“RT to win!”
If you are a regular Twitter user, you’re probably familiar with that phrase. Many companies will give out prizes, both big and small, in exchange for the exposure of retweets and new followers. Hunter Scott decided to capitalize on the colossal amount of free crap being given away online.
Scott wrote some software that automatically scanned Twitter for phrases like “Retweet to win!” and entered those contests. It was also sophisticated enough to avoid detection as a bot, meaning that he didn’t retweet too often or start following tens of thousands of random new accounts.
Over the course of nine months, Scott’s Twitter bot entered him in roughly 165,000 contests and he was the lucky winner is about 1,000 of them. That may seem like a low percentage, but let’s think big picture here — the guy won approximately four prizes a day for nine months straight!
Some of the stuff he won was essentially worthless, like custom profile pictures. He also won tons of currency for online games, especially FIFA. Among the winnings were tons of event tickets, but he declined most of those because he had no way to get to a concert on the other side of the country.
The most valuable thing he won was a trip to New York Fashion Week, which was valued at $4,000. But he turned it down too, since he doesn’t live near New York and didn’t want to pay the taxes on accepting the valuable prize.
Since it was a bot, he also unknowingly entered a bunch of contests that were jokes. For example, he managed to win someone’s random Tupperware lids that had been warped by the dishwasher. Unfortunately (or fortunately?), they never arrived.