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How Do Online Sweepstakes Work?

There’s nothing more exciting than the chance to win giveaways, particularly when the grand prize is a house or a car, right?

But how do these sweepstakes work? And what is the purpose of these promotions, after all, it seems unlikely that the company sponsoring a giveaway just wants to create sweepstakes winners doesn’t it? Let’s take a close look at the interesting world of sweepstakes held online.


What Is A Sweepstakes?

This is important, a sweepstakes is a random drawing of entrants. There is no skill involved in either online or offline sweepstakes. Though we tend to use the words “contest” and “sweepstakes” interchangeably, the truth is that a contest is a game of skill.

In the United States, the operation of a sweepstakes is governed by the Federal Trade Commission in other parts of the world, the regulation mechanism for this kind of thing can be much stricter or much more lax than that in the US.


The Important Rules Of Entering Sweepstakes

A sweepstakes must have a specific set of rules to be considered a legitimate sweepstakes. If these are not present you might want to think twice before entering:

  • There must be a “no purchase needed” entry route available – even if other forms of entry are purchasable
  • They should provide specific start and end dates (we would note that in practice, companies tend to be a lot less forthcoming about start dates than end dates)
  • They should have clear eligibility criteria
  • They should make it clear how you can enter
  • If there are limits on the number of entries they should be specified
  • They should stipulate your odds of winning
  • They should fully explain the prize(s) and any estimated value they may have
  • They should show how winner(s) will be chosen and how they contact those winner(s)
  • They should provide the sponsor’s name and address

How Do You Enter Sweepstakes Online?

In most cases, the entry method is easy, you either complete some sort of online form or send an e-mail to the sponsor or sometimes, you may be asked to carry out certain actions on social media such as liking their Facebook page.

You will be expected to provide contact details; if you are the winning sweepstakes entry and this is quite normal. It is very hard to enter if they can’t reach you if you win.


When You Enter Online Sweepstakes Is It Just A Fake Entry Form To Collect Your Data?

How Do Online Sweepstakes Work?

It depends. The sweepstakes, giveaways, contests, etc. that we bring to our audience have been carefully vetted and, in our opinion, are genuine and the sponsor will be drawing winners at the end of the stated period.

Other examples online may not be and you should carefully check for yourself that they meet most of the rules above for conducting such events AND that their site looks trustworthy, has contact details etc.

Sadly, there will always be chances out there willing to take advantage of people who are looking to win great prizes. We would also recommend using a separate e-mail address for entering new sweepstakes. This helps reduce the chances of receiving spam.


Are Instant Win Sweepstakes Reliable?

Some of the biggest brands in America hold instant win versions of these events and their websites often run promotions that allow you to win money and multiple prizes in an instant.

As with any other kind of sweepstake, you should make sure that the site feels reputable and take a close look at the rules to ensure that the sponsoring company or individual is trying to meet the legal requirements laid on them.


Do Online Contests Really Work?

Yes, they really do. The author has won a few things in sweeps and contest prizes over the year, including a Kindle, some hotel stays, and some other cool stuff. You should be aware that companies do this because the target audience is then drawn into their email marketing and the cost of winning is actually very low when divided per entrant.

This business of attracting visitors is the lifeblood of marketing and a sweepstake is a very good value way for a company to draw attention to its products and services from potential customers.


How Do You Win Online Contests/Sweeps?

It might sound obvious, but you have to enter them to succeed. If there are options for extra entries, then you might want to take them, particularly for popular sweepstakes such as cars or house prizes. The more entries that you have, the higher the chance of claiming a prize.

Once the entry period is over, the owner of the sweeps promotion will hold a draw from all the entries that they have received and then notify those chosen at random that they have won.

However, we would note that you are more likely to win a prize when that prize is a small item than when it’s worth thousands (though someone will take home the prize, no matter how high value the prize in a solidly run sweepstake). This is good because it means you should enter a good mix of high, medium and low value sweeps and over time, you may well win regularly for low-mid value items while waiting for that “big win” that makes a life changing difference.

If you do win something huge, you may need to pay taxes on your winnings and you should talk to a tax professional immediately before you pick up your car or new home.


Are Online Sweepstakes Rigged?

In our experience, no. That’s not to say it never happens but while the prizes that you’ve seen in a blog post might seem huge value to you – they’re often not a huge amount of money to a big corporation.

They want genuine wins that they can put on their social media and convince others to take part in the future. Again, we’ve won a few prizes ourselves over the years – your chances of winning over time are very good, indeed. You just need to persevere.


How Do You Know If You Really Won A Sweeps?

You will receive contact in the way that was specified in the rules. If you can’t remember what that was, go back and check on their website, most businesses keep the competition details live for a while.


Final Thoughts On Online Contests/Sweeps

So, there you go to be legitimate a contest/sweeps must follow some basic legal requirements and a sweeps must be a random draw.

There are massive amounts of these events on the Internet and you could be a winner as long as you participate on a regular basis.

And the businesses themselves are winners as these activities drive traffic to their promotional material and websites. So, give it your best shot, and don’t forget to earn additional entries when you can too to give yourself the best odds of a nice win.