Gleam, Kingsumo, Rafflecopter, Woobox, the list goes on and on. With so many different contest platforms out there, I thought I would give a primer on each one, listing limits and/or known issues for the ones that exist.
Gleam.io is probably my favorite contest hosting tool, it is also one of the newest kids on the block. From a responsive design, to amazing integrations with so many social media platforms, if you are entering a contest it is hard to beat. It allows the people entering the contest to link their facebook, twitter, soundcloud, twitch, pinterest, steam, google+ and even more accounts, so it can easily verify that you have actually done the action (I’m looking at you rafflecopter with your pasting links requirement).
Gleam really seems to be taking over the contest world, growing rapidly in popularity. As a contest hoster, it is super easy to use it to create a contest (for free!), which is great but has also become somewhat of a pitfall for gleam. You see since it is so easy to create a professional looking contest, for free, it is being abused by people posting fake contests. If you find a contest that you believe is fake send an email to email@example.com with the details of why you think the contest is fake, and make sure to include a link to the contest as well.
The issue of fake contests, as mentioned above is definitely an issue. Another issue is that their url shortner for referral links, wn.nr has actually gone down a couple of times, which means all links out there that used this stopped functioning until it came back up. This wasn’t gleam’s fault, it was the people who run the .nr tld, but it was still a major pain. My suggestion is to use the link in any emails you get from the contest, these are gleam.io links, that are in the format gleam.io/[RandomStringContestID]-[RandomStringYourRefID] your RefID Random string is the same across all gleam contests, so if all you can find is the contest id and you know your Referral ID, you should be able to rebuild your referral link yourself.
If you have ever entered a contest through facebook, you are more than likely to have run into Woobox. Woobox tends to be the contest application of choice if you are embedding the contest on facebook, but facebook isn’t a requirement. Most woobox contests just want a small amount of information, often times just your email address. After you have submitted the contest, you will often be presented with your share link. If it says Share this Link for x number of entries (or something similar) this means that for each person that you share the link with, you will gain that many more entries into the contest. If you see a link that just says “Share this Promotion” or something like that, that means you get no extra entries for sharing the contest, so the incentive to share is gone.
There are a number of issues you may run into when using woobox. The first is, if you try to check how many entries you have, you must use the same device (generally with the same IP) as how you originally entered. If I am on my home wifi, enter a woobox contest on my laptop, get a number of referrals, and then later that night try to check the status from my phone, I won’t be able to, infact it will act like I’ve never entered the contest, and generate a brand new referral ID if I login again.
Another issue is that each time you visit the page, your referral link will change, the good news is, your old referral link will still count if you have posted/shared it with others.
Oftentimes when you click to view the official rules of a woobox contest, the page will be blank, this isn’t because no rules were entered, but is because of a glitch in the woobox system not displaying them properly.
Finally there are the rare contests where even though it says you will enter x number of extra entries for sharing, the total number of entries never increases.
Rafflecopter used to be the most prevalent contest tool until recently, where gleam and giveaway tools have both made in roads. It allows you to earn different amount of points for completing different actions, making some mandatory before unlocking others. The integration with social media platforms leave a lot to be desired, and the maximum number of referrals you can earn is 10 (and there is no way of knowing if they counted or not, since the total number of entries does not increase).
The limits on referrals and the ability to see them is a huge issue in my mind. Also, tasks can be set to be completed daily, but instead of increasing your total entries each day, it instead removes the value of the daily tasks you have completed the previous day from your displayed totals, and only increases again when you complete the daily task. Basically being able to tell how many entries you have is near impossible. They also do not have any real integration with twitter, pinterest, etc. Everything requires you to manually paste in links to your profile, to your tweet, what your username is, etc.
This is one of the top choices of mom bloggers everywhere. It is kind of the middle ground between Rafflecopter and Gleam. It has great integrations with some social media, one click follow on twitter, one click to tweet, click a button to complete the action of viewing facebook, etc. but it does have issues with pinterest and other social media still. The referral system is not very good, just like rafflecopter, where it does not display how many referral entries you have had, though it does allow more than 10 total. One of the neat features of this one that instead of just Daily Tasks, they can set it up to have multiple times a day tasks. So some tasks are set to let you tweet at most once a hour, and you can do that 3 times every 24 hours.
The main issue I find is the lack of being able to see referral points earned. There is also an issue where a number of times I have found the referral link does not work, instead of taking you where you should, it takes you to a broken page, and from what I have heard back from bloggers, that is an issue by the platform and not the bloggers, (though I could be misinformed).
King Sumo is an interesting platform, requiring a wordpress installation, it does not have multiple actions to earn points, there is no ability for allowing daily entry. The way it works is you answer some kind of question (usually a simple or silly one) and then enter your email, many require you to confirm your email and sign up for a newsletter. After this you will find you are at a page with a bunch of social media buttons and a “lucky” url. This lucky url is your referral link, generally contest hosts set it to around 3-5 extra entries per person who signs up using it, though some are greater. The only way to earn more entries with King Sumo is by getting people to use your Lucky URL and then entering the contest, that is what those social media buttons are for, to let you share your lucky url on facebook, twitter, pinterest, etc.
To me the big issues with King Sumo are that since they are self hosted, they are more prone to configuration and/or security issues. I’ve seen a number where you cannot properly enter, some just treat you like you have never entered, even though you get the email and confirm it, others won’t even let you complete your entry.
Coming Soon – Part 2: PromoSimple, Sideqik, ViralSweeps and More!