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Winners Lists

I love winners lists.  They might be even more exciting that actually winning, even when I don't see my name.  My sweeping motto comes to mind again "you have to enjoy entering, and the possibility of winning just as much as winning itself," to justify how giddy I feel when scanning winners lists.  

Magazines tend to have winners lists most often.  Some magazines have daily drawings, without fail, and the winners list is the only way to find out if you've won (short of it just showing up in the mail).  I saw my name on a winners list a couple of days ago.  This particular magazine gives away pretty spectacular prizes sometimes, and generally updates their WL every week or so.  It has been the holy grail of daily-giveaway-magazine-winners-list-wins, so to say.  I was so excited to see my name!  

I saw it in a blinding flash of winning glory.  "I won!"  "What did I win?!"  "What day was it!?"  "What was the prize that day!?"  "It could be anything!"  It kind of went like that.  Well, I won $60 dollars worth of products from Circle-Of-Friends Hair & Bath Products, which is a neato-smeato company selling things like  "Hans' Oom Pah Pah Shampoo" a "wonderful blueberry scented shampoo" with information about Hans and how children in Germany live printed on the bottle.  The site appears to be a world market of bath and body products geared towards children, which is a pretty neat idea.  Ok I don't have any children, but I know a few . . . and I could use some tearless blueberry shampoo.  Plus, now I know about Schultuete. 

So, not only did I see my name while scanning a winners list, but I learned about a cool company.  This is pretty much the goal of all giveaways, marketing.  Job well done for them.  I am a marketing sponge.  I can't help it. 

No answer as to why, here lately.

For the most part, sweepstaking is one of the few things I am committed to.  My love of kittens/cats, things with cheese in them, the middle space between the changing of seasons, and the smell of a bustling city, are also unwavering.  Lately though, I've been a bit unmotivated to enter sweepstakes.  

I haven't had a very exciting win in a while.  Somehow winning breeds more winning, but who knows how it gets started.  Instead of sharing why I enter sweepstakes, maybe I'll play a little sweepstaking snopes and share a few myths and superstitions: 

  • Wins come in threes.  I find that personally, they come in close clumps of two, but everyone has a different experience I suppose.
  • You will get lots of phone calls and emails if you enter sweepstakes.  Very few sweepstakes require you to sign up for an email newsletter to enter.  Generally there are opt-ins, or opt-outs (depending on whether you see the glass as half-empty or half-full) to ensure you don't receive communication from the sponsor.  If you choose "no" they have to abide by your choice, by law, and it cannot influence your chances in the drawing.  I have been entering sweepstakes by the volumes for nearly four years now, and I don't recall getting even one soliciting phone call.
  • Sweepstakes are just scams, no one ever really wins.  Anyone who knows me, talks to me, or comes within a seven foot radius of me, knows this isn't true and I've got lots of winning letters, used up gift cards, and a framed picture with LeBron James to prove it.  From Wikipedia: Sweepstaking entry:  Because of the perceived deceptive nature of sweepstakes, they are heavily regulated. The US, Canada, and individual US states all have laws covering sweepstakes, resulting in special rules depending on where the entrant lives.  Always enter with a cautious eye and do research if necessary.  If there are no rules or specific sponsor information available, it's probably something you should pass on.
  • Entering sweepstakes is greedy.  Scoff!  Again, this is a personal thing.  Sure, there are cheaters and outright scoundrels who I have to count as competition, but the good outweigh the bad.  I am not a very active member on OLS in terms of posting messages, but I do read a lot of what others post.  I find the community to be very generous and supportive of their friends and family, and fellow sweepers.  I try to follow my own sweeping rules for good karma:  I don't enter for a prize that I or someone I know wouldn't want, I share prizes that I can't use or think someone else would like better, and I am always, always, always happy to see friends win.
  • You're just lucky. I hear this quite a bit.  It's all in the odds.  I enter a LOT of sweepstakes.  I have about 8,000 sweepstakes in my expired MySweeps.  I haven't entered all of them, but most.  I certainly haven't won 8,000 different promotions and considering that most sweeps have multiple prizes into the hundreds or thousands, someone would have to be incredibly UNlucky not to win something.

I guess my biggest defense for sweeping is that you have to enjoy entering, and the possibility of winning just as much as winning itself.  And, for some strange reason, I do.  Maybe that says a lot more about me than I realize.  Who said it was wrong to be a dreamer anyway? 


"Why do you enter sweepstakes?"

When I tell people that my hobby is entering sweepstakes or contests, I generally get an underwhelmed response.  "Oh." they say.  I imagine the naysayers think my hobby consists of clicking on endless "Congratulations! You've won an iPod, just click the yellow frog to redeem!" ads.  Bah! Those are scams!  Sweepstaking is a far more complex and dedicated hobby than that!

Where to begin!?  

I belong to a website,
www.online-sweepstakes.com, where the content is so far as I know, completely dictated by the users, the members of the site.  If McDonald's, (a company I won a 30GB video iPod from) has a new promotion, someone (it could be me if I am the first to submit it) will add it to the database at "OLS" as we call it, and I will have tons of information about the sweep at my fingertips.  Starting dates, ending dates, eligibility requirements, entry limits, what prizes are offered, how many, how much the prizes are worth (this is called the ARV-actual/approximate retail value), and even notes from other members about their experience with the promotion, the website, if codes are needed from products, and so on are included in the sweep listing.  

I can add sweepstakes to "MySweeps", an organizing tool on OLS.  I can count when and how many times I've entered, so I don't disqualify (DQ) myself.  I can sort by expiration date, date added, highest rated, type of entry (daily, 1X, weekly), to name a few; however I feel like viewing MySweeps at the time.  On the main page of OLS, the sweeps are organized as well.  I can click on daily entries, instant wins, cash prizes, health/beauty, vacations, vehicles, newly added, soon to be expiring, just any way you can think of, the sweeps are categorized. 

Expired sweep information is kept on OLS, which is very handy when a prize shows up and doesn't have any information about which sponsor it came from.  For instance, I received a fifty dollar gift card to American Eagle Outfitters via FedEx one day.  There was no note from a sponsor, and no sponsor name on the return address.  I went to my expired MySweeps and did a search for American Eagle.  It showed that I had entered a one time entry sweep for this exact prize, sponsored by Star Magazine.  So, that mystery was solved; I was pretty certain that's where it came from!  Now I know that this sponsor (who has pretty awesome giveaways by the way) is reputable and sends prizes out in a reasonable time frame, but that they don't really notify you that something is headed your way! 

Well, so far I have covered how I enter sweepstakes so easily.  But why do I enter them?  Why not!?  I'll delve into that in my next post!



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