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Brent
June 26th, 2002, 4:58am
Hi guys,

Again, I'd like to apologize for not being able to reply to everyone's posts individually. The last couple of weeks have been especially busy for me and there just doesn't seem to be enough time in the day for me to get everything done that I need to do.


Memberships & Donations
My goal with the whole paid membership thing is to reward those who have been kind enough to support this site (and me) with a donation. It's not to 'punish' those who don't donate/buy a membership.

Most of the people who have been generous enough to donate are the same people who tend to do most of the posting and contributing here in the forums. Without this kind of support, this site would be nothing like it is now, if it would even be here at all. So it's only natural that I would want to provide this site's biggest supporters benefits that aren't available to everyone else and that's what I intend to do with the whole paid membership thing- give the paid members (and generally speaking the site's biggest supporters) their money's worth.

I've got some pretty good ideas about some of the things I'm going to do and most of it involves additional, more advanced features that aren't already a part of the site (and not taking away most of the features that are already free). Most of you that have been following this site for awhile know that I'm always thinking and coming up with new and better ways to do things. I like to push the envelope. Be rest assured that as good as many of you think this site is now, it's nowhere near what it can and will be. I've still got plenty of tricks up my sleave, it's just a matter of finding the time to work on them.

For the foreseeable future I have absolutely no intention of limiting this site to paid members only. I believe I will be able to come up with a paid/free mix that will be satisfactory to everyone. Down the road, if this site continues to grow like it has, I *might* consider it.


Sweep Swiping
When I restricted guests' access about 10 days ago I was mad. I wasn't mad at individuals for taking a sweep or two from here in the forums and posting them on other boards, or taking a sweep or two from other boards and posting them here. I was mad at seeing other webmasters from other websites coming here to take sweeps in bulk to post on their own sites.

I can spend 10-12 hours a day adding new sweeps to the directory. I weed through all the posts in the new sweep forum, hunt for new sweeps myself, and research, report and organize all the information found in the sweepstakes listings. Then along comes Joe Q. webmaster from some crappy sweep site who uses the results of all my (and your) tedious work to add sweeps to his site. And because the number of sweeps added each day, and the accuracy (usually, lol), organization and details that are included in the sweep listings, Joe Q. webmaster can add easily add 10, 20, or 30 of the most recent sweeps to his site in no time at all without breaking a sweat. That crosses the line and it pisses me off (and it takes a lot to get me angry).

Now don't get me wrong, there are at least a couple of sites I only suspect are taking sweeps from this site's directory. When a sweep site doesn't have a new sweep forum nearly as active as the one here (and/or a site that doesn't have the traffic we do) and they consistently add sweeps to their sites that were added to the Online-Sweepstakes.com directory a day or two earlier, something smells. Most are at least smart enough to not copy the prize descriptions word for word (that's why I can only suspect what they're doing).

But, there is one sweep site that I know, without a doubt in my mind, is stealing from this site because they do copy at least part of the prize descriptions (that I wrote myself) word for word. I haven't done anything about it yet, but I will soon. I wanted to consider all of my options before I call them on it.

There's a fine line between sharing sweeps between boards/sites and outright theft. There are several sweep sites, boards and newsletters that, while they may not condone sweep swiping from other boards/sites outright, they surely indirectly encourage it by offering various incentives (prize drawings, free issues, ect.) for the posting and/or submission of new sweeps.

Anyway, I just wanted clarify that it's not individuals sharing a few sweeps between different boards that bothers me. Even if I did there's nothing I could do about it, such is the nature of the Internet. Therefore, I think that as long as you don't copy posts or sweep listings from a board or site word for word and you don't swipe sweeps in mass, I don't have a problem with anyone posting sweeps they find on other boards or sites.


Decreasing Odds of Winning Because of Increased Traffic
I don't buy into this at all. Out of the myriad of things that can affect anyone's odds of winning any particular sweep, the increased traffic this site has been getting is insignificant for a number of reasons.

First, the sheer number of sweepstakes listed here has increased proportionately (approximately) with the increased traffic. 1,000 daily visitors with 100 sweepstakes to choose from isn't much different from 10,000 daily visitors with 1,000 sweepstakes to choose from (not actual numbers, only examples used for simplicity).

And most of the people who visit this site for the first time don't return (repeat visit rate is around 30%). Most people will visit, maybe enter a few sweepstakes and leave never to return again. So just because we're getting more traffic doesn't necessarily mean that all the new visitors are hardcore sweepers that will come back and enter a couple of hundred of sweeps daily.

A lot, if not most of the hardcore sweepers that do visit this site daily (or almost daily) would probably be visiting the other sweepstakes sites (and therefore entering many of the same sweepstakes) if it weren't for this site anyway.

There are soooooo many other things about any particular sweep that affect your odds of winning much more greatly than how many visitors this site gets. Off the top of my head- entry frequency (daily, weekly, one time, ect) and how often you personally enter; eligibility restrictions (no FL, RI, NY or CA?; the more restrictive, the more your odds will be improved); how many sweeps you enter each day (you can enter many more sweeps in less time if you're organized, have good information, use roboform, this site [MySweeps, good organization & info], use Sweeps!, and/or have a fast Internet connection); how long the entry period is (much better odds for a single entry sweep with a month long entry period as opposed to one with a year long entry period); whether or not the sweep allows snailmail/phone/in-store/per order entries (more ways to enter, less odds of winning); referrals (if you don't get at least some of the allowable number of bonus entries for referrals yourself, your odds are lower); and whether and how often a sweep is advertised via tv, radio, online or in-store (how many more entries for a sweep will be generated by just one more tv commercial?).

I'm sure there are several more, but the point is that the number of visitors to this one little website are relatively insignificant in comparison to the plethora of factors that can much more greatly impact (positively and negatively) your odds of winning. As a matter of fact, I think that one could argue that the opposite is true, that your odds of winning are actually increased by the increase in traffic this site is getting.

Why? Because the bigger a success this site becomes, the more features and tools I will be able to come up with for you that will help decrease the time it takes to find and enter sweeps (increased efficiency/productivity = more entries = better odds). Eventually, I plan to have several of our own sweeps going (more traffic will enable me to do that). And I don't doubt that all of the various sweeps out there are getting more entries just because this site exists. The more entries a sponsor can get for a sweeps, the more likely they will continue to have sweepstakes with more & bigger prizes. The Tiger Woods effect so to speak. :)


The Rest of This Week
I've had a really hard time trying to find the time to get the new add-a-sweep system going the last couple of weeks. I really, really want to get it up and running by the beginning of July. Like I've said before (sort of), I think it will be one of the most significant updates I've ever made to the site. It will vastly improve the efficiency of adding new sweeps (for both you and me) and will allow me to increase the number of sweeps I can add each day.

Because it will be such an important improvement to the site (and who knows what kind of problems I might run into in the process), I'm probably going to slack off a little for the rest of the week in the number of sweeps I add to the directory each day (I'll probably just do 15 or so a day). I absolutely need to get this done by Monday.

As hard as I've been working lately, I know that a lot of you have been working quite hard as well posting new sweeps (I've been trying to stay caught up). If ever there was an opportune time to take a break from finding/posting new sweeps, this is it. If there are a lot of new sweeps posted that I end up missing between now and Monday, it will harder for me to go back and add them because of the new setup I will have in place by then. So feel free to take a break, relax a little and maybe spend some extra time on entering those 170 sweeps that are expiring between now and Monday. :smile3:

One of the things I'll be adding is the ability to save the full text of every sweep's rules. I'd like to be able to get this done by Friday or Saturday so that I have time to go through all those sweeps expiring on the last day of the month. When I get it done, if anybody would like to help copy & paste the rules for all the sweeps that are already in the directory, I'd appreciate it. With several people, it shouldn't be too difficult or time consuming to whip through all of them. It would probably be best if you had a broadband connection though. :)


BIG congratulations to all the winners we've had lately. Very impressive! :cheer2:

Don't forget, we have 170 sweeps expiring between now and Monday. Good luck to everybody!!!

Thanks again everyone, for your continued support, contributions, donations and patience. I couldn't do it without you. :smile3:


Brent

khill
June 26th, 2002, 5:14pm
Your "explanation" was very concise and to the point. Keep up the good work.

bmobley
June 26th, 2002, 6:36pm
Brent, Once again thank you.
You are doing a great job and I am very impressed with everything I have seen. iT Takes alot of work and man hours on your part to see that everything runs well and everyone is happy.
I agree with you 100 percent on your goals for this website.
Keep up the good work everyone,you have some great worker bees on this site.
Brent2 :cheer2:
:cheer:

topper
June 26th, 2002, 7:04pm
you're right again--ya have my support---:yay:

Tartallini
June 26th, 2002, 10:29pm
Brent,

I am in awe of your commitment to this site, and to us as a group. Although I don't know if I'll ever figure out all of the CURRENT goodies on the site, it's great to hear more about your vision for the future.

One question...
"Do you :sleep2: ?"

Andrea;)

uglyboyjohn
June 27th, 2002, 3:21am
Sounds great Brent!Remember this just 100 Days Ago:The 1,000th member was apriltarbuskovic who registered on March 19th @ 5:05pm ET.
As of this post:Members: 1,828,
This Site is growing at a phenomenal rate! Thanks to all your hard work and dedication and all the great members we have here Sharing & Caring !
I totaly agree that with more members there's more opportunity.
I'm glad that you shared your visions for this site, looks like your on target today to make your dreams a reality tomorrow! :smile4:

mahitabel
June 28th, 2002, 11:39pm
:D I'm fairly new around here, but I think you are doing a splendid job. Your emails are succinct yet informative.Somehow you have managed to answer questions that I haven't even formulated yet. I've been sweeping steadily for about 3 years, but I have just found you all. This is the best site ever. Everything is so organized and easy to navigate. It is well worth the donation. Which, by the way, I finally got done tonight.
Good heavens! You don't think I could possibly be getting organized too?!? lol My husband say I don't have anything to worry about; my insanity is safe.vbg:bow:

yadgirl
June 30th, 2002, 2:20am
Brent,
I'm still in awe of how you keep this site up and running with new links every day too. What you can do in a day would take me a week!

I do have one comment about "competition." While I do think increased competition decreases the odds of winning, having more sweeps to enter increases the odds, so I think it does even out.

I know it's a rare thing for me to even get to the three or four pages of "sweeps expiring soon" every day. I'm sure there are people who can enter 200 or 300 sweeps a day, but they're few and far between. Plus, if you're entering that many per day, you're bound to make mistakes, and in most cases, those mistakes will disqualify that entry.

As for people or webmasters coming here to get sweeps to post somewhere else, all I can say is that I subscribe to the Kid Rock philosophy about that: "You get what you put in, and people get what they deserve." :p

kc

LuckyGirl
June 30th, 2002, 11:36am
Very impressive!

It's nice to have such a talented and committed hand on the helm. I've been here quite a while and I like everything I see, can't wait for the explosion of new sweeps with "add a sweep."

Thanks in advance for creating the opportunity for the huge prizes I'm going to win SOON.

:cheer4:

Brent
July 1st, 2002, 5:06pm
Thanks everybody! I know I say this a lot, but I really couldn't do it without all your support. You guys are awsome. :)

Brent