How Do Sweepstakes Benefit the Companies Who Run Them?

money flyingMillions of people enter sweepstakes every year. In order to qualify as a sweepstakes, companies are required to offer a free alternate method of entry. So what value do sweepstakes hold for companies who run them if they do not collect a fee for entering?

Companies large and small cannot put a value on the publicity they get from sweepstakes even though a purchase isn’t necessary. When stores stock displays for sweepstakes they often get prime placement in the busiest part of the store. Website hosts will also place sweepstakes information at the front and center of the website for prime exposure. The consumer retains knowledge of the product from reading about the sweepstakes even if they don’t complete an entry form. [Read more…]

Green Dot MoneyPak Scam

green dot moneypak scamImagine answering the telephone to hear you’ve just won a new car or hit the jackpot in a well-known sweepstakes. The person on the line then immediately starts explaining details about your prize. You should hang up the phone, right? This has to be a scam, you probably think to yourself, yet you continue on with the call.

Unfortunately all too often, unsuspecting people like you are staying on the line to find out more information. It almost always starts out the same way: you’ve won a prize but they need you to pay the taxes before it is delivered. Or, the prize is being held at customs and won’t be released until the fees are paid. [Read more…]

FIFA World Cup Scam

fraud alertGGGOOOOOOAAAAALLLLL!!! Every soccer or football fan’s dream is to see the 2014 FIFA World Cup in Brazil. And guess who is incredibly happy about the potential gatherings of spectators during the world’s most popular sport? That’s right, scammers.

The World Cup draws crowds in excess of 500,000 during the tournament, providing scammers with potential victims spanning the globe. Scammers use fraudulent sweepstakes to con not only attendees, but the hundreds of millions of viewers worldwide during the World Cup. [Read more…]

Vote Farming: Cheating or Fair Play?

vote-farmingVery commonly, companies launch online sweepstakes using social media outlets to gain exposure or introduce a new product. These online sweepstakes or contests usually will have the public vote or “Like” an entry, whether it be a video, essay, photo or just their favorite city. Participants are making their own loopholes by gaining an excessive amount of votes through online forums by asking other members to swap votes for their entries – this practice is known as vote farming.

One of the most publicized examples of vote farming came with the Taylor Swift’s VH1 Storytellers Concert Contest where a school with the most votes won an intimate concert with Taylor Swift. Through the orchestration of the Reddit website, the Horace Mann School for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing won by a landslide. Later, the sponsors of the contest revoked the performance and awarded the concert to the second place winner instead.

News outlets also told the story of the sweepstakes winner forfeiting his $100,000 prize due to vote farming. Theodore A. Scott entered the Gold Peak Tea’s “Take the Year Off” Sweepstakes and made it past the first round with his essay. The second round included Scott making a video showing why he needed a year off. This video was then put on the company’s Facebook page and voted on. Scott went to his sweeping community and asked people to vote for his video and in return he would vote for their sweepstake entries; he ultimately won. The sponsor, however, wasn’t exactly jumping for joy when they found out about the vote farming and revoked his prize.

As a sweeper these examples show you the devastating side of vote farming. However it’s not enough to deter sweepers from turning to their virtual best friends for help to win.

Some people think vote farming is wrong but others say it’s equivalent to asking all your friends, family members and neighbors to vote for you in the same situation; they aren’t voting for the content but the name attached to the content. The sweepstakes community is clear about one thing: sweepstakes are about having fun. How do you feel about vote farming? Should it be allowed in sweepstakes and contests?

Image courtesy of artur84 /

Extreme Sweeping

extreme sweepingJust like any hobby there are participants who dabble and those who take it to the extreme; entering sweepstakes isn’t exempt. For extreme sweepers, it becomes less of a hobby and more of a job.

Sweeper is a term used to describe people who enter sweepstakes or “sweeps.” Often, companies use sweepstakes to promote products or create brand loyalty. These sweepstakes are required by law to be free to enter.

Most sweepers spend a few hours a day entering online, mailing or phoning in sweepstakes entries. They may enter as many as 250 sweepstakes a day. Out of these entries they may win a few prizes every month or so.

Extreme sweepers spend four to six hours a day entering sweepstakes and may enter as many as 1,000 of them daily. For those who devote this much time to their hobby, they will rake in prizes on a regular basis – even if they are just $5 gift cards. Extreme sweeping is so popular that there was even a reality TV show made about it. [Read more…]

Everything You Need to Know About Sweepstakes

sweepstakes prizesIf you’re like most people, you’ve dreamt of opening your front door one day to find someone handing you a giant check and congratulating you on your sweepstakes win. But there is more to your favorite sweepstakes than you may realize.


Sweepstakes vs.  The Lottery

For starters, do you know the difference between a sweepstakes and a lottery or that there is a government agency that regulates sweepstakes?

A sweepstakes differs from contests or lottery because it is a prize giveaway in which the winner is chosen at random. Contests are different because they pick a winner based on some type of skill and lotteries require a fee to enter whereas sweepstakes do not. [Read more…]

Sweepstakes: Do People Really Win?

money fallingWinning something for nothing? Seems too good to be true, but people everywhere are winning prizes daily through sweepstakes. Companies use sweepstakes as a marketing tool to boost their brand or to promote a new product.

Sweepstake prizes range from hats to vacations to cash prizes. Some dedicated sweepers play every day and win often. Even though these prizes have to be claimed on winners’ taxes as income, many of people continue to play regularly.

Some sweepstakes skeptics avoid playing because they believe all sweepstakes are scams and no one wins them – but people do win! [Read more…]

10 Ways To Spot A Sweepstakes Scam

sweepstakes scamCONGRATULATIONS, YOU WON A NEW iPAD! – These messages can be seen while browsing the web in the form of banner ads or in your email box.

The prizes may differ but the goal is typically the same, the person advertising the message wants to capture your information.

The question is, for what purpose?

There are hundreds of legitimate companies that use free product giveaways to get people to take an action, whether it is signing up for a service or buying a product to enter.  A common example of this is a candy bar or soft drink where there is a sweepstakes inside the label.

But online it can be difficult to spot a sweepstakes scam, so here is our top 10 list of things to look out for: [Read more…]