The Ten Commandments of Entering Sweepstakes

If you want to enter and win sweepstakes, there's a lot of advice out there to help you refine your strategy, improve your odds, and ensure you actually receive the prizes you win. But most of that winning advice can be boiled down into a few simple guidelines, which I call the ten commandments of entering sweepstakes. Here they are:

1. Don't Give Up
This is the first commandment of entering sweepstakes, because it's also the hardest. Winning sweepstakes means that sometimes you pour hours of time and effort into entering, without any visible results. But you won't win if you don't enter, so keep the faith that the prizes will come, eventually.

2. Commit to Entering Every Day
Set aside a block of time that you can reasonably expect to enter sweepstakes every day, even if it's only 15 minutes or half an hour. But commit to entering for that amount of time every day, rain or shine. Consistancy is the key to winning regularly.

3. Focus Your Effort
Use your time wisely by focusing on the prizes you really want to win. Don't waste precious sweepstakes time entering for prizes that wouldn't thrill you if you won them.

4. Read the Rules
It's very important to read the rules for each and every sweepstakes you enter. The rules can help you find more ways to win, save time by avoiding sweepstakes you're not eligible to win, and prevent you from accidentally disqualifying yourself.

5. Mix it Up
The sweepstakes hobby is always changing, using new technology to offer new ways to win. Ensure you don't fall into a rut by trying your hand at new types of sweepstakes to enter.

6. Look for Local Sweepstakes
Local giveaways have great odds of winning, so be sure to keep an eye out for them while you're out and about, and enter all of the regional sweepstakes you can find.

7. Never Pay for a Prize
One of the top commandments for keeping yourself safe when you enter sweepstakes is to know the warning signs of sweepstakes scams. The top warning sign: being asked to pay (taxes, handling fees, or other made-up expenses) to receive your prize. Legitimate sweepstakes wins are always free.

8. Play Fair
When you are focused on winning, it can be tempting to try to take shortcuts and ignore the rules to win more prizes. But this rarely pays off in the long run. Not only does it damage the sweepstakes hobby as a whole, but it can actually get you blacklisted from major sponsors, ensuring you won't win again.

9. Thank the Sponsor When You Win
Sweepstakes sponsors are people, too, and sending them a quick thank-you note when you win can encourage them to continue offering prize giveaways. Plus, it's simply polite.

10. Have Fun
Entering sweepstakes isn't a job or a duty, it's a hobby, and it should be fun. If the thrill of entering sweepstakes is wearing off, try these tips for how to make sweepstakes fun again.
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Unfair Accusations? Don't Stop Contesting Because of It!

There is not one person on my Facebook friend list that hasn't said at one time or another "I'm going to quit contesting because of being attacked on a voting contest." As I check through my friends list, I realize every day there is more and more people deciding to quit the contesting hobby due to online attacks by other entrants.

1. You Are A Rule Follower And They Aren't
Most contests have a clause about harrasing entrants such as this phrase found in many sweepstakes rules: "Entrants acting in an unsportsmanlike or disruptive manner, or with the intent to annoy, abuse, threaten or harass any other person are grounds for disqualification." You can send any abusive private messages, wall posts or emails to the sponsor and this person can be disqualified/banned from their Facebook page or website.

2. When you Quit – It Lets Them Win!
Your leaving the contesting arena is exactly what they want. Do not give up and stand your ground. Ignore their harrasment and showing you aren't getting upset usually works. Remember the saying "Do Not Feed The Troll"? Don't give them the time of day and they usually sulk off. In most cases, this works, but I've seen long running feuds between contestors which have lasted YEARS and show no signs of ever stopping. Unfortunately, these cases need to be dealt with through legal means most times and I hope none of our readers ever have to resort to that method.

3. Do Not Take Attacks Personally – They Do It To Everyone
It hurts when someone attacks you in a contest, but don't take it personally. The majority of attacks are due to them not winning, or being caught cheating and wanting to lash out at whomever they feel ratted them out to the sponsors. And when you decide to quit contesting, they will just find someone else to attack. Remember that they are wasting time by acting in an unsportsman like manner, and in the long run will not win as many prizes!

My Recent Experience
Last week, a few of us were called out on a Facebook contest after we spotted a vote exchanger and boy were we blasted back. After noticing an entrant was exchanging 25 votes at a time, we let the sponsor know and they investigated. The exchanger was not happy about being caught and began a tirade about how WE were the ones cheating. And one wall post really took the cake.

"They are part of – a vote exchange site! I was appalled when husband found this site, and it makes a mockery of every Facebook contest out there and its pointless to enter." It was clear they were grasping at straws to disqualify us. I calmly replied that I was proud to be a writer for and the site is dedicated to teaching people about contesting and how fun it can be. And also shared the fact they are creating a great application for contestors to track their contest entries.

As well, they took screenshots of comments under our entries. The exchanger screamed "These Vote Numbers Are Proof Of Cheating." At that point, it was clear we should just walk away from the wall conversation as it was no use trying to explain the reason why some of our voters left their vote number in the comments. Sometimes, you just got to walk away and smile. It was clear that the sponsor realized the difference between having one person vote one time for you like we were doing, and the exchanger getting one person to vote 25 times for her with fake Facebook accounts as her votes stopped immediately after that. It felt good to win that battle, especially against someone who tried to slander my favorite contest blog site –!

To those who have quit contesting due to others unsportsmanlike actions – you know who you are and we miss you. Don't let a few bad apples wreck the fun you have winning great prizes.
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3 Good Reasons Why Every Sweepstakes Fan Should Have a Twitter Account

When I first heard of Twitter, I have to admit that it didn't sound very appealing. A bunch of people posting streams of badly-spelled text-message-like updates about what they're having for breakfast? No thank you! But as it turns out, I was wrong -Twitter is a very important tool for anyone who wants to enter and win sweepstakes. If you haven't jumped onto the Twitter bandwagon yet, here are 4 good reasons why every sweepstaker should have a Twitter account.

Enter Twitter-Only Sweepstakes
More and more companies are creating and maintaining a presence on Twitter, and sweepstakes are a powerful way for them to attract followers and get the word out about their Twitter accounts. That means that there are lots of prizes being given away on Twitter, and if you don't have a Twitter account, you won't be able to participate. And because so many sweepers are dragging their feet about joining Twitter, the number of entrants in any given Twitter contest is often lower than regular online sweepstakes — meaning your odds of winning are higher. Plus, entering Twitter contests is usually quick and easy, meaning you can maximize the entries you get in the time available to you.

Get Additional Entries into Non-Twitter Sweepstakes
Many contests today give you additional entries for spreading the word with your Twitter account. Blog giveaways are well-known for awarding additional entries for Tweeting or for following the sweepstakes' host on Twitter, but many straight online sweepstakes are offering these opportunities, too. If you are not on Twitter, you won't be able to take advantage of these extra entries, which could make the difference between winning a big prize and no prize at all.

Get Sweepstakes News and Tips through Twitter
Twitter is a great way to hear about new contests and new tips that can help you win more sweepstakes. If you follow companies who run sweepstakes and people who love to enter and win, you can use Twitter as a type of sweepstakes-oriented news feed. With Twitter, it's easy to get breaking news about new sweepstakes to enter, ensuring you maximize your entries, and to be sure that you never miss a contest you would love to win.
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Is Your Computer Too Slow To Win?

As a contester, you may find yourself clicking on links that people who don't enter probably wouldn't. As a result you may be opening up bad links, malware, or even viruses.

In some cases, such as in Facebook giveaways, or Twitter Parties – you may be called upon to leave a comment – the first one wins.

It can be horribly frustrating if you come across the giveaway in time, post a comment – only to find that by the time your computer loads your comment, you are too late. How can you prevent this from happening? Keep your computer in shape! Switch to High Speed Internet
If you make the switch to high speed, you may find your computer runs a lot faster. The cost is a little bit higher than your provider's basic package, but with the ARV of your wins to offset the cost – it is well worth it!

High Speed internet can cost you anywhere from $30 – $50 monthly. Contact your service provider to see what options would be best for you.

You can also call your provider every few months to see if they currently have any specials or deals. You might be surprised at what they are willing to offer, if you simply ask. Protect Your Computer
Make sure you have a good anti-virus program installed on your computer.

Especially if you enter a lot of voting contests. While you are asking for votes, you will likely be returning votes. If someone sends you a bad link, having good anti-virus protection will go a long way in keeping your computer in tip top shape.

Perform a Weekly Scan to Make Sure your Anti-virus didn't allow Something to get Through

Ad-Aware is a great free download. You can scan your computer weekly or even daily if you wish. It will find and remove any malicious items that are hiding out in your computer.

It is quick and easy to preform the scan. You can even let Ad-Aware run in the background while you are working on your computer (or entering contests!)

Perform Defragmentation on Your PC

Defragmenting your computer will help you to optimize it, and clean up files and programs that may be running in the background. It will also help your computer run faster, exactly when you need it most.

There is simply no need to bog your computer down, and keep it running slowly by having programs running in the background – you probably don't even know they are open!
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