Contests are always a puzzlement to me. Oh, I don't mind the non-fee contests or the ones where ALL the entry fees are given as prizes. What bothers me is when the contest payouts come no where near the amount of fees being collected. So where does all that extra money go? Straight into the company's coffers. Yes, you get bragging rights and a few bucks but who's really the winner?
What brought this up? Well, I received a link for a flash contest sponsored by Scribe Publishing. It looked good until you got down to the bottom of the submissions page and they finally tell you that there is a $10 fee to enter. Okay. They're only accepting 1000 entries, that's $10,000. The prizes? $500, $100, and $50. A total of $650 out of an incoming $10,000.
If you're into contests that's fine. Many writers enjoy the competition and bragging rights when they win. But when I see something like this warning bells start ringing. Always, always check out the folks running the contests and consider what the prizes are and how they're being divided before you enter any contest.