Robin's Trophy Case of Prizes

They're not the Twenty Treasures of Zork, but I have won some rather nice things from sweepstakes and contests on the WWW. :-)

Several people have asked, Where do you find all these contests? I recommend the following resources:

River 100.7

Cut short trip to Florida, driving back to North Carolina to pick up tickets at radio station, where receptionist had me sign an affidavit in a three ring binder and tore off two tickets stapled to it.

Blingo

In April 2005, Blingo opened a Google-powered search engine with instant-win prizes like movie tickets, iPods, and PlayStation Portables awarded to searchers at random times throughout the day. For viral marketing, if someone joins with your referral link and wins a prize, you both win one.

Search results seem identical to Google with more ads, but result links are transformed from http:// to /external-result/http://, so Blingo knows which results you follow.

Only your first 10 searches per day can win, and you can only win twice per month. After 10 searches I use Google for the rest of the day.

You Don't Know Jack about Monsterfest from AMC

Yay! What a delight to have 7 new mini-episodes of You Don't Know Jack to play. No big client program to download, it runs in Shockwave Flash. Each day from 26-31 October, a new episode featured the monster movies running that day in AMC's Monsterfest. And I won one of 500 iPAQ pocket computers they gave the top scorers! How good is that!

I think my favorite trivia question was:

Based on what the Wolf Man is killed with in the 1941 classic The Wolf Man, which of the following characters would be the most effective werewolf hunter?

  1. the Lone Ranger
  2. Mr. Peanut
  3. Cap'n Crunch
  4. Wonder Woman

Though I loved this game, in 2004, I started receiving spam at an address I used only for this contest. AMC apparently gave my e-mail address to a spammer hawking a Viagra knockoff called Cialis. :-(

Guinness/Bass Ale Cool Yule Sweepstakes

They sent an affidavit to fill out and notarize for a prize which was either a Guinness/Bass ski hat or Bass boxer shorts. Don't know if it was worth a $2 notary fee to claim it.

Big Tomato Sweepstakes from Rotten Tomatoes

Click on each movie-related prize once daily for a chance of an instant win.

When I first tried, I got an instant win for Chicken Run, but when I submitted my e-mail address in the claim forms that popped up, I received a message that they were experiencing technical difficulties, please try again. Then I found that I got an instant win for all the other prizes too, but the form reported technical difficulties. What a disappointment. But then, it seems my initial win did count after all. Hooray!

Prizes.com/Prizes Domain

Enter various lackluster contests like Click the Spot to win tokens redeemable for some fairly expensive prizes.

From 1999 through 2000, they changed almost all of their contests to online scratchers you can try every 5 minutes.

It seems they're going through more changes. Received an e-mail saying to redeem all my tokens by 31 March 2001, after which they will expire.

Gaming Madness from videogames.com/VideoGameSpot (expired)

Find answers to multiple choice questions about dozens of games to be entered in each daily drawing. Many prizes.

Gourmet Guess from Global Gourmet

Monthly prizes for foodies. Answer at least 7 out of 10 multiple choice questions correctly for a chance to win.

John Pierson Giveaway from IFC (expired)

IFC has various indie-film related giveaways. Once you register, you can enter most of them daily by just entering a user name and password.

X Marks the GameSpot from GameSpot (expired)

Find answers to multiple choice questions about dozens of games to be entered in the daily drawing. Many prizes.

Reaction Big Deal Sweepstakes (expired)

Snap! MACH3 Sweepstakes from Snap! (expired 4 August 1998)

Each search on snap.com had a chance of generating an instant win. Unfortunately, it seems their server generated more instant wins than they had prizes for, so many people felt cheated. :-(

Modern Library Challenge from Random House

Hardly Trivial Sharks

Answer trivia question about the San Jose Sharks for a chance to win a weekly prize.

HBO Reverb Giveaway (expired)

Daily entry to win music prizes and HBO merchandise.

Mission Impossible Sweepstakes? (expired)

I received a video of Mission: Impossible in the mail with no cover letter. It couldn't be from the IMF contest two years ago, could it?

The case says it was formatted to fit your TV screen, yuck! That always means they chopped off the sides of the picture. Oh well.

Travel the World with James Bond Sweepstakes from Avis (expired)

Spell-ing Contest from Zork Grand Website (expired)

Create an Enchanter-style spell to win a Zork Grand Inquisitor-related prize.

Internet Explorer Subscribe to Win promotion from Microsoft (expired)

Pass the Word Sweepstakes from King of Prussia Mall

Search their site daily for the hidden image to find a secret password to enter. Prizes are gift certificates for stores in the mall in King of Prussia, Pennsylvania.

Sometime in 1999, they switched from monthly prizes to semimonthly.

Black Dahlia Online Contest (expired)

Answer daily trivia questions about Black Dahlia to accumulate points to win prizes.

Microsoft Internet Explorer & Wired Magazine Subscription Giveaway Sweeptakes from HotWired (expired)

One of many MSIE-only contests promoting Microsoft Internet Explorer 3.0 when it was released.

Obsidian Scavenger Hunt from SegaSoft (expired)

Search the site and play on-line to collect letters of the secret word, conductor.

Coca-Cola Super Red On-line Sweepstakes (expired)

Discworld II Web Contest from Psygnosis (expired)

Fill out an online survey for a chance to win a hand-drawn cel from Discworld II.

Southern Comfort Rocks the Blues Concert from Ticketmaster Online (expired)

Golden Gate Trivia Contest (expired 15 June 1997)

Answer trivia about the Golden Gate Bridge to win commemorative merchandise.

Universal Good Tidings Sweepstakes (expired 10 January 1997)

One hot day in June, I came home from a delicious Chinese lunch and found a long shallow box at my door. What a nice surprise! Every day is Christmas! Inside was:

DYEWitness book contest (expired)

Jumbo! Lotto! (expired)

Click ad banners daily to gain entries in a monthly drawing. Most of the prizes are Jumbo! mechandise (T-shirts, mouse pads, yo-yos, &c.).

My prize from the April contest arrived with a note saying they were out of stock on my prize, so they enclosed a substitute. I wonder what the original prize was. Maybe the Jumbo boxer shorts?

Daily Prize Drawing from Graphic Arts Mall (expired)

Progressive Pot Crossword Puzzle from Graphic Arts Mall (expired)

x2 Giveaway (expired 5 May 1997)

U.S. Robotics sponsored 40+ contests on sites all over the web, each giving away 2 Sportster® 56K modems a day for 56 days (10 March to 5 May). One of the best sweepstakes opportunities on the web! Plus a cost-effective way for USR to encourage users to adopt x2 as the de facto 56.6kbps standard.

Orientation Free Stuff from Orientation (expired)

Caption of the Week from Presage

Celebrity Puzzle Challenge from Random House

Solve the clues and identify the mystery celebrity to win a puzzle book.

Points for Prizes from Kenwood

This used to be a good promotion, but no longer. Kenwood gave points redeemable for prizes to buyers of Kenwood products. In this contest, they also awarded points for answering music trivia questions on their website.

In the fall of 1988, they changed the rules. With a perfect score, you could accumulate 1400 points during the entire contest, and the points expire at the end of the contest. However, the only prize you could get with 1400 points was a Kenwood mug, 1200 points. Even T-shirts and baseball caps were out of reach at 1500 points. The CDs I used to play for were 1800 points.

There's no point in playing now. I'll answer trivia questions for a couple weeks for a CD, but I've got plenty of mugs.

Free Golf Balls from Golf Ball Warehouse (expired)

Wordsworth Books

Identify a novel from its first line to win a new book.

? from The Picture Palace

Holiday Legends and Lure Quiz Game from Newsday (expired)

Know Your CyberRights Sweepstakes from the Electronic Frontier Foundation (expired 27 January 1997)

Answer a simple question demonstrating your knowledge of threats to free speech on the Internet for a chance to win a Gibson guitar autographed by The Cure.

My blue ribbon pin arrived bent and with a broken backing. It also punched a large hole through the cover letter and front of the envelope.

New Book Rewards Prize Fest from t@p online (expired)

Answer the question of the day for a chance to win.

Free Swiss Army Knife Promotion from GESPAC (expired)

Enter for an almost sure chance at getting a genuine Swiss army knife.

CyberSurfari '96 (expired December 1996)

Find answers to 100 questions all over the Web. Click on each answer for another entry.

NetStakes

Enter daily for each of several dozen prizes. Takes a while, since you have to go through a few pages for each prize, for maximum advertising exposure. It's not too bad, you need only enter your e-mail address after the first time. (Although they occasionally ask for more marketing data, gathering their profile a question at a time.)

Candor WebTech (expired)

Monthly sweepstakes to win exotica from Africa.

The Game Master (expired)

Site with some Riddler-like trivia games. The best was an irregularly scheduled quiz game on their chat server. It was fun to compete with familiar faces and the game was fairly easy to win. Prizes were a mixed bag, but I loved the gourmet food.

The site thegamemaster.com remained long after the company died, but it's finally been taken off life support.

You Don't Know Jack the netshow

This trivia game with attitude was well worth downloading the 2 MiB client software to play (for Windows only). It was lots of fun! They used to have a new game every week, then only reruns for a while. In the beginning, random players used to win real prizes.

Explore this! from Microsoft (expired)

This Microsoft promotion required Internet Explorer 3.0 to enter. Scratch-and-win 5 times a day. I won a few game demo CDs.

Shoot the Net from Grant Hill Ventures (expired 23 January 1997)

Answer a weekly Grant Hill trivia question to win basketball memorabilia and a chance at a GMC Jimmy.

Timelapse Post-Launch Trivia Contest (expired 27 December 1996)

Solo: Chamber of Warriors Sweepstakes from Sony Pictures Entertainment (expired 20 September 1996)

Enter daily for a chance to win a Solo poster or a Solo T-shirt, or for the 10 Grand Prize winners, a poster and a T-shirt. Whoopee!

The Toy Story Web Adventures Contest from Disney (expired 21 December 1996)

A fun, graphics-intensive daily contest.

Surf's Up (expired)

Select Coleman once an hour at www.surfs-up.com and for a chance to be an instant winner.

The EHS Giveaway from AT&T (expired)

Universal Monster Mayhem Sweepstakes from MCA (expired 5 November 1996)

Enter daily to win a 6 day/5 night trip for 4 to Universal Studios Hollywood or Universal Studios Florida and a multimedia PC.

Virtual Art Studio Contest from New Asia Singapore (expired 31 December 1996)

Enter daily to win prizes from Singapore.

According to their winner lists, I have some dates I won things, but I can't match them to the prizes I arrived.

Play4Prizes (expired)

Solve a sponsor-related puzzle each weekday for a chance to win a daily $25 prize or the weekly $250 prize.

Minithon Challenge from Lifetime Television (expired)

Answer trivia about the Jackie Collins minithon.

Agora Scavenger Hunt from Agora Language Marketplace

Be the first, second, or third to find all 5 hidden keys to win a language-related prize.

If it doesn't arrive soon, I'll call Matt Dion (1-800-752-1767 x385) and ask about it.

PromoBucks from Dunch Enterprises (expired)

An instant-win slot machine. Three 7's wins.

It seems that Mr. Dunch never sends out prizes. Many other winners reported that they received nothing either.

Crossdown Free Software Drawing (expired)

Enter daily for a chance to win a monthly drawing for crossword puzzle software for Microsoft Windows.

VH1 Route 96 Car Tunes Contest (expired 31 July 1996)

Answer a music trivia question daily.

Outside Online Trivia Challenge

Answer a trivia question each weekday to be entered in drawings for weekly, monthly, and annual prizes.

MYST Trivia Challenge (expired 1 September 1996)

Answer 50 trivia questions about MYST to win MYST merchandise.

Music Previews Network (expired)

Find the Music Preview that has a WINNER image instead of the CD cover.

duJour.com

Answer riddles and trivia questions to win minor prizes.

Riddle du Jour

Mondo Trivia

The Labyrinth

Dog Days of Summer by Dogz! (expired)

Hunt for bones on participating websites to win $1000.

Diddy's Slot Quest (expired)

Play instant win slots as often as you like for a Nintendo Donkey Kong Country 2 game.

The Last Don: Loyalty Test (expired)

Play a simple on-line game to win a copy of The Last Don.

Sandbox

Play various games to win prizes or Smart Cards for an amount of sand dollars which can be redeemed for prizes.

They used to have a variety of games, but they dropped the ones I liked and limited themselves to fantasy sports leagues and stock trading simulations.

Dewar's Relaxation Tour from Dewar's Scotch Whisky (expired)

Four puzzle games in which you searched the world for a dead whisky baron.

Case 1 was a long game involving pursuing Tommy Dewar through almost 30 cities around the world. At each stop, you solved a puzzle or answered a trivia question or played a little Java game (which ran too fast on a 100 MHz PC; if you have the same problem, try playing a video or something in the background to moderate the speed). A bad bug: Sometimes it wouldn't let you into the next waystation after solving the previous one. Exiting Netscape and starting case 1 again usually cleared it up. (You could enter your user name to pick up where you left off).

Case 2 was a scavenger hunt for whisky bottles hidden throughout the Dewar's site. (How reminiscent of the Sunny D Hunt!). Case 3 was a simple mystery using a Java ouija board. For Case 4, you had to watch a bar spycam and wait for Tommy Dewar to show up.

All in all, a lot of work for a promotional book of epigrams or a decanter, but a fun time waster if you had nothing better to do.

Reach for the Sun Bottle Hunt from Sunny Delight (expired)

Search the Internet for hidden Sunny D bottles. Chances were good you'll win at least a T-shirt (there are over 4000 prizes).

My first website, the Sunny D Spoiler Shack, was a list of hidden bottle locations.

VisualPhile Puzzle Hunt Contest from Visual Applications (expired)

Search VisualPhile's site monthly for a hidden puzzle piece to win a full version of VisualPhile or a T-shirt.

The Great Hitachi ZooWorks® Internet Hunt (expired)

Search websites for hidden ZooWorks animals to win weekly prizes.

Crack the Case with Ace from 7th Level (expired 17 June 1996)

I searched some websites for pictures of Ace Ventura, and answered some simple questions.

Kool Drawing from Kool Ties

E-mail your name and e-mail address to draw@kooltie.com to register for each Friday's drawing.

I chose a national flags pattern to wear at the Olympics. It probably saved me from heat stroke watching the baseball game between Australia vs. the Netherlands from the sixth row, out under the brutal Atlanta sun.

Unfortunately, holes appeared in my Kool Tie, presumably from mildew. I had packed it in a plastic bag where it didn't get any air circulation. I wrote Kool Ties, and they offered to replace it! Kool Ties is a very cool product with very cool customer service. :-)

The Weather Trivia Contest from t@p online (expired)

Answer 3 weather trivia questions to enter each weekday's drawing.

Riddler

Play various puzzle and trivia games (including some multi-player ones) to win prizes.

In Riddler's second incarnation, they switched to an ill-conceived token system. Your reward for winning games was specific caps toward a random prize which would become available on a certain date. Expensive prizes were limited in number, so there was much competition to be the first to redeem your caps at midnight when each prize became available. Faster connections were rewarded.

Instead of getting rid of the dysfunctional cap system, Riddler imposed restrictions and other changes which made the games much less enjoyable.

The game became no fun any more, and most players went off to (then) better services like Sandbox. So, the sponsors dried up, meaning no good prizes were left. Nevertheless, the site persisted for ages, presumably propped up by revenue from Interactive Imaginations's ad banner venture, 24-7.

Riddler still has some excellent games, particularly the Java-based crossword puzzles. However, the only prize incentives these days are Riddler T-shirts, mousepads, and frisbees. Good luck earning them, the prizes tend to expire before you can accumulate enough caps of the same prize type and color.

I'm indebted to Big-D's Riddler Links and Spoilers for saving me countless hours of searching and puzzling. Thank you Big-D!

The Babylon 5 Mystery Alien Sweepstakes (expired)

For four weeks, they broadcast the name of the alien of the week during the commerical breaks. You could send a postcard or submit that name online for a chance to win.

The Hunt for the Lost Toy from Disney (expired 13 May 1996)

A fun, high-production-value daily contest. The first 455 people to solve a word puzzle each day win a Toy Story animated storybook. All correct answers are entered into a grand prize drawing for a trip to Walt Disney World. Easy to win, just enter within a couple hours after 8 PM and you'll probably be among the first 455 of the day.

April '96 Word Puzzle from Vocabulary.com/syndicate.com

Complete silly vocabulary puzzles (like Rooty-Hoot-Hoot, a puzzle to find multiple words with the same root word) correctly for a change to win a gift certificate. The site layout and graphics are rather unattractive, but the puzzles are basic, so you won't have to look at them for very long.

Where it's @ from t@p online (expired 30 June 1996)

Search t@p online for the 5 hidden @ Orbs. Select them and type in your I/CODE to collect points. High scores win weekly, monthly, and grand prizes. Sometimes, diamond orbs also give you instant prizes, though you won't find out until days later. Though one originally needed to register for a common identifier called an I/CODE to enter, I/CODE did not catch on.

Serious Fun Sweepstakes from Kodak (expired 31 August 1996)

An instant winner game--5 disposable cameras awarded each day until 31 August 1996. Only one camera awarded per mailing address.

The Late Shift from HBO (expired 31 March 1996)

Win a trip to New York City to film your own talk show, plus $5,000 spending money. The rules explicitly said enter as many times as you like so I sent thousands of entries, but I guess it wasn't enough.

'96 Summer Olympic Contest from Interactive Fantasy Network (expired)

Search the IF website for 5 Olympic rings, each with a word of the secret message send me 2 the Olympics inside it. (Actually, I only needed to find one of the GIFs, from which I guessed the URL's of the other 4.)

What's more, that may have been the only way to find all the rings! Reading the above, fellow IF user elf wrote to say:

I was at IF headquarters when they were discussing the finalist list, and there were only around 20 people on it. I'm beginning to think that they messed up the contest, and that not all the ring pages had links! Otherwise there surely would have been more finalists.

I felt so guilty about finding the rings illicitly that I went through the whole site looking for the links, and only ever found 3 of them! So I just went with my first technique, which was to point to the directory all the olympics stuff was in and look for the html documents with the word ring in them.

Weekly CD-ROM Giveaway from CyBoards (expired)

Send your name and address to enter that weeks drawing. 3 winners every Saturday choose a CD-ROM from their list of prizes.

Hackers Challenge from MGM and Hollywood Online (expired)

Big Contest for a Big Drive from Quantum (expired)

A daily contest that changes every month or so. When I won, I had to answer 4 questions in different places on their site for a chance to win a 1.2 GiB hard drive. Later it became a simple survey to fill out for a chance to win a 2.1 GB Bigfoot CY hard drive.

Merlin's Apprentice Sweeps from Phillips Media (expired)

Ever have UPS deliver a package, and find out it's a prize from a contest you entered months ago and forgot about? It's Christmas in June.

Belize It or Not Vacation Giveaway from Travel Partners (expired)

The rules explicitly said Enter as many times as you like. I liked to enter a lot. Over a thousand times.

Not only did I get a fantastic vacation, Travel Partners's sponsors contributed beachwear. They also mailed me a full range of suntan lotions and a small duffel bag to carry the stuff in. Unfortunately, they mailed it too late, because it arrived at my house during the week I was in Belize.

Travel Partners disappeared a few years ago, but they're back again as Adventures with Adventure Girl.

Crack the Safe Contest from Sunset Direct (expired)

Search corporate websites for answers to trivia questions and win prizes. Many good prizes, shipped promptly. Their software is rather buggy; for example, often multiple choice questions will reject all possible answers. However, I won most of the prizes below as a reward for reporting bugs!

As one might expect, though, they eventually lost their sponsors and ran out of prizes to give away, so they shut the game down.

CD-a-Day contest from IVI Publishing (expired 4 October 1996)

Answer 2 simple questions about the week's featured product for a chance each weekday to win it. Recommended.

Prizes are shipped immediately, but in paper envelopes with a sheet of bubble wrap--both times I won, the box was crushed flat in the mail (though the jewel box and CD-ROMs were intact).

$1,000,000 Internet Hunt from CompuServe (expired)

Find answers to 5 corporate trivia questions each week on various corporate websites, to win one of a huge number of prizes. Though one needed to register for a common identifier called an I/CODE to enter, I/CODE did not catch on.

It took a couple months for some prizes to arrive, and over a year for one of them.

ABBA Contest from PolyGram (expired)

Search the ABBA site for answers to some fairly difficult trivia questions.

It seems that when Cindy @ Polygram e-mailed my notification, she transposed 2 digits of her CompuServe address, so she probably didn't receive my response with my postal address. However, when I contacted her via Polygram, she straightened it out and promptly sent my prize.

Where's That Nabisco Thing?! from Nabisco (expired)

Find the Nabisco Things lurking in 4 photographs of crowd scenes, à la Where's Waldo?. First 1,000 won a plastic Nabisco Thing toy. More of a freebie than a contest.

RITZ bits Sandwich Game from Nabisco (expired)

Put images from the Ritz Bits commercial in order. First 5,000 won a Nabisco Thing velcro wallet. Also more of a freebie than a contest.