Weghting a sweepstakes in my favor
September 18, 2007 1:09 PM   Subscribe

"you will automatically receive one entry for each bill payment you make" Is this sweepstakes set up by morons?

What would stop me (other than a lack of time) to pay my bills with micropayments and enter potentially tens of thousands of times?
posted by plinth to Work & Money (9 answers total)
The fine print says "each bill that you pay online", not "any fraction of a bill that you pay online". If you did win you would most likely be disqualified.
posted by kuujjuarapik at 1:12 PM on September 18, 2007

you probably wouldn't be DQ'd but you'd still only get one entry..
posted by wangarific at 1:15 PM on September 18, 2007

You dont even need to do that. You can enter as many times as you want anyways: If you desire to enter the Sweepstakes other than through making Internet bill payments, or as an Internet bill payer you desire additional entries, print your name, address, telephone number ... There is no limit to the number of entries you can send.

I'm not sure why they'd be morons. Anybody can enter as many times as they want. They still only have to give away the prize once.
posted by vacapinta at 1:20 PM on September 18, 2007

I think the morons part would be in reference to precedents such as when Caltech students gamed a McDonalds sweepstakes by printing entry forms with a computer.
posted by Rhomboid at 1:59 PM on September 18, 2007

I liked this rule - "To be eligible for the Sweepstakes you must be a natural born person". But I don't think they're morons.
posted by Vorpil at 2:22 PM on September 18, 2007

@Vorpil — "natural born person" likely means a human being, not a corporation.
posted by electric_counterpoint at 2:53 PM on September 18, 2007

I won $10,000 in an online contest once by strictly following the letter, but not necessarily the spirit, of the rules. My conclusion was that, yes, that contest was being run by morons. This one, I don't know. As vacapinta pointed out, you explicitly can enter as many times as you want. Whether they'll only take multiple entries via mail or if bill micropayments count too is probably worth finding out, though.
posted by hades at 2:57 PM on September 18, 2007

They don't care who wins. The point of the contest is to get people to buy their product. So the only way they're morons is if there's something inherent in the contest that makes people not buy the product.

Making the contest easy to game doesn't undercut the advertising purpose of the contest.

Now, if the contest was structured in such a way that it could be gamed so as to become economically impossible or unfavorable to the company running the contest, then they'd be morons.
posted by The World Famous at 3:02 PM on September 18, 2007

Best answer: It doesn't really matter because the contest will still occur regardless of whether John Doe has 1 entry or 1000. Most people probably won't go to the trouble of making micropayments or otherwise "beating the system." Plus, the point is to get you to pay bills online - perhaps they even get a cut or a flat fee per transaction. In that case, it might be even better for them if contestants enter more than once. Overall though, the language encourages you to enter multiple times (i.e. one entry per bill, rather than one entry per account, etc.). So I don't think they're morons.

On a personal note, I once ran contests for a company I worked for. This one lady entered at least 40 times a day, with a different email address for each entry (the rules were one entry per email per day). We didn't care, per se, that she stacked the deck in her favor each time - it only really became an issue when we ran the contest analytics and lead generation reports. She'd have thousands of entries with her demographic info by the time each contest ran its course - so I'd have to run one report with her data and one without. Regardless, she was still legit.
posted by ml98tu at 4:57 PM on September 18, 2007

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