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BellaOnline Sweepstakes FAQ - Frequently Asked Questions

How are Winners Announced?
All winners are listed on this site, and a newsletter goes out to all subscribers that announces all winners. No spam or other mail ever goes out to that list, those names are never sold or used in any other way. Be sure to sign up! When we announce winners, we list both the first and last full name, and the state (or "UK"). We did at one time only show the first initial and last name with the state, but we ran into situations in big states where multiple people would then claim to have won ("B Smith in CA" was too generic). Because of this we polled our members and asked if they'd rather show both full names, or show the city/state. Members overwhelmingly voted for the full name.

Are your sweepstakes available to Canadian Residents?
I'm afraid it's not for legal reasons. As it is, we had to go state to state to all 50 states to get permission to offer our sweepstakes to their residents. We got approval from all 50 US states. I've written to all provinces in Canada (the gaming commissions) and *none* have responded to me at all. I'll try writing them again but until I get permission from them, I'm not legally allowed to offer the sweepstakes to residents in those provinces.

Are your sweepstakes available to non-US/UK Residents in general?
No, while the US and UK see gambling as a 'vice' that only adults can handle, other countries actually look on gambling as a mortal sin and have extremely nasty repercussions for those who gamble. We can only offer our sweepstakes to those locations that we have specific permission from. Right now that only includes the 50 states of the United States, plus the United Kingdom.
Sweepstakes Location Information

Can those under 18 enter your sweepstakes?
Because of COPPA and child protection rules, we cannot request personal information from anybody under the age of 18. We are looking into allowing those 13 and older to enter, and to then award the prize to the adult guardian of the child if the child wins the sweepstakes. We have not yet gotten permission to do this yet, though.

How Do You Choose your Prizes?
Prizes are offered by companies with whom we develop relationships. We are a woman owned and operated business and we do our utmost to help support and promote all women owned businesses. We actively seek out companies that are owned by women to help get their products known. If you have a prize you feel our visitors would be interested in, please Contact Us

I enter once or twice a month and have never won. Why?
The BellaOnline sweepstakes are extremely popular and get over 100,000 entries every month. If we ran 20 sweepstakes in a given month, and you entered every single sweepstakes every day for 30 days, that would only be 600 entries in our system. That would be less than a 1% chance of winning a prize. The point of a sweepstakes is that it is all random luck, but that the more times you enter, the more likely your name is chosen. The winners in our sweepstakes are drawn by a fully randomized computer program, but as always, the more times you enter, the more likely it is that your name will be chosen.

When a Sweepstakes Ends, Another Appears In Its Place. Why?
We have many sweepstakes sponsors who are thrilled to be with us, and have stayed with us for years! So let's take the Italian Pottery sweepstakes, for a $100 gift certificate to I happen to love their wares and have bought many for gifts for friends over the years :) Let's say that they have a sweepstakes that runs from Jan 1 2005 through Feb 28 2005 at 11:59pm. We don't just delete that page when it hits midnight on the morning of March 1st! Instead we close out that run of the sweepstakes and then start up a brand new one, running from March 1 at 12:00am running to April 30 at 11:59pm. We use the same page for that new one. That way people who love the Italian Pottery and want to keep entering the new run don't have to go hunting around to find out where it went to. Also it means that our site doesn't end up littered with hundreds of broken pages as the months go on.

Why Don't You Announce on Feb 1 Who Won the Jan 31st Sweepstakes?
This website is run all by volunteers who work from our homes. We get an avalanche of postcard entries that we have to sort through, arrange and enter so that everything is as fair as possible when we do our drawings. The actual name drawing system is fully automatic once we ensure the database has every name in it. When names are drawn, we then have to arrange to have our newsletter send out - it is quite huge and takes a while to get out to all members. We then personally handle each winner, and have to hand-remove the many bounce-backs that happen with each mailing list. Because of this, we need to give ourselves a few weeks to make sure we do this all exactly right. It is very important to us that we do each sweepstakes mailing as fairly as possible. If we are having mail server issues, we wait until they are all resolved so that every single person on our mailing list is ensured of getting their announcement.

I Seem to Be Able to Enter More than Once a Day?
Our sweepstakes rules clearly only allow one entry per email address per 24 hour day period. But if every time a person made an entry, it ran a complex database query to make sure that email address had not been put into our system within 24 hours of a previous entry, our entire site would slow down to a crawl. We can't do it via cookies, because people could simply switch machines for their entries. It is much safer to only do that check before we draw a winner, so that we can run a one-time report during the wee hours of the morning. That way it affects fewer people.

Has There Ever Been a Winner from (enter state name here)?
You know, people ask these questions sometimes about the "smaller population" states. I think it has to do with the number of people in a state, and also the percentage of people who are online in a given state. For example California is HUGE and a lot of people there have net connections. So say you have 100,000 people a day entering from California, and then in comparison for example Rhode Island is tiny, so you only have 1,000 people a day entering from Rhode Island, Chances are that youíll end up with lots of winners from California and very few from Rhode Island! Itís a simple random draw so the more entries you have, the more winners you have.

Itís the same thing if you had a person who entered once a month and another person who entered once a day. The person who entered once a day would have more chances to win than the person who only entered once a month.

That all being said, yes, every state has had at least one winner over the years, so we definitely have a group of loyal visitors in every state in the US!

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