Legana mother has the winning formula

Legana mother Rachael Pollington says she has won more than $40,000 worth of prizes from entering competitions over the past eight years. Picture: ALEX DRUCE

Legana mother Rachael Pollington says she has won more than $40,000 worth of prizes from entering competitions over the past eight years. Picture: ALEX DRUCE

VOUCHERS, video games, whitegoods, interstate trips - Legana mum Rachael Pollington has a knack for winning things. 

But the odds tend to be in your favour when you're entering 150 competitions a month. 

Mrs Pollington is a hobby competitionist, entering thousands of giveaways through SMS, email, radio, TV, Facebook, and traditional mail-in over the past eight years. 

She guesses she has won more than $40,000 in prizes during her membership with lottos.com.au, a website founded in 2000 by Hobart man Andrew Lindner, which allows like-minded people to network and find the best giveaways for them. 

Last week Mr Lindner's site had 1500 competitions listed from across Australia, carrying a total $23.4 million in prizes, ranging from new cars to overseas holidays, fridges, televisions, grocery grabs and straight cash. 

``It's a community for people who enjoy entering competitions,'' Mr Lindner said.

``Some do it as a full-time job, they on-sell the things they win, others do it as a hobby.

``It's kind of a niche social network. People in the forums chat to each other, share tips, post competitions when they find them, and we just add them to the database.'' 

Mr Lindner said entering competitions had come a long way from the days of mailing clippings and entry forms in the post. 

``You're lucky to find them now days,'' he said.

After progressing from 1900-phone numbers to email-based entries, Mr Lindner said competitions were now firmly entrenched online and in the social media landscape.

``Facebook and Twitter and things like that are really big now,'' he said. 

``But the members keep a close eye out for things that look dodgy. 

``Sometimes you'll have competitions run and a friend of the organiser just happens to win, or people pay hidden Facebook groups to boost their chances.''

Members of lottos.com.au pay a yearly fee of $45, and are given access to forums, a database of prizes, and more than 150 methods of entry. 

As of July 2011, a reported 100,000 people were registered with the site, though Mr Lindner said it was hard to judge how many were active.

``Some people have been there for 14 years, but we also get people who are there for five minutes, expect to win big things, and lose interest quickly,'' he said.

Mr Lindner says while the site is not a guaranteed way of making money, it was a handy way of keeping on top of what was available to be won.

And each day, several people win big. 

Last Thursday alone user Sunga won a whitegoods package worth $2049, Fifi73 scored a $500 voucher, and Zen won a New York trip worth $27,500. 

Mrs Pollington says she is yet to win an overseas holiday herself, but admits she's had a pretty good run. 

``I was pretty slow to start with, it took me six months to win my first prize _ a $50 cheque,'' she said. ``I thought, `oh well, that took care of my membership. I may as well go in for another year'.''

After upping her output to 150 competitions a month, she won a mobile phone (``I was over the moon''), and has since scored several trips interstate, kitchen appliances, gaming consoles for her kids, and even cash prizes. 

Last week she picked up a $100 Myer voucher, while a fortnight ago she was flown to Sydney for the grand final of a Vodafone-Samsung promotion, which she entered as part of a team. 

``People often tell me that I'm really lucky, but the reality is, I'm just entering more things than they are,'' she said. ``I've made friends with a lot of people I've met through the website.

``It's something we do for fun. We just happen to win things as well.'' 

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