The mail will have lots of personalized document such as ‘Eligibility Certificates’, ‘business reply envelopes’ stickers to say YES or NO and more. Cover letter explains how lucky you are to get shortlisted for the final stage of sweepstakes and since only few people in your city have got nominated how close you are to winning a big amount. That looks tempting. You’ve nothing to lose but to respond and confirm your nomination. As you prepare to reply, you find that there is something for sale-a subscription offer or a book or something else, which if you chose to buy, your prospects of winning sweepstakes increases by several times. You will have an option of saying “NO” to this purchase, but what will you do? Risk your chances of winning a big amount by hesitating to buy a few hundred rupees worth product? Or buy it?
Reader’s Digest have been using above tactic for long time and after their association with Living Media India Ltd (the group that runs India Today group of Publications), the later also has learnt the trick and implementing it aggressively. We never know if anyone actually won the sweepstakes, but at a high level this looks like an attempt to sell their products under the temptation of winning a bounty.
1. The mail would say “you need to reply within 14 days”-but it doesn’t state the deadline (the last date to receive confirmation). That sounds fishy, because there is no mechanism to identify when a customer received the envelope and count 14 days from that date
2. Mail would hint as if you’re the only one in your entire town to get nominated. Reality is that they would send this to each and every person in their database, hoping most of them would buy the product, in temptation of sweepstakes.
3. There will not be a mention of draw date and when the winners will be announced.
4. When I received an online nomination, I confirmed participation, without buying their product. I was expecting a mail like “your nomination has been confirmed, we’ll announce the result on -date-”. Instead I got 3 more nominations and had to mark them as SPAM.
5. What is the point in asking people to confirm their nomination? No one is going to reject the money if they happen to win right? So can’t they go ahead with the sweepstakes and inform only the winners? Instead they spend around Rs 20-25 on each individual (postage, printing those flashy documents and brochures, business reply envelopes etc), which itself amounts to several lakh rupees.
What has been your experience in this regard? If you’re a subscriber of RD/India Today, you must have definitely got one. Do you know anyone who won big amount this way?