|David N. Gresh
Entering sweepstakes via the Internet is a “lifeline to sanity” for David N. Gresh of Honeoye Falls, N.Y.
Gresh, 55, received an ALS diagnosis in 2002, and two years later retired from his career as a kitchen and bathroom designer for a small design company called Bright Ideas.
Introduced to the Web site Sweepstakes Advantage by his live-in caregiver, Trish Gannon, he gave it a try and has been hooked ever since.
Launched in 1997 as a “free online directory of sweepstakes, freebies and contests,” Sweepstakes Advantage lists thousands of contests by category (daily, monthly, instant win, etc.); by prize (cash, travel, electronics, automobiles, etc.); and by destination (fishing, Disney, etc.).
Registering with the site (free) gives members access to more than 5,000 online contests, as well as tools for keeping track of what they’ve entered and forums to chat with other contestants. In exchange, the site collects certain personal information from users, who then receive targeted ads and offers.
Gresh “sweeps” using a wireless mouse, an onscreen keyboard and a software program called Roboform that makes it easier to fill out online forms.
Sweeping four to six hours each day, he has entered thousands of contests and won some 75 prizes, including cash, gift cards, movie tickets, DVDs, tickets to Six Flags, an iPod and a guitar signed by Faith Hill and Tim McGraw. The site also pays for the completion of product marketing surveys.
Giving it away
Occasionally, Gresh will win a prize that he can’t use, such as the all-expenses-paid trip for two to Los Angeles, (he gave it to Gannon and her 16-year-old son), and the “skis that don’t seem to fit my power chair.” If neither Gresh nor his friends can use a prize, he’ll donate it to a good cause or sell it on eBay.
The one prize that he really wants to win is a trip into space on a suborbital flight.
“That’s one up on Stephen Hawking,” he jokes.
In addition to earning money by completing surveys on products and services through Sweepstakes Advantage, he also visits Web sites that only offer survey completion such as Toluna, Zoom Panel and Socratic Forum.
Another place Gresh frequents is My Points, where he earns points that can be redeemed for gift cards by reading e-mails and buying from the sponsors.
Passing the torch
Gresh says he wants to share information about these sites even though it decreases his chances of winning.
“I would suggest ‘sweeping’ for ALS survivors if they can use the computer because it’s a fun hobby, the thrill of winning is exhilarating, and imagining winning and enjoying the prizes gives me hope each day,” says Gresh.. “We all need a daily dose of hope.”
For more sweepstakes tips, contact Gresh at email@example.com.