I started the Contestgirl website in 2006 and have been running it ever since. Whether you're a casual sweeper or a hobbyist, I am so glad you're visiting my site and I hope you'll have some fun with it. The rest of this page explains a bit about the site to make sure you get the most out of it.

The Main Listings

I organize the sweepstakes and contests listing by Country (U.S. and Canada) and by frequency of allowed entry. Some sweepstakes allow each person to enter only once, while others allow multiple entries. I organize them this way because it lets me be more disciplined on how I enter them. I want to maximize my chances on multiple entry contests so I enter as often as I'm allowed and I want to be sure not to enter single entry sweeps more than once and risk disqualification.

I separate blog giveaways into their own category. Blogs websites are often owned by individuals rather than large corporations and the giveaways they offer sometimes have smaller prizes - but that doesn't mean you should ignore them. You won't find better odds anywhere and if you really want to win something enter a few blog giveaways. I love them.

The Search Button

If you're looking for something specific, try searching for it. The search button allows you to search the Contestgirl database for sweepstakes based on their description or their URL. It doesn't search outside the website – if it's not in the Contestgirl database, it won't return any result. If you want to win an iPad, for example, simply type “ipad” into the search box and hit the search button. If you want to win a trip to France, try searching for the work “france”. You don't need to worry about upper or lower case characters – that is to say, you don't need to capitalize words like country names or brand names.

You'll find the search button on the home page and on top of the sweepstakes listings pages. If you search from the home page or from the main listings pages, it will search the entire site. If you search from the “Free Stuff” listings, it will only return items from the freebie lists. If you search for “ipad” in the freebie list, for example, you'll likely get nothing – unfortunately, nobody is giving away free iPads. If you search for something while on the MyContests listings, the search will return only items from your MyContests lists.

Give the search button a try. There are usually more than 5,000 active sweepstakes in the database so you'll find some really interesting stuff if you go looking.

Comments

Each item in the sweepstakes list has a comment link that you can click to read any existing comments for that item and add your own if you have something to say.

The comments are meant to be the social part of the website. Many websites have forums to allow visitors to get to know each other and carry on conversations. I have considered adding a forum section to the Contestgirl website but I'm afraid of the amount of work it would take to keep it under control. The comments are the Contestgirl equivalent of a forum. They are moderated by me but I will only delete those that are spam or that are abusive to other visitors. Don't be shy – post a comment on any listing and see if you can get a discussion going.

Sorting the Sweepstakes

The sweepstakes listings are usually shown with the most recent ones first. I put a little yellow splat with the word “New” beside each listing that has been added within the past 24 hours. The reason they're sorted that way is so returning visitors can find all the new sweepstakes easily – they're on the first few pages. If you want to sort them by the date they expire, you can simply select "Sort by Expiry" from the drop-down list that you'll find on the top of each page. Sorting by expiry date can be fun because it gives you a chance to enter all those sweepstakes that are about to end. If you enter a sweepstakes that's ending today, there will be no waiting around to find out if you're a winner – you may hear back from them as early as tomorrow.

In addition to sorting by posted or expiry date you have the option of sorting by most valuable or by most commented. The reason I added the sort by most comments is because a sweepstakes that is generating a lot of comments could be one that has been around for a while and lots of people are entering it and possibly reporting wins.

MyContests

The MyContests feature needs a bit of explaining. This feature allows you to build a list of the sweepstakes you want to enter on a regular basis. It's most useful for the multiple entry sweeps (daily, weekly, monthly and odd entry) but it also lets you track the single entry sweeps that you've already entered so you don't accidentally enter more than once and risk disqualification.

You build your MyContests list by first logging into the website with a username and password. You can create a username and a password by clicking on this link. Once you log in, you'll notice that on the left hand side of the page, there's a new set of links under the heading “MyContests”. These are links to your personal list of sweepstakes that you can now build. If you're logged in and looking at the regular sweepstakes listings, you'll see that each item has a link that says “Add to MyContests”. If you click that link, the item will be copied to your MyContests list.

Once you've built the list of those sweepstakes you want to enter on a regular basis, you simply select the category under the MyContests heading and enter the sweepstakes from there. Whenever you enter a sweepstakes from your MyContests list, the Contestgirl website keeps track of the time you clicked the link and tells you the last time you entered. That way you can maximize your entries to multiple entry contests without disqualifying yourself for entering too often.

The Presto Button

The Presto button is available only on the MyContests listings. If you're looking at one of your MyContests lists, you'll see the Presto button at the top of the page. Pressing the button will cause all the items in the list for that page to be opened simultaneously, each in their own window or tab, depending on how you've configured your browser.

I use the Presto button all the time. When I'm going through my MyContest lists each evening, it saves a lot of time.

Private Notes

As part of the MyContest feature, you are able to add a private note to any of the sweepstakes you include in your list. Any note you create will be private and will only be seen by you. If you want to add a comment that's visible to everyone, you can still do it from your MyContests list using the “Add a Comment” link.

Add Your Own (MyContests)

Wherever you live, there are lots of contests from local radio stations and local newspapers that you may want to follow on a regular basis. Most local contests aren't included in the Contestgirl listings because I try to make the website interesting to a larger audience and because I just don't have the time to list local stuff. That's not a problem, however, because you can add these items yourself to your MyContests list. You'll find a link labeled "Add Your Own Here" on the left hand side of the page under the MyContests heading. Simply click that link and complete the form. Any listing you add are visible only by you and only through your MyContests pages.

The Archives

You'll notice a link near the bottom of the left hand side of each page labeled "Contest Archives". If you click that link it will take you to a list of expired sweepstakes - ones that have ended. The archives can be useful if you get a notification email that you have won a contest and you want to review the details or maybe you don't remember entering the contest and want to confirm that there really was one. Many of the links to sweepstakes and their rules remain active on the sponsors' website after they have ended so I keep them in the archives in the hope that they still work.

The Newsletter

I started a weekly newsletter in May 2012. I try to make it as interesting as possible and I've had some nice compliments on it from a number of people. Nobody seems to unsubscribe so I guess it's working. I put in things like a list of most popular and least popular contests from the past week, I point out good sweeps that people may have missed and so on. Click here if you want some more detail. At the same time I started the newsletter, I also started running my own giveaways. The giveaways are available to anyone who subscribes to the newsletter and all subscribers are automatically entered into each of my own giveaways.



Well that's mostly it. Thanks again for visiting my website - I hope you like it.