A sweepstake is a type of contest where a prize or prizes may be awarded to a winner or winners. Sweepstakes began as a form of lottery that were tied to products sold. In response, the FCC and FTC refined U.S. broadcasting laws (creating the anti-lottery laws). Under these laws sweepstakes became strictly "No Purchase Necessary to Enter or Win", especially since many sweepstakes companies skirted the law by stating only "No Purchase Necessary to Enter", removing the consideration (one of the three legally required elements of gambling) to stop abuse of sweepstakes. Today, sweepstakes in the USA are used as marketing promotions to reward existing consumers, and to draw attention to a product. By definition, the winner is determined by luck rather than skill.
Of course, that doesn't mean they don't also have strategies for downplaying how much they sweep. Never having an e-mail address that includes the word "sweeps" is tip number one (that rules out my plan of registering "heather.schweeps," a play on my last name). Cunningham advises, "Whenever you enter from Facebook, you really want to make your page look like a consumer's. I keep a clean profile because sometimes sponsors will investigate and search people's profiles."
Music is an area where savvy contest entrants can really shine. Following local venues, artists coming to town, or first-time festivals reaps the easiest rewards. Promoters are eager to fill up shows, and throwing a contest is an easy way to get buzz for the band or venue. Plus, a contest winner might be likely to get a few more friends to tag along or spend money at the venue on alcohol or promotional items, a win-win for everyone involved.
Companies want to distribute samples of their goods to potential customers. That's the basis for FreeSamples.org, which lets you choose free food, beauty products, restaurant vouchers, video games and more. We like the site because the interface organizes all the offers in a plain, unfussy format, with quick links that lead straight to deals. It's also honest—if an offer requires that you first register your personal details, the site makes this caveat clear right away.
Greg Goodson cofounded Rafflecopter, a widget for running online giveaways, and has collaborated with companies like NBC and Gap on sweepstakes. In an e-mail interview, he said that companies typically decide to run sweeps for three reasons: "to grow their online presence, to drive some buzz for their brand, and to give back to their fans." But the relationship between brands and sweepers can be uneasy.
Enter to win a trip for two to a college football championship game where you’ll get to compete during half time to win $100,000 for college tuition – 20 Winners! Of the 20 people selected to compete, 5 people will win $100,000, 5 people will win $25,000, and 10 people will win $2,500! Video submission is required. Eligibility limited to ages 18-24.
On Twitter, you may be able to find lists of businesses or influential accounts that you can follow in columns using apps like Tweetdeck or Hootsuite. Twitter also has a handy geotagging feature that lets you see tweets within a set radius of your location. Using Tweetdeck or an advanced Twitter search, you can run a radius search to find these local tweets. (For example, you can search near:"Washington DC" within:15mi in Tweetdeck or a Twitter search box.) Keep these in a separate column you can glance at over the course of the week.
Almost SIX years! I’ve gotten everything from household items such as laundry soap to personal care items like deodorant and shampoo, clothes for me and my kids. I even got a free mattress – twice!! Many freebie sites such as GOFreebies give the runaround and claim they’ll send samples when in reality they DO NOT. Gofreebies does list some real samples, but it’s so hard to figure out how to actually get them and they mislead us into believing they have “warehouses full of free stuff to give away.” That is just not true. That’s not how freebie sites work. Real free sites may do giveaways (such as sweepstakes which have a limited number of prizes to random winners), but mostly they aggregate offers from real companies who are offering free samples or free things, or they may figure out ways to get free things in stores using specific coupons on items on sale so the item ends up being free. In short, most of the websites on this list are not actually very good!
Announcing your winners is a great way to let everyone know that your sweepstakes has come to a close and publicly reward your winners in an engaging and personal way. In the immediate aftermath of your contest you don't want to neglect the other entrants, so consider using your announcement as an opportunity to offer all your users a bonus reward or promote your other upcoming contests.
Sweepstakes websites usually give you pertinent information about the giveaways they list at a glance, including how often to enter, who is eligible to win, and when the giveaway will end. Most directories take additional steps to help you find exactly the kinds of prizes you want to win, by letting you sort by the criteria that matter to you, such as prize category or entry frequency.