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Sandra Grauschopf interview, Part Two: How to avoid annoying your sweepstakes entrants

Dale Joerling September 26, 2013
Sandra Grauschopf
Sandra Grauschopf

Today we’re continuing our conversation with Sandra Grauschopf, About.com’s resident expert on all topics related to sweepstakes and contests. Sandra manages the site’s forum for avid “sweepers” and also consults with companies sponsoring promotions.

Yesterday Sandra told us about her unique background in sweepstakes and the types of promotions that truly impress her with their innovation. Today we head in the opposite direction: Which sweepstakes practices and policies alienate potential entrants? What turns them off, and drives away from a company’s product or service? Sandra spells out the most frequent problems she sees.

What are the most frustrating things you encounter when trying to participate in a promotion?

For me, one of the most frustrating things is when sweepstakes play music or videos automatically upon loading. I am usually doing something else when I enter — like having my television or music running in the background — and having music suddenly blaring at me from a sweepstakes page is really irritating. Some people enter sweepstakes from work, and really don't want a loud noise blaring from their computer.

Also frustrating: Sweepstakes sites with pages that won't load properly, or that don't follow their own rules (For example, starting the sweepstakes after the time listed in the rules, not removing the entry form when the entry period is over, or not allowing daily entries when the rules state you can.)

What are the most common complaints you hear from fellow “sweepers”?

Some things that really frustrate my fellow sweepstakes entrants include: CAPTCHAs that are too hard to read, sweepstakes sponsors that don't list their winners, and companies that take a long time to send out prizes (especially those who don’t keep in close contact with the winners). It’s also frustrating when companies haven't informed their customer service reps about the giveaway, so that when an entrant calls with questions, the rep doesn't know anything about the giveaway.

What do you appreciate from a sweepstakes sponsor? What inspires good feelings toward a brand?

I appreciate it when the sweepstakes offers a fair tradeoff between the prizes they're offering and the amount of time and effort it takes to enter, as well as the amount of personal information I need to give up to enter.

Furthermore, most sweepstakes try to make entering fun, but the ones that succeed really give me a positive feeling for the sponsor. They're cute without being annoying, the prizes are unique and exciting, and any games associated with the promotion are actually entertaining, not grueling.

In tomorrow’s third and final Q&A with Sandra, we’ll cover her top tips for sweepstakes sponsors, and her thoughts on the proliferation of vote farming.

Dale Joerling is the chair of Thompson Coburn’s Advertising, Marketing and Promotion Law group. He is editorial director of the Sweepstakes Law Blog. You can find Dale on and Twitter, and reach him at (314) 552-6058 or djoerling@thompsoncoburn.com.