Guest Author - Jennifer L. Thompson
To this editor, nearly any sweepstakes is a good sweepstakes. There are some, though, that are more attractive to enter than others, for various reasons. The most glaring reasons are the prizes, and the perceived odds of winning based on all known factors.
Large prizes always attract a large amount of entries, though these sweeps are not always the best ones, for this same reason. The exception to this would be if they have numerous other prizes to console us, lest we not be the winner of the big one. It makes it more worthwhile, because our chances of winning are improved. With or without the smaller prizes, they are just fun to enter.
Unique prizes are almost always attractive. For those who love the unique, these types of prizes can be true trophies. This also includes prizes that would offer a unique experience, something we normally just wouldn't experience at all. These will generally bring more of a niche crowd of entrants, so oftentimes have better chances of winning than some others. Combining the large and the unique can sometimes be an added bonus.
Other prizes that could be part of a good sweepstakes are for those items that we can all use, household items and home improvement prizes would fall under this category, or things that most of us would like to have, like a good book, or an ipod, etc.
Another reason one sweepstakes might be favored over another is for familiarity. Familiarity brings trust. If we trust the sweepstakes sponsor, then we are more likely to enter the sweepstakes. This doesn't necessarily mean it has to be a big-name brand (though it can be), just something that we know enough of to know that it's safe. It's low-risk, so there's no fear of entering. This can also come from something recommended through a most trusted resource.
Since sweepstaking is a form of play, the fun-factor involved in entering also comes into the equation. Since we all like to play in some way, to me, this is a fairly big one. The fun-factor involved keeps them from being monotonous to enter, or from seeming non-inviting.
Ease of entry can be another factor, though these might not always have the best chances of winning, for this simple reason. The easier it is, the more people will enter. This is basically somewhat of a time-saver. Some of the easier ones will also offer a limited number of entries, or will run for a shorter time period so the sponsors are not overwhelmed with entries.
Overall, a good sweepstakes can be entertaining, will offer fun prizes or lots of useful prizes, will come from a trusted source, and will offer it all with just a bit of a twist.
All this in mind, for the C&S Five Star Sweepstakes Rating System, one-half to one star will be available to be awarded for each of the following criteria:
Source ~ Is it from a trusted resource that we are already familiar with? Or, if not, has enough research shown it to be trustworthy? Or, has it come referred to us from a trusted resource?
Entertainment Value ~ Is it fun to enter, or does it have some entertaining factor to entering the sweepstakes?
Creativity and Originality ~ Is it unique? Does it have style? Is it original? In essence, what's the twist?
Prizes ~ Are the prizes unique? Something we can use? Original? Do the prizes have a good overall value?
and last, but cerainly not least,
Core Value ~ This combines the above four factors, then adds the elements of any extras, such as the statement that the sweepstakes might be making (supporting a worthy cause of some sort, or for focusing on being "real" ), the ease of use (webpages that navigate or load easily, etc.) , or anything not in the above-mentioned criteria that could, or would, add core value to the sweepstakes.
This system will only apply to sweepstakes. Look for our Contest Rating System in an upcoming article.