Most people don't know the difference between a contest and a sweepstakes and use the words interchangably. In fact, I do occasionally when talking to a sweepstakes muggle, because contest seems to not be as "sketchy". Bottom line, though is they ARE quite different. A sweepstakes is random and a contest is judged on skill. So, I always prefer winning a contest because it shows I did something worthwhile as judged by someone else. Also, I think people are more intimidated by contests than they are sweepstakes. Anyone can put their name on a form or 3x5 card. But when you actually have to write a poem, take a photo, or create a recipe, there's work involved and sometimes fear you won't measure up.
Last week I won a daily prize in a contest and then won the weekly prize. (I won a package of cups and then $100 to Kroger).
This is the photo I submitted:
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