Plenty of people enter the occasional sweepstakes on a whim, but according to a recent article on Racked.com, there are others who take sweepstakes entry much more seriously.
They call themselves “sweepers,” and have formed an online community of people who make entering sweepstakes practically a full-time job. They don’t have it down to a science, and they don’t have tricks for winning. They just enter as many sweepstakes as they can, hoping to win prizes like jewelry, vacations and celebrity meet-ups, though the prize jewels are the four Cs: Cars, Cruises, Computers and Cash.
Sweepers put hours each day into entering sweepstakes, and many have detailed spreadsheets, lists, and goals for the day, like dedicated salespeople with quotas to hit. Sweepers who started out years ago by subscribing to print newsletters and mailing in entry forms now dig through social media to find the best entries.
And it seems to work. Sweeties Sweeps proprietor Wendy Limauge won a car and a $10,000 trip this year alone. Contest Queen site runner Carolyn Wilman claimed to have won five prizes from the 3,000 sweepstakes she entered just this month. “It’s kind of like the gym in January,” she told Racked.com. “To win steady, you have to enter steady. You can’t go to the gym three times and go, ‘Wow, I haven’t lost 20 pounds.'”
Another key for sweepers is developing a nose for scams, since plenty of online sweepstakes are phishing schemes in disguise, designed to steal information from eager internet users hoping to win big. Some scams even come under the guise of legitimate companies like Publishers Clearing House, which scammers have been invoking recently to con people into paying insurance on non-existent winnings. These pose some risk to sweepers, but most learn to tell the difference.
“A legitimate online sweepstakes should have legal disclaimers and corresponding official rules readily available before the entrant enters their personal information and clicks the submit button,” says Jennifer Valentino, Marketing & Account Manager of National Sweepstakes Company, LLC . “The official rules should clearly outline the material terms of the online sweepstakes including eligibility, method of determining the winner and prize information. If those elements are not present at point of entry, you might be faced with a scam.”
Another risk facing sweepers is burnout. Some sweepers spend over 30 hours a week looking for the next opportunity to win, and even arrange their day to fit in time to enter sweepstakes. Arena Thompson was so exhausted by a multi-day Miller Lite contest over the summer that she had to take a break from sweeping for a month.
Still, with more companies looking to raise their online visibility with contests and sweepstakes, the sweeping community isn’t likely to disappear anytime soon.