Computer engineer Hunter Scott wrote a Python script to enter virtually every Twitter contest started over the span of nine months. The bot ended up entering him in about 165,000 different “RT to win” contests and more importantly, he won close to 1,000. On average, he won four contests per day every day.
Scott embarked on the fun experiment to test out the merits of Twitter contests we’ve all seen at least once on the social network. The Python script he wrote searched for tweets with something similar to “retweet to win” in them and then appropriately retweeted them to participate in the contest.
It turns out that while some of them are predictably scams, a huge sum of these Twitter contests are the real deal. Scott wrote on his blog that “getting mysterious things in my mailbox each day was pretty fun.” You can imagine that from winning 1,000 contests, he received an enormous variety of prizes.
A large chunk of what Scott won he didn’t end up accepting because he couldn’t use them, or in the case of concert show tickets, he couldn’t attend them. He said his most valuable prize was a trip to New York Fashion Week with tickets, spending money and limo transportation adding up to around $4,000 in value. He declined that because he couldn’t go and didn’t want to pay the hefty taxes on such a large prize. His favorite prize, however, was a “was a cowboy hat autographed by the stars of a Mexican soap opera that I had never heard of.”
If you do the math, his success rate at winning contests was just 0.6 percent. This probably has to do a decent portion of fake contests, but at least he ended up with a pile of interesting souvenirs and a story to write about.