Saturday, May 25th, 2013 - 8:47am ET
|What is MySweeps™?|
MySweeps is an original OLS feature that allows registered OLS members to save and track a list of their favorite sweepstakes and contests. Once a sweep is added to your MySweeps list, it will appear in the MySweeps section of OLS.
Your MySweeps list can be sorted and displayed just like any other category or section of sweeps in the sweepstakes and contest directory. By default, daily entry sweeps are displayed in MySweeps. For more info, see What are the different options available to sort and display sweeps? in this FAQ.
As sweeps expire daily (just after midnight Pacific Time /3am Eastern Time), Premium OLS members have their expired sweeps automatically moved and saved to an Expired MySweeps section while non-premium OLS members have their expired sweeps automatically removed from their MySweeps list.
Premium members have the ability to save an unlimited number of sweeps to their MySweeps lists, and keep track of the date and time each sweep is saved to MySweeps, the date and time of the last entry for each saved sweep, and the total number of entries made for each saved sweep. Once sweeps saved in MySweeps expire, all associated MySweeps information is retained in the Expired MySweeps section for your future reference. Premium members also have access to Shazam!, which lets you open every sweep on a MySweeps page in a new browser window with one click of a button, as well as add a counted entry (timestamp and +1 to total) for each sweep with another click of a button (a big time-saver).
Non-premium OLS members cannot access or save any entry tracking information, lose sweeps from their MySweeps list once they expire, and are currently limited to saving a maximum of 500 sweeps in MySweeps.
|What is Shazam!?|
Shazam! is a new feature that enables you to open all the listed sweeps on page in a new browser window with one click of a button. Shazam! is only available to premium OLS members and currently is only found in the MySweeps section when viewing sweeps by entry frequency: Daily (default MySweeps view), 24-Hour, Unlimited, Weekly, Monthly, Other, Unknown and Single.
After clicking on the Shazam! button to open every sweep on the page in a new window, the Count button is enabled. Clicking on the Count button will record an entry to the entry tracking information for each sweep on the same page (each sweep's Last Entry date and time will be updated and 1 entry will be added to Total Entries).
Once you click on the Count button to add a recorded entry for every sweep on the page, the Undo button will become enabled. Clicking on the Undo button will undo all updates or changes made to the entry tracking information of all sweeps on that page, reverting back to the original information. In other words, you can click on Count to add a recorded entry for each sweep, and then click on the Undo button to undo all those updated entries.
You can also add or undo recorded entries for individual sweeps at any time.
Tips for Using Shazam!:
Pop-up blockers will prevent Shazam! from working properly.
If you click on the Shazam! button and nothing happens or only one or two sweeps open up in new windows, chances are a pop-up blocker is preventing the new windows from opening. Instead of completely disabling any pop-up blocker(s) you may have installed on your computer, add OLS to your pop-up blocker's "whitelist." This will enable pop-ups from Online-Sweepstakes.com while still blocking pop-ups from other web sites. OLS does not use pop-ups to display advertisements or for any other reason.
To add Online-Sweepstakes.com to Internet Explorer's built-in pop-up blocker, go to Tools > Internet Options > Privacy and click on the Settings... button in the Pop-up Blocker section. Put online-sweepstakes.com in the box underneath where it says Address of Web site to allow and click the Add button. Click the Close button, then the OK button and you're done. Other pop-up blockers should have very similar procedures.
Adjust the number of sweeps that are displayed in MySweeps.
The older your computer is and the less memory (RAM) your computer has available to it will greatly effect how many browser windows your computer will be able to open and display at one time. By default, sweeps on OLS are displayed 15 per page. Using Shazam!, older computers with little memory may not be able to open and display 15 sweeps in 15 different browser windows at the same time without crashing or hanging. However, you can go to the Member Options page (link is normally found in the Navigation Menu) and change the number of sweeps displayed per page to either 5 or 10. You will continue to see 15 sweeps displayed per page everywhere else on OLS, only the Shazam! enabled MySweeps pages will be limited to 5 or 10 sweeps per page. Most computers should be able to open and display 5 or 10 windows at a time without any problems using Shazam!.
Most non-IE (Internet Explorer) browsers have a very cool feature referred to as tabs. Basically, tabs enable you to open web pages in tabs instead of whole new browser windows. A single browser window can contain multiple tabs which generally makes it much easier to switch back and forth between multiple web pages. The more web pages you typically have open in your browser at the same time, the more beneficial tabs will be.
If you're using Shazam! and having 15+ sweeps open up in new browser windows at a time, the benefits to tabbed browsing should be fairly obvious- better organization, easier to use, less clutter, requires less memory. Unfortunately, there is no way that I have been able to find for a web site to force tabbed browsers to open links in a tab as opposed to a new browser window. However, there is a browser extension that Mozzila (including Firefox and Thunderbird) users can install that will do just that- force new links to opened in tabs instead of new browser windows. If you use Shazam! with the Mozzila browser (even if you just use Mozzila and not Shazam!), installing the Tabbrowser Preferences extension is highly recommended, particularly for serious sweeping.
Dawggy has put together a handy guide for Mozzila browser users (includes Firefox and Thunderbird) that explains how to get RoboForm to work, how to block your browser from sending referrer information to web pages and a couple of quick steps you can take to speed up web browsing with the Mozzila browser.
Tip for Internet Explorer Users on Windows XP.
By default, Windows XP will group similar taskbar buttons together once you have so many open windows on your computer. The taskbar is that long bar across the bottom of your screen with the Start button and clock on it.
Normally, when you start up a program or open a new browser window, a new taskbar button is created. But once you fill up your taskbar with many open windows, Windows XP, by default, will start grouping them together (i.e. all browser windows are combined in one taskbar button). This makes changing back and forth between browser windows much more cumbersome than it needs to be, especially so if you're using Shazam!.
To change this grouping of windows, go to Control Panel > Taskbar & Start Menu and then uncheck the box that says Group similar taskbar buttons and hit OK.
|Updated Shazam! Tips for Windows Vista and Internet Explorer 7|
Even though the following guide is specifically geared for Windows Vista and Internet Explorer 7 users, the general principles are the same for all other operating systems and browsers. To get the most out of Shazam!, you need to ensure 1) pop-ups from online-sweepstakes.com are allowed in your browser and 2) Shazam! opens the sweeps in new tabs instead of new browser windows. Almost all other modern operating systems and web browsers will have very similar settings and options.
Windows Vista and Internet Explorer 7
I recently upgraded to Vista so I am still learning some of the finer nuances myself. That being said, there are 2 things you need to do to get Shazam! working properly with the default settings in Vista as well as the Internet Explorer 7 web browser in other versions of Windows operating system (XP).
1. Allow Pop-ups from OLS
Assuming IE 7's built-in pop-up blocker is on (it is by default), the first time you hit the Shazam! button, a notice will appear letting you know that a pop-up was blocked. Clicking on this notification will bring up a menu of options. Select Always Allow Pop-ups from This Site... and click OK in the confirmation box that appears next.
Assuming you don't have any other pop-up blockers on your computer, Shazam! will now have absolutely no problem opening up all the windows. However, there are many other software programs that can also block pop-ups. Many toolbars and anti-virus/spyware programs will block pop-ups by default. If Shazam! isn't working, if all the tabs or windows aren't opening up after you click on the Shazam! button, it's just about an absolute certainty that there's a program on your computer blocking them. You'll need to find out what program it is and add online-sweepstakes.com to the program's list of web sites for which pop-ups are allowed (often called a whitelist).
* OLS does not now nor has it ever displayed any form of pop-up advertisements. You will not get any pop-up ads from OLS whether you change this setting or not.
2. Open Pop-ups in a New Tab
By default, the options in Internet Explorer 7 are set to open pop-ups in a new window. It's been my experience that many links you would normally expect to open in a new tab will instead open in a new window with this setting, not just typical pop-ups.
Tabs are not only much easier to navigate, they require less resources (CPU cycles, memory, etc.) to open. The benefits of tabs versus windows are even more pronounced the more you have. If you're using Shazam! to open 10, 15, 20, 25 or even 50 sweeps at a time, it is much faster and convenient to have those sweeps open in new tabs instead of new windows.
To set the option in IE 7 that will cause pop-ups to open in new tabs instead of windows, go to Tools and then Internet Options. Find the Tabs section and click on the Settings button. In the When a pop-up is encountered: section select the Always open pop-ups in a new tab option. Click on the two OK buttons and you're all set. Shazam! will now open all sweeps in new tabs instead of new windows, and will do so faster.
|What is Expired MySweeps™?|
Expired MySweeps is a feature only available to premium OLS members that automatically saves all sweeps and associated entry tracking information once the sweeps expire and are removed from MySweeps.
The Expired MySweeps section is formatted just like the Expired Sweeps section of the sweepstakes and contests directory. As your saved sweeps expire, they will be listed by month and by expiration date on the main Expired MySweeps page. All entry tracking information is also saved (total number of entries, date & time of last entry, etc.). You can perform searches of your Expired MySweeps (search all, specific month or date), and you can chose to sort and display your Expired MySweeps just like most any other category or section of sweeps in the sweepstakes and contest directory. See What are the different options available to sort and display sweeps? for more info.
MySweeps data that expires continues to be automatically moved and saved to your Expired MySweeps for 31 days after your premium membership expires. After a 31-day lapse, MySweeps data that expires will simply be deleted from your MySweeps list like all other non-premium OLS members.
Once sweep information is saved in Expired MySweeps, it is permanently saved regardless of your premium membership status. However, you must have an active premium membership subscription to view and access the Expired MySweeps section.
|Tip: You Do Not Have to Click on the Save/Disk icon to Save Your MySweeps Changes|
I know a lot of people are confused by this. If you are clicking on the Save/Disk icon every time you make any MySweeps changes, you are wasting a lot of time.
The Save/Disk icon (the little green disk graphic) that appears in the upper-right corner of the page anytime you make changes to MySweeps isn't necessary at all.
Your MySweeps changes (adding or deleting a sweep, recording an entry, etc.) are automatically saved each time you go to another web page in the sweepstakes directory (that is, any page not in the forums).
The only time your MySweeps changes won't be automatically saved is when you don't go to another web page in the sweepstakes directory after making the changes.
For example, let's say you're doing your Dailies in MySweeps and you're recording your entries as you make them. When you're done with page one, all you have to do is go straight on to page two and your changes will automatically be saved without having to click on the Save/Disk icon at all.
Another example, if you're going through the New Sweepstakes section and adding the sweeps you like to MySweeps as you go, your changes will be automatically saved when you continue on to the next page. The next page can be the next New Sweepstakes page or anywhere at all in the sweepstakes directory (anywhere but the forums).
The only time your MySweeps changes won't be automatically saved is when you don't go to another page in the sweepstakes directory after making changes.
For example, if you're on your last page of MySweeps for the day and recording the entries as you go, the changes won't be saved if you leave OLS or close your browser without first going to another web page in the OLS sweepstakes directory.
To sum it up:
|Troubleshooting: Help for MySweeps Problems|
If MySweeps isn't working for you, something on your computer is preventing the cookies that MySweeps uses to function from being set or accepted by your web browser.
2. MySweeps must be able to be set cookies that are accepted by your web browser. This is by far the most common reason people have problems with MySweeps. If the MySweeps cookies aren't being set or accepted by your web browser, it's because either your web browser's settings or another program on your computer is preventing the MySweeps cookies from being set or accepted by your web browser.
It's usually not that difficult to ensure that your web browser will accept cookies from OLS (including MySweeps). Most web browsers will accept OLS cookies at their default settings. But even if you've changed the default settings to a higher security level or to specifically not accept cookies from web sites in general, you can just add online-sweepstakes.com to your browser's "whitelist" to ensure that OLS cookies will be accepted. Besides, if your web browser was set to not accept cookies from OLS, you most likely would have difficulty even logging in (with the exception of the Forums which doesn't require cookies to log-in).
3. What causes people the most difficulty is third-party computer programs. There are literally hundreds if not thousands of different programs out there that can prevent MySweeps from working properly. Any software that is related to your security or privacy- anti-virus, anti-spyware, anti-adware, security suites, setting/registry tweakers, anonymizers, pop-up blockers, toolbars, browser extensions can also block cookies or pop-ups from web sites.
Add online-sweepstakes.com to the related whitelist of any program on your computer that has a feature that blocks cookies.
Add online-sweepstakes.com to the related whitelist of any program on your computer that has a feature that blocks pop-ups.
Every program should have a place to view and change its settings, options or preferences. If the program blocks cookies or pop-ups from web sites, there will be a place in the settings where you can turn the cookie blocker or pop-up blocker feature on and off. There will also be a place to add web sites to a whitelist. A whitelist is just a list of web sites that you want to exclude from the restrictions. Adding online-sweepstakes.com to your programs' whitelists simply allows OLS to set cookies and create pop-ups. Programs that do both (block cookies and pop-ups) will have separate whitelists for each, one for blocking cookies and one for blocking pop-ups. online-sweepstakes.com should be added to every whitelist in every program on your computer that actively blocks cookies or pop-ups from web sites.
MySweeps and much of OLS relies on cookies to fully function, so it's easy to understand why you would need to give OLS specific permission to set cookies.
But why pop-ups?
Programs that block pop-ups don't actually block pop-ups per se. What they actually block is code that is most often used to create pop-ups. There are lots of different ways to create pop-ups. That's why pop-up blockers don't work 100% of the time. Sometimes they block windows that shouldn't be blocked and sometimes they don't block pop-ups that should be blocked. To get around pop-up blockers, some web sites come up with more creative ways to create them. In turn, the pop-up blockers will often block more code that could be used to create pop-ups.
Most people realize that for Shazam! to work properly, online-sweepstakes.com usually needs to be added to any running pop-up blocker's whitelist. It makes sense, the windows Shazam! opens are kind of like pop-ups.
But lately, I think more and more people are having issues with MySweeps because of pop-up blockers. I think some pop-up blockers are preventing the MySweeps cookies from being set because part of the code that I use to set the cookies is similar to what some web sites use to create pop-ups. If you can log-in to the sweepstakes directory (anywhere but the Forums) just fine and don't really have any other issues other than MySweeps not saving your changes, I would suspect that there's a strong possibility a pop-up blocker running on your computer is preventing MySweeps from setting the cookies. Adding online-sweepstakes.com to the pop-up blocker's whitelist should fix the problem.
BTW, OLS does not now, nor have we ever served a pop-up ad to anyone in the 10 years we've existed.
Most people who have problems with OLS or MySweeps have web browser settings or third-party programs that are preventing OLS cookies from being being set. online-sweepstakes.com should be added to the whitelist(s) of any program on your computer that blocks cookies or pop-ups.
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