Chances are, you’ve entered at least one sweepstakes in your lifetime. The chance of winning a massive prize is too tempting to resist– especially since sweepstakes require minimal effort on your part. But did you know that some people enter thousands of sweepstakes each day– and receive the majority of their income from their sweepstakes winnings?
Here’s an inside look at the professional world of “sweepstaking.”
A Typical Sweepstaker’s Day
Imagine spending hours each day studying contest rules, mailing in entries, and searching the Web for new sweepstakes to enter. That’s what a professional sweepstaker’s day looks like. These sweepstakers typically send in countless daily entries for each sweepstakes to increase their chance of winning. It’s not uncommon for a sweepstaker to fill out hundreds of entries for a sweepstakes before the contest closes. The more the entries, the better the odds of winning– unless the sweepstakes has a strict “one entry per contestant” rule, that is.
The Internet has made professional sweepstaking more of a viable option for many. Instead of spending money on postage, they can submit entries electronically for free (and thus greatly increase their profit from the occasional win).
The Four C’s of Sweepstaking
As Slate magazine reports, most sweepstakers are interested in the big “Four C’s:” cars, computers, cruises and– best of all– cash. Though cash is desirable for obvious reasons, the other three categories aren’t just for pleasure. Each prize can be sold for a tidy profit. That’s not to say that other sweepstakes aren’t desirable (products, services, etc.), it’s just that the big four attract the most attention from devoted sweepstakers.
How to Find (and Win) Sweepstakes
Most professional sweepstakers find out their information from online sweepstaking databases or from biweekly newsletters like SweepSheet, Sweepstakes Winner, and Rags to Riches. All sweepstakes have different rules of entry, but experienced sweepers are familiar with many company’s rules based on past entrants. If you’re a beginning sweeper, it’ll take much longer to learn the ins and outs of sweepstakes rules.
Experienced sweepstakers know that while national sweepstakes are attractive, regional sweepstakes offer a smaller entrant pool and thus offer entrants a higher chance of winning. Smaller sweeps are often chosen based on appearance, so a decorated envelope or entrant card can stand a higher chance of winning (unlike national sweepstakes, in which a computer or a blindfolded employee chooses the winner).
Dedicated sweepers often congregate online, such as the message boards on the SweepSheet site forum. Others use social media (such as the RewardIt Facebook page). In person, sweepers meet up at the National Sweepstakers Convention in San Diego, held each year on Memorial Day weekend.