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12 Steps to Make Sweepstakes Work

What to Do when Sweepstakes Won't Work

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Have you ever tried to enter sweepstakes that won't work? They won't accept your entry, won't let you click on the submit button, or send you in an endless loop? Sometimes this is the fault of the sweepstakes sponsor, but sometimes the problem lies with your own computer. Here are the top steps to take if sweepstakes won't work.

1. Check Your Internet Connection

If a sweepstakes won't work because its page won't load, then check to be sure your internet connection is working properly by going to a reliable website. If none of the sites will load, the problem is with your internet connection.

2. Make Sure You Filled Out Everything

Sometimes, required fields are not well marked, or are hidden under the submit button or in another easy-to-overlook area. The error message the sweepstakes gives you can also be misleading. Make sure that everything is filled out properly, and double-check formatting of your phone number and birth date.

3. Make Sure Cookies are Enabled

Many sweepstakes require cookies to be enabled to work properly.

4. Make Sure JavaScript is Enabled

JavaScript is a type of code that enables websites to do some fancy things. Some people disable Javascript for security purposes, but this could interfere with sweepstakes entry. If you are having trouble, make sure Javascript is enabled.
  • How to Enable Javascript

5. Check Your Ad Blocker

If you have software installed in your internet browser to block advertisements or pop-up windows, that software could be interfering with your sweepstakes entries. Turn off any ad blockers and try entering the sweepstakes again.

6. Try a Different Browser

Some sweepstakes simply aren't coded to work well with all internet browsers. I have two different browsers on my computer system, Internet Explorer and Firefox. Both are free. Sweepstakes that won't function in one will oftentimes work well in the other.

7. Clear Your Temporary Internet Files

If the sweepstakes page won't respond to clicking on the submit button, or is otherwise acting strangely, clearing your temporary internet files might help. Temporary internet files save information about websites on your computer, so that they load faster when you return. Sometimes, however, this means that your browser will load an old version of the sweepstakes page which won't load properly. Your internet cookies and your cache are particularly important to clear.

8. Turn Off the About.com Frame

About.com makes it easy to return to the Contests site after you've entered sweepstakes by using a frame with a link to the page you came from when you click on a link that takes you to another company's website. However, sometimes this frame doesn't work well with sweepstakes pages. If you're having trouble getting an entry form to load or submit, click the link to "Turn Off this Top Frame" and let the page reload. Sometimes, this will solve technical problems with sweepstakes.

9. Restart Your Browser

Sometimes the changes you make in your temporary internet files don't take effect until after you restart your browser. In other cases, a small glitch might be causing the trouble with your sweepstakes entry. Restarting your browser might clear up any problems.

10. Restart Your Computer

The same goes with your computer. A small glitch in the system could be cleared up with a reboot, letting you enter the sweepstake again.

11. Update Your Internet Browser

Some sweepstakes won't work well with older versions of internet browsers. If you're having trouble, you can see if a newer version is available. To see if your browser needs to be updated:
  • In Firefox: Click on "Help" then on "Check for Updates" in the toolbar at the top of your browser window.
  • In Internet Explorer: Visit the Microsoft Windows Update page.
  • In other browsers: Check your help documentation for details.

12. Update Your Plug-Ins

Some sweepstakes sites use different types of code to achieve a better look or a faster load-time. In order to utilize that code, your browser needs to have certain plug-ins installed and up-to-date. Here are some plug-ins to update to see if they are causing your sweepstakes problems:

Additional Tips to Make Sweepstakes Work

  • If you usually keep cookies disabled and javascript turned off for security purposes, set up a browser with lower security and use it just to enter sweepstakes.
  • If these tips don't work, see How to Get Technical Help with Sweepstakes for what to do next.
  • You can ask for additional sweepstakes help in the sweepstakes forum.
  • If all else fails, try to contact the sponsor to ask for help.
  • Sometimes, the best advice is just to wait and try back later.

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