Ask yourself one question: Do I feel lucky? Evidently millions are asking themselves that very question when they go online to enter into some kind of sweepstakes or contest. Loosely defined, a sweepstakes requires only a simple entry that wins via a drawing while a contest requires some kind of competition between all those who enter. Maybe it's a sign of the times but the numbers show that more and more of us are cruising the Internet to enter into all kinds of promotions that hold the promise of winning anything from automobiles to vacations with lots of cash in between. But given that there are so many of these sweeps and contests out there, how do you know the legit ones from the scams, and of the ones you do find and enter, how can you keep track of everything?
Let me draw your attention to a Web site called SweepstakesToday.com. Its creator and full-time operator Craig McDaniel goes by the handle of "Mr. Sweepy." I've interviewed Mr. Sweepy and I've had him appear several times on my radio talk show. McDaniel says he's won over $75,000 in retail value from online sweepstakes, contest and promotions and he's taken his expertise and applied it to his free Web site. I've also spoken with several people who use SweepstakesToday on a regular basis. All of them say that the Web site has made their sweeping so much easier than their earlier random efforts and it's pretty easy to see why.
SweepstakesToday maintains a comprehensive database of currently running online sweepstakes, contests and promotions and lets you search for them in a number of ways such as Prize Categories. Examples include Clothes and Jewelry, Electronics, Furniture, Houses, Sports, Tools and Equipment, Food and Restaurant and of course, Cash. You can also search for specific sweep participation types. These include 24 hour daily entries, Instant Win, One-Time, Weekly, Monthly, Unlimited Entry, Watch and Win, Second Chance Drawing and many other types. All of these categories can be further sorted by expiration date and rating.
Mr. Sweepy provides his ratings, one to 5 stars, based on several criteria which he clearly defines on his website. These are the Odds of winning, the type of sweep it is (daily or one time), how long it runs, how easy it is to enter, and of course, the retail value of what's being offered up as prizes.
But the real power of SweepstakesToday is the "My Lucky List" feature. After a simple free registration, SweepstakesToday lets you track every sweep you want to enter on a regular basis and there is no limit to how many you can manage. For example if you have entered a promotion that allows only a one time entry, your Lucky List will display you've entered so you don't waste your time doing it again.
Once you've found a sweep you want to enter, just click on the red My Lucky List. The banner goes to green so that the next time you come across the same contest in another search, you'll know you already entered it. Going to your Lucky List page displays all the promotions you have entered along with the day you entered it, the last date entered, end date and the actual link to the sweeps page. It really does make the job of entering and monitoring a breeze.
Other features include a New Sweepstakes page that aggregates every type and category promotion by date to better see what's new since you last visited. SweepstakesToday also offers tips on winning as well as forums where participants can post messages, get their questions answered, collaborate and share ideas and information.
If you are looking for a better way to find out what's being offered out there, keep track of it all and do it with a feeling of security, check out SweepstakesToday.com. It's completely free. Who knows? You may find yourself joining the ranks of all those people who answered "Yes" to my opening question.
More information: www.SweepstakesToday.com
(c) 2009, McClatchy-Tribune Information Services.
Explore further: Facebook 'newspaper' spells trouble for media