When I posted last week about my recent contest wins I had some friends on Facebook ask how and where I managed to win that stuff, so I decided that for today I’ll venture away from being Ms.Geek and what’s new on eBay to discuss another passion of mine. Contesting. I firmly believe that if you are entered in contests every single day of the year, over the course of the year you’ll win. Maybe not big or huge prizes, but you will win something eventually. When I am ‘into’ online contesting I usually enter anywhere from 50 to 200 contests per day, depending, of course, on what companies are currently running promotions.
To get started here are five tips that will help you when entering online contests.
- Get a free Gmail account and use this account only for contests. Contests can bring great wins but it can also bring a lot of spam and junk mail. Be sure to check your e-mail once per day when possible. Some contests may require an e-mail response within a specific timeframe, and you don’t want to lose a prize simply because you didn’t reply fast enough.
- Use ROBOFORM. This application lets you enter in personal details (enter only what you need for contests) and will offer to automatically fill forms on your contest pages. Most contests will state in the rules entry by automated method is void, but roboform is not considered an automated entry (this generally refers to scripts which do everything for you, or services you pay for that automatically enter you in the contest). You’ll save hours of time using this program. I also keep my name, mailing address, number, e-mail address, DOB and so on in a text file. For flash-based forms where you can’t use roboform, cut-and-paste is faster and you won’t typo important contact information.
- READ THE CONTEST RULES. Be sure you meet the eligibility requirements and understand what fees or taxes you will be responsible for paying (if any) if you win. I understand US residents have taxes and other issues that Canadians may not have to consider for contesting. In Canada some residents of specific provinces (usually Quebec) may not be eligible, and some states in the USA. If you are not eligible to enter or think fees, taxes and so on for this contest are too much, don’t waste your time entering. Skip it and move on.
- Know The entry limits. By exceeding the maximum entries per person or household you may miss out on a prize. The contest rules will tell you how often you can enter. Here are the common ones:
DAILY: Enter once per day during promotion period
24 HOUR: Enter once every 24 hours during promotion period
WEEKLY: Enter once per week during promotion period
MONTHLY: Enter once per month during promotion period
SINGLE: Enter one time only during promotion period
- BOOKMARK Contest Entry Pages in an organized way. Create a contest directory in your browser favorites list. Contest entry pages can be bookmarked, a good idea for contests where you can submit multiple entries over time. Once the page is bookmarked I always rename the entry in favorites to help. For example I start the name as shown with DAILY, MONTHLY, WEEKLY etc so I do not have to read rules again to know how often I can enter. I change the name to be either the prize or company sponsoring it. I also paste any UPC number or skill testing question answer (for Canadian contests) that I need into the title as well. This saves you a lot of time when submitting multiple entries over time. Here is a screenshot crop showing you how I rename my own contest page entries in my Favorites.
Have fun with it! I usually pick a ‘contesting time’. Once I have the kids into bed, I like to sit and have a cup of coffee to relax. This is usually when I sit in front of the computer and do most of my contest entries. If you have a question about contesting, just use the comment button under this post and ask and I’ll try my best to answer. Also, feel free to add your own contesting tips!
You can’t win if you don’t enter!