Rafflecopter Review. Rafflecopter is a Contest, Sweepstakes, Giveaway widget that can be used within a website post or article to help a webmaster run a contest, sweepstakes or giveaway. I previously spoke about running contests on websites here: How to Create and Run a Giveaway Contest on a Website and here: How and When to Promote Contests, Giveaways, and Sweepstakes on Twitter to Maximize their Pageviews.
I gave the Rafflecopter widget a try for a three week Blu-ray giveaway contest. I used a Rafflecopter contest hosted on another website for ideas for my own.
The Rafflecopter contest widget has many pluses and minuses for a publisher and contestant seeking to gain a prize.
Harrison Ford Raiders of the Lost Ark
Rafflecopter supplies the user with HTML for the widget after they have made their contest entry criteria selections.
The widget has a timer on it (the time the contest begins and the time the contest ends). The contest automatically stops taking entries after the contest end date has been reached.
Rafflecopter allows the contest runner to select as a contest entry option: Tweet a Message, Follow a Twitter Follower, Like a Facebook Page, Like a Blog Post, Choose your own Task, Leave a Blog Comment.
One contest entry option can be selected or all can be selected.
Each contest entry option can be selected either as a mandatory entry requirement or as a additional contest entry.
“Tweet a Message” can be particularly useful if you write the “to be tweeted” message effectively. Rafflecopter automatically adds the contest URL to the end of the message.
The contest runner has the option of creating his or her own contest entry option for the contest.
Each option for contest entry can also be assigned its own value (how many entires that option is worth).
After you create one contest, you can “duplicate” that contest and its entry options for a brand new contest.
By clicking a single button a random winner or multiple random winners can be selected for a contest.
Rafflecopter allows the publisher via their account to view every entry and disqualify winners.
Problems with Rafflecopter
The main problem I found with Rafflecopter is that many of the same people will enter a contest every day, repeating the same contest entry operations over and over again e.g. they click the button that allows them to follow you on Twitter everyday.
Duplicate entries (the problem I just alluded to).
No way to limit entries.
Where Rafflecopter can be improved
There are many ways in which Rafflecopter can be improved to give webmasters the contest options they need and desire. They are as follows:
Have the Rafflecopter widget track Ip addresses and allow only one set of entires per Ip address. Give the contest runner the ability over this. Perhaps they might want to allow multiple entries per Ip Address.
In addition to the contest entry option of once per day, add once per hour, once per two days, once per week, and once per month.
The Follow Buttons
Add in a feature that people can only use the “Follow Me On Twitter” button once. This can be accomplished by recording the Twitter accounts that click the follow button on the backend of the widget. This will limit follow button spam i.e. the same person using the same twitter account to follow you for additional contest entires yet only really following you once.
Have a message come up that says: “This Twitter account has already made its entry for this contest.” when a person hits the Follow button for all subsequent times after the initial Twitter entry.
Add these follow buttons to Rafflecopter
Pinterest, StumbleUpon, Google +, YouTube Channel, FriendFeed, and Flickr.
Add RSS Newsletter and RSS Feed Follow options
Add a Google Feedburner Newletter sign up form as a contest entry option in the widget. The sign up and emailed verification of the sign-up happen within the widget so the contestant can do everything right there (and widget and contest runner know the sign-up has been completed). I do not know how this can be accomplished but where there is a will there is a way. Perhaps the widget gets automatically emailed the Google Feedburner Newsletter verification email right there while giving the contestant a “please wait” message.
To prevent entry spam, Rafflecopter records the email address used and only allows that address to subscribe once per contest. Even if that person unsubscribes to the Newsletter the next day in order to re-sign up for another contest entry, that email address is recorded and does not allow a second sign up.
Add Google Feedburner, Newsvine, and Yahoo RSS Feed buttons as contest entry options in the widget. RSS Feed subscriptions can only be completed if the contestant is signed into the appropriate service e.g. Google at the time. If they are not, they should be promoted to do so in the widget. Once they are, they select which RSS services they wish to use to follow the contest runner’s feed and subscribe.
To prevent entry spam, Rafflecopter records the email address used to subscribe to the RSS Feed and only allows that address to subscribe once per contest. Even if that person unsubscribes to the RSS Feed the next day in order to re-subscribe for another contest entry, that email address is recorded and does not allow a second RSS Feed subscription.
Add the ability to choose different colors for the Rafflecopter widget. This will help the webmaster match the widget to the color scheme of their website.
Add the ability to add a picture of the prize in question for the contest within the widget, either at the top or in a tab.
Add a cloaking option for how many entries a contest has. The contest runner should have the option of disabling displayed entries so that no one but he or she knows how many entries there are for a particular contest (some people get discouraged if they see a bunch of entries already for a contest and choose not to enter. Its psychological.).
Rafflecopter is a good option for running a online contest but its not great and is not fantastic. Not yet. Rafflecopter takes some of the hassel out of running a contest (especially the duplicate contest option) but it also introduces contest entry spam into the equation as well. I had the same people entering my Rafflecopter contest in the same way everyday for weeks. That was great for tweets about the contest but it was also annoying because there was no system of checks and balances in place to curtail the entry spam. Hopefully this will change in the very near future.
Have you ever used Rafflecopter for a contest on your site? What was your experience with it?