Mediterraneo10 7 days ago

If one compares the amount of money that most sweepers have made to the time invested in the activity, then probably any minimum-wage job would have been more worthwhile financially.

For the small amount of exceptionally successful sweepers, I still suspect that the time lost, along with the additional burden of tax accounting, makes this a pretty inefficient strategy financially. The exceptional ones are showing effort and strategies that they could have instead applied to traditional business and investment paths with a greater return.

  • redorb 7 days ago

    old boss told me once - 'some people will work harder at not having a job than they would at a job'

    • Retric 7 days ago

      On average, Coke enters around 300 online contests per month (about 10 hours’ worth of work) and wins £1k in prizes.

      That's £100 per hour which is much better than most jobs. That's most likely a statistical aberration, but if you assume the people they go back are also the people that won in the first place it probably seems to be a winning strategy.

      That's assuming people that go long streaks without winning then stop.

      • wisty 7 days ago

        It also says she tuned it into a full time job, and talks about how it's really hard work.

        I suspect she's mistaken about how many hours she puts into it.

        Maybe not. Maybe she just worked hard perfecting her skills and can make 100 pounds / hour, but is picking the most profitable opportunities. Some side gigs are like that - you can make a huge hourly wage on something but only for a few paid hours a month.

        • stordoff 6 days ago

          I suspect the full-time job is actually her blog, rather than the contests per se:

          > The operator of a popular sweepstakes blog, she has made the hobby into a full-time job.

          So far in 2019, she's won prizes equivalent to £5,389, or about the same as working 110 hours/month at minimum wage[1]. Given that £2,000 worth (Majorca trip) is tagged as "Group win", and most of it appears to be stuff you couldn't sell at retail price, or just couldn't sell, I find it difficult to call that a full-time job.

          [1] (£5,389/6 months)/£8.21 an hour = 109 hours

          • anonymous5133 6 days ago

            This is true. Reminds me of a somewhat popular youtuber who makes videos about "side hustles." One of his "main" side hustle is operating vending machines. He basically makes videos about how to operate your own vending machine business and so on. The irony to it of course is that 98% of his "profit" comes from youtube partner advertising. So he makes a few hundred bucks from the vending business but pulls 10k-15k profit per month from youtbe ads. So the real moral of the story here is don't waste your time doing a vending machine biz, focus on making entertaining youtube videos.

            • jobigoud 6 days ago

              I've also been convinced that this is how most the authors of "how to get rich" books make their money. Not by applying their own teachings but by selling them.

              • PopeDotNinja 6 days ago

                In advice, I look for actionable details, leverage, and credibility? Is the advice detailed enough that it can be turned into a plan without too much work? Is the advice something that leads to gains that greatly exceed the effort invested? Does the advice come from someone who knows their shit?

      • Mediterraneo10 7 days ago

        £1k in prizes is not £1k cash in hand. If it is merchandise, now the winner has to do all the work involved in reselling it. If it is non-tangible earnings like travel, it cannot be resold at all.

        • chaostheory 7 days ago

          In the US, I believe there's also a 40% tax on winnings. It's on retail value for goods.

          • toast0 7 days ago

            > In the US, I believe there's also a 40% tax on winnings. It's on retail value for goods.

            Contest winnings are income, and therefore subject to income taxes. Contest winnings above a certain amount are subject to withholding, but the winner may need to provide the cash for withholding if the prize is non-monetary and the prize doesn't include an adjustment for taxes.

          • stordoff 6 days ago

            Worth noting not in the UK, where Coke lives.

    • WalterBright 6 days ago

      I've seen people spend far more effort trying to cheat on tests than if they'd simply studied the material.

      • setr 6 days ago

        I used to do that with cheat sheets; I’d put so much effort into minimizing and formatting the content to stuff everything into the one-page limit, that by the time I took the test I had the whole thing memorized, and make no use of it during the exam

      • anonymous5133 6 days ago

        Definitely guilty of this. The real irony of it is that the cheating on the exam was actually far more of a challenge and had an adrenaline rush to it. That's why I did it at least.

        I remember one method I would use is to simply memorize thousands of multiple choice questions from the test bank. That way when you took the exam, you would already be familiar with the question on the exam and how to solve it.

        • distances 6 days ago

          > I remember one method I would use is to simply memorize thousands of multiple choice questions from the test bank. That way when you took the exam, you would already be familiar with the question on the exam and how to solve it.

          That's not cheating per se, though, just studying with previous exam questions as practice material. I'd wager all students that can access old tests do that.

        • WalterBright 6 days ago

          I once asked my high school teachers why, on the multiple choice tests he gave, if one answer was "all of the above" or "none of the above" it was always the correct answer.

          He laughed and said because the students needed all the help they could get. Years later I realized he probably was trolling me.

          • jobigoud 6 days ago

            If the right answer is "all of the above" do you loose points for also checking the above? What if you check all the answers but not the all inclusive one?

    • facerape 7 days ago

      Anything to avoid the nightmare of having to deal with some piece of shit lording his retarded asshole over the banana republic of losers that gave up on themselves.

  • paulcole 7 days ago

    > If one compares the amount of money that most sweepers have made to the time invested in the activity, then probably any minimum-wage job would have been more worthwhile financially.

    But why even make the comparison? You can’t work at McDonald’s from your kitchen table at 11 AM if you feel like it or while you’re watching TV at 2PM on a Saturday.

    • vinayan3 6 days ago

      I have a family member who is really into winning contests. They have won tons of stuff similar to the people in the article. I have explained the time spent is not worth but they don't see it that way at all.

      For them winning is exciting because it's random and unexpected. They also, do this when there is nothing else to do so it's their form of leisure. It costs nothing to enter and if you don't value that time anyways, like doing this instead of working, then why not? Which is different from going to a casino or playing the lottery which require you to pay to play.

      The other issue I've explained to my family member is that their personal information is being handed out to tons of companies. I avoid handing out information so I don't get targeted for ads etc.. but I guess each to their own.

      • astura 6 days ago

        >their personal information is being handed out to tons of companies

        The sort of information you need to enter a sweepstakes is name and address, which is already public information anyways.

    • northwest65 7 days ago

      No little endorphin hit from mopping up spew either. Financially it seems like a lame duck, but I can see why it would be attractive to some personality types.

  • blueboo 6 days ago

    I've had teh same thought in regards to "extreme couponing".

    O, to be in the top 1% of tirelessly collecting and organizing coupons and tracking price changes, only to save maybe a few hundred dollars a month!

Scaevolus 7 days ago

> Kohl’s gave out 1,000 $20 gift cards ($20k total), but the ad got 10,812 retweets. According to an estimate from the data analytics company SumAll, the value of a branded retweet is $20.37. So for a cost of $20k, Kohl’s got roughly $220k in value — about 10x its investment.

There's no way a retweet is worth $20-- or is this some weird power-law effect?

  • anonymous5133 6 days ago

    That statistic comes from social media marketers who like to overstate the value of social media. In reality, most of the people doing that retweeting are simply using fake twitter accounts to do the retweet. I do the same thing. No one reads my retweets lol

    These social media marketers make it sound like kylie jenner is going to retweet your crappy contest. Never happens.

  • Danieru 7 days ago

    That mis-valuation is striking at the problem's heart: a branded retweet is worth real value while a dummy account which only retweets brands is worthless.

  • scrollaway 7 days ago

    A single retweet can be worth several tens of dollars under twitter's ad program, depending on targeting. The pricing is really fucky.

    Disclaimer: Twitter's ad program is atrociously bad.

    • XMPPwocky 6 days ago

      who on earth retweets an ad, though?

      • maxaht 6 days ago

        Exactly, which is why so many companies have transformed their professional corporate accounts into "sassy" viral sensations. Wendy's is fast food burger joint, but have millions of Twitter followers and high engagement because of their unrelated humorous tweets. Ads are starting to look less and less like ads every day.

  • adamson 7 days ago

    What would the power law effect look like here? 0.1% of branded retweets being worth $20,000?

neilv 7 days ago

I was wondering why there would be publicizing of opportunities and tricks by fierce competitors in a zero-sum game. I think it's not just community and/or showing off, but part of the explanation is this:

> They gather in forums like Sweepstakes Advantage, subscribe to newsletters like I Win Contests, SweepSheet, and Sweeping America, and gather at conventions all over the world.

I've seen this many times in other niches: you find or create a community, actively pump it up, and sell them things (and/or sell them to others).

wtvanhest 7 days ago

This seems like a submarine article to sell tickets to conferences or gather people's information.