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Friday, January 27, 2006

Taking the fun out of sweepstakes

The scene: You walk into the center court of your local shopping mall on a Saturday afternoon. There, in all it's glory, is a shiny brand new car. It might even be spinning around on a little platform. There's a poster that reads: Enter to win this car!

You figure, what have I got to lose. So, you write your name, address, phone number, age, sex, marital status, and maybe even your average household income, on a little piece of paper and drop it in the box.

What just happened? You just gave your valuable information away for free. And, to who knows who. Sucker. (Yeah, that was me.)

You're never going to win that car. You will, however, soon get deluged with credit card offers, insurance offers, magazine subscription offers. And the list goes on.

EPIC West: In-Store Promotions, Sweepstakes Are Info Collection Schemes:

More than 1.8 million names at postal addresses are offered on the East Coast Sweepstakes Responders file. Those listed filled out contest entry cards at kiosks inside shopping malls. Their median age is 46. Many of the contest promotions were done as part of strategic marketing projects.

It was never about winning the car. Or boat. Or vacation. Or condo. Or, case of dog food. Or whatever.

Posted by Marie at January 27, 2006 6:52 PM


I don't consider my information all that valuable. I don't fill out those things because my time IS valuable to me and filling out sweepstakes material is time consuming. I get an average amount of junk mail. When I pick up the mail, the junk never reaches the house. It gets tossed unopened. The ones who really should complain about these schemes are the mail carriers.

Posted by: Rob at January 28, 2006 9:55 AM

I once put my business card in one of bowls you find in restaurants to win a free meal. I was inundated with phone calls that I'm pretty sure came from there. I also had to sit through something in order to get the free lunch. Blech.

Posted by: Kem White at January 28, 2006 2:28 PM