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Sweepstakes & Contests - Crash Course


Forum: July, August & September 2012 Playroom

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  #1  
November 29th, 2012, 07:35 AM
Cylence's Avatar I'm a Toys 'R Us kid
Join Date: Dec 2011
Posts: 1,510
In my previous thread http://www.justmommies.com/forums/f1...ving-mood.html a few of you mentioned that you'd like some tips on how to enter contests & win stuff. So, here's a crash course with some links to sites I tend to frequent.

First off, I'd like to first touch base on knowing a legitimate giveaway from a scam. Scams are no good.
Be smart and read. Scanning over the fine print can be quite helpful.
A legitimate sweepstakes giveaway will never ask you to sign up for 5 paid offers before you enter and they'll never ask you for money. In any shape, way, fashion, or form (EXCLUDING when you have to pay taxes via a 1099, at the end of the year. You DO NOT have to accept a prize, if you decide the value is too large & you don't want to provide tax information.) Here's a good article to help you tell the difference between a scam and a legitimate giveaway. 8 Ways to Spot a Sweepstakes Scam | Sweeties Sweepstakes
READ THE RULES on each sweepstakes. Seriously, even if you just scan them, you need to know A) if the contest is eligible in your area, B) Age requirements of said giveaway, C) How many times you can enter (is it a daily entry or can you only enter once?), and d) the retail value of said prize and what is involved to redeem your prize. (mostly for tax purposes - you do tend to pay tax on wins over $800)
A good bit of headache can be avoided if you just take a second and read. If you pay attention to the entry form, you can save yourself necessary junk mail/phone calls by unchecking boxes that come pre-marked.


So, sweeping is what we call entering a bunch of contests & sweepstakes. There are a couple different kinds of giveaways.

#1 Promotional giveaways
Promoted by top names/companies. (Walmart, Target, Old Navy, etc) - Generally have a pretty high entrant participation, which makes it less likely that you'll win, but not impossible. These companies tend to group their bigger giveaway with smaller ones via daily instant win games - usually found on their website or facebook.

#2 Blog giveaways
Usually a blogger is given a product(s) to test and one to giveaway. I like these the best because your chances of winning are greater. Blog giveaways generally use a rafflecopter - which is connected to your facebook or email, depending on what you log into it with. Or, they use comments on their blog as entries and use random.org to pick a random comment #. ALL blogs will tell you the different options to enter. Most have a mandatory entry (ie. Like a facebook page) and then other optional entries. These optional entries just give you a greater chance at winning, but, again, are completely optional.
In rare cases, you will have to pay shipping. Paypal can almost ALWAYS be used. NEVER EVER give the person on the other end of an email your card info. Never ever.[/I]


#3 Twitter Parties
The most complicated, but tends to be pretty fruitful. I don't usually tend to do these anymore, because it's difficult to pay attention to them & baby all at once. Using a site like tweetgrid.com can make these a little easier to understand.
I'm not going to dig deeper into this one. If I'm not willing to do it, I'm sure you probably won't be either. If you DO however decide to do it on your own and you have questions, feel free to ask me.

#4 Pinterest giveaways
Pin it to win it. If you do a search on pinterest for #pinittowinit, #pintowin, #win, #sweepstakes etc you can come across some neat ones, but so far I haven't done many of these.

#5 Facebook Giveaways/Contests
Facebook is abundant in sweepstakes/giveaways. Just for liking a facebook page. Now, it IS a good idea to try and stay organized here, too. Make yourself a friends list, add all your real friends. Then make yourself another list and every time you like a page, put it in that list. That way, you can sort through important updates and just stuff posted from that crazy page you liked, to enter a giveaway.

#6 Creative Entry giveaways
These are few and far between, but they do happen and they have some neat prizes to go along with it. They will usually ask you to submit a picture, write a song/story/essay, etc. These generally have a lower entrant volume because, quite frankly, people are lazy and don't want to take the time to put in the extra effort for a win. These sorts of giveaways usually also include the winner being the entrant who gets the most votes. Now, this sucks because of sites like Sweepstakes Forum at About.com , but in saying that same thing, you now have a secret weapon. I use this site to help give me a boost in voting contests. It's rare, I usually use it for something I REALLY want (like the Children's Place one that I was SO close on. *sigh*) It's a forum that people are asking for votes for their contest and in return they will vote for yours. I've showed a couple people this site & I think Aubrey even won a photo shoot, so, it is helpful, I just don't use it much, since it is kind of like cheating. If the contest says nothing about use of voting sites, you're golden, but be aware, if it does & they catch you, you'll be disqualified.



Getting Going


- Get organized. I have a spreadsheet for contests I've entered, which includes the link to the giveaway, day it ends, what the prize is, etc. I also have one for items I've won. You don't HAVE to do this, but I like to, in case something gets announced on a website instead of being emailed to me.

- Make an email address for your sweepstakes. This isn't mandatory, but I like not having my normal email swamped with subscribed newsletters, company offers, etc. Sweeping DOES cause you to get a lot of extra mail, so a separate email may save you some headache, but it's your preference.

- Try getting an auto-fill add on, on your browser. If you enter as many giveaways as I do, it's nice to not have to fill out your info every single time. Click a button & it's generally completely filled & submit. Easy Peasy. Here's the one I use: https://addons.mozilla.org/en-US/fir...utofill-forms/ If you don't use Firfox, just google "_______ auto-fill add on" and it'll generally pop up something for your particular browser.

- Take advantage of google alerts. I have keywords for just about anything. Google searches and sends what it finds to my email, every day. Think of items you'd want and put it in the serach query. "Baby giveaway", "Ipad giveaway", "Camera giveaway", etc. It can be as specific or non-specific as you wish. I also have a google alert set for my name, so if anybody publishes my name, it gets sent to my email. Effective Keyword Searches | Sweeties Sweepstakes

- Be prepared to enter a BUNCH but only win a couple things here & there. The thing with sweeping is that you do enter a ton and most of them you won't win, but if you continually enter, eventually it'll feel like you're winning all the time, since each giveaway ends at different times. And be prepared to go awhile without winning anything, don't let it discourage you. I've gone months without a single win and then all of a sudden, I've got packages arriving at my door... it's like sporadic Christmas around here.




*scratches head*
I think that's pretty much about it. Anyone have questions? Have I sufficiently lost everyone?



Sites I Frequent:
Sweeties Sweepstakes (You will see talk about a membership with this page. Yes, she does have an optional membership, but it's not mandatory.)
Sweepstakes Lovers - the go-to place for online sweepstakes !
https://apps.facebook.com/promotions...0&fb_bmpos=3_0
Contests & Sweepstakes - Slickdeals.net





Useful links:

Teach Me How | Sweeties Sweepstakes
8 Ways to Spot a Sweepstakes Scam | Sweeties Sweepstakes
5 Ways to Tell If A Winning Email is a Scam | Sweeties Sweepstakes
List of Common Sweepstakes Abbreviations | Sweeties Sweepstakes
Effective Keyword Searches | Sweeties Sweepstakes
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  #2  
November 29th, 2012, 08:59 AM
Super Mommy
Join Date: Dec 2011
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Thank you!!!
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  #3  
November 29th, 2012, 10:01 AM
magz88's Avatar First Time Mum
Join Date: Feb 2012
Location: Ontario, Canada
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That's a neat hobby.

I have entered one on sears.ca and one for butter just because I have more time on my hands now that the baby is a little less needy.

I also have a focus group I am doing on the 13th for Pot Of Gold chocolates. They pay you $125 for a two-hour interview and a small homework assignment. I had to fudge a bit and say I bought it more often than I actually do, but that money will cover gas for traveling around at Xmas.
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  #4  
November 29th, 2012, 10:09 AM
Jessimaaka's Avatar Pink in a house of Blue
Join Date: Dec 2011
Location: Ontario, Canada
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Cool, TFS! I use my hotmail account for stuff like this
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  #5  
November 29th, 2012, 11:04 AM
Mom to Madeline
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Fun. Thank you so much for sharing!
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  #6  
November 29th, 2012, 12:11 PM
Pixie Dust's Avatar Veteran
Join Date: Nov 2011
Posts: 351
THANKS!!!

Oh wow!! My head is spinning from reading all that! I'll have to reread it so it can soak in!
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  #7  
December 15th, 2012, 07:19 PM
magz88's Avatar First Time Mum
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Location: Ontario, Canada
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Quick question.

Do they call on the phone a lot?

I don't have voice mail on my phone so I have been putting my DH's number but now I am thinking he might get a ton of telemarketing now!
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  #8  
December 16th, 2012, 01:07 AM
Carwen*Angel's Avatar Fly away on my zephyr
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I'm stickying this. We can also add links to contest sites.

I used to be really into comping and perhaps I can get back into it while I'm off work.
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  #9  
December 16th, 2012, 01:56 PM
Cylence's Avatar I'm a Toys 'R Us kid
Join Date: Dec 2011
Posts: 1,510
Quote:
Originally Posted by magz88 View Post
Quick question.

Do they call on the phone a lot?

I don't have voice mail on my phone so I have been putting my DH's number but now I am thinking he might get a ton of telemarketing now!

So far, it hasn't been an issue & I've been doing it for a couple years. Usually, they only make your phone # mandatory if they plan on contacting you via telephone if you win. Most of what I usually come across is the number being an optional thing, but not mandatory.

If it's not mandatory, I generally don't enter my phone #.
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Last edited by Cylence; December 16th, 2012 at 02:27 PM.
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  #10  
December 16th, 2012, 02:20 PM
magz88's Avatar First Time Mum
Join Date: Feb 2012
Location: Ontario, Canada
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Thanks, Jacque!

I am working my way through this list that is for contests that Canadian residents can enter.

Contests
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  #11  
December 16th, 2012, 02:25 PM
Cylence's Avatar I'm a Toys 'R Us kid
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I'm going to show Jess that site! That's awesome
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  #12  
December 16th, 2012, 05:56 PM
Mega Super Mommy
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thanks so much for taking the time to do that!
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  #13  
December 20th, 2012, 03:22 PM
Jenn1320's Avatar Mega Super Mommy
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I may have to try more- you've really inspired me with all your winnings. Wow!
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  #14  
December 20th, 2012, 03:26 PM
Cylence's Avatar I'm a Toys 'R Us kid
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Posts: 1,510
I would also like to mention.... ALWAYS CHECK YOUR JUNK FOLDER!!
I can't tell you how many times I've nearly missed a win by not checking over my junk folder before deleting it
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  #15  
December 21st, 2012, 07:00 PM
magz88's Avatar First Time Mum
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Location: Ontario, Canada
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I just want to add my two cents. I downloaded Google Chrome and it autofills everything without having to press any buttons at all like with the Firefox app.

I also came across this site Online Sweepstakes and Contests where you can store contests that you have entered and you can add notes. It has Canadian and US contests on it.
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  #16  
December 21st, 2012, 08:11 PM
Cylence's Avatar I'm a Toys 'R Us kid
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Posts: 1,510
I wish I could use Chrome, my computer hates it. I so need a new one *laughs*
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  #17  
January 18th, 2013, 03:20 PM
magz88's Avatar First Time Mum
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Location: Ontario, Canada
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Any wins lately, Jacque? There is one contest that I am hoping to win since you had to identify 180 people correctly and it took forever (3 hours or so). I know I will at least get a Tshirt but I want the $1000 and guitar. Anyway, it was supposed to be done January 16 but they extended the deadline to the 25th so I have to wait.
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  #18  
January 18th, 2013, 04:13 PM
Cylence's Avatar I'm a Toys 'R Us kid
Join Date: Dec 2011
Posts: 1,510
Nothing too big, lately. I did win a Vick's behind the ear thermometer about a week ago. There's this Valentine's package that I'm trying to win, to surprise Eric, but we'll see.

good luck on yours! i'll keep my fingers crossed for you.
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  #19  
January 19th, 2013, 06:49 PM
2pinks&ablue's Avatar Chantelle
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Location: NB, Canada
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Thanks for taking the type to explain this all out!

Quote:
Originally Posted by magz88 View Post
Thanks, Jacque!

I am working my way through this list that is for contests that Canadian residents can enter.

Contests

And thanks for sharing this!
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  #20  
February 20th, 2013, 03:33 PM
magz88's Avatar First Time Mum
Join Date: Feb 2012
Location: Ontario, Canada
Posts: 3,411
Finally I won some prizes! I won tickets to Canada Blooms last week (a garden show in Toronto), and this week I won a $100 gas card and a $100 VISA card. Here's hoping I am starting on a roll!
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