Who doesn’t like free stuff? Whether it’s free stuff your Aunt Tess decides to unload on you from her attic or if it’s actually something you want, getting free stuff has a certain charm to it.
Winning a gift card from Amazon pretty much gives you access to buy anything you want in the world (there are people who get toilet paper off of Amazon, no joke). If you have ears you’ll probably also agree that an iTunes gift card can be a pretty fantastic thing. So now that we’ve agreed that getting this free stuff is good, how does one go about getting it?
Disclaimer: It won’t cost you money, but it will cost you a little time.
Every day bloggers and websites giveaway tens of hundreds of free things. Many of them require little to no effort to enter their contests. So what if you took a few minutes each day or each week and entered a bunch of giveaways for these highly desirable items? Chances are that you’d win some pretty nice prizes if you put some time in.
But here’s the time saver
Google Alerts. If you haven’t used Google Alerts before it’s an aggregator tool that returns results from Google searches based on the specifications you provide. So all you need to do is figure out what phrases you need Google to seek out for you on the web and it’ll keep returning you new results with your keywords. This brings the contests right to your front door. Your time can be spent entering them to win free stuff as opposed to trying to find things to win.
Here’s how it works.
Search query: Here you tell Google what you’re looking for. This query uses some special Google queries to make sure you get what you’re looking for. Using the parentheses tells Google that its results MUST have the included phrase on the page in the search result. So every single result that you get back will have “Amazon gift card” on the page. Using the tilde tells Google that you want the attached term and any other similar terms. So for contest you see Google has highlighted the phrase “giveaway” in the results as well. All four results, you’ll notice here, are exactly what we’re looking for.
How often: This field is exactly what it says it is. It’s just instructing Google how often you want to crawl. You can change this setting over time as it fits your need.
How many: Again, this is just a way to filter out the results. You can also go back and change your search query to be more refined if you’re still getting too many results or poor results.
Deliver to: Where do you want to see these results? You can have them sent to your email account or you can login to your Google Reader feed to see the results.