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Just by reading this article, you are automatically eligible to claim $1,000,000 from MakeUseOf!

Pffffft.

Oh, if only it were so easy. Online competitions and giveaways can be found just about anywhere on the web these days, but the chances of winning them are usually pretty slim. Even MakeUseOf has giveaways every month, and we receive mountains of emails asking for us to make exceptions — to just give one little Android phone, or iPhone, or ASUS PC away.

But we can’t do that. What we can do is throw a few tips at you to help win competitions and giveaways, but please do not view this as a guarantee that you’ll win anything. All we can do is help — not promise.

Don’t Enter Fake Giveaways Or Competitions

check

This is probably the most blunt tip that I can give you, and I actually debated with myself as to whether or not I should write it. “This will sound stupid,” I thought. It does, but it’s also incredibly practical.

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There are loads of fake online competitions and giveaways out there on the net, and by entering them, you are pretty much just wasting your time. Stupid Facebook posts saying that “if you like this picture, you are eligible” are obviously just a shenanigan, and ads promoting similar contests are a surefire way to sign yourself up for some spam.

With that said, only enter competitions that are sponsored by a relatively trustworthy source. I hate to toot our own horn, but MakeUseOf is probably the best example I can provide for this type of operation. Not only do we actually follow through with our giveaways — we post pictures of the winners with items on our Facebook page, too.

Do Enter As Often As Possible

repeat

A fisherman goes out with a small net, and he catches about twenty fish. His friend goes out with a much larger net, and he catches about fifty fish. See where I’m going with this?

The bigger your reach in the online competition 8 Google Contests to Keep an Eye On and Win a Prize 8 Google Contests to Keep an Eye On and Win a Prize Read More and giveaway world, the better the chance you have at winning; it’s as simple as that. You should enter several competitions and giveaways at once, but don’t let your life get away from you.

Taking that into consideration, it might be a good idea to keep track of every single competition or giveaway you have entered. Set up a Google Docs How I Import Internet UFO Sightings Data Into A Google Spreadsheet How I Import Internet UFO Sightings Data Into A Google Spreadsheet In this article, I'm going to show you how to import any data that might be stored in a table on any website on the Internet, into your Google Spreadsheet. Think about the enormous volume... Read More  spreadsheet that will provide you with the necessary information you need to know what all you have entered.

Protect Yourself

protect

It’s hard to enter as many contests as possible when you are fighting spam and scams Are You In A Rush To Make Money From Home? Spot 7 Work At Home Scams Are You In A Rush To Make Money From Home? Spot 7 Work At Home Scams Wealth, speed, ethics -- when it comes to money, you can only pick two. When it comes to working from home, it's very likely that you won't get a chance to even pick one of... Read More all the time, so with that said, protect yourself. Don’t use your personal email address to sign up for these things.

Make sure you develop a contest email address (something like contest_joe@domain.com) to keep yourself in the loop without compromising yourself to various entities. Regarding the necessity to share Facebook and Twitter links — something that MakeUseOf actually does — just be sure that the company you are allowing to post for you doesn’t obliterate your profile and your friends’ feeds with tons of posts. That, my friend, could get very annoying.

While giveaways and competitions essentially are product promotion, there is such a thing as abuse of consumers. It’s a “give a little, take a little” kind of operation — not a “give a little, take away the entire online social life of the person who signed up for your contest” scheme. You should expect such websites to play fair.

Adapt Your Skills

writing

Many online contests require a ton o’ writing, but unfortunately, most of the Internet’s populace isn’t too keen on writing lengthy essays Stop For A Grammar Check: 4 Areas Where You Can Improve Your Spelling & Grammar Stop For A Grammar Check: 4 Areas Where You Can Improve Your Spelling & Grammar Being a freelance writer or journalist isn't easy, particularly if you write in a language that isn't your mother tongue. Yet, many foreign speakers are tempted to write in English because it promises a greater... Read More about themselves. But for some reason, all people do is write while on the Internet. Get some perspective!

Regardless of what you may think, you likely have all the skills you need to enter an online competition. If you are a horrible writer but a great conversationalist, write your masterpiece as if you are chatting with someone. Bad speller? Write your piece and have someone proofread it for you. On the other hand, you may be a magnificent writer — in that case, just make sure you follow the guidelines put into place by the contest-runners.

Read the guidelines! Don’t break away from the mold, in this case. Judges will have enough of a time looking at every entry, and if yours is too different, it will be very easy to throw out.

Of course, not every contest is going to be about writing. No, no. Now that would be silly. With that said, just find your strong suit, and jump in. Furthermore, you may be overwhelmed with the thought that thousands of other people are entering this same thing. Don’t worry. They are thinking the same exact thing, too, and for most of them, this is enough to keep them from entering.

Conclusion

The title may say that there are four tips, but I tried to include as many tips as I could throughout this article. I can’t guarantee that you’ll win these kinds of things, but I can guarantee that your entries will be better. Furthermore — especially with skill-based competitions — if you are looking and trying to improve, guess what? You will.

What other tips do you have for winning online competitions and giveaways? Have you ever won an online competition or giveaway?

Image Credits: CollegeDegrees360Rooftop Mind, Cyndy Sims Parr, jeffery james pacres

  1. Carol O
    September 20, 2013 at 10:00 pm

    I enter a lot of one time only contests, yes I do win something once in a blue moon!

  2. Ron
    September 12, 2013 at 9:27 am

    That should read "just LAST month" BTW. More specifically for 3 weeks of playing in August...though a lot of the "work" I did in August is still paying off in wins that are drawn or selected later, if that makes sense lol. Since some of the sweeps don't end until as late as the end of the year, that effort I put in during August could mean wins for the rest of the year...just waiting on them to end and draw winners.

  3. Ron
    September 12, 2013 at 9:24 am

    Joshua, no offense but a lot of those "tips" are flat out wrong. I spend a decent amount of time doing sweepstakes as a hobby and win a decent amount. Just this month I have won: kindle fire HD, Nexus 7, diamond necklace from Jarad, nice watch from Seiko XNY, a Big Green Egg BBQ/smoker, Gift cards for cash (visa) and stores and lots of other little items as well. Most of those are from Facebook sweeps and a good amount are from those "like and share this picture" type. Others use sweepstakes apps which keeps tracks of your entries and the possible extra entries you can earn by having your friends enter as well. There are constantly tens of thousands of different sweepstakes out there and even if you enter full time you will still have more to do.

    My "secret" to winning? Play a LOT. Enter a lot and maximize the allowed amount of entries. Some are single one time entries. Others let you enter every day for a new entry Others will give you multiple extra entries (5 is common) for each friend that enters from a post you share. If you are interested in winning stuff, instead of just a random entry here and there, and you are willing to put in time to enter a lot, get on facebook and look for sweepstakes groups. That will give you a good start at finding the thousands of current sweeps that you can enter. Cherry pick the ones that have prizes you want. But enter a LOT of different sweeps and get as many entries in to each of those sweeps allowed and eventually the numbers will work for you.

    Yes, there are fake sweeps but not as often as this article will have you believe. Get in a few sweep groups on facebook and see what people are posting to help each other and you will soon learn to spot anything suspicious. Then you can branch out to all the other places there are tons of sweeps like companies websites, twitter, pinterest, instagram...pretty much everywhere. There are a lot of websites dedicated to posting sweeps with all the important information and they usually vet the sweeps as much as possible.

    Yes, there are some writing type sweeps...again, not as much as this article suggest, but those are often much better odds because anything that requires time and effort and talent will have less people to compete against. Read the rules but I go against the advice in this article and suggest to make yourself stand out as much as possible. Many will have scoring in several categories to judge/score entries to find a winner. A common example is 25% creativity 25% originality 25% on theme 25% express companies image. The judges may have to read hundreds of thousands or bland and boring entries. If creativity and originality are part of the judging then use those elements as much as possible. And make sure you read and follow the rules. Many entries get DQ'ed before they are even judged because they didn't follow the clear rules. I won a $25k value trip to Vegas in December with a writing contest. My wife won one of the other spots. Both of us had entries that stood out from the pack. Every sweep is different with different judges but keep in mind how many hundreds or more they have to go through...if you make their job fun by having an interesting entry you stand a much better chance. Make them laugh and they will show the other judges.

    My list of advice:

    1. read and be sure to follow the rules
    2. maximize your chances by playing as many different sweeps as you can find time for
    3. maximize your entries for each sweep...if allowed to enter daily, do it. If bonus entries for referring friends, do it as much as possible.
    4. spread out your eggs...play some facebook, some twitter, some pinterest, some blogs...helps get your entries out there and helps keep you from getting burned out.
    5. Use a dedicated email AND google voice number and be sure to check your email and check closely. You will likely sign up for a lot of newsletters from sweeping so your box will fill up fast but you have to check for winner notifications and they aren't always obvious. They also usually have a limited time for you to respond. Set up filters to try to capture and highlight the obvious ones like "you won" or "congratulations" and such. They won't catch everything and will catch stuff that doesn't belong but helps you miss less.
    6. make sweeper friends. If you plan to give a real shot to sweeping and winning get on facebook, join groups and make friends. More sweeper friends means more tips and heads up on the better sweeps. More tips for the low entry sweeps. More people to get referrals from to get more bonus entries. And of course more people to warn you against those few bogus ones that do inevitably show up.
    7. have fun...those friends help. Winning helps too. But the more fun you are having the more you will enter and the more you will end up winning and so on. It's a numbers game.

    lol, now I went and wrote an article.

    In short, follow the rules and enter a lot!

  4. pankaj jain
    September 11, 2013 at 5:46 am

    not won any online competion till now

  5. Cheryl Moulton
    September 11, 2013 at 3:02 am

    Enter as many as you can, to up the odds of winning something. also the WOL are harder and therefore don't have so many entrants making the odds better also

  6. Tiago R
    September 11, 2013 at 12:19 am

    the low entry work's yes,i have won thing's in those sort of giveaways!!!but if they have few entries normaly that means a low profile prizegiver and a relativly"cheap" prize!!!
    i have won e-books e small things!!!!

    but some give's use the "share and bring friend's" thing!!!makeuseof is an example......if you have very collaborative friend you can boost your chances by allot!!!

    i can imagine a group of friends doing it in an organized way to try different prizes!!!!

    that's why i like 1 entry per person kind of gives!!!

  7. Stephen
    September 10, 2013 at 8:57 pm

    Another somewhat obvious tip: The fewer people that enter, the better your chances. my odds of winning Publisher's Clearing House may be 1:1.25 BILLION, but I recently won a package of about half a dozen games and half a dozen music albums because my odds were about, well, 1 in 50, 100 tops. Sure, I'd rather win 225k dollars a year for the rest of my life, but I actually "won" the other one.

  8. Alex D
    September 10, 2013 at 7:44 pm

    Great article, I'm off to check out the Kobo Arc giveaway.

  9. Kmarie
    September 10, 2013 at 5:46 pm

    Thanks for the great tip in this article. I do enter as many contests as I can just as a fun hobby and the more you do it the more you learn what NOT to do! Yes I have won several contests online : 4 appliances, a fire pit, Sony Xfactor Headphones, Twizzlers Beach Towel, $4,500 Sofa Set from a local furniture company,$500.00 gift card, $500.00 cash, $100.00 cash, and ummm a months supply of Lunch Meat with an insulated bag and coffee mug and apron! This is over about a years time folks. It is fun!

  10. Yudono R
    September 10, 2013 at 3:52 pm

    Well i've won some prize online, and yes i've had my fair chances of misses too... just don't expect too much, and you might be lucky.

    Ps: be safe and don't click random giveaways (if it sounds fishy)

  11. Lola C
    September 10, 2013 at 3:18 pm

    Hope for the best here in MUO!

  12. Slobodan Z
    September 10, 2013 at 2:41 pm

    nice 16.8 m

  13. Nathan
    September 10, 2013 at 2:33 pm

    Use autofill too. Chrome has one built in!

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