Originally posted on May 14, 2014, and has been updated.

Sometimes it seems as if nothing has changed. Many companies still do not want ‘professional’ sweepstakes entering. If we don’t enter, who will?!

I also chose to remove the sponsor’s name as during the giveaway they changed their rules to be all-inclusive, and as this was originally written almost seven years ago, why shame them now?

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One of the reasons I like having a large circle of contest buddies on Facebook is that interesting sweepstakes topics come across my News Feed. Yesterday, Nicole posted the following rules she found while entering:

Friends and family of [SPONSOR], employees and professional sweepstakes persons are not eligible to win this contest. Persons who enter more than two separate contests via social media per month are considered professional sweepstakes persons and will be immediately disqualified.

The comment thread quickly grew as her friends joked about our new-found status as professionals and how appalled they were at the rules.  Being very passionate about this hobby, my reaction to such marketing foolishness on the part of companies is stronger than most, and I bet, disproportionate because:

  1. I do not earn my living winning. I earn my living as a professional marketer. Contesting is my hobby.
  2. I get frustrated when companies do not understand the intricacies of social media and how connecting with a wide variety of people across various platforms widens their marketing message and enhances their company profile.

It seems the original reasoning for the specificity of their rules was that some winners were selling their prizes on eBay. I understand the sponsor’s exasperation when they feel their marketing efforts are not reaching customers or prospects but sadly, there are a greedy few in it for all they can get at all costs. (This isn’t the first time I have heard this either … and as a business owner I understand why they made the decision they made to exclude sweepstakers.)

However, after a few posted on their Facebook Timeline, they changed their full rules this morning to read:

RULES & CONDITIONS:
Winner gets to choose spring color of their choosing for their Dad.
Winner will be announced June 6, 2014.
Contest is restricted to those in the continental United States; prior winners are not eligible.
Friends, family and employees of our company are not eligible to win this contest.

I enter for only prizes I want to win for myself or prizes that would make fantastic gifts (for a good example see The Baby Shower–What Really Happened), I support the sponsors as much as possible. I hate being called a professional as entering and winning is my hobby, and I want all companies to understand the value of a prospect (see Sweepers Are Good).

Do you feel you are a professional sweepstaker? How do you feel about being excluded from entering a giveaway? Do you enter every promotion you can or are you selective about the prizes you want to win?