There are a lot of things I would never expect to find in my email. A real Nigerian prince who needs to send me millions, Joel Osteen asking for my Skype, an offer letter from the Church of Scientology for the position of tin can polisher. I most certainly never expected to be notified that I’d won a door.
Yes, I said a door.
An ad for Cialis, sure. An offer from an SEO in India, by all means. Groupons and coupons for calzones and hard-ons, yup. But a notification I’d won a door? A door. A goddamned door (#NoHoly)?
So, when it happened, naturally, I did a double-take. Then it all came back to me.
As someone who has spent the majority of her career in marketing, I’ve had to run a lot of contests. When I ran two simultaneously, one for $300 and another for a $150 iPod, the iPod contest was more popular by miles. I found this so strange. For $300, you could buy two iPods. So, I set out to do some research. What I found, was kinda terrifying.
There is a subculture on the internet of crowds of people playing games and filling out forms. They spend all day on forums and directories, clicking links and posting comments. Every day. All day long. For no pay.
That’s right. No pay.
What they’re doing it for, instead, is for prizes.
These people are contesting. What is contesting? Well, it’s just what it sounds like. Contesting is the act of entering a lot of contests and sweepstakes. Most people partake in this activity online, but contests and sweepstakes are entered in real life as well. The idea behind it is the more contests you enter, the better the odds are you’ll win something. Anything.
But does it work? Is it worth the time?
I can, beyond any shadow of a doubt, tell you that yes, yes it does work. Ladies and Godless Men, I won a goddamned door.
In my research, I entered a few contests myself. Not many at all. I’d say in my career, I’ve spent a good week, total, researching contests and entering them and I have won four.
The first time, I won a grilling cookbook by Bobby Flay. Once, I won a trip to a Bridal Fair in another city. Another time, I won tickets to the premiere of a movie. None of these wins, though, compared to winning a $1500 solid oak front door.
Yep. I won a door.
This whole door thing led to me wonder how often people actually win contests when they enter them all the time. I found out some pretty crazy stuff.
First of all, extreme contesters are kind of a spinoff of extreme couponers, a subculture of people who clip coupons incessantly and get massive discounts on just about everything they buy. This led to people scouring the web for freebies, and finally entering contests.
In my research, I found people who have spent 30+ years entering contests all day long. They win trips, televisions, cars, gadgets, gift cards and more. One woman, I read, totalled all her winnings at over $250,000!
Thirty. Fucking. Years. So, I won a door. And that’s where it ended for me.
If you’re interested in trying your hand at contesting, remember that taking the time out of filling out forms to pray for a win will set you back. God is counterproductive to contesting. You can also check out these sites:
Some tips for winning big:
1. Don’t use an auto filler program to fill out forms as this can automatically disqualify you if detected. 2. Only enter the contests you are interested in winning, or you will be wasting a lot of time on ones you don’t care about. Like ones with a door as the prize. This is why people were interested in the iPod more – they scoured for certain keywords and Apple products are hot. 3. Create a new email address reserved just for the contests, as you will start to receive a lot of spam. Be sure to continue to check it though, as some contests notify the winners this way. 4. Be patient. It takes time. In all instances, I found out I won about 3 months after I entered. I had actually totally forgotten about ever having entered in the first place.
Have you ever explored the world of contesting? Have you ever won anything?