You’ve probably seen an Omaze ad or two.
Emilia Clarke, George and Amal Clooney, Idris Elba, and Chris Hemsworth all invite us to grab a chance to win Omaze prizes.
Okay, this company has managed to get some A-list celebrities on board.
Still, is it a legitimate service?
Can you win celeb encounters, luxury cars, properties, and vacations?
Long story short, yes, you can.
Omaze is 100% legitimate.
It lets you enter a sweepstake where most proceeds go toward supporting specific charities.
But is this money going to charity?
How legitimate and transparent is Omaze? How did this company start?
That’s what we’ll get to the bottom of in this post!
The History of Omaze
We can verify Omaze’s legitimacy by learning about its origins.
After all, it didn’t suspiciously pop out of nowhere!
The following is how Omaze came to be.
The Two Friends
This story begins with Ryan Cummins and Matthew Pohlson, who have extensive experience working with nonprofit organizations.
And these two friends had always shared a passion for media work.
This documentary contributed to the formation of a charity that supports women’s education.
These two have impressive celebrity contacts.
That sounds nice and all, but this story is not without its setbacks.
Omaze’s origins are deeply rooted in disappointment.
Born Out of Disappointment
Our story continues!
Cummins and Pohlson also happen to be avid NBA fans.
They went to fancy auctions because they knew people in high places.
They were both quite excited about the possibility of meeting Magic Johnson, which was one of the “prizes” up for grabs in an auction they attended.
However, the bid exceeded $15,000.
That meant they lacked the necessary funds.
This disappointment led to the birth of Omaze.
Now, don’t get me wrong. Cummins and Pohlson were rubbing elbows with the rich and famous, but they weren’t rolling in the dough like most people.
For instance, Pohlson racked up a $20,000 debt from business school.
So, even though they worked with philanthropic organizations and contributed to the Live Earth concert planning, they were not millionaires.
They also believed that their actions were limited in scope to an elite few rather than the whole world.
That’s why, together, they built a site where fans could enter to win celebrity encounters.
This is how Omaze came to be.
They had worked for charities and famous people before, so it made sense. Investors were then eager to get in on the action.
A Brush With Death
Omaze wasn’t impressive from the get-go.
It was a little-known charity raffle, so it had trouble attracting participants.
Its reputation also started from zero, so Cummins and Pohlson had to figure out how to earn the support of the public.
It wasn’t easy.
Its first celebrity encounter up for grabs was with a guest judge on Cupcake Wars, not precisely an A-lister.
Things were not looking good, then a miracle happened.
Pohlson was born with his stomach tied in a knot.
Folks with this condition may develop extensive scar tissue but otherwise lead everyday lives.
However, Pohlson’s scar tissue broke off in 2018, leading to a severe obstruction.
So, off to the hospital he went, where doctors tried to intervene.
Despite all their efforts, his blood pressure continued to plummet, and eventually, he flatlined.
Pohlson’s heart stopped for 4.5 minutes.
The doctors tried desperately to revive him but to no avail.
Then, suddenly, he began to breathe again.
He claims that his lengthy recovery spurred him to work on Omaze.
Once Pohlson had recovered, he returned to his post but was met with more problems.
It looked like people were still pretty indifferent to Omaze, which stumped the partners.
Did they make a mistake? Were they too ambitious?
Well, it turns out that the key to their success was getting Daniel Craig on board.
They had the idea of tugging on the hearts of car and Bond lovers by putting up an Aston Martin DB7 for bids.
Most of Omaze’s rewards centered on experiences up to that point, so this one stood out by a mile.
They didn’t expect the Aston Martin to bring in a lot of money.
The founders spent $250,000 on the car as a grand prize anyway, hoping it would at least double.
And to their surprise, it brought in $1.9 million, way more money than they expected.
So, it turns out that folks are much more interested in owning a rare luxury car than going on a date with a hot celebrity.
With this realization, Omaze decided to double down on more tangible commodities like vehicles, properties, and trips.
Armed with this winning formula, the only way was up!
How Does Omaze Make Money?
Omaze is not 100% philanthropic.
There’s no way of getting around saying that it profits from charitable events.
After all, it’s a business.
So, how much of the net proceeds go to Omaze’s pockets?
Let’s look at some numbers.
Omaze grew 500% from 1028 to 2020.
That’s hard to believe, but its founders claim it’s true.
After their initial successes, Omaze raised $30 million in their series B funding round.
And then, the celebrities came flocking to the platform, from Bono to Charlize Theron.
Omaze seems to be doing pretty well.
Here’s where it gets murky.
Omaze doesn’t share its revenue numbers since it’s a private company.
It’s not required to do so.
Omaze also never claimed that it was not in it for the money.
Yes, its goal is to give back, but it is, first and foremost, a for-profit organization.
Nothing is wrong with that, but how much money does it make from all this charity work?
Let’s lay this out in terms of $100.
Omaze takes 20% of all donations, so we’re left with $80.
After that, 65%-75% of the donations cover the prizes’ costs.
This includes acquiring items, paying endorsers, logistics, and deliveries.
Let’s stay and the lower end and stick to 65%. This means that only $15 of the original $1000 will actually go to charity.
Some folks have reacted negatively, wondering if this is a scammy practice. But to its credit, Omaze is upfront about all this.
According to their website, the total net donation ranges from 12%-20%.
And having such a modest entry point, say $10 or $20, also ensures that more people will want to donate.
How Does an Omaze Sweepstake Work?
Omaze is taking a hiatus from hosting any sweepstakes in the US as of May 2023. How come?
According to Pohlson’s message on the site, they’re trying to streamline their operations to deliver better experiences.
However, Omaze UK keeps the fun alive with fresh sweepstakes popping up regularly.
You can stay in the loop with the newest UK sweepstakes by checking out Omaze’s official website.
Just a heads up: using unofficial sites could lead to getting scammed, so stay alert!
If you’re looking to join an active sweepstakes, you’ve got a few choices to make.
You could settle for just one shot at winning, but you can also subscribe to Omaze and give yourself a fixed number of entries for every active Omaze draw.
Right now, you can check out videos of past winners’ reactions.
Is Omaze Just a Scam?
So, what distinguishes Omaze from, say, a fancy lottery?
Many would say it’s the unique prizes.
Not many lotteries out there offer visits to closed Star Wars sets or opportunities to petsit for the presidential dogs.
While there is some truth to that answer, it’s not entirely correct.
In fact, Omaze is pretty similar to a standard lottery, except that participants are not required to purchase entries.
Why does Omaze work this way?
Omaze is available in the US and UK, right?
Well, there is a threshold profit requirement for lotteries in those two countries. The Omaze platform does not.
Omaze must provide free access to its raffles to avoid the label of “lottery.”
So, how many entries are allowed per user? According to their guidelines, you can claim up to 2,000 free entries.
But if you make a donation, you can bump that up to 6,000.
Omaze asserts that the odds of winning are the same for both paid and free entrants.
However, many people have disputed this, leading us to wonder if Omaze is indeed a scam.
Many winners have complained that they entered sweepstakes for free yet ran into major issues after receiving their prizes.
Apparently, winner confirmation is quite the hassle, and some people think they’re not worth the trouble.
This situation escalated to the point where the California attorney general filed an investigation against Omaze.
Sure, the company doesn’t use the word “lottery,” but the government still considers it one.
The state also claimed that Omaze was illegal, but of course, the company responded very quickly.
Omaze paid $120,00 to end the investigation.
This complaint was filed because people think that Omaze gave the public a false impression.
Many folks entered believing that their full contributions went to the designated charities.
Controversy also plagued Omaze even in its UK iteration.
The Omaze UK launch was met with criticism from the Advertising Standards Agency.
The company failed to mention that participation was entirely gratis.
Prizes given away in the UK were also contentious.
Many winners received fancy properties, but they soon realized why these were given away for free.
One mansion was in danger of being flooded.
Another was perched precariously on a cliff, and engineers worried that it could topple over in the years to come.
Omaze claims that they checked out all prizes thoroughly.
However, overcoming its negative reputation has proven to be difficult.
A simple Google search of Omaze reviews will fetch you a lot of mixed results.
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The Advantages of Using Omaze
Now, let’s focus on Omaze’s good side for a minute.
Omaze is still one of the most popular ways to support charities while giving you a shot at winning some incredible prizes.
When you donate, you’re automatically entered to win a raffle, which is pretty neat.
You can join a sweepstake knowing that your money is making a difference, however small.
Despite all the controversies, Omaze is pretty transparent about where your donations go and how they’re being used.
They’re also upfront about how much they take from the earnings they amass.
Omaze has a wide range of options for donors, so you can easily find a cause that you’re passionate about.
Plus, they’ve got a decent track record when it comes to distributing donations.
The Disadvantages of Using Omaze
Omaze is not without its drawbacks.
First, some find it fishy that Omaze leverages celebrity appearances to gain traction.
While it’s a valid tactic, it could also be viewed as manipulative.
Then there’s the fact that Omaze is a for-profit company. There’s nothing inherently wrong with that, but some argue that its cut of the profits is way too large.
This is understandable since every donor would want the bulk of their donations actually to go to their chosen charities.
And even while Omaze offers a ton of cool rewards, not all of them are accessible to every user.
Some of the larger prizes may only be available to residents of the US, UK, or Canada.
Omaze also gives folks the chance to hold their own fundraisers.
Sure, it will bring you the traffic that you need, but there’s no guarantee that folks will donate to your cause.
Plus, Omaze will take a cut of all the donations made on their site.
So, even if you raise money, you’ll likely end up keeping less than if you had used some other fundraising platform.
Lastly, there have been some comments about the quality of customer support.
Finding a person to talk to if you need assistance with your account or have questions about the platform’s functionality can be challenging.
Is Omaze genuine or a scam?
If you have concerns about whether Omaze is a legitimate platform or if it might be involved in internet scams or fraud, there’s no need to worry.
Omaze is a trustworthy platform that indeed donates money to charity and awards its amazing prizes.
The company operates under regulations to ensure the fulfillment of these commitments.
Has anyone actually won Omaze?
The precise winning odds for Omaze competitions remain unclear as the platform does not publish specific figures.
However, it is known that as more people enter, the odds may decrease.
Nonetheless, the fact that people do win significant prizes has captured my interest, prompting me to participate in every competition since it first appeared on my Instagram feed.
Has anyone won Omaze without donating?
You do not need to make any purchase, payment, or donation of any kind to enter or win.
All entries for an experience have an equal and fair chance of winning.
Making a purchase, payment, or donation will not enhance or improve the chances of winning.
Is Omaze worth entering?
Omaze presents remarkable opportunities, although the chances of winning are typically quite slim.
However, by understanding the odds and entering strategically, you can increase your probability of winning.
Final Thoughts: Is Omaze Legit?
It’s important to note that although the rewards on Omaze are exceptional, not all of the funds raised go directly to charities.
If you want to ensure that your contribution is making a significant impact, donating directly to the cause is the optimal route.
That being said, any donation, regardless of size, is immensely appreciated and can have a positive influence.
In addition to monetary aid, donating your time or spreading awareness can be just as valuable when it comes to assisting those in need.
But if you really want to hang out with a celebrity or own a rare luxury car, Omaze is one of the few ways to make your dream come true.
Before moving on, here are some additional resources on work and job ideas that you can do remotely.