Sunday, April 5, 2009

Sweepin ain't for Sissies

One of the most common questions I'm asked is "Don't you get tons of Spam?" Well, the answer is Yes and No.

I mostly enter only sweeps that I know to be legitimate. Either well-known companies are sponsoring them, or they are run by well-known JA's (Judging Agencies - they run the promotion for the Sponsor).

On almost every form there is an Opt-Out box. It usually reads something like this: Yes, I agree to receive future emails from the sponsor. You simply uncheck that box before submitting the form. If you do start getting emails from a legitimate sponsor, they will have an unsubscribe link and it is very simple to be removed from mailing lists. I do not consider this Spam in any way. If you read the rules many times you are agreeing to receive emails even if there is no opt-out.

That being said, any time you put your email out there on the web, you are subjecting yourself to spam. So, Yes, I get plenty of spam.

My best advice for dealing with this is - set up a separate email account that you use only for sweepstakes. I prefer Gmail - their spam filter works very well, and I really like the interface and features.

You need to check this email everyday!!! Many times I have been notified of a win by email, and they require a response within a few days or you may forfeit the prize.

And, sorry to say, you must go through the Spam Folder to be sure that no wins have been sorted as Spam.

My spam story ~~ I found a win in my Spam Folder. It didn't say what I'd won, so I called, it was NBC. The gentleman I spoke to said that the only information they collected on the form was email so there was no other way to contact winners. If they didn't respond in time, they pulled another name. He then said "Thank goodness, I've been trying to give this away for a long time". Apparently it had gone into other people's Spam Folder unnoticed and this went on for him for months. He was really thanking me for calling so he could give away this darned LAPTOP - the one I'm using right now as a matter of fact.

Lesson learned, at someone else's expense, is to check emails often, I know I check too much, but it's so much fun when you find a Congratulations you've won... and it's not the Nigerian Lottery.

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