Sweepstakes & Contest Sites

Just think how personal computers have changed the flavor of sweepstakes entries. Forget the scissors and postage stamps, because entering can be accomplished online. If you want to focus on a new hobby and have a computer, you might get addicted to entering all the dozens and dozens of giveaways. Here are a few sites I researched to get you started.

Sweepstakes Today “where dreams can come true.” While recovering from surgery, Craig McDaniel had lots of time on his hands to enter sweepstakes online. Initially, he won small prizes, but his tenacity led him to bigger rewards. He decided to create his own website (Sweepstakes Today) and he keeps track of almost 500 current sweepstakes offerings for those who register (free) at his site. Some of the prize offers include autos, boats, houses, vacations, and scholarships. McDaniel also runs member forums and lists sweepstakes tips. One of his top tips suggests that an entrant set up a “junk” email account at one of the free email providers. When entering different sweeps and contests, this email account will also collect the inevitable unwanted ad promos and stuff that clogs email boxes. Because we already know that contests generate mailing lists for its sponsors, you are likely to see an increase in your junk mail. But that’s the price you pay for entering these sweepstake, contest, and freebie offers. It’s up to you to weigh the pros and cons and decide whether to play or not. But gee. Who would pass up a chance for a free car or a 50,000 home makeover? Or even a home with land?

123 Sweepstakes . I was surprised—pleasantly—when I logged on to this website and found it not to be a slick, ad-filled, pop-up bannered nuisance. On the contrary. 123 Sweepstakes is apparently authored by a regular, non-commercial personal website owner who happens to use Geocities’ free web hosting to post enough information to keep you intrigued about sweepstakes for months to come. You’ll find pages and pages of sweepstake sites, game sites, contests, and giveaways. Also: forums, scams information, and tools for sweepstakes hobbyists. The homepage provides up-to-the-minute information about the latest sweepstake offers. It took all of my will-power to stay away from entering any of these sweeps (for now, at least)—so that I could finish the research for this week’s column. I can see how entering contests and sweepstakes can become addictive. Be forewarned.

Online Contest Index . This no-frills page just lists an index of contest categories and their links. And, anyone can add his or her own contest—a marketing technique many webmasters use to get more hits to their pages. Look at some of the categories I found listed here: computer contests, quizzes, science-related, writing, scavenger hunts, giveaways, children’s, and free stuff. Dive in and add to the pool of entrants. You never know when you might hit the jackpot. Or, win a bar of soap. Yes—prizes range from small to huge.

Reward TV Here’s a chance to combine two addictions: television-watching and contest-entering. What you do when you register at Reward TV is answer a multiple choice format of trivia questions to collect “TV points.” Each evening, games are posted with questions about one of several regularly-broadcasted prime-time television shows. You answer some trivia questions about the show, and also answer questions about the commercials that come with the shows. When you win enough points, you can redeem them in three ways: to bid on online auction items; to “purchase” shopping spree items, or to enter sweeps that offer such things as paying off your car loan, paying utilities, or groceries. I had a peek at the online auction reward area and saw that bidders had bid 3 Million points to win a $25 Penney’s gift card. I have no idea how long it takes to accrue 3 million points. But then, if you are a fan of shows like “Everybody Loves Raymond” and know every last trivia detail, then maybe you’ll want to register at Reward TV. I wonder if Tivo users have an advantage, but my guess would be yes.

Red Hot Sweeps . You are wondering if people really, truly win sweeps and contests. The forums here—or at least the one called “Winners & Braggers” will confirm the fact. Real people share their news of good fortune. I can affirm the validity of some contests: in my lifetime, I’ve won several radio-call in contests (prizes ranged from carpet cleaner to a weekend stay at a resort hotel) and long-time Beacher readers might remember when I won a 4-day trip to Paris from a Chicago radio station just for submitting my name. So—go for the booty. What do you have to lose?

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~ by IndianaDunesPoet on May 20, 2005.

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