Large companies often run sweepstakes or contests offering a a prize in exchange for filling out a form or making a purchase. The odds of winning one seem about as remote as hitting the lottery. The prizes? Generally tchotchkes. Overall, not very enticing. The photo web site Luminous Landscape has run a few contests and just announced their most recent one. Unlike their rote corporate siblings, the Luminous Landscape ones have a refreshing feel. To start with, the site's ambiance is much more like a small labor of love than a monster corporate site. The natural implication is significantly fewer visitors than the big boys meaning there is at least a slightly better chance of winning. Still probably measured in the thousands, there's not that great a chance, but it's way better than when there are a few million other folks entered with you. They aren't screwing around with their prizes either. The latest contest is Win The lens of Your Choice. There is a little fine print, but most of it is in bold near the top: Any Lens For Any Camera Valued Up To $2,000. So, you can't get a $6,800, 12 pound, 400mm f/2.8 L IS USM, the $2,000 limit is more than reasonable, and will allow for the vast majority of lenses to be in play. And let's face it, while I'd LOVE to have one of those lenses, it's way down the list for the type of shooting I do. Two other refreshing aspects: 1) the fact the reason for the contest ("To entice you to purchase one of our products") is put right out there in front, and 2) the way to enter is to purchase something that is actual of value. I've been interested in one of the tutorial offerings (called "From Camera To Print") for a while, but never pulled the trigger. I haven't been shooting that much recently because of my work schedule and at almost 7 hours, it's a pretty big tutorial. I probably would have ended up getting it at some point, but adding the (remote) possibility of winning a new lens is enough to make the purchase. Chalk one up for marketing strategy. A final note, I appreciate the upfront 'no purchase necessary' statement:

And finally, to satisfy the law in some countries – no purchase is necessary. You will be entered into the competition by simply registering your name in our store. But, if you do this, while within the letter of the law you are of course defeating the purpose of the whole exercise. You must decide if that's really what you want to do.

If this was a big company, I'd consider the no purchase option. Since it's more of a guy running a site on a subject he's passionate about, there's no way I would do that.