Thursday, November 17, 2011

Top Six Myths about Online Sweepstakes

1. You're just asking for an inbox full of spam

This may be true if you're clicking on any flashy popup ad that you come across.  But if you rely on a reputable prize games directory like, then you'll only be playing legitimate prize games.

These games are run by brands who care about their reputation and who follow national laws such as "CAN SPAM" that prevent them from emailing you unless you check the box giving them permission.  Even if you do give them permission, you will have a chance to revoke that permission in every email you receive.  (Look for the "unsubscribe" link, usually at the bottom of the email).

2. No one really wins

Legitimate prize games post official rules and in many cases file these rules with certain states and post bonds against the prizes, etc.  And they all contain a section in the rules to find out who the real winners were after the game is over.

3. You'd have a better chance winning the lottery

For some that's true.  For others, you'd be surprised how good your chances are of winning a prize.  That's the whole foundation for -- knowing one from the other makes all the difference.

4. Automated submission services are the way to go

It's possible you might snag a win or two but these services are not only expensive, they also break the rules of nearly every promotion.  Don't waste your time, you could quite likely actually win, then be disqualified without ever knowing it.  Don't waste those wins, register legitimately to make sure you don't get disqualified.

Besides, modern browsers like Chrome come with auto-complete functionality that makes it very quick to enter and still be be very safely within the rules.

5. You can't trust the companies running these games

Again, if you are using a reputable games directory like, you are only playing legitimate prize games.  The sponsors are spending a lot of money to try to provide you with a good experience with their brand.  And the administrators live and die by running smooth promotions.  They both have a lot on the line.

6. You have pretty much the same chance of winning on one as the other

You might be surprised at the difference in odds.  There are games out there with such a small chance of winning that you are literally wasting your time by playing them.  And there are often games out there that if you play every day for a month you are almost guaranteed a prize.

This is why is so useful.  Free members get sneak peaks into the odds every day.  If you've opted for our email updates, you'll get the Number 2 and Number 3 best odds games delivered to your inbox each Monday morning.

And of course premium members get access to all the rankings all the time, including a nicely sortable list of the games with the best odds.

One thing never changes--you have to play to win.  Go to right now and get in the running for cool prizes.  Good luck!

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

I Just Won a Prize! Now What?

First of all--congratulations!  It's always fun and exciting to win prizes online.  If you're using, get used to it as you should be winning a prize or two every month if you keep up with it.

If you've won something relatively small (under $600), things are pretty simple.   You may receive an email or a phone call asking you to provide or confirm your home address.  Or it may just arrive at your door if you've already provided your address during registration

Hint:  Be sure to mark your wins on the toolbar so you can track them and make sure they show up.

Considerations for Bigger Prizes - Do I Even Want the Prize?

If you've won something bigger you'll need to first think if you really want the prize enough to pay the taxes on it.

You'll be asked to sign an affidavit and the sweepstakes administrator will file paperwork with the IRS along with the value ("ARV") of the prize or prizes you've won.  This means you'll owe taxes on this as if it were extra income you've earned.  (When tax time rolls around you'll receive a 1099 form).

Only you know what tax bracket you're in, so consider taking that percentage of the ARV and knowing you'll need to pay that to get the prize.  Is the prize still worth it?

And also take into consideration that big prizes, like cars or extravagant trips, can push you up into a higher tax bracket.

So the 21 day trip around the world seems cool, but is it worth paying $7,000 in taxes for?  That's up to you.

Some Other Things to Consider

For cash prizes you should obviously always take the prize.  You can pay the taxes out of it and keep the rest.  No decision there.

For prizes with a good resale value you should also consider taking the prize.  For instance, a car or truck.  You might owe $10,000 taxes on a $40,000 car, but you could most likely (depending on the specifics of the vehicle) sell the car for more than $10,000 and keep the difference.  Of course, as long as you're willing to put up with the hassle of the whole process.

What if my Prize Never Shows Up?

This does happen sometimes.  Sweepstakes administrators make mistakes just like everyone else.  This is why it's important to track your wins so you can follow up if they don't arrive.

If you're looking at your list of wins in and see a prize that never showed up, you'll need to find a person to contact.  The better sweepstakes administrators will still have a page up that says the game is over, along with a link for someone to contact for support.

If there is no support link, and the rules are still available, try looking towards the end of the rules. There generally should be three sections there.

  • Sweepstakes Administrator:  This is the company hired to run the promotion.  Google them to find their phone number and call to ask them about your prize.  Since they are being paid to run a smooth promotion, they are usually very helpful.  Most of the time the issue is something as simple as a delay in receiving the prizes in order to ship and they can get things straightened out quickly.
  • Sponsor:  Every set of rules should list a sponsor and this is where you should go if you can't determine an administrator.  The sponsor is the company who actually decided to run the promotion and is generally paying for it.  Sometimes they can be a little more difficult to navigate than the Administrator, since they are often much larger corporations, but if you are persistent enough to get to the right people you can usually get helpful responses here.
  • Winner's List:  Any well run sweepstakes will supply an address to write to for a winner's list after the sweepstakes is over.  If it's a different address than what' you've tried and you are still not getting anywhere, it's at least worth a shot.
Winning is Still Fun...Right?

These are suggestions to help with rare situations.  It's important to keep in mind that these circumstances are rare and the majority of the time your prizes arrive easily (although not always so quickly).  Be patient for at least eight to twelve weeks after you've won before pursuing a follow-up call.  If you're really antsy, check the rules -- they should specify the amount of time you need to wait for your prize to arrive.

Any Good Stories?

If you have a story about winning a prize, please post it to the comments.  Your experience could be very helpful to other players.

You Still Have to Play to Win

All this talk of prizes should have you chomping at the bit to go out and try a few.  Go to now and start playing.  The prizes will come as long as you keep playing.

Good luck!