sweepstakes http://www.wisebread.com/taxonomy/term/7432/all en-US This Is How You Win Sweepstakes http://www.wisebread.com/this-is-how-you-win-sweepstakes <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/this-is-how-you-win-sweepstakes" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/tablet-461535927.jpg" alt="excited woman" title="excited woman" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="141" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>The idea of winning something for nothing is appealing. As an avid enthusiast of entering sweepstakes and contests, I have over 15 years of experience and plenty of wins, I can vouch for the hobby as one that can help you obtain cash, trips, gadgets, and more with just the investment of time and patience. For many people, however, a lack of both time and patience leads them to frustration. &quot;Why haven't I won?&quot; many ask &mdash; even after just a few weeks of starting the hobby. Here is what I've learned over the years. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-win-big-in-online-sweepstakes?ref=seealso">How to Win in Online Sweepstakes</a>)</p> <h2>The &quot;Sweepstakes&quot; Cycle Can Be a Long One</h2> <p>Back in 1998, when I started entering sweepstakes, most promotions were administered the old-fashioned way &mdash; with a stamp and an envelope. The Internet was relatively new, so most contests were done via postal mail. The time it took to enter, win, and find out about your win could be six months or more. Today, even with the web hosting most promotions, there is still a timeframe of eight weeks or more for people to get their entries in, two weeks for the sweepstakes administrator to draw and verify winners, and eight weeks for the prizes to be mailed out. Before you start complaining that you never win, check to see if it is even possible for you to have been picked and notified yet. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/andbreathe-become-more-patient-in-9-easy-steps?ref=seealso">9 Steps to Become More Patient</a>)</p> <h2>Odds Can Vary by Promotion</h2> <p>Every year, HGTV holds its &quot;Dream Home Giveaway.&quot; Millions of people enter the sweepstakes (sometimes every day) to get their chance at being the lucky winner of an amazing property worth millions of dollars. If you were to enter just these types of high-profile promotions, you would likely never see any wins. The odds of winning are so astronomical that you could enter and enter and enter&hellip; and wonder if it was worth your time. By entering a promotion that hits the &quot;sweet spot&quot; of many prizes of moderate values, however, you can increase your odds of winning. Examples of this type of promotion could be one that offers 20 prizes of $1,000 savings bonds, a 50-state promotion that gives out restaurant gift cards to one entrant per U.S. state, or an instant win sweepstakes with thousands of prizes each valued at $20 or below. Sure, you won't be a millionaire by the end of it, but even winning a prize with a value of $100 makes you a winner (and can improve your quality of life somewhat).</p> <h2>Disqualification Can &mdash; and Does &mdash; Happen</h2> <p>It's super important to read the rules of any promotion and make sure you are following them <em>exactly</em>. Most contests and sweepstakes have common regulations that require the entrants to be a certain age, meet residency requirements, and sometimes even have a certain occupation. Other rules include how many total times you can enter and how many people per household can enter the same sweepstakes. Some companies won't let the same person win more than one time in a given timeframe, as well. If you are entering, but also disqualifying yourself with your entries, you will never see a win.</p> <h3>Use a Form Filler</h3> <p>I highly recommend using a form filler, either as an add-on or extension to your web browser or as a separate software feature, to save time and ensure accuracy for each entry. Using any automated &quot;bot&quot; however, can be detected by most sweepstakes sites and can result in your entry &mdash; and all further entries from your IP address &mdash; to be disqualified. Reliable form tools include Roboform and the Form Filler extensions for Chrome. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/16-time-and-money-saving-apps-for-freelancers?ref=seealso">16 Time and Money Saving Apps</a>)</p> <h2>You Could Be Missing Your Win Notifications</h2> <p>As a blogger, I run two to three giveaways on my site each month. Each time, I notify the winner at the email address they give in their entry. One out of six times, however, I send multiple notifications and never hear back. This tells me that winners are either typing in the wrong email on their entry forms, or they are not checking their email on time, or emails are going to spam and being tossed. Make double-sure that you are providing the correct info on your entries, and always check daily &mdash; even in your spam folder &mdash; for winning notifications. Nothing is worse than finding that special email after the timeframe for claiming your prize!</p> <p>While I personally don't enter giveaways that don't notify winners (but rather rely on the winners to come back and check a winner's list to claim their prize), notifications can be lost. Setting up a Google Alert with the name you use to enter giveaways, as well as the word &quot;winner&quot; can help ensure you get an email when a website lists you as a prize winner. You can then contact the sponsor to see how to get your prize.</p> <h2>A &quot;Winning&quot; Habit Helps</h2> <p>It's much easier to do anything in life if you do it consistently.</p> <p>Many of the &quot;lifelong&quot; contesters I know have a special schedule to their entering that they follow religiously. While the time of day may not have as much importance as the fact that they commit to just doing their entries, the fact remains that developing a habit ensures many entries. In addition, many entries mean a higher chance of winning. Make entering fun instead of being a chore by tying it to something else you like to do like watching your daily newscast or listening to tunes. The more regular you are with the practice, the more wins you'll see coming in later! (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/habits-arent-boring-theyre-the-secret-to-happiness-heres-why/ref=seealso">Habits Are the Secret to Happiness</a>)</p> <p>Some things I've done to help me develop a regular habit include:</p> <ul> <li>Sign up for Online-sweepstakes.com's &quot;<a href="http://www.online-sweepstakes.com/mysweeps/">My Sweeps</a>&quot; tracking tool. This feature is free for lite users and allows you to save your favorite sweepstakes, as well as check off each time you've entered, along with what time of day your entry took place.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Subscribe to email reminders for the most coveted prize giveaways, alerting you to the fact that you haven't made your daily entry yet.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Tying your sweepstakes hobby to a favorite pastime you do each day (watching reruns of &quot;Burn Notice&quot; or catching up on the news, for example) gives you a way to do your entries at the same time each day, as well as multitask in a relaxing way.</li> </ul> <p>Luck has something to do with winning, but most people I know that &quot;never&quot; win don't understand the concepts above. &quot;You can't win if you don't enter&quot; holds more truth than any other advice I know on sweepstakes and contests. You can win if you don't give up too quickly.</p> <p><em>Are you a sweepstakes regular? What have you won?</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/linsey-knerl">Linsey Knerl</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/this-is-how-you-win-sweepstakes">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-win-big-in-online-sweepstakes">How to Win Big in Online Sweepstakes</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/i-scream-you-scream-i-m-lovin-free-ice-cream">I Scream, You Scream… I’m Lovin’ FREE Ice Cream!</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/be-a-winner-with-your-dinner-or-not">Be a Winner with Your Dinner (Or not)</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/15-things-you-can-do-with-a-credit-card-besides-buy-stuff">15 Things You Can Do With a Credit Card Besides Buy Stuff</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/get-more-money-for-your-stuff-with-these-retail-secrets">Get More Money for Your Stuff With These Retail Secrets</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Life Hacks contests promotions sweepstakes Tue, 11 Mar 2014 10:36:33 +0000 Linsey Knerl 1129913 at http://www.wisebread.com 6 Signs That a Winning Notification Email Is a Fake http://www.wisebread.com/6-signs-that-a-winning-notification-email-is-a-fake <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/6-signs-that-a-winning-notification-email-is-a-fake" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/on_computer_outside.jpg" alt="Woman on computer outside" title="Woman on computer outside" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="156" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>I&rsquo;ve written about my hobby of entering sweepstakes before, and like any worthwhile endeavor, there is always a downside. One of these, unfortunately, is the massive amounts of new email you will receive as you sign up for newsletters and give out your contact info for prize notification. While fake prize emails can be sent to anyone, those who enter giveaways seem to be even more prone to receiving them. And while most of my newly sweeping friends have a bit of a learning curve in identifying the fakes from the real thing, they eventually master these six red flags that something isn&rsquo;t right. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/sweeping-101-what-the-real-winners-know">Sweeping 101</a>)</p> <h3>1. You Don&rsquo;t Remember Entering</h3> <p>Even with the thousands upon thousands of sweepstakes I&rsquo;ve entered over the past 14 years, I have a mild recollection of most of them. If I were to receive an email saying that I won dinners for a year from a local eatery, it would ring a bell, and I&rsquo;d likely get excited. If some random company tells me that I won a questionable amount of cash in a promotion I don&rsquo;t remember, however, I would take a minute to examine it more carefully.</p> <p>Not sure if you entered or not? Google the promotion name, company, and prize to see what you find. Most likely, if it is a legit sweep, it was listed on several sites that prize winners frequent.</p> <h3>2. The Company Is Huge</h3> <p>While Pepsi, Yahoo, and Google do hold many giveaways, they rarely handle their own correspondence. If you get an email from Yahoo itself claiming to have picked your name to get a free iPad, for example, see 1) if you remember entering and 2) if the email is signed by a fulfillment company. If the email is signed by a PR company, it&rsquo;s more likely real than if it&rsquo;s signed by Pepsi&rsquo;s CEO.</p> <p>Again, you can Google to get the info for the company that is handling prize fulfillment for the sweepstakes you are wondering about. Major sweepstakes are most often done by major companies that only do sweepstakes drawing, notification, and awarding.</p> <h3>3. The Word &ldquo;Lotto&rdquo; Is Ever Used</h3> <p>Seriously, do you even play the lottery? If you get an email from a foreign country with the happy announcement that you have &ldquo;lotto&rdquo; prizes, it&rsquo;s not legit. Lottery takes money to play, and as far as I know, they never notify people via an ambiguous email.</p> <p>Other sneaky terms to beware of include &ldquo;grant award&rdquo; and any mention of an international fund.</p> <h3>4. The Email Went Out to <em>Everyone</em></h3> <p>Check the &ldquo;to&rdquo; field in your email. Do you find your email alongside a dozen or more other email addresses within the same alphabetical range as yours? Bad news &mdash; you&rsquo;re on a spam email list. Someone is desperately sending this same email out to thousands of unsuspecting email account holders hoping someone will bite. Delete this one without question.</p> <p>Whatever you do, do NOT reply or attempt to unsubscribe to any email that has dozens of addresses. This will only confirm to the spammer that the email is valid, encouraging them to send even more junk your way.</p> <h3>5. Hyperlinks Are Fishy</h3> <p>Most fake emails trying to access your info (also known as <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/finding-the-right-job-there-s-plenty-of-phish-in-the-sea">phishing emails</a>) will try to get you to either click on a link within the body of the email, or reply to a particular email.&nbsp;The destination, at first glance, may seem legit (&ldquo;Please check out xyzcompany to get your prize!&quot;). By placing your mouse over the hyperlink and NOT clicking on it, however, you can see where the link is directed to go to. If this is anything but the address in the email, RUN! These are clever rouses designed to get you to sites you would never visit. Don&rsquo;t do them the honor.</p> <p>Do a quick link check of all URLs in the body and at the bottom of the email. PayPal scams, for example, often look a lot like an official PayPal email, but the hyperlinks within the text all direct to scam sites designed to get your sensitive information.</p> <h3>6. You&nbsp;Were Asked to Send Money</h3> <p>This one is quick and easy to master. Don&rsquo;t pay shipping fees, processing fees, or award fees for your prize. A prize is a prize, after all, not something you ordered.</p> <p>Beware of anyone claiming that you have to pay taxes upfront for any prize. The IRS handles income tax, your local treasurer handles motor vehicle and boat taxes. Let them do their jobs, and leave the scammers wishing you weren&rsquo;t so smart.</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/linsey-knerl">Linsey Knerl</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-signs-that-a-winning-notification-email-is-a-fake">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/phishing-scams-continue-to-plague-social-media-sites">Phishing Scams Continue to Plague Social Media Sites</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/netspend-the-story-of-the-visa-debit-card-we-did-not-apply-for">netSpend: The Story of the Visa Debit Card We Did Not Apply For</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-vile-craigslist-scams-to-watch-out-for">8 Vile Craigslist Scams to Watch Out For</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-ways-to-apartment-hunt-on-craigslist-without-getting-scammed">6 Ways to Apartment Hunt on Craigslist Without Getting Scammed</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-safe-is-craigslist">How Safe Is Craigslist?</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Consumer Affairs emails phishing scams sweepstakes Wed, 14 Sep 2011 09:48:22 +0000 Linsey Knerl 704732 at http://www.wisebread.com Secrets to Finding and Winning Facebook Promotional Giveaways http://www.wisebread.com/secrets-to-finding-and-winning-facebook-promotional-giveaways <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/secrets-to-finding-and-winning-facebook-promotional-giveaways" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/iStock_000011259011Small.jpg" alt="" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="166" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Remember how I told you about my <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/sweeping-101-what-the-real-winners-know">secret hobby as a sweeper</a>? Even with an increasingly busy schedule, I make time to enter sweepstakes for about 20 minutes each day. My efforts have definitely paid off; in the past four months, I have won a video camera, books, and an iPad 2 &mdash; all from <a href="http://www.facebook.com/">Facebook</a> promotions! Like most other kinds of sweepstakes, you can&rsquo;t win if you don&rsquo;t play. However, there are some unique aspects of Facebook sweepstakes that are important to note if you're going to participate.</p> <h3>Finding Facebook Giveaways</h3> <p>Many of the better giveaways can be found with the same tactics used to track down other promotions. (Read more on <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-ways-to-win-free-stuff-from-blog-giveaways">how to find blog giveaways</a>.) Because Facebook promotions aren&rsquo;t as heavily advertised, however, and the entry time can be much shorter (both increasing your winning odds), you will need to use some extra resources to find them. The best way to find most is through the <a href="http://www.wildfireapp.com/website/6/contests">WildFire App website</a>. It will have all of the promotions running with that app (the most popular at this time), and you can sort by sweepstakes or contests, as well as ending time. Also, since many Facebook giveaways are for local businesses, you can pay less than $30 for membership to a site like <a href="http://sweetiessecretsweeps.com/">Sweetie&rsquo;s Secret Sweeps</a>, and it will list promotions specific to your state, only.</p> <h3>Entering Facebook Giveaways</h3> <p>Since many of the rules for promoting and running a giveaway on Facebook <a href="http://www.facebook.com/promotions_guidelines.php">have changed recently</a>, there is a bit of confusion on how to enter successfully. Many believe that asking entrants to &ldquo;Like&rdquo; the company&rsquo;s fan page as a requirement for entry is illegal. Actually, you can require it, but it can&rsquo;t be the sole method of entry; they would still need to fill out some kind of form. Also, companies aren&rsquo;t supposed to have you comment or post on a wall for the sole method of entry; they are encouraged to use reliable third-party promotional applications to take your info.</p> <p><img width="390" height="245" alt="" src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u148/Sweepstakes%20Like%20button.jpg" /></p> <p>(<em>Why is this important?</em> Many entrants mistakenly forget to &ldquo;Like&rdquo; a company when entering a giveaway, but companies are allowed to choose a winner only from fans. This means that if you skip this important step, you&rsquo;re entry won&rsquo;t count!) To find out what is required of you to submit a legitimate entry, read the official rules for all Facebook sweepstakes.</p> <p>One other thing to note is that many Facebook giveaways are hidden to anyone who doesn&rsquo;t &ldquo;Like&rdquo; a promotion. This is called &ldquo;Like-gating&rdquo;, and while it is legitimate, you have to remember that the act of Liking will not count as entry alone. (You still need to fill out that form!)</p> <h3>Calculating Your Odds</h3> <p>In the traditional sweepstakes world, tens of thousands of entrants compete for the same prize. Some promotions, like the <a href="http://www.hgtv.com/dream-home/index.html">HGTV dream home giveaway</a>, can generate millions of entries. Facebook giveaways, on the other hand, usually offer more modest prizes, having a shorter timeframe for entry, and aren&rsquo;t as heavily advertised. You can actually see how many people may be eligible to win by looking at the number of &ldquo;Likes&rdquo; a company has. (ABC Company, for example, has only 9,000 fans at the time of a giveaway ending. Assuming that not all of those fans entered the giveaway, you can assume that your odds are pretty good!)</p> <p><img width="182" height="89" alt="" src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u148/number%20of%20likes.jpg" /></p> <p>Remember that many entrants have skipped the &ldquo;Like&rdquo; step &mdash; making your odds even better.</p> <h3>Sweepstakes vs. Contests</h3> <p>Because Facebook is all about the social aspect, it seems to have a higher-than-average percentage of contests on the site. (Contests are giveaways that require some level of engagement, like submitting a photo or essay, and then has voting or judging to determine a winner. Sweepstakes, on the other hand, are completely random. This means that if you aren&rsquo;t a fan of having to ask friends to vote, or you aren&rsquo;t particularly creative, you might not do as well. For those who want to enter purely as a numbers game, sweepstakes &mdash; or those promotions that are completely random &mdash; are for you. If you have a large social circle and are a talented photographer, for example, contests may be more your thing.</p> <h3>Being Notified as a Winner</h3> <p>Per the terms of Facebook, companies cannot use Facebook to tell you that you&rsquo;ve won. Assuming that you filled out the entry form correctly, they should have some other method to contact you (email, phone, etc.). This means that you don&rsquo;t have to keep checking your Facebook wall or messages to make sure that you didn&rsquo;t miss a big win. You should find out in a more reliable way.</p> <h3>Privacy Issues</h3> <p>You can often tell if a person enters many Facebook giveaways by looking at their wall. It isn&rsquo;t necessary to notify the world of your entries, however, especially if the sponsoring company doesn&rsquo;t quite line up with your image. (When I first got started, a wall post went up letting the world know about a trip I entered to win &mdash; sponsored by a condom company.)</p> <p>Once you have &ldquo;Liked&rdquo; a company and proceed to enter, you will be prompted to allow Facebook to access your information. This won&rsquo;t share anything with your friends, or even post anything to your wall. It is the only way to proceed with the giveaway, however, so make sure you hit &ldquo;Allow&rdquo; for your entry to continue.</p> <p><img alt="" style="width: 509px; height: 262px;" src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u148/Request%20for%20Permission.jpg" /></p> <p>Upon submitting their sweepstakes form, there is usually a small checkmark at the bottom that says &ldquo;post to wall&rdquo;. You can always uncheck this if you don&rsquo;t want your wall cluttered with hundreds of giveaway notifications.</p> <p><img alt="" style="width: 499px; height: 150px;" src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u148/Uncheck%20share%20on%20wall.jpg" /></p> <p>Many promotions will also prompt you to share with your friends. You can also &ldquo;skip&rdquo; this step. (Once you receive confirmation of your entry into the giveaway, you are under no further obligation to share, post, or refer.)</p> <p><img width="605" height="254" alt="" src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u148/Sweepstakes%20on%20Facebook%20%282%29%20-%20Mozilla%20Firefox%208132011%20100742%20AM.jpg" /></p> <p>Also, if you don&rsquo;t want your &ldquo;Interest&rdquo; profile littered with beer companies or strange hobbies, you can always &ldquo;Unlike&rdquo; a company after the end of the promotion. (Just go to the company&rsquo;s fan page, and look for the &ldquo;Unlike&rdquo; link at the bottom left-hand side of the page.)</p> <p><img width="196" height="258" alt="" src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u148/Pepto-Bismol%20%282%29%20-%20Mozilla%20Firefox%208132011%20100112%20AM.jpg" /></p> <p>One final piece of advice I can give regarding Facebook giveaways is to get in while the action is hot. Facebook is still a relatively new way to promote sweepstakes, and so the competition isn&rsquo;t nearly as stiff as more traditional methods of entry (online forms at a sponsor&rsquo;s site, blog giveaways, Twitter parties, or mail-ins). Even if you don&rsquo;t use Facebook to communicate with friends and family, I recommend setting up an account with stiff privacy settings for the sole purpose of entering to win!</p> <p><em>Have you won anything cool on Facebook?</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/linsey-knerl">Linsey Knerl</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/secrets-to-finding-and-winning-facebook-promotional-giveaways">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-2"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-ways-to-make-extra-money-using-social-media">6 Ways to Make Extra Money Using Social Media</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/sweeping-101-what-the-real-winners-know">Sweeping 101: What the Real Winners Know</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-win-big-in-online-sweepstakes">How to Win Big in Online Sweepstakes</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-facebook-updates-that-are-making-you-look-stupid">7 Facebook Updates That Are Making You Look Stupid</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-make-money-tweeting-0">How to Make Money Tweeting</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Extra Income facebook giveaways privacy social media sweepstakes winning Mon, 15 Aug 2011 09:48:16 +0000 Linsey Knerl 662848 at http://www.wisebread.com How to Win Big in Online Sweepstakes http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-win-big-in-online-sweepstakes <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/how-to-win-big-in-online-sweepstakes" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/iStock_000008230132Small.jpg" alt="" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="129" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>One of our <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/best-money-tips-how-to-win-sweepstakes">Best Money Tips roundups</a> recently included an article from MSN Money that shared <a href="http://articles.moneycentral.msn.com/SavingandDebt/FindDealsOnline/how-to-win-contests-and-sweepstakes.aspx?page=1">how to win contests and sweepstakes</a>. I&rsquo;m pretty fascinated by the concept, because entering them is fast, easy, and doesn&rsquo;t take a lot of thought. Think you don&rsquo;t have a chance at winning anything? Tell that to Michelle Troutt, a woman mentioned in the article who has won 22 vacations, cash, and numerous other items &mdash; all in the past five years alone! True, Michelle admits to filling out nearly 400 sweepstakes forms during each 10-hour shift at her job (which has a lot of downtime), but it seems that a little persistence can pay off for anyone. In fact, Wise Bread&rsquo;s own Linsey Knerl is a sweeper herself, and wrote about <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/sweeping-101-what-the-real-winners-know">her tips</a>.</p> <p><em>Quick side note:</em> sweepstakes are technically games of pure chance, while contests require submission of an essay, photo, or other action on the part of the entrant. However, both the original MSN article and this post use the two interchangeably. Now you know.</p> <h3>Why Do Companies Sponsor Giveaways?</h3> <p>The answer is pretty much what you&rsquo;d expect: companies put on sweepstakes as a marketing move. The sweepstakes gets their name in the media, promotes brand awareness, and generates excitement. Companies often do a contest related to a new product launch, repositioning, or just to attract more customers. They will also use entry information to collect data on their products&rsquo; users. After all, why do you think Facebook is <a href="http://blogs.wsj.com/financial-adviser/2011/01/05/why-facebook-is-worth-50-billion/">valued at $50 billion</a>? It&rsquo;s not because they sell a product. It&rsquo;s because they have mountains of data that are useful to companies.</p> <h3>How to Find Contests</h3> <p>The article gives some pretty good advice on how to find a plethora of contests. For starters, various websites organize contest information in one convenient place. <a href="http://www.online-sweepstakes.com/">Online-Sweepstakes.com</a> is a free site that arranges sweekpstakes by new, expiring, entry frequency, prizes, and more. Similar sites include <a href="http://www.sweepsadvantage.com/">Sweepstakes Advantage</a>, <a href="http://www.winprizesonline.com/">Win Prizes Online</a>, and <a href="http://www.sweepstakeshub.com/">SweepstakesHub.com</a>. You should also be on the lookout for contests anchored to specific events, such as Black Friday, the Superbowl, and major holidays. To make sure you&rsquo;re entering contests that have prizes you actually want, look into what interests you. For example, check out the many parenting blogs online for giveaways related to children&rsquo;s clothing, diapers, and vacations to family-friendly destinations. Other good methods of finding contests including signing onto Twitter and searching for the word &ldquo;win,&rdquo; or <a href="http://www.google.com/alerts">setting a Google alert.</a></p> <h3>Strategies for Winning</h3> <p>Turns out, serious sweepers adhere to a number of strategies when it comes to winning big and winning often. Some follow the &ldquo;enter everything&rdquo; rule (made MUCH easier with Autofill Forms add-ons &mdash; learn how to do <a href="http://www.mediacollege.com/internet/utilities/google/toolbar-autofill.html">using your Google Toolbar</a>). Others are more selective, seeking out only local contests with fewer entrants, or contests with prizes they really want. If you do start winning often, consider selling, gifting, or donating items you can&rsquo;t use or don&rsquo;t want.</p> <h3>General Tips</h3> <p>Some of the highlights for having a good sweepstakes experience include watching out for local contests. Because there are fewer entrants, your chances of winning are greatly increased. You should also make sure to follow the contest rules &mdash; a contest that says to send in your favorite picture of your dog does not mean taking a picture of your husband dressed up as one. In addition, pay attention to entry frequency. For example, to enter the <a href="http://www.hgtv.com/hgtv-dream-home-2011-giveaway/package/index.html">HGTV dream home giveaway</a>, you can enter once per day at hgtv.com as well as frontdoor.com. Lastly, if you do win The Big One, don&rsquo;t forget to include your winnings on your taxes for that year. If your prize is valued in excess of $600, you should receive a 1099-MISC from the company giving the prize away, and you&rsquo;ll report that as &ldquo;other income&rdquo; on your tax return.</p> <h3>Protect Yourself Online</h3> <p>If you do decide to enter an online sweepstakes, there are a few things you should do to protect yourself online. There are a number of scams out there, and some of them may be harder to spot than others. One of the biggest pieces of advice for sweepers is to set up a dedicated e-mail account that you&rsquo;ll use only for entering contests, and be prepared for the spam to pour in. Be wary of e-mails that congratulate you on winning a contest you don&rsquo;t remember entering. Also watch out for e-mails asking you to click-through to a website. It&rsquo;s always a better idea to open a new tab or window and go directly to the contest organizer&rsquo;s homepage to verify that you&rsquo;re not following a phony link. Finally, watch out for scam contests that appear to promote a contest in a foreign company, are poorly written or filled with grammatical errors, or ask for bank account numbers or credit card information.</p> <p>So there&rsquo;s the long and short of winning sweepstakes online. I don&rsquo;t know about you, but I think I&rsquo;ll give it a try for awhile to see what happens. Have you ever won anything in an online contest, or do you plan to try? Share your thoughts in the comments!</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/janey-osterlind">Janey Osterlind</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-win-big-in-online-sweepstakes">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-3"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-ways-to-win-free-stuff-from-blog-giveaways">6 Ways to Win Free Stuff from Blog Giveaways</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/secrets-to-finding-and-winning-facebook-promotional-giveaways">Secrets to Finding and Winning Facebook Promotional Giveaways</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/this-is-how-you-win-sweepstakes">This Is How You Win Sweepstakes</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/prizes-and-freebies-from-coupsmart-for-the-iphone">Prizes and Freebies from CoupSmart for the iPhone</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-best-cash-back-credit-cards">5 Best Cash Back Credit Cards</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Extra Income contests online contests sweepstakes win online sweepstakes Mon, 07 Feb 2011 13:00:13 +0000 Janey Osterlind 487888 at http://www.wisebread.com Prizes and Freebies from CoupSmart for the iPhone http://www.wisebread.com/prizes-and-freebies-from-coupsmart-for-the-iphone <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/prizes-and-freebies-from-coupsmart-for-the-iphone" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/coupsmart_0.jpg" alt="coupsmart" title="coupsmart" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="188" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p><em>Since this post was written, CoupSmart has changed its focus and no longer provides coupon services for consumers. You can see Linsey's review of the old CoupSmart app below, but please note that you can no longer download CoupSmart for your iPhone.</em></p> <p>I don't usually brag about smartphone apps. There are a lot of really great <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-smartphone-apps-to-help-you-save-big">money-saving iPhone apps</a> out there, but it is truly a matter of personal taste as to which ones are absolutely a &quot;must&quot; to download. This week, I discovered a new app called CoupSmart when a reader alerted me to the fact that they had won $200 just for using it. When I heard this, I had to check it out. Here's the scoop for anyone else who's interested.</p> <h2>What Is CoupSmart?</h2> <p><a href="http://www.coupsmart.com/">CoupSmart</a> is a simple, free download available only for the iPhone at the time of this writing (although plans are in the work for an Android and Blackberry compatible version). After the quick download, it asks for a brief registration (which can also be done online at the CoupSmart website). Now comes the fun (and tricky part): You can start scanning the UPC codes on the products you have in your home.</p> <p>The premise behind scanning your products is two-fold: The CoupSmart company can get insights into the products you purchase for the purposes of free market research, AND you are also giving them information about what items you really like so that future offers and free samples will be relevant to your tastes. By scanning items with the CoupSmart tool, you are giving them permission to send you samples, offers, and enter your name into regular prize drawings. Considering that you are giving away the same information every time you sign up for a sample or offer online, this isn't a bad deal according to their <a href="http://www.coupsmart.com/#terms-overlay">Terms of Service</a>. (And at the time of this writing, they were giving $5 away to the first 3,000 to scan 30 items.)</p> <h2>How Does It Work?</h2> <p>Scanning can be a bit difficult to get the hang of. Using your phone's camera function, you attempt to line up the edges of the bar code within the little target on your phone's screen. This is not an exact science, and you may find yourself moving your phone closer and then further away in an effort to get the code recognized. (The site recommends that you are in good, even lighting, as this can play a part into how well the code scans.) Once the code is lined up correctly, the prompt on the screen will turn green, telling you to hold still, and the phone will &quot;beep&quot; once the code is captured. There is no need to button-push.</p> <p><strong>Note: I've also found that several types of bar codes scan better than others, so if you are in a hurry, follow these additional tips:</strong></p> <ul> <li>Avoid shiny surfaces, except in low light. Reflection from the surface can distort the code, making it impossible to capture.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Plastic overwrap can be difficult, as well. Bread bags, for example, must be smoothed out on a flat surface for the best possible chance of getting the code captured.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>You might assume that boxes with a matte finish are easiest to scan &mdash; you're right! If in need of a few codes fast, head to your medicine cabinet for boxes of bandages, cold medicine, etc. They work well!</li> </ul> <h2>What Can You Get?</h2> <p>Once scanned, the code will take a few moments to process. The application will tell you what you just scanned (ground coffee, for example) or it will say that the code wasn't recognized. Either way, you get credit for the scan, and at 45 codes, you'll earn an entry into their monthly, quarterly, and annual prize drawing. In addition, you'll earn samples and gifts. You can check the site to see which samples or offers are available to you, but in my case, I just got an email alert that I won a gift card, with no description. Then a crisp $5 bill came in the mail a few days later. (This &quot;prize&quot; was for the first 3,000 to scan 30 codes and was in addition to the large monthly and quarterly drawings.)</p> <p>The pros of this program are many. Scan stuff quickly to get prizes and samples &mdash; they do come!</p> <p>The cons are simply that I'm not fully aware of how they calculate incentives. While entries into the drawings are easy to understand, I don't know how often the free samples come or whether they are any good. Also, as more people sign up, the odds of winning could go way down, OR they could begin offering better prizes &mdash; I'm not sure how it will work.</p> <p><em>Have you been a user of CoupSmart? Can you share your experiences with us?</em></p> <p><strong>*NOTE: CoupSmart contacted us with the following clarifications to our article. &nbsp;(Thanks!) &nbsp;&quot;W<span style="font-family: Georgia; font-size: 13px; color: rgb(51, 51, 51); line-height: 22px; " class="Apple-style-span">e actually have an even better program for our monthly giveaway of ten $200 Visa gift cards; you actually just need to scan 30 items, instead of 45, to earn an entry, and you can earn as many entries as you want providing you don't run out of items to scan around your home.&quot;</span></strong></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/linsey-knerl">Linsey Knerl</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/prizes-and-freebies-from-coupsmart-for-the-iphone">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-back-to-school-iphone-apps">10 Back-to-School iPhone Apps</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/an-open-invitation-to-pinecone-research">An Open Invitation to PineCone Research</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-cell-phone-app-thats-saving-me-a-smal-fortune">The Cell Phone App That&#039;s Saving Me A Small Fortune</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/apperang-get-paid-for-trying-iphone-apps">Apperang: Get Paid for Trying iPhone Apps</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-apps-for-the-tech-challenged-traveler">7 Apps for the Tech-Challenged Traveler</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Extra Income Technology apps cash coupsmart freebies iPhone samples sweepstakes Wed, 01 Sep 2010 12:01:09 +0000 Linsey Knerl 223671 at http://www.wisebread.com Be a Winner with Your Dinner (Or not) http://www.wisebread.com/be-a-winner-with-your-dinner-or-not <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/be-a-winner-with-your-dinner-or-not" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/scrabble at subway.jpg" alt="" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="188" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>I would never advocate buying fast food just to win something.<span> </span>If you are already driving thru, however, it&rsquo;s something to consider.<span> </span>And with many of the prizes having less to do with purchase and more to do with timing, it&rsquo;s open season for everyone (even those who&rsquo;ve sworn off Biggie Fries for life.)<span> </span>Here&rsquo;s the scoop on the best promotions going on right now.</p> <p class="MsoNormal"><strong>Hardees / Carl&rsquo;s Jr</strong>. &ldquo;<strong><a href="http://www.makeityourgameday.com/">Make it Your Gameday Sweepstakes</a>&rdquo;</strong> &ndash; This is a game where you can (almost) win back what you eat.<span> </span>Tens of thousands of prizes include mostly small fries and drinks.<span> </span>Game codes can be obtained by buying food or sending away for free game codes, which means one code costs a $.42 postage stamp. <span> </span>With no really big instant win prize to vie for (top prize is only worth $113) this isn&rsquo;t going to make anyone rich. They do have a second chance sweepstakes with a few gift cards worth $1500 from the Sports Authority and Best Buy, which someone is guaranteed to win. Ends October 23, 2008. <strong>Bottom line:<span> </span>Don&rsquo;t go out of your way to win this one.</strong></p> <p class="MsoNormal"><strong>Kraft / Burger King &ldquo;<a href="http://www.sundaeorshake.com/">Is it a Sundae or Is it a Shake</a>?&rdquo; Giveaway &ndash; </strong>These are the kinds of promotions I like.<span> </span>No purchase needed.<span> </span>Simply register to vote and let &ldquo;The King&rdquo; know how you vote.<span> </span>(You can choose not to opt-in for future mailings.)<span> </span>While there&rsquo;s no biggie prizes, it is a quick, easy entry for hundreds of $10 itunes or BK gift cards (plus 20 80GB iPod Classics).<span> </span>They will let you know instantly if you&rsquo;ve won.<span> </span>Promotion runs through 9/28/08. <strong>Bottom line:<span> </span>Good for a quick try.<span> </span>Enter daily without a penny out of pocket. </strong></p> <p class="MsoNormal"><strong>T.G.I Friday&rsquo;s &ldquo;<a href="http://www.emipowered.net/tgifbbq/register/">Awesome BBQ Sweepstakes and Instant Win Game</a>&rdquo; &ndash; </strong>Similar to the Burger King promotion.<span> </span>This doesn&rsquo;t require any purchase or game piece.<span> </span>Simply register to find out if you are an instant winner of hundreds of small prizes (hats, shirts, and $5-10 restaurant gift cards.)<span> </span>They also include free appetizer and desserts with purchase as &ldquo;prizes.&rdquo;<span> </span>The sweepstakes grand prize is a trip to the 19<sup>th</sup> Annual Jack Daniels Invitational BBQ and year&rsquo;s supply of TGIF frozen food.<span> </span>Enter by Sept. 30. <strong>Bottom line:<span> </span>OK for die hard BBQ fans or someone looking for a quick, cheap prize. </strong></p> <p class="MsoNormal"><strong>Wendy&rsquo;s &ldquo;<a href="http://wendys.eprize.net/twistedfrosty/index.tbapp">Twisted Frosty</a>&rdquo; Giveaway &ndash; </strong>10,000 instant winners of a $3 Wendy&rsquo;s GC in this one.<span> </span>No purchase necessary.<span> </span>One grand prize of a $1,000 Wendy&rsquo;s Gift Card.<span> </span>Ends September 30<sup>th</sup>. <strong>Bottom line: Odds are good, very good.<span> </span>Hope you like Wendy&rsquo;s! </strong></p> <p class="MsoNormal"><strong>Subway &ldquo;<a href="https://scrabble.subwayfreshbuzz.com/main.aspx?bhcp=1">Scrabble</a>&rdquo; Game &ndash; </strong>Similar to the McDonald&rsquo;s Monopoly fad, this is a Collect-and-Win game.<span> </span>Codes are on any 6&quot; sub, footlong sub, 21oz drink, 32oz drink or 44oz drink, or by mail in request.<span> </span>(Free codes have been reported by signing up for the Subway newsletter.<span>) </span>Hundreds of prizes, ranging from $5 Subway cards to $100,000.<span> </span>Promotion ends October 13<sup>th</sup>. <strong>Bottom line:<span> </span>Don&rsquo;t spend what you don&rsquo;t have.<span> </span>If you&rsquo;re dining out anyway, take your chances on winning $5 back, but don&rsquo;t hold your breath for the new car. </strong></p> <p class="MsoNormal"><strong>Orange Julius &ldquo;<a href="http://cashncali.com/">Cash and Cali</a>&rdquo; Giveaway &ndash; </strong>The smoothie giant is offering up several prizes in its instant win promotion (including 1,000 $5 GC, beachwear, and cash.)<span> </span>A grand prize drawing for 10K is also in the running.<span> </span>No purchase is necessary if you click on the &ldquo;Get a password here&rdquo; link at the bottom left.<span> </span>Annoying flash-based website lets you turn off the music (thank you.)<span> </span>Promotion ends Nov. 15<sup>th</sup>. <strong>Bottom line:<span> </span>If there&rsquo;s an Orange Julius you like to frequent, give this one a try.<span> </span>No money out of pocket, just the time it takes to load the entry page&hellip;.. </strong></p> <p class="MsoNormal"><strong>Red Robin &ldquo;<a href="http://www.redrobininstantwin.com/login.asp">Dealicious Three of a Kind</a>&rdquo; Game &ndash; </strong>The quick scoop on this giveaway is this:<span> </span>Enter without purchase, pop in your info (I use <a href="http://www.roboform.com/">Roboform</a>), and see if you win a $10 Red Robin Gift Card.<span> </span>Easy, peasy, people. <strong>Bottom line:<span> </span>It doesn&rsquo;t get easier than this, and with 1,000 Gift Cards up for grabs, you might score a free lunch.</strong></p> <p class="MsoNormal">There are several other fast-food promotions going on.<span> </span>(Too many to mention here.)<span> </span>And while you must use your judgment on whether to enter, the winnings can be sweet.<span> </span>(For more information on sweepstakes, <a href="/sweeping-101-what-the-real-winners-know">see my previous tips</a>.)<span> </span>Eat healthy, and hope for the best!</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/linsey-knerl">Linsey Knerl</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/be-a-winner-with-your-dinner-or-not">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-4"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/secrets-to-finding-and-winning-facebook-promotional-giveaways">Secrets to Finding and Winning Facebook Promotional Giveaways</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/sweeping-101-what-the-real-winners-know">Sweeping 101: What the Real Winners Know</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/this-is-how-you-win-sweepstakes">This Is How You Win Sweepstakes</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-high-cost-of-cheap-food">The High Cost of Cheap Food</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-investors-with-better-returns-than-warren-buffett">5 Investors With Better Returns Than Warren Buffett</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Giveaways Fast Food promotions sweepstakes winning Sat, 30 Aug 2008 03:57:25 +0000 Linsey Knerl 2383 at http://www.wisebread.com Sweeping 101: What the Real Winners Know http://www.wisebread.com/sweeping-101-what-the-real-winners-know <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/sweeping-101-what-the-real-winners-know" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/prize_baby.jpg" alt="baby with prize" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="278" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p class="MsoNormal">Hi, my name is Linsey, and I’m a sweeper.<span> </span>It is sometimes difficult to admit, but I belong to that persistent group of individuals who go to considerable lengths to enter sweepstakes.<span> </span>I also win fairly regularly. My recent winnings include a bicycle, a home automation system, 2 satellite radios, hotel stays, cell phones, gift cards, cash, DVD’s, spa visits, clothing, baby items, video games, gaming systems, office supplies, a digital camera and printer, a trip to San Francisco, and so much more!<span> </span>Winning is more about knowing than anything else, so I’m going to give you the basics to get started.<span> </span>You can’t win if you don’t enter!</p> <p class="MsoNormal">&nbsp;</p> <p class="MsoNormal"><strong>What is a sweepstakes?</strong><span> </span>Simply put, a sweepstakes is a random draw of entries for a prize.<span> </span>Generally sponsored or paid for by companies wishing to promote their products or services, sweepstakes are a billion dollar marketing tactic by thousands of companies a year.<span> </span>You should never have to purchase anything to enter.<span> </span>If a sweepstakes requires a UPC code, special form from a product, or a “winning game piece” there will always be an alternate means of entry, or it is not a legal sweepstakes. If entry into a sweepstakes requires an entry fee or raffle ticket purchase, it is not a true sweepstakes.</p> <p class="MsoNormal">&nbsp;</p> <p class="MsoNormal"><strong>Where do I find sweepstakes?</strong><span> </span>While sweepstakes are simply hard to avoid these days, there are some very good resources for finding all the good ones in one place.<span> </span>The top sites that sweepers use are <a href="http://www.online-sweepstakes.com/">Online-Sweepstakes</a> and <a href="http://www.sweepsadvantage.com/">SweepsAdvantage</a><span> </span>Both are very good resources with much different formats. Other places to find sweepstakes are in magazines, email newsletters, grocery stores (the liquor aisles usually have tons), and local radio stations.</p> <p class="MsoNormal">&nbsp;</p> <p class="MsoNormal"><strong>How do I get started? <span> </span></strong>While all you really need to get started is a computer and some extra time, there are some tricks to the trade that you should know.<span> </span>First, get a separate email for your sweepstakes entries.<span> </span>While the chances of spam aren’t that much greater (assuming you are only entering legitimate sweepstakes), you will receive some sponsor newsletters as a condition for entry into some of the better sweepstakes.<span> </span>You really don’t want that cluttering up your work or personal inbox.<span> </span>Also, make sure you have a physical mailing address set up for your entries.<span> </span>Some prize fulfillment companies do not ship to P.O. boxes, as they want to guarantee “one prize per household” rules.</p> <p class="MsoNormal">&nbsp;</p> <p class="MsoNormal"><strong>What tools will I need?<span> </span></strong>I’m a big fan of the <a href="http://www.mozilla.com/en-US/firefox/">Firefox</a> browser with the <a href="https://addons.mozilla.org/en-US/firefox/addon/1269">Fasterfox</a> add-on.<span> </span>This saves my pages for quick viewing later, and if you are entering some of the same sweepstakes daily, this will save you time.<span> </span>(Just be sure to clear everything weekly or more to avoid PC clutter and security issues.)<span> </span>Also, I have been using the free version of <a href="http://www.roboform.com/">Roboform</a> for filling out all of my forms quickly.<span> </span>This doesn’t violate the terms of most sweepstakes regulations which prohibit automated entry, as you are manually entering the contest by loading the page and hitting submit.<span> </span>(Some sweepstakes, especially those sponsored by Microsoft specify “manually keystroked” entries.<span> </span>This just bugs me, so I sometimes skip them.)<span> </span>I do want to point out that the newest version of Firefox doesn’t yet support Roboform, so you may want to use the previous version until it is updated.</p> <p class="MsoNormal">&nbsp;</p> <p class="MsoNormal"><strong>How do you have time to do this?<span> </span></strong>I make time.<span> </span>Seriously, like anything else, I maximize time spent entering to get the biggest bang for my buck.<span> </span>I only enter for things I want, need, or can sell for a nice chunk of cash.<span> </span>I spend 30-45 minutes a day during my morning coffee or an afternoon snack entering the sweepstakes that are ending the next day, and I sometimes glance through the instant wins for things I really want.<span> </span>By being selective but persistent, I have a good chance of getting in entries and not ending up with some junky prize that I have to <a href="/how-to-get-rid-of-your-junk">make room for later</a>.</p> <p class="MsoNormal">&nbsp;</p> <p class="MsoNormal"><strong>How long before I win something?</strong><span> </span>I don’t know.<span> </span>But I will say that as a general rule, it will take at least 6 months to really see the fruits of your labor.<span> </span>Or you may be one of those really, really unlucky people that don’t ever win anything.<span> </span>But I tend to think that those people just aren’t entering all that often, or they give up after a month or two.</p> <p class="MsoNormal">&nbsp;</p> <p class="MsoNormal"><strong>What about taxes?</strong><span> </span>Pay them.<span> </span>You should get a 1099 for any prizes valued over $600.<span> </span>You should also be an honest person and figure the value (true fair market value) on your other winnings.<span> </span>Claim it as unearned income on your return, and pay up.<span> </span>It really is no big deal for most people.<span> </span>My trip to San Francisco cost me $120 in taxes on a trip valued at over $2500.<span> </span>While this will all depend on your tax bracket, it is still a really awesome deal!</p> <p class="MsoNormal">&nbsp;</p> <p class="MsoNormal"><strong>I hate sweepers.<span> </span>Aren’t they just greedy people trying to get stuff for free from hard-working companies?<span> </span></strong>I’m sorry you feel that way.<span> </span>I love getting stuff for free, and that is my main motivation for entering.<span> </span>But most companies love sweepers.<span> </span>Entering sweepstakes exposes me to thousands of new products and offerings that I may not have otherwise been aware of.<span> </span>By being a part of that marketing effort, I am 10 times more likely to buy something than if I had just seen an ad in a magazine.<span> </span>My opinion of the company is more favorable if they like “giving back” to the consumer.<span> </span>And I can’t tell you how many products I have become brand-loyal to because the sponsor sent a small sample or a prize that I went on to love forever.<span> </span>Sweepstakes are marketing genius.<span> </span>And if you figure that the cost of these sweepstakes campaigns are figured into the cost of the product that we all buy anyway, shouldn’t you get in on that sweet deal?</p> <p class="MsoNormal">&nbsp;</p> <p class="MsoNormal">Sweeping can be a fun way to win prizes you can’t afford to buy.<span> </span>If you’re already spending 2 hours a day on MySpace or playing online Sims games, just pop open that extra browser window and enter a few now and again.<span> </span>Who knows, you just might be a winner!</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/linsey-knerl">Linsey Knerl</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/sweeping-101-what-the-real-winners-know">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-5"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/make-your-hobby-pay-its-way">Make Your Hobby Pay Its Way</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/secrets-to-finding-and-winning-facebook-promotional-giveaways">Secrets to Finding and Winning Facebook Promotional Giveaways</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/looking-on-the-bright-side-how-to-find-a-silver-lining-in-the-current-financial-crisis">Looking On The Bright Side: How to Find A Silver Lining In The Current Financial Crisis</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/be-a-winner-with-your-dinner-or-not">Be a Winner with Your Dinner (Or not)</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-investors-with-better-returns-than-warren-buffett">5 Investors With Better Returns Than Warren Buffett</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Making Extra Cash making extra money sweepstakes winning Mon, 06 Aug 2007 13:21:32 +0000 Linsey Knerl 957 at http://www.wisebread.com