I run a lot of contests here at Want Not, and over time I’ve come to realize that it would be very handy to have a central repository of information about them, so that I could stop repeating myself each and every time. So here it is—the great big chunk of stuff about my contests.

One entry per person. Seriously, please only enter once. Don’t enter a bunch of times because you have different email addresses you can use, either. There are ways to tell that’s happening and if you do that, trust me, your entries are being disqualified. Please play nicely.
Valid email address required. If you don’t enter with a valid email address, I cannot contact you if you win. And then I pick a different winner. Use a real email address. (And you probably want to add to your address book, while you’re at it, to make sure email from me won’t be erroneously marked as spam.)
If you’ve won a contest here within the last 30 days, you’re ineligible to win again. Not forever! Just for one month. Please don’t enter again if you’ve won in the last month—let’s give other folks a chance to win.
Valid U.S. mailing address required for winners. I don’t mind if you live outside the of the U.S., but you need to have somewhere within the country for me to mail your prize. Most of the time I’m paying shipping out of my own pocket, and I’m afraid I draw the line at shipping internationally.
No entries accepted past the deadline. Every contest clearly states when the contest is over. While you may be able to physically leave a comment on that post beyond the stated deadline, those entries will not be counted.
No entries accepted which violate the rules. Occasionally I’ll include an extra rule, like when I have an assortment of prize offerings and ask that your entry include your choice of prize. If I ask you to make a choice and you fail to do so, your entry will be disqualified. Please read the contest entries carefully.

Unless otherwise noted in the contest post, winners will be chosen at random via a random number generator. Some people like to include a screen shot when doing this; I am lazy and such things are easily Photoshopped, so I don’t do it. But that’s how the winners are selected. As of mid-2012, I am using a WordPress plugin called And The Winner Is to randomly select contest winners. But the caveat about being lazy and not including a screen shot still applies.

After each contest, there is a post announcing the winner(s) here on the blog, as well as email notification to the address provided. Generally the winner(s) will be contacted within 24 hours of the contest’s conclusion. If I do not receive a response with a mailing address within several days, I’ll email you again. And then if a total of seven days go by and I’ve still not received a response, I’ll become frustrated and sad and pick a different winner. This is why using a valid email address and making sure you recognize my mailing address is important.

Unless otherwise noted, prizes given away on Want Not have been generously donated by various corporations or marketing firms (and I try to remember to thank the right people at prize time). Although I sometimes pay for shipping the prizes out (sometimes the donating agency handles fulfillment for me), I am not purchasing this stuff. Because that would be nuts, or at least well beyond my current budget.

I give away prizes here because it’s fun and it’s a small way to give back to my awesome readers. I’m lucky enough to have this available forum that often attracts offers of free products, so what better way to generate a little good karma than to play Santa? That said, Want Not and I are not responsible for items damaged or lost in the mail, or otherwise unsatisfactory to you. I do the contests as a labor of love. Part of what you’re agreeing to when you enter a contest here is that I’m a human being trying to do something nice, and I’m neither omnipotent nor omniscient. Usually it all works out. If it doesn’t, I trust we can all still be civil adults about it.