More on the Win Hawaiian Home Essay Contest

Big Island Weekly has published more this week on the Win Hawaiian Home Essay Contest that I don’t think is very legit.

They seem to have removed the previous article that was in this edition.

Some interesting things that I’m learning more about this webmistress named Shirley Bradbury the BIW reported about.

Smith and webmistress Shirley Bradbury of AlphaWeb Design and Marketing LLC, developed a computer program that organizes the identifying information of the entrants and e-mails, and e-mails Smith the essay identifying it by number…

Just a little poking around and I found this picture of Mrs. Bradbury from 2007:


I also found this posted on a forum just 9 days ago:

We are running a skills contest where the entrant writes a short essay (101 words or fewer) about the word “Aloha” or “Mahalo”. The grand prize is a custom built home in Hawaii; there are 2 cash prizes also. Part of the proceeds will go to 3 schools in the builder’s area.”

Why is this the first I’ve heard of a cash prize?

Something else I hadn’t heard of before:

…To make it more fun, if you refer your friends to the site and they enter the contest, you will get 1 entry into a separate drawing for a free weekend stay at the Castle Bed and Breakfast. So be sure your friends put your name in their “Referred by:” box!…

A quick look at Mrs. Bradbury’s 2005 Profile tells this:


Web design, search engine marketing, web conferencing professional

50-something learning to reinvent myself after several hardships (death of my dear husband, lost job after 17 years, you know – the usual bad stuff.) Now I’m building my own business – AlphaWeb Design & Marketing – and living the entrepreneurial life.

All things internet.

Colorado, USA

Signature Shirley Bradbury, Owner
AlphaWeb Design & Marketing,LLC
Web design & redesign/ search engine marketing / web conferencing

Current project:

$101 Wins a Custom Home in Hawaii

And just digging a bit deeper into this Mrs. Bradbury… she is very internet savvy:

This from a 2005 Forum:


…Up through October, my site was seeing maybe a couple of hundred content network impressions per month. In November, the numbers jumped into thousands; mid-December it was still thousands of impressions per day…”

I’ll let you folks make up your own mind on whether it’s a scam or not.  There is lot’s of information out there… I’m not gonna nit pick this thing to death.

I blogged about it long before another blogger blogged about it or the BIW had it in their paper.

I have always been skeptical about it!

Heck… I blogged about the Maui House in September long before I even blogged about this Big Island House on Dec. 3rd.

I just don’t understand how some people are so gullible to actually believe this!

But one thing I did find… was another angle of the house:


Heck… I got one for everyone… send me an essay on a post it note stuck to a dollar.  Winning essay get’s their essay printed on my site.


You can also win this North Carolina house for only a $500 dollar Essay! :roll:

Oh… and then we also have this Hawaii home essay contest.  :roll:

And don’t forget the Danville, Illinois home.

And this Oregon house:

Two thousand, two hundred people from 46 states and nine countries have written Ray Sinclair in the past five months. They’ve sent him checks for $200 each, penned thoughtful essays, woven tapestries, painted paintings and sealed messages in a bottle.
And it’s not enough. So far, the contest takings amount to $440,000. But Sinclair wants to hear from a total of 3,000 people before he closes the contest that will determine who wins his 1,967-square-foot beachfront home. That’s why he’s extended the deadline for the unusual competition a second — and final — time, he says.
Entrants now have until the end of June to submit an essay at for a chance at a half-million dollar house.
Sinclair’s contest, whereby three judges will determine whose 100-word essay on “I should win this home in Yachats because,” came about after a frustrating attempt to sell the place through traditional means in a crashed housing market.
When the contest began in January there was a 27-month supply of homes in Yachats, nearly triple that of Lane County’s.
Sinclair had dropped his asking price from $600,000 to $539,000, without getting
any bites.
With raffles and lotteries prohibited by laws against games of chance in Oregon, Sinclair was allowed to run a skill-based contest, attorneys told him. So he formed a nonprofit corporation and wrote some rules. If 3,000 people submitted essays, he could earn $600,000 — and the winner would get a 10,000-square-foot lot (plus the house, of course).
The first contest deadline was in April but Sinclair extended it a month due to a lack of entries, a prospect he’d warned about in the rules. For the same reason, the deadline is now the end of this month, but that’ll be the last extension, Sinclair
Financially, I don’t think we can run the contest anymore,” he said.
“It costs $5,000 a month, with all the expenses I have, the people I’m paying to run the contest
and the cost of the house, too.”

3 Responses

  1. *(link erased) – go get ’em Damon.

    Damon – I’m pretty sure Samwick is running that one as well. I already went after the Maui house on my blog earlier before you posted the BIW article. I erased the link to the site because I don’t need them profiting just by people going to the site. Click fraud is another one you might want to learn about. ;)

  2. DAMON – Mr. Samwick your comments are no longer welcome on my blog. I’ve deleted this post as it was just an exact repeat of your earlier post… quit spamming my site. I realize your just trying to get hits to your site.

    The Hawaii Attorney General has been notified.

    Aloha means goodbye!

  3. Why is it that you don’t think the Hawaiian Home Essay Contest is “legit”? Skill contests like this are legal in all 50 states as long as no element of chance enters into the selection of the winners. Having a panel of unnamed judges (unnamed to all but the Attorney General’s office so as to avoid possible judge-tampering) evaluate the essays on a set of pre-selected judging criteria is not considered chance for this type of competition.

    Is it that you don’t like the idea because it is not a ‘traditional’ method of selling a home? Does it all seem too easy? It really isn’t. Hiring a real estate agent and then sitting back and awaiting an offer to come in is easy, albeit not always successful.

    Running an essay contest takes a lot of hard work and money over a long time period (minimum six to nine months). Most essay contest organizers don’t seem to realize this, which is why most contests fall way short of ever ending successfully, and the entry fees end up getting sent back to the rather disappointed contestants. Hardly a scam, just poor implementation of an innovative idea. I only know of one contest, held in California a few years ago, that appears to have possibly been some sort of scam (no criminal charges were filed), and in that instance, the state Attorney General, along with the Los Angeles County Superior Court, stepped in and all contest entrants received their entry fees back. In the scammer community, the word is out that there are much quicker and easier ways to scam money than with an essay contest, and with a much greater chance of getting away with it!

    I’ve been working with essay contest organizers for over twelve years. My website offers tips and advice on running such contests, information that I’ve gained over the years, and that I provide free of charge. My website also draws a steady stream of folks that wish to enter skill contests and who do so on a regular basis because the odds of winning are always so much greater than that of winning a state lottery. On my website there is also a list of some big winners of homes, restaurants & pubs, businesses, cars, an airplane, cash money, a pre-paid funeral and even a cryonic body-freezing after death!

    I’ve talked with Sheri Smith by phone, and she definitely knows how much work her contest is going to require, and seems quite willing to invest the time and money to do it correctly. I wish her well with her contest. As this impartial observer in Allentown, Pennsylvania, where the temperature is currently down near 0 degrees, a home in Hawaii sounds mighty inviting right now. Of course I am ineligible to enter for obvious reasons, darn it. But hopefully, some lucky person will be handed the keys to their new “Sweetheart Cottage” later this year by Oprah. I’m rooting for a cold Northerner to win – you folks in Hawaii are already in Paradise!

    So tell me Damon, besides posting innuendo about the contest organizers, their personal lives and their entrepreneurial ambitions, what is it that really bothers you about this contest?

    — Mark Samwick,webmaster

    Damon – Interesting you found your way to my website Mr. Samwick. Can you show me a list of verified winners?

    I mean you say yourself the following:

    “Mark Samwick of Allentown, Pa., who runs, estimated that only about 5 percent of the win-a-home essay contests launched by private citizens end with the keys being passed. Most offers die out from lack of interest, he said.”

    Or is it:

    “Ninety-eight percent of these things don’t work out, and that’s because of the way people go into them,” said Mark Samwick, creator of the Web site, who is writing a book on the subject.”

    Did you forget your own rule?

    Essay contests are illegal in a handful of states and restricted in others; however, in ALL states it is illegal to incorporate any element of chance in an essay contest.

    And what ever happened with the results of this one?

    “Claudia Johnsen is giving away more than $3 million in property for a song. Or a poem. Or an essay.

    “I don’t care what it is as long as it isn’t anything vulgar,” said the 79-year-old Alexandria, Va. resident and sponsor of U.S. Dream Properties, the largest essay contest of its kind.”

    Samwick you have been taking people for a ride for nearly half a decade now. Please show me a list of winners that I can verify and I’ll get off your ass.

    Until then… Keep your scams out of Hawaii!

    “…it reads like at any time they can just call the whole thing off and send everyone their money back minus $11 “administration fees”

    Hell thats $66000.00 right there…

    Not bad money for a very little work..”

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