I get this question a lot: “What is a sweeper?” As I have been blogging for over 10 years, I thought it was time to bring back a few evergreen posts to answer the questions I frequently get, or address current topics floating about the sweepstakes community. If you want a quick answer, scroll down to the paragraph in purple.

Originally posted July 26th 2009.

After giving it a few days thought, I have decided to use this blog as a teaching tool.  Each day’s post will deal with one aspect of promotional marketing.  I will write from the perspective of both a contestor and a promotional marketer.

The first topic I will tackle is: what is a contestor?
(Excerpts from You Can’t Win If You Don’t Enter.)

Profession or Hobby?

pro·fes·sion·al (prә-fĕsh/ә-nәl)

adj. 1. a. Of, relating to, engaged in, or suitable for a profession: lawyers, doctors, and other professional people.

b. Conforming to the standards of a profession: professional behavior.

2. Engaging in a given activity as a source of livelihood or as a career: a professional writer.

3. Performed by persons receiving pay: professional football.

4. Having or showing great skill; expert: a professional repair job.

n. 1. A person following a profession, especially a learned profession.

2. One who earns a living in a given or implied occupation: hired a professional to decorate the house.

3. A skilled practitioner; an expert.

hob·by (hŏb/ē)

n. pl. hob·bies An activity or interest pursued outside one’s regular occupation and engaged in primarily for pleasure.

Copyright © 2006 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Adapted and reproduced by permission from the American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition.

What is an enthusiastic contestor called? I have been called a professional contestor. The term makes me uncomfortable because a professional is an expert in a specific field and is usually well-paid for their skill and knowledge. I consider contesting to be a hobby because 1) it is not my occupation, 2) I do it for pleasure, and 3) I certainly could not live off my winnings.

There are several terms used globally to describe someone who enters contests on a regular basis. In Canada, we refer to ourselves as contestors because we enter contests. In the United States, they refer to themselves as sweepers because they enter sweepstakes. (If we did that in Canada, people would think we were curlers!) In the United Kingdom and Australia, they refer to themselves as competitors because they enter competitions. As Shakespeare said, “A rose by any other name would smell as sweet.” My favorite term to describe my hobby is a winner!

NOTE: You may have noticed that I have spelled the word contestor with an OR as opposed to an ER. There is a reason for this. I created the word contestor because the proper definition of a contester is someone who is protesting or disputing something. We’re trying to win cars and big-screen TVs here, not contest a will!

con·testor (kŏn/tĕst/әr)

n. 1. One who enters contests, sweepstakes, competitions, lotteries, and raffles.

con·testing (kŏn/tĕst/)

v. 1. The act of entering contests.

con·test (kŏn/tĕst/)

n. 1. A struggle for superiority or victory between rivals.

2. A competition, especially one in which entrants perform separately and are rated by judges. See Synonyms at conflict.

con·test·ed, con·test·ing, con·tests (kәn/tĕst/) (kŏn/tĕst/)

v. tr. 1. To compete or strive for.

2. To call into question and take an active stand against; dispute or challenge:
contest a will. See Synonyms at oppose.

v. intr. 1. To struggle or compete; contend:
contested with other bidders for the antique.

Probably from French conteste, from contester, to dispute, from Old French, to call to witness, from Latin contestari : com-, com- + testis, witness; see trei —in Appendix I.

con·test a·ble adj.

con tes·ta tion (kŏn/tĕ-stā/shәn) n.

con·test er n.

con·tes·tant (kәn-tĕs/tәnt, kŏn/tĕs/tәnt)

n. 1. One taking part in a contest; a competitor.

2. One that contests or disputes something, such as an election or a will.

Copyright © 2006 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Adapted and reproduced by permission from The American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition.