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How to know when you've won something!

First off, I want to publicly thank a number of people who submitted winning e-mail samples and affadavits to me. It gave me a much better 'bird's eye' view of what winning e-mails look like, and the fact that actually -- not all winning e-mails look like winning e-mails! So, in this article I will be outlining a few strategies that you can use not only to detect these winning e-mails, but how to quickly find out which ones are winnings and then claim your prizes!

Strategies to quickly find winning e-mails

1. How to sort your e-mails effectively. As you enter more and more sweepstakes, you will most likely find you will start receiving more and more e-mails. (I.e., newsletters, etc). It is even possible you might start to get a few thousand e-mails over time. While I do recommend you do take the time to periodically read sponsor newsletters (because that is one way they are able to provide amazing prizes) -- when you are looking for winning e-mails you can't possibly read every single e-mail. So, most e-mail programs are able to sort by "subject header". What you do is go into your e-mail program, click the 'heading', and then usually it will automatically sort your e-mails alphabetically. If you click again, it will normally sort in in the reverse order. If it is a regular newsletter -- you will normally see 10's of similar or identical subject headers. (I.e.,

Jun 1 - 'Company XYZ - June deals!'
Jul 1 - 'Company XYZ - July Deals!'
Aug 1 - 'Company XYZ - August Deals!'

 But then -- you will be able to easily detect something out of the ordinary, like

'Company XYZ - Confirmation.'

And amazingly, some winning e-mails will simply say just that. "Confirmation". Nothing more, nothing less. But since it is out of the ordinary, it allows you to easily focus on that special e-mail, to see, if indeed, it is a winner.

2. Search Functionality. Most e-mail software (including online e-mail programs like hotmail or yahoo), give you the ability to 'search' for e-mails containing certain keywords or phrases. So rather than manually read 1000's of e-mails, you can quickly & easily sort for common keyword phrases that generally show up in winning e-mails. I will be listing those shortly, but some of them include words like 'winner!','congratulations!','confirmation', etc, etc. Then, of course you read those individual e-mails, and see whether you won.

3. Common Subject Headers

Like I said at the beginning of this article, not all winning e-mails "look" like winning e-mails. But here are a few of the most 'common' styles, so if you see a subject header listed like this, you know you should read it, because it 'might' be a winner. (And you don't want to accidentally miss out on winning a great prize, simply because you didn't respond to the e-mail in the necessary time!)

  • "Congratulations! You are a winner in XYZ Sweepstakes!" - Some will have obvious titles like this.
  • "Roll out the red carpet", "Interesting News", "Big News from XYZ" - Some newsletters do this too though, but winning e-mails are listed like this as well.
  • "Winner - XYZ Company","Prize Winner" - Obvious title :)
  • "Your package has shipped!" - They've sent out your prize.
  • "Company XYZ Sweepstakes","Company XYZ Giveaways" - Some winning e-mails will just be very matter of fact, but have the "Sweepstakes" or "Giveaways" included in their title.
  • Unusual titles. Some titles for subject headers do not sound like winning e-mails at all. So if it "sticks out", or sounds "unusual", it might be worth looking at. Some of the titles I saw were things like "Your Non-Stop Summer Fun Is On Its Way", or "You just scored yourself an XYZ", etc, etc.
  • The actual name of the prize. So if you entered a DVD pack for say some sweepstakes, it might actually list the subject header as the actual prize, i.e., "Company XYZ DVD Pack", just very matter of fact.
  • "Product XYZ Confirmation". Some winning e-mails simply had the word "confirmation" in their subject header.

4. Common Keyword Phrases to look for

Some common keyword phrases you can look for include the following:

  • "Shipped to you" - I.e., when they ship via UPS
  • "UPS, Fedex" - The method they will send the prize to you. Usually only winning e-mails contain company names like this
  • "Claim your prize","Congratulations!","You've won" - Obvious.
  • "Thanks for playing". - Seems that some of the winning e-mails, after letting you know you are winner, will say 'thanks for playing'.
  • "Randomly Selected" - Letting you know that you've been selected at random.
  • "Dear [yourname]" - Winning e-mails tend to also start with the words "Dear so & so".
  • "Potential Winner" - Since a lot of sweepstakes require you to sign an affadavit, etc, they will call you a "potential" winner, before actually saying you are a "real" winner.
  • "Administered By" - Some of the 'larger' sweepstakes will let you know who the 3rd party company was that 'administered' the sweepstakes. They generally include this in winning e-mails.

5. Conclusions!

Anyways, these are some of the common things you can look for in finding winning e-mails. I also recommend you take 5-10 minutes every day or second day to do this, because a lot of sweepstakes will require that you send some kind of confirmation within 48-72 hours. If they don't hear back from you, they will usually then award the prize to someone else. I did hear/get some feedback that some people had accidentally deleted winning e-mails, and you don't want this to be you!

So anyways, hope these tips help, and when you win, I look forward to hearing about amazing wins from you!