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 Living by the Rules

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PostSubject: Living by the Rules   Tue Nov 03, 2009 10:19 pm

Contest sponsors have an obligation to ensure that each of the entrants has the exact same chances of winning a prize. For this reason, they are real sticklers for the rules. Moreover, each individual contest has its own unique guidelines. To prevent yourself from being disqualified, you should make it a point of reading over the rules of each contest before you enter. Make sure that you can answer these questions before you fill out every entry form.

Who Can Enter?
Each contest has individual restrictions about who is allowed to participate in the prize drawing. Restrictions can include:

•Place of Residence: Only a very few contests are open to everyone in the world. Most restrict entry based on country, state, province or even specific counties or cities within a state/Province.

•Age Range: Canada laws demand that personal information collected from minors be handled differently than that of adults. For this reason, the vast majority of contests restrict entry to people aged 18 or above. However, there are giveaways that are aimed specifically to children or to other targeted age groups.

•Gender: Some contests are open only to the guys, or only for the gals. Check to make sure your gender isn’t restricted before entering.

•Affiliation with Sponsor: To avoid the appearance of impropriety, most contests prohibit entry from employees or family members of employees of the sponsor.

How Often Can I Enter?
Contests set a specific entry frequency, and will often disqualify anyone who sets a toe over these limits. Make sure you check how often you can enter, before you have all of your hard work come to nothing. Common entry frequencies include:

•One Time: Everyone has a single shot at winning, and sending in a second entry can get you disqualified.
•Daily Entry: You can enter one time each day. A day is usually defined as lasting from 12 am to 11:59 pm.
•24-Hour Entry: You can enter once every 24 hours. That means that if you entered at 10:00 am on one day, entering at 9:59 the next could result in disqualification.
•Weekly Entry: You may enter once every seven days.
•Monthly Entry: One entry is allowed each calendar month.
•Unlimited Entry: There are no restrictions on the number of entries you may send over.
•Numbered Entry: You may enter a certain number of times, and it doesn’t matter when those entries are sent. For example, you may enter 10 times over the life of the sweepstake.

What About Family Members?
Oftentimes, contests will have restrictions about entry from family members or people living together. Some of the most common restrictions include:

•Restrictions per Person: Each individual can enter a certain number of times.
•Restrictions per Household: A household is all of the people, related or not, who share the same address.
•Restrictions per Email: The same person can enter more than once, if he or she uses different email addresses.
•Restrictions per IP: People who share the same internet connection cannot enter the same sweepstake more than once. This could be people who live in the same house, or it could be everybody who enters from an office or a university computer lab.
Contests can also combine the above restrictions. For example: One entry per person/email/household.

What Do I Have to Do to Enter?
Some contests require that you answer trivia questions, fill out a survey, attach a photograph, or click on a link in an email to be entered. If you do not follow these instructions carefully, your entries will be discarded.

What’s the Entry Period?
Make sure you know when each contest starts and ends. Any entries sent outside of the entry period will be disqualified.

Are There Any Special Prohibitions?
Some Contests will disqualify you for using form filling software, for getting to the entry form from any page other than the site’s homepage, or a number of other special prohibitions. Make sure that you read and follow the specific guidelines for every contest carefully.

The most important rule to remember is never, ever try to cheat contests. Sponsors are extremely savvy, and will catch rule breakers. Not only will you get disqualified from the current contest, but you could also have your name added to a blacklist, which would prevent you from winning from that sponsor in the future as well. It’s just not worth it. Enter clean, enter often, and your luck will soar!

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