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…]