Since then, the tale of the inn has almost become folklore, attracting dozens of property owners with similar ideas. Adams, a restaurant owner from the Virgin Islands, won the inn in June after paying $125 to enter the contest. Adams wrote of his experience in the hospitality industry, and compared the work to his marriage.
Some want a more personal way to sell properties with sentimental value. And others hope a popular contest brings in more than they might make from a conventional sale. Karim Lakhani, an associate professor who studies online communities and contests at Harvard Business School, said social media and the Internet had made it easier for contests like these to reach a critical mass of people who are willing to pay a nominal fee for a chance.“This looks like a lottery,” meaning the risk is low and the reward high, Dr. “From the participation point of view, it’s ‘I can put in a few hundred bucks and get a chance to get a house.’ Who wouldn’t want to do that? “A successful marriage requires passion, hospitality and commitment,” he wrote.
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On another Facebook page, she keeps track of similar sweepstakes around the country. So far, she has amassed 3,000 of the 5,000 entries she said the couple needed to earn $1 million for the farm; the money would cover taxes — “35 percent right off the top goes to the federal government,” she said — and help the couple buy a small home to retire. Wachs, the Houston Realtor, was inspired by the Center Lovell Inn, and even submitted an essay.
There are a bed-and-breakfast in Virginia, a nine-room country inn in Vermont and a brick home in Ontario. If they do not meet their goal, they might accept fewer entries, or send out refunds, Ms. He then held his own contest, hoping for a fast transaction and maybe some publicity on a local blog.
The couple has enjoyed reading essays from people who envision a different future for the hobby farm.
One essay detailed a willingness to start a home for injured war veterans; another wanted to turn the farm into a quilting studio, Ms. Reading essays and assuring interested parties about the contest’s integrity take about four hours a day.“We’ve had to overcome the thing with the Center Lovell Inn,” she said, “the suspicion that this was rigged, so that’s been a detriment to us.”Ms.
Fifteen complaints were lodged with the Maine attorney general’s office, which led to an inquiry by the State Police. In an interview, he said he was still being harassed by people who thought that they should have won the inn or that he had broken the rules.“We’ve had disgruntled people calling in,” Mr. After The Boston Globe published his essay, one commenter accused him of breaking the rules by not writing a double-spaced piece. However, the majority of the essay entrants that contact us with well wishes are fantastic.”The saga has not appeared to deter others.
The agency spent four weeks reviewing the rules, the selection process and complaints about the 1993 contest, which had prompted its own inquiry. Sage had run a game of skill, which is legal in the state, and not a game of luck like a lottery, which is not. It is difficult to say how many contests are being held at a given time, but Bil Mosca, the host of the 1993 contest for the inn, said he had fielded up to 12 phone calls a month from homeowners who wanted advice.