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How to Win Online Giveaways and Sweepstakes

Every time I look around online it seems there’s always someone running a giveaway or sweepstakes.  There are thousands of blogs devoted exclusively to running sweepstakes.

To get an idea of how big this is, just type in #giveaway on Twitter.  At this very moment among the many prizes I could enter to win are a trip to Britain, a complete Baby Bullet System, 4 tickets to a Cubs game, an assortment of cheese sticks or my very own “My Husband Rocks” t-shirt.

For companies it’s a way of using the Internet and social media to promote a product or service.   For the millions of moms and dads out there it’s a chance to win free stuff.

But who wins these things? And is there a secret to winning?

ParentsDesk contacted Kevin Linkie who run’s Linkie’s Contest Linkies.

It’s a blog that links companies wanting to give away stuff with bloggers who are willing to spread the word of a contest or sweepstake.

ParentsDesk also interviewed Linsey Knerl. She’s a mom of 5 from Nebraska, a writer and blogger for

Knerl over the years has won some top prizes including an iPad 2, a family vacation to California, gift cards and her all-time favorite prize, a private screening of a Veggie Tales movie for her kids and 100 of their friends at a local movie theater.

I asked them to spill…..What’s the secret to winning online sweepstakes and giveaways? 

You have to work at it. 

Linsey Knerl has been doing this for 14 years. She has seen sweepstakes evolve from the days of mailing in a postcard to being big business on the Internet.

“The end of the day- that’s my ‘me-time,” when I get online and check the latest giveaways. It takes about 20- 30 minutes a day. But you have to do it daily.”

Knerl checks for contests that are expiring the next day and new ones that have just come online.

You have to be patient. Don’t expect a quick win.

Find a community.

Knerl recommends finding an online community to join.   She has signed up at and These allow her to see the latest giveaways and to screen and search by specific criteria.

She also says, if you haven’t done it already, sign up for Facebook and Twitter where a lot of giveaways are promoted.

Look for low entries.

“This is a gimmie, of course, but scouring the web for blog giveaways can pay off,” says Kevin Linkie.  “There are quite a few bloggers both new and established that do not know how to market them well.  I have entered a few blog giveaways where I was the only entrant believe it or not.”

Look for a short entry period. 

Knerl says the shorter the sweepstakes period, the fewer people in it and the higher your odds are of winning.  “It’s a numbers game. You have a greater chance of winning when there is a 24-hour period than a month-long entry.”

Being the early bird can pay off.

Sometimes it can pay off to be the early bird. “If there’s a promotion that’s giving away a computer a day, you have a better chance of winning on the first or second day, before the buzz for the promotion has really built up,” Knerl says.

Check out sweepstakes that have a referral bonus

These are sweepstakes that encourage you to pass the word on to your friends and followers. “I have won a few prizes this way. If you are one who has a presence in social media then you can pile up the referral entries quite quickly,” Linkie says.

Focus on giveaways of items you really want.  Knerl is trying to de-clutter her house.  “So I’m always thinking, is this functional? Do I really need it?  It’s not always about winning to just win.”

Read the rules and fine print.

According to Linkie, a lot of people are disqualified because they may not have read the rules carefully.  “There are rare times that there may be something you need to do in order to win and many others may be disqualified because they did not perform them.  It’s a great way to rise above others.”

Come up with a system

There are online tools to help you keep track of whether you have already entered a sweepstake or contest.  Many sweepstakes have rules that automatically disqualify you if you sign up more than once.

Knerl also highly recommends using a form-filling tool, like RoboForm.  “You can quickly enter a number of giveaways.  You can do a 100 at one time.”

Over the years Linkie and Knerl say they have seen a number of fantastic sweepstakes (trips, televisions, computers, cash, etc).  They’ve also seen their share of giveaways that are bizarre or goofy, including one for live goldfish.

But Knerl says the strangest one she ever came across–   One lucky winner out there won an all-expense paid wedding for – their dog.

(Copyright, 2012, No part of this article can be re-printed without the permission of ParentsDesk)

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Category: Cool Stuff

Comments (9)

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  1. Wow. I’ll have to take up this job when I retire.

  2. ParentsDesk says:

    Yeah, really. It makes me want to start winning!

  3. Kevin Linkie says:

    Good Morning Thank you for sharing our thoughts on Contest,Sweepstakes and Giveaways. What a fantastic post and great tips I might add lol.

    Its such a fun fun place to be in playing the online sweeps world. Its been a bit more daunting running a site though!! wiping sweat from the forehead.

    I really enjoyed reading this post :)

    Thanks a million
    Kevin @ Linkies Contest Linkies

  4. Jo Parker says:

    So, what are the online tools exactly, that they say in this story are used to keep track of the sweepstakes already entered? Have any examples we can go to? Links? Thank you!

  5. Aly Mashrah says:

    Great article! It’s so true though, if you want to win you have to be consistent and work at it. I’ve won lots of giveaways in the past, but just focus on hosting some of my own now.

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