner-is-envelope

May 25th: Day Eleven

On my eleventh day I entered sweepstakes for 6 hours and 15 minutes and entered 128.

First thing today I won a HUGE prize!  However, until all the paperwork has been submitted and confirmed I’m not going to reveal more about that. Stay tuned!

Today, desperate to find additional contests to fill up the hours had me thinking outside the box.  I did a search for “low entry giveaways” in hopes of both finding new sweepstakes and finding easier to win ones.  This brought up two sites I found useful:

https://www.giveawaypromote.com/

http://airplanesanddragonflies.blogspot.com/p/low-entry-giveaways.html

According to an article in The Balance:

“Some sweepstakes have an astonishingly low number of entries. When you have a 1 in 50 chance of winning as opposed to a 1 in 50,000, your odds are obviously much better.”

In the afternoon, I got word that I won a Facebook contest where I had to post a picture in the comments to win.  My prize was a $100 shopping spree to an online pet product sponsor.

The main reason I failed to make it to a full eight hours of sweeping today was my pure excitement over my wins!  It made me amped up and I had difficulty concentrating on the task at hand, even though this is surely evidence that my experiment to increase my amount of time entering in order to increase prize quantity and quality is a success!

May 26th: Day Twelve

On my twelfth day I entered sweepstakes for only three hours and entered 56.

Today was the most difficult day I had finding sweepstakes to enter.  I attribute this to it being a holiday weekend and sites not being updated because of that. Today I was also suffering a lot of shoulder pain, due to sitting awkwardly for so many hours in my chair entering contests.  This made it difficult for me to continue sitting at my chair until it felt more comfortable.

May 27th: Day Thirteen

On my thirteenth day I entered sweepstakes for only 3 hours again and entered 61.

Today I had full out exhaustion and burnout from entering sweepstakes for so many hours over the last couple of week.  Trying to reach my daily goal of eight hours felt more like a chore than choosing a delightful hobby. Because of this, I decided to end my experiment a day early and not attempt a fourteenth day which would have brought me to the 2-week mark.

For me to conclude the success and prize value accumulated during this experiment, I will have to wait until the sweepstakes entered have concluded.  Many end in June or July.  However, there are some that will not end until September or even December.  If more prizes roll in, I will write more experiment updates! But it is likely I will not know the full impact of entering for so many hours until the end of the year at which time I will post a grand total!

If you’re curious, during the experiment time period, I entered around 1,000 sweepstakes!  That sounds like a lot, but it is less than I would have entered normally (entering dailies just 1-2 hours per day).  The difference is that I entered new sweepstakes I normally would not have at sites I normally don’t visit.  It will be interesting to see if this has an impact on winning!

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Sweepstakes Experiment: Days 5-10

Enter-To-Win-Contest-And-Sweepstakes

May 19th: Day Five

On my fifth day I entered sweepstakes for eight hours and entered 257. Why did I enter so many more today? Having trouble finding enough sweepstakes to enter (after doing my dailies and finding as many new ones as possible), I resorted to entering amazon giveaways at https://www.amazon.com/ga/giveaways.  Prize values on these giveaways are smaller, but there are a lot of them and they are easy entry, so you get much more entered in a smaller amount of time.

If you are curious about some of the websites I’ve been using to find sweepstakes, here is a list of some of the big ones I rely on daily.

http://sweetiessweeps.com/ (I am a paid member of the Secret Site)

http://contestgirl.com/

https://www.thebalanceeveryday.com/contests-4161941

https://www.sweepsadvantage.com/ (I am a paid member of their Plus site)

http://www.sweepon.com/

https://us.coca-cola.com (Once you sign up click “Rewards”; You can enter codes or AMOE)

https://www.sweepstakestoday.com/

and I follow a Facebook Group called Sweeping Together where links are posted

May 20th: Day Six

I was ill today so I took the day off from sweepstakes.  I will try to extend the experiment by one day to compensate!

May 21st: Day Seven

On my seventh day I entered sweepstakes for eight hours and entered 259.  Entering seems to be going faster now that I have a longer list of dailies created in my spreadsheet, where I just have to click the link and form fill the entry forms.  While I am doing less searching because I realize many of the best sweepstakes aggregate sites list the same sweepstakes, I again entered many Amazon giveaways.

I also won a small prize today in a Miller Lite instant win game of a “cannypack.”

May 22nd: Day Eight

On my eighth day I entered sweepstakes for 7 hours and entered 123.  For the 8th hour, I watched and participated in a Facebook Live Q&A put on by Tom, the owner of https://iwincontests.com/.  I am not yet a member of this paid sweepstakes site, but I am definitely considering joining.

Here are some of the things I learned during the Q&A:

  • Tom has won 56 trips!
  • He mentioned an app you can use for text-to-wins, but I did not catch the name (maybe Future Text?). The idea is, if you want to submit the text at a time when less people may be entering, such as the middle of the night, you can schedule it.
  • His thoughts on free sites versus paid sites were that too many people were entering the contests on free sites. With paid sites you often get low entry or lesser publicly known sweepstakes, increasing your chances.
  • He said that there is a difference between entering to enter (not being selective) and entering to win.

I did submit a question ahead of the Q&A about how to find enough contests to enter if you are entering all day, but this was not chosen to be addressed during the Q&A.

May 23rd: Day Nine

On my ninth day I entered sweepstakes for 8 hours and entered 207.  This included receiving a mailer with a number to bring into a local car dealership for the chance to win up to $20,000.  My number got me a $5 Target gift card and the opportunity to hear their shpiel.  I also won a Kindle book from Amazon today.

And here is a great daily sweepstakes to enter because it has a lot of prizes: Marlboro Find 27 Sweepstakes.

May 24th: Day Ten

On my tenth day I entered sweepstakes for 8 hours and entered 152.  The reason my entering total dropped today may have been due to entering a lot of contests where you are required to watch a video.  The videos on Sweepon are usually brief but they were being choppy and sluggish today.  The videos on gleam contests can be as short as a few seconds or even 20 minutes or longer!  I am not sure yet whether it is worth watching them to enter or get additional entries.  Hopefully it will pay off and I will win some prizes from these!

I also spent part of my time entering Coke sweepstakes.  Although each one has an AMOE (Alternative Method of Entry), I have been collecting cola caps for some time and so I spent time entering codes.  What I noticed in general today is that I have been avoiding Facebook or Instagram giveaways where you need to post a comment, as well as skill contests.  Perhaps when I hit a wall in searching for new sweepstakes, I should give these a shot!

Another thing I noticed today was that for many smaller sweeps by smaller companies I am having difficulty locating rules and determining end dates and entry frequency.  Does anyone else run into this problem?

 

Sweepstakes Experiment: Prep and the First Four Days

girl at computer

May 14th : Prep Day

My initial concern about my two-week experiment (entering sweepstakes eight hours per day to see if the quantity and quality of my prize wins increases) was how to find enough sweepstakes to enter for that many hours.

So, I made a brainstorm sheet of locations I could look for sweepstakes when I started the following day.  These included local television stations, local radio stations, giveaway and contest searches on Facebook, sweepstakes listed on aggregate contesting sites, and consulting with a book I bought on Amazon called Just Your Luck by Wayne Brown (2017). Brown’s book lists sweepstakes sites and rates each one by giving them a 1-5 star rating.

May 15th: Day One

On my first day I entered sweepstakes for eight hours and entered a total of 126.  Now, let me clarify that when I already have a list of daily contests created and can just click the link and autofill the forms, I can enter that many sweeps in about 2 hours.  Why was I working at a slower pace over a longer time?  Here are my theories.

  • I was searching for new contests and had to add each one into an XCEL spreadsheet so that I could properly track the data I’m collecting.
  • Even with my prep list, finding new contests to enter can be challenging. I noticed that many different sites listed the same contests, so finding unique ones was time-consuming.
  • Many of the new sweepstakes I entered used Gleam forms, on which you can get additional entries into the contest by completing various social media actions. A form fill will not work on these, and often the sites require you to visit each social media link for a minimum of ten seconds.

But overall, I did not feel like it was an eight-hour day.  Since I was on a mission to find sweeps, I was busy and concentrating on my goal.  I even won one instant win prize on my first day – a Coke FIFA World Cup beach towel!

May 16th: Day Two

On my second day I entered sweepstakes for eight hours and entered a total of 108. On this day I realized that Sweepstakes Advantage has a great list of Facebook sweepstakes, so I did not need to spend as much time searching for them myself.

Some Facebook giveaways use forms that allow you to use your form filler.  Others are individual posts where you need to like, comment, and share. I have not read it, but I know that Wendy Limauge, the woman behind Sweeties Sweeps, wrote a book called Learn How to Win Cash and Prizes on Facebook (Social Sweeping 101). If you are not comfortable sweeping using Facebook, perhaps this book will help.

Again, challenged by finding enough sweepstakes to enter, I ended up finding an article that looked promising called ”100 Websites to Submit and Promote Online Contests.”  The article was geared toward sweepstakes promoters but did have a comprehensive list of sweepstakes sites.  But, much to my disappointment, upon further investigation, the article had many links to non-working sites or sites that were up but had not been updated in years.  Most of the more current ones it listed I already knew about.

May 17th: Day Three

On my third day I entered sweepstakes for eight hours and entered 150.  This was the first day sweepstaking felt more like a job than a hobby.  I was not as excited to be entering them and beginning to feel tired from fitting these extra eight hours into my schedule.

I also got some unwanted results from my increased sweeping.  Normally, I enter sweepstakes just 1-2 hours per day and I’ve been doing that about nine years.  In all that time I’ve only gotten one scam phone call and one solicitation phone call as a result.  But on this day I had an increase in both spam calls and e-mails.  I got five or six unwanted phone calls.  But since I use a Google Voice number as my sweepstaking phone number, I can easily block numbers from calling again.  And this seemed to work because my phone was very quiet on Friday!

May 18th: Day Four

On my fourth day I entered sweepstakes for 5 hours (I had a personal situation that took me away for a large part of the day) and entered 98.  My largest challenge was again finding enough sweepstakes to enter.  However, I noticed over on the Facebook page for Contest Queen that she was asking for people to submit questions for a live Q&A happening next week on sweepstaking.  So, I submitted a question about how to find enough sweepstakes to enter if you do it all day.  Hopefully I will have my answer soon!

The Two-Week Sweepstakes Experiment

experiment

In the past couple of days I have re-watched some old documentaries about sweepstakes enthusiasts.  These include the TLC pilot show High Stakes Sweepers and the Canadian-filmed Winning for a Living.  The subjects of these shows range from those who are simply serious hobbyists to those that literally earn their living by sweepstaking.  One common theme all the subjects seemed to have was that they were continually receiving prizes!

Now, I enter sweepstakes faithfully a couple hours each day – every day.  Yet sometimes days or even weeks will go by without winning high-value packages or letters in my mailbox or e-mail.  So, I wondered what would happen if I stepped up my game.  What if, like some of the documentary subjects, I entered sweepstakes for 8 hours per day?  Would my number of wins go up?  Would the quality and value of my wins increase? Will I be able to find enough sweepstakes to enter to fill all those hours?

I am going to take on the challenge for 2 weeks and see what happens.  My plan is from May 15 – May 29 I am going to enter sweepstakes for eight hours each day.  I am going to keep track of which sweepstakes I enter. Then I am going to wait a month or two to see what and how many prizes roll in from the sweepstakes entered during the experiment time-frame.

Do you have any guesses as to what the experiment results might be?

*For comparison’s sake, from May 1-14 I won 15 small prizes (mostly instant wins) with a value of around $145 total (averaging less than $10 value per prize).

Sweepstaking with Vision Impairment

not_true

I am severely visually impaired.  In fact, I have only about 10% of my sight remaining.  Fortunately for me, that 10% is central vision, so I still manage to get around and to use a computer. Recently I was attending a support group for the blind and visually impaired in my city.  When some of the attendees found out I entered sweepstakes, they were very interested in learning how they could also enter and whether someone with visual impairments was able to pursue this hobby.  They invited me to speak about this at their next meeting in May.  This lead me to do a little research, so I decided to write this post to encourage those with visual impairments to give sweepstaking a shot!

People in my support group have varying degrees of blindness from total blindness, to some peripheral vision, to blurred vision, and like me, a small bit of central vision.  These conditions are not correctible by wearing glasses. This means that, depending on the extent of the disability, different people would have different options available to them for entering sweepstakes.

The first thing I researched was website accessibility.  According to Wikipedia, “Web accessibility refers to the inclusive practice of removing barriers that prevent interaction with, or access to websites, by people with disabilities. When sites are correctly designed, developed and edited, all users have equal access to information and functionality.” Do all websites currently comply with web accessibility?  Not yet.  Are they supposed to under to the ADA?

According to www.computercourage.com:

“Over time, the ADA legislation has evolved to include access to spaces in the digital world. And there have been serious consequences imposed by the courts for sites that fail to do so.

Since the intent of the ADA is to provide “full and equal enjoyment” for people with varying disabilities, this has wide-ranging implications on websites. These digital spaces must be accessible to individuals using assistive devices such as screen readers and speech recognition software for vision impairments. Users must also have the ability to interact with a website without using a mouse or touchscreen.”

If you find it difficult to navigate online sweeping — for instance if your screen reader software has difficulty with forms — sometimes sweepstakes have entry options other than online entry. There are a good amount of contests that you can enter via telephone.  These include both national contests and local radio call-in contests.  You might also try to enter some local giveaways in person. A friend or store associate can help you fill out a ballot and put it in the draw box.  If you use speech recognition software and are the creative type, you may try to enter some essay and writing contests. There are also a number of contests specifically geared toward the blind.  For instance, in the past there was a “Blind Sight” Photography Contest (https://www.oh-i-see.com/blog/2013/02/07/see-differently-blind-sight-photography-contest/).

So, as time moves forward, sweepstaking is becoming a hobby that any sighted or visually impaired person can participate in.  I think progress is being made in web accessibility compliance, and hopefully in the near future, it will not even be an issue.

Are Sweepstakes Gambling?

to pay or not to pay

When people find out that I am a sweepstaker and have been lucky enough to win some great prizes, I inevitably get asked if I play the lottery.  And I always reply that I don’t because I never pay to win.  Playing games of chance by betting money is gambling.  And many people are surprised to find out that sweepstaking is not gambling.  Sweepstakes always have a free method of entry.  You never have to pay a fee to play or to collect your prize.

Yesterday I came across an interesting article in the news that questioned whether someone opposed to gambling is a hypocrite for entering sweepstakes.  But the issue was a little more complicated than that

The article (found here) discussed vocal anti-gambling “crusader” Kathy Gilroy, who has been responsible for shutting down charity raffles that do not have proper licensure.  Gilroy entered a $25000 sweepstakes at a sweepstakes café and won.

According to the Chicago Tribune, “Gilroy has a history of playing and winning sweepstakes. She said she’s landed prizes including electronics and trips to the Bahamas and California. She once won a big-screen TV from a mechanic, but asked instead for $1,000 in service. A week later, her transmission went out, and she quickly got her money’s worth.”

In a video included with the Tribune article, Gilroy explains that sweepstakes are not gambling because by law you do not have to pay to win.  But what I found interesting about this case, was that the large sum of money won by Gilroy was from a sweepstakes café.  A sweepstakes café, according to Wikipedia is “an establishment that gives away chances to win prizes with the purchase of a product or service, typically internet access or telephone cards.”

The Tribune uncovered that: “After every fifth visit to a cafe, [Gilroy] got a scratch-off card, which occasionally won her a $5 card to play the machines or entries for the grand prize.”

But it seems to me, that even if the cards are free every fifth visit, she still had to pay to play the other four times.  It was this pay to play that won her entries into the grand prize.

So was it really free entry into the sweepstakes? Her opponents call her a hypocrite.  Yet Gilroy does not differentiate between sweepstakes café wins and conventional sweepstakes wins.

What do you think?

A Winning Playlist

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It can be easy to get discouraged when you’re in a prize dry spell.  This can especially happen around the winter holidays time, when so many contests are ending, but you haven’t yet received any winning notices.  And you may not until after the New Year, since people at the prize-award agencies may be on vacation until then.  One way I find to keep my spirits up is to play music that celebrates winning while I’m entering contests.  It helps me to visualize recieving the prizes I entered for, and to keep a positive attitude during dry spells and long notification waiting periods.  Check out this song list “80 Songs About Victory, Celebration, Success, and Winning.”  Did this list miss any? Let me know what songs most motivate you when entering sweepstakes!

Sweepstakes and the End of Net Neutrality

You may know the broad basics of the problems and first amendment threats of ending net neutrality.  But what does this decision mean for the hobby of sweepstaking?

  • Sites not favored by the internet provider could see slower speeds. Waiting for you sweepstakes websites to load may become time consuming, cutting down on the total number of sweepstakes you will be able to enter in a day or an hour.
  • In order to get faster speeds, sites may now pay money for that privilege. This could mean that smaller sweepstakes sites, such as low entry sweepstakes and those run by individuals and small companies, will start to disappear.  If only large companies with money can afford to run sweepstakes, your entries will be put in a larger pool, cutting back your odds of winning.
  • For sweepstakes conglomerate websites and blogs to keep up, free sites will likely no longer be free. They could be forced to charge in order to pay the higher rates for faster speeds.  Sweepstakes secret sites for members that already charge a fee, may need to increase fees to keep up. And even after doing this, small sites may still not be able to afford to offer sweepstakes, and smaller sweepstakes sites may disappear.
  • It will now be legal for internet providers to block certain tweets. For instance, if someone criticizes them on Twitter using a hashtag, the provider may block that tweet from ever reaching its intended audience.  This may eventually trickle down to sweepstakes tweets, again allowing tweets for the larger, high-paying companies, and blocking tweets about smaller companies.
  • Maybe one of the scariest parts of ending net neutrality is that Internet companies may now monitor everything you do online and sell that information to advertisers. If you think of how much junk e-mail entering sweepstakes creates, you could now be bombarded with advertisements from companies that bought your demographic information used to enter sweepstakes.

I don’t what to say, except this is a scary time for internet users, whether you are a sweepstaker or not. What are your thoughts?

Selling Prizes for Fun and Fixing

Sold!

In past blog posts, I have talked about some reasons for sweeping other than just winning prizes for yourself.  These included gifting to friends and family and donating to local charitable causes. But there is another advantage to winning prizes: selling them to buy something else you want or need.  I have two examples from this year where I won large prizes and sold them for one thing I wanted and something else I needed.

A little over a year ago on July 21, 2016 I was fortunate enough to win a regional contest for a Yamaha Waverunner and trailer worth around $9000.  At first I couldn’t decide whether to keep it or sell it. So, I kept it unused in my garage through the winter, and in the spring decided that it was best to sell it.  I took it back to the dealer that distributed the prize and negotiated a fair price.  I then took the money to do something I have always wanted to do!  I registered myself and a friend for the National Sweepstakes Convention Cruise, which happens this fall.  I had been wanting to attend the convention for several years, but was never in a financial position to do it.  Selling the Waverunner connected me to my dream goal (and quite a nice vacation opportunity!)

Earlier this year I won a $5000 pinball machine.  When I got it, the key was missing and though I tried hard to track it down from the sponsor and distributor, I had no luck.  I had a machine I couldn’t play.  Knowing this, the distributor put me in touch with a local businessman who was looking for a pinball machine. We negotiated a price, and the buyer paid me and picked it up. The very next day, our hot water heater broke.  It was an unexpected expense, and due to other priorities, not one we had set money aside for.  How fortunate that I had just sold the pinball machine!  We used that money to get a new water heater.

So now I don’t just enter sweepstakes where I want the prize.  I enter sweepstakes for prizes I perhaps could not use, but I know that I could sell for money.  Then I can treat myself to my true desires!

Putting in a Little Extra Effort to Score the Prize

local-giveaways-button

It’s possible to win a prize in any sweepstakes.  Someone has to be the winner!  But there are certain conditions that make it easier to win.  It is much easier to win a regional or local contest because the entry pool is much smaller.  Now think about how many people will go out of their way to attend an event or go to a business to enter for a chance at a prize.  It’s not likely that near as many people will do this, because it is much more work than entering online or on social media.

Over just the past week and coming week, there have been five giveaways here where I live in Boise in which the rules require you to enter in person.

This past weekend a local coffee shop was having a grand opening celebration of their newest location.  They advertised for the opening on social media.  I saw on Facebook that they were giving a bike away as part of the celebration, but you had to come into the new location to register to win.  However, their ad only gave cross streets and no exact address.  My husband and I drove to the approximate location, but had no luck in finding the shop. So, in the end, I did not get to enter the giveaway.  This was a big mistake on the shop’s part because it limited the exposure of their new shop.  On the other hand, whoever won the bike likely had even less competition than usual for a local contest.

A local car dealership is giving away a backyard makeover. No purchase is necessary to enter to win, but you do have to physically go to the dealership to register to win.  I entered one of their giveaways last year, and remember that I did not even have to listen to a sales pitch.  I just told the associate I was only there to enter the drawing, and got to do so. For their current giveaway, I noticed the ad for it on Facebook today.  My husband and I drove down to the dealership only to find they were closed.  It did not say this in the ad, but perhaps I should have realized it was Sunday!  But the contest is going on until the end of the month, so I have another chance to enter.  Because the location was advertised, it is likely more people will enter this contest than the coffee shop one.  Indeed, the prize is also much bigger for this giveaway. However, being a local contest and the fact that you must enter in person still make the odds better than a national contest.

This weekend the local PetSmart was offering a drawing for a $50 store gift card which could only be used on certain limited items.  The occasion was celebrating small dogs.  The contest rules stated that you had to enter the drawing between 1-2pm that day and must be present for the drawing at 1pm in order to claim your prize.  When we arrived at the store a little after 1pm we realized that not many people were present.  It was a very hot day and driving in a hot car to a pet store was probably not on many people’s priority list.  In addition, having to wait around for a drawing to happen does not fit into everyone’s busy schedules. My husband and I were both allowed to enter (meaning it was a per person entry and not a per household).  We waited the hour, but unfortunately were not drawn as winners. But considering all the circumstances that would deter people entering this local contest, the odds were better than usual.

Today was National Ice Cream Day, and to celebrate McDonald’s was running a one-day promotion.  You were supposed to download the McDonald’s app, use it to claim your free ice cream cone offer, and then at the store you had the opportunity to win a year’s worth of ice cream plus a check for over $4000. The prize could be given at any freestanding McDonald’s nationwide, but you had to follow those steps to enter.  What was not clear from the rules was how a winner was determined.  Was it from scanning the app’s coupon? Was it something the employee had to do to enter you? I asked at the counter about that, and the employee had no idea that the sweepstakes was even happening, let alone how to make sure I was entered.  I have had other experiences with national chain employees not knowing about contest’s their company is running.  Clearly this is a training issue.  Either the company is not communicating with the managers, or the managers are not communicating with their employees.

Next on my list is a Camping World giveaway of an RV.  This contest started with the opportunity to register in advance of the prize day, and have a code e-mailed to you.  You then must bring the code to your nearest participating Camping World to check if your code opens the vault.  If it does, you are a winner!  Next Saturday is the big day for that, so I have it on my calendar to show up with my code to try!

My final advice is to make that extra effort to win local contests.  You might not win every single one, or maybe you won’t win any, but the odds are in your favor!