Archive for April, 2011

What is a TOTEM?

Tuesday, April 19th, 2011

A Totem is defined as “a monument or distinctive symbol” and plays a role in our American heritage. When it comes to sweepstakes games, our TOTEM technology is one-of-a-kind in the industry. The PromoTek Totem unit leverages the advantages of a web-based sweepstakes system, providing an extremely profitable “Internet Kiosk” that can be placed just about anywhere. Similar to an ATM or a video game machine, the PromoTek sweepstakes Totem stands alone and has a bill acceptor. Customers insert money into the Totem to purchase Internet access time on the kiosk. After purchasing Internet time they can surf the Internet until their time runs out. When customers make a purchase, they are also given FREE entries into a sweepstakes. They can then reveal the sweepstakes entries at the Totem unit, which shows the sweepstakes results by simulating slot machines, keno, or poker. Here’s a video about Totems. You can also see several different pictures of our Totems in our gallery.

Sweepstakes Internet cafes are popping up all over the place across the country–even where casinos are illegal. Entrepreneurs are rushing into this highly profitable industry as local law enforcement scrambles to understand the concept. This model has been taking place in the US since about 2006 and although it is controversial, in nearly every case it has been proven to be perfectly legal. The truth is that when attorneys and law enforcement thoroughly analyze the system they are almost always forced to admit, “It looks like a duck, it quacks like a duck, but… somehow it is NOT a duck!” Although the concept invokes questions from some, there is one thing that nobody anywhere can argue–this business is EXTREMELY profitable!

Dozens of companies have tried to develop sweepstakes software games to get a “piece of the action”. Only one of these has had the technical expertise to develop a sweepstakes offering that is completely web-based. Among dozens of other benefits, the web-based platform allows the PromoTek games to operate in stand-alone Totem units. Because the product is web-based, you do not need to purchase an onsite server or Point of Sale for each location. With any other sweepstakes product, the cost of the SERVERS will range from $3,000 – $10,000. With PromoTek, the servers are unnecessary because they are “in the cloud” (online). This means you don’t need to buy them–which is a huge cost savings!

The Sweepstakes Totem is revolutionary in this industry because it is MUCH more profitable than its counterpart, a “standard computer in a sweepstakes room”. Allow me to explain. The “standard” model in the US for the past several years has been to open a business with 30 – 100 sweepstakes revealer terminals. We call this a “sweepstakes parlor”. To launch this business model, the owner or investor must sign a lease (usually 3-5 years), hire employees, pay a monthly electric bill, pay insurance, provide free food or snacks to customers, and cover a long list of additional expenses. Ongoing “upkeep” costs in a sweepstakes parlor range from $5,000 / month to as much as $50,000. You need to bring in a LOT of revenue to cover that cost!

Let’s compare this with the Sweepstakes Totem distribution model. When you place a Totem in your business (bar, convenience store, etc.), you don’t have to sign a lease or pay extra rent. You don’t have to hire extra employees. You don’t have to give customers free food when they come in to play. As you can see–your expenses are negligible. If you are placing a Totem in a pre-existing business, the incremental operating cost is almost zero!

Now here’s the best part–on the average Sweepstakes Totems generate at least FOUR TIMES as much money as a standard sweepstakes terminal in a sweepstakes parlor (with many terminals). This significant difference in revenue is the result of two factors. 1) Different customers play at a Totem unit than play in a sweepstakes parlor. Parlor customers come in with $10 or $20 and want to be entertained for several hours. Their bets are small as they try to maximize their playing time. On the other hand, the average Totem customer wants to spend 5-10 minutes while walking out of a bar. This customer burns through $10 or $20 in minutes instead of hours. 2) The Totem unit has a built-in bill acceptor. Instead of walking to the cashier to buy more Internet time and get more sweepstakes entries, the customer simply inserts the money directly into the Totem unit.

Totems bring in four times as much money–without the operating costs!

Have we mentioned the fact that you don’t need an expensive onsite technician to install the Sweepstakes Totem units? Since there are no complex, highly technical servers onsite (because it is web-based), you can simply place the unit into your business, turn it on, and immediately start making money. This is unmatched in the industry. When a new game is released, since the platform is web-based, it is automatically and instantly deployed to every single location (like “updating a website”). No other sweepstakes platform in the United States offers this. Thus, with any other sweepstakes system a technician must frequently come to your store to update your computers. Best-case scenario, they may be able to remotely update your systems. But this is extremely time consuming and EXPENSIVE. The web-based technology SAVES YOU MONEY!

The PromoTek Totem uses a unique credit-based accounting system, which means that as a distributor or Totem owner, you don’t have to invoice your customers (business owners) and collect payments. If they don’t make payments to you, their system automatically stops working! Now instead of YOU chasing THEM… they call you. The system also offers the convenience of simple web-based reporting tools. You can check minute-by-minute performance of all your Totems from any web browser (including your iPhone or mobile device). It’s fantastic!

What other hidden benefits are there with the Sweepstakes Totem model? Totems help avoid LEGAL challenges. When the local sheriff has problems with a sweepstakes parlor, what options do the business owners have? The owner has invested a significant amount of money to sign a multi-year lease and has purchased 30+ sweepstakes terminals in the business. When local authorities walk into the business they often think they are looking at a mini casino! If the sheriff has a problem with this, the business owner has two choices; FIGHT it, or go out of business. Both options are extremely expensive.

However, with one or two Totems in an otherwise unrelated business (bar, burger joint, convenience store, laundromat), the sweepstakes terminals often fly “under the radar”. The sheriff is so busy chasing the guys with 30+ computers that he often doesn’t even notice the Totem units. But what if he does notice and has a problem with it? Simple… MOVE it! Rather than fighting the law, skipping out on a lease, or going out of business, you can simply MOVE the totem to the next city, county, or even state if necessary. Because of the web-based technology, your customers also have the option of playing the sweepstakes at home.

I’m sure you have heard that when it comes to starting a successful business of any kind, the top three things to consider are LOCATION, LOCATION, and LOCATION! I could certainly argue that a number of other factors contribute to your success, but it is clear that selecting a great location for your business is critical. What happens when you launch your sweepstakes parlor (30+ terminals) and then realize you aren’t in a great location? Sadly, you’re stuck! What happens if you place a Totem in a location that isn’t making much money? MOVE THE TOTEM!

The fact that the Totem units are MOBILE and can “fly under the radar” allows you to avoid trouble and to maximize profit.

Why is PromoTek the only sweepstakes platform that has developed a Totem unit? Because the others CAN’T DO IT YET! Since no other sweepstakes platform in the industry is web-based and uses the credit-based system they simply cannot create a standalone unit like the PromoTek Totem.

So let’s summarize… The Totem’s “plug and play” ability means installation is quick and inexpensive. Updates are simple, instantaneous, and free. They fly under the radar, avoiding legal issues. They offer flexibility because you can pick them up and move them to a different location immediately. Using a unique “credit-based” accounting system, you never have to chase payments. Operating costs are negligible, yet Totems earn 4x more than similar systems in sweepstakes parlors.

Entrepreneurs, business owners, and distributors are discovering the one-of-a-kind Sweepstakes Totem model and generating amazing incomes! Call now to find out how to get started.

Sweepstakes at Home

Friday, April 8th, 2011

A few of the most important elements of a robust sweepstakes promotional platform are flexibility and adaptability.  This industry is a whirlwind of legal challenges, changing local and state ordinances, and law enforcement that often knows nothing about this business other than “it looks like gambling and by golly I won’t tolerate it in my jurisdiction!”

How are sweepstakes promotional products prepared to meet this dynamic environment?  Unfortunately, many of them are what we would call “one-trick ponies”.  What you see is what you get–and if they need to turn on a dime you’ll find yourself out of business.  This is primarily due to the fact that every sweepstakes solution in America is using a client-server model.  If you need a quick change someone will have to develop it and then come out and install it on every system.  Or, best case scenario, they can do remote updates (one at a time).  This is all well and good–unless there are several hundred, or several thousand, systems to be updated.  Then what?  This could take weeks or months to roll out.

Enter the web-based model.  We have only seen ONE true web-based sweepstakes solution.  This is the SweepsCoach platform, and the more we see results from this platform the more impressed we are by it.  This sweepstakes delivers updates, enhancements, and new games regularly.  These updates are instantly and automatically delivered to all 16,000+ SweepsCoach locations simultaneously when the update is put on the servers.  Speedy updates and INSTANT DEPLOYMENT make this option the most flexible option available.

In this article we want to focus on one hidden treasure of a web-based sweepstakes solution.  A lot of people aren’t aware of this, so we think it’s time to let the cat out of the bag on one of the industry’s best-kept secrets; playing sweepstakes games at home.

What happens if the unthinkable occurs and your city, county, or state completely outlaws sweepstakes promotions?  Well, first of all let’s point out that this is not likely to stick.  They’ve been trying to outlaw sweepstakes for years in several states and haven’t been able to do it.  Sure, places are closed for a few weeks–but they almost always end up opening again soon.  At the end of the day, if the sweepstakes are being run properly they are nearly impossible to completely shut down.  But what happens in that timeframe?  For two weeks, or for two months, or… who knows?  Maybe permanently your business is not allowed to run a sweepstakes promotion onsite.  OUCH!

This is what happened recently in Europe.  An entire country passed strict regulations and penalties preventing anyone from running a sweepstakes in their business.  What did the sweepstakes owners do?  Every sweepstakes solution was forced to leave the country.  Everyone, that is, except for web-based SweepsCoach sweepstakes.  The businesses that were running the SweepsCoach system sent their customers home to play.  This solution was implemented instantly–and those with SweepsCoach games in the US can do exactly the same thing RIGHT NOW.

When an account is created for a new customer, that account is linked to the specific business or location where it was formed.  This means that using the same exact login that the customer uses in the store, that customer can go home (or anywhere with Internet access) and log in to the website:  On this site customers can play games to reveal their winnings–exactly the same way they did onsite in the business where they were given credits to play.

The implications of this concept are staggering.  Back to our example in Europe; our sweepstakes promotions are bringing in several million dollars of profit each month–and 100% of the business is being played at home.  This concept also allows business owners to send customers home to play if the store is too full (no open computers left).  It allows customers to play at their own convenience, whether or not your store is open for business. Thus, even while your store is closed and you are asleep, hundreds (or thousands) of your customers can be playing your games and making money for you.

But wait – when your customers are playing from home does this mean you are losing out somehow?  To the contrary–business owners LOVE this concept.  They know that their customers can ONLY receive promotional entries in their store and can ONLY redeem winnings in their store.  Furthermore; we have found that when people go home to play and have to return to the store to redeem (“cash out”), the HOLD for the business owner increases significantly.  Generally speaking, when a customer is given 1 “free credit” for purchasing $1 worth of product, less than 10 cents of that is actually redeemed when that customer goes home to play–the business owner keeps 90 cents.   Compare this to about 50 cents redeemed when that customer stays in the store to reveal his entries.  WOW!

Isn’t there something wrong with revealing sweepstakes entries from home?  Absolutely not!  When you open a bottle of Coca-Cola you may find a code on the bottom of the cap.  To play the Coca-Cola sweepstakes and see if you have won anything, you plug this number into their online website AT HOME on your own computer.  You’ll find this kind of sweepstakes in everything from cereal boxes to cans of soup.  It is extremely common and used every day within the US.

The “Play at Home” feature is not something that has to be enabled in case of an unexpected emergency situation.  It is ALREADY being used by SweepsCoach sweepstakes sponsors everywhere.  But if things get tricky and your business needs to keep things on “the down low” for a few weeks or a few months, a client-server model (every sweepstakes product in the US besides SweepsCoach) must tell sweepstakes sponsors “I guess you better close shop.”  SweepsCoach operators can keep their doors open and send customers home to play–instantly.

It is this kind of flexibility that makes the SweepsCoach system and its unique feature set stand head and shoulders above every other sweepstakes product that we have seen (and we’ve tested dozens of them!)

In order to maximize profitability in your sweepstakes business, or if trouble comes, you need OPTIONS. You need FLEXIBILITY and you need SPEED.  The web-based SweepsCoach sweepstakes give you what you need.  Allowing your customers to play from home is just one of the unique differentiating features that makes SweepsCoach the best possible sweepstakes platform in the US.