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How To Use Google Alerts to Find Sweepstakes Wins

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Example of how to fill out the Google Alerts form to find sweepstakes wins.

Use Google Alerts to Find Sweepstakes Wins

Screen shot © Google.com
Some sweepstakes only announce winners on their websites, and if you don't speak up to claim your prize, you forfeit it. Others send you notification by email as well as printing your name on their website, but you overlook the email - and the claim date - and give up your prize. If only someone had told you that your name was listed as a winner!

Well, thanks to a service provided by Google.com, you can be notified any time that a search engine sees your name on the internet. Google Alerts are a very useful tool to help you ensure that you never miss a win notification. Find out how to use them here!

Difficulty: Easy
Time Required: Learning how to use Google Alerts should take about five minutes.

Here's How:

  1. Visit the Google Alerts Web Page

    To get started, visit the Google Alerts web site. If the link doesn't work for you, type: www.google.com/alerts into your web browser.
  2. Enter a Search Term

    A good place to start is with your full name. To ensure that you only receive results that include your exact name, put your name in quotes, like this: "Sandra Grauschopf". If you have a common name, this is a really good idea. Since my name is pretty rare, I leave the quotes off. This can result in some false positives, but it also ensures that I receive the result should a website list my name as Grauschopf, Sandra.
  3. Select the Type of Reports to Receive

    You can choose to receive a notification when your search term shows up in specific types of web pages. For example, you can receive a report only when your name appears on web pages, in the news section, in Google Groups, or in blogs. I recommend using the "comprehensive" setting, which will send your results no matter where they are posted online.
  4. Specify How Often You Want to Receive Notifications

    You can choose to receive alerts as the search engine finds references, once a day, or once a week. If you receive a lot of alerts, you might want to choose the daily or weekly option. Personally, I like to get alerts as they happen.
  5. Enter an Email Address

    Google will send a notice every time it finds your search term to an email address that you specify. Don't worry, Google doesn't use this email address for advertising or other purposes, so use one that you check often.
  6. Press Submit

    Once you press submit, you will be taken to a list of all of the alerts that you have already created.
  7. Create More Alerts

    Click on the New Alert button on the bottom right-hand side of the alert listing page to make more alerts. Aside from your first and last name, you might also want to create alerts for your sweepstakes email address, your first name and last initial, your street address, and any user names that you frequently use to enter sweepstakes. For example, I might set up the following Google alerts:
    • Sandra Grauschopf
    • "Sandra G."
    • Contests@aboutguide.com
    • Contests.guide
    • Grauschopf Sandra
    • 123 Main Street
    Follow the same steps as above for each alert.

Tips:

  1. Note that there is a company called GoogleAlert that provides the same service for a fee. I do NOT recommend this company. Google Alerts provided by the Google Search Engine are totally free, so make sure that you use the link above.
  2. Read the Google Search Tips page to learn how to use wildcards, negative keywords, and other tricks to refine your search and get the results you're looking for.
  3. Google Alerts can also be used to keep yourself informed about any subject that interests you. For example, if you set an alert for "contests.about.com" you will receive email alerts when I add information to the site. You can also create alerts for your business, your favorite movie star or television show, whatever topic you'd like to stay informed about.
  4. If Google Alerts isn't working as well as you had hoped, check out How to Solve Common Problems with Google Alerts for more tips.

What You Need

  • Web browser
  • Internet connection

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