SCHAUMBURG, Ill., Aug. 11 (Ben Hooper) — An Illinois engineer said he won nearly 1,000 Twitter contests in nine months with a bot programmed to retweet giveaway offers.
Hunter Scott, an electrical engineer, said in a blog post he used the Python programming language to create a Twitter bot that identifies and retweets posts that call on users to retweet for a chance to win.
Scott said the robot would also follow the person or company advertising the contest if the tweet called for it.
The engineer said he won nearly 1,000 contests, with most of the prizes being generally worthless items such as customized images for gaming and YouTube profiles.
“I won a lot of cool stuff too though, and getting mysterious things in my mailbox each day was pretty fun,” Scott wrote in a blog post.
He said the prizes he obtained included gift cards, movie and concert tickets, a free year of Spotify, a Kentucky Derby mousepad and a Godzilla prize package containing a hat and a shirt.
Scott said the most valuable prize he won was a $4,000 limousine ride and shopping spree during New York Fashion Week, but he declined the prize because he lives in Illinois.
“My favorite thing that I won was a cowboy hat autographed by the stars of a Mexican soap opera that I had never heard of,” Scott said. “I love it because it really embodies the totally random outcome of these contests.”
Scott said he entered about 165,000 contests and won 984, meaning he had a “pretty miserable” winning percentage of 0.6 percent.
“And before you report me to the IRS, yes, I reported and paid taxes on all of the winnings I actually accepted/received,” Scott said.
Scott said he has now reprogrammed the bot to retweet posts that purport to raise money for charity.